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matt garza chinThose who’ve listened seem to have really enjoyed Baseball America’s Ben Badler guesting on the BN Podcast, which means you would enjoy it, too. Thus, you should listen.

  • Matt Garza threw again yesterday, and apparently left the session feeling good. Still, the plan isn’t to see him make his season debut until late April or early May. From Dale Sveum, per CSN: “I think Garza’s going to be more the latter part or the beginning of May. I’m not sure exactly [when yet]. But he’s [still] got to throw off a mound a couple times and then it’s going to be live BP. So his Spring Training will basically probably start in a week from now if everything goes good.”
  • “I’m still hoping [to be ready by mid-April,” Garza said, per Carrie Muskat. “We’ve got three weeks left. Hopefully, I can be ready to make an appearance the last week [of Spring Training], and if not, possibly Houston [March 29-30], and then go out and make a couple starts and be ready.” I don’t think, right now, we have any reason to expect to see Garza before May. His hopes are nice, but if he’s going to be DL’d anyway, the Cubs are going to take their time with him. And, also, once-bitten, twice-shy and all that.
  • Also feeling good: Starlin Castro, who played yesterday after missing almost two weeks with a minor hamstring thing. He left the game with no issues whatsoever. Good.
  • More on the injury front (sort of), Dale Sveum talks about Junior Lake, who is out for four to six weeks with a stress fracture in a rib (per Carrie Muskat): “Learning a new position [at third base], he’s a little bit raw there, but he still did a pretty good job there. Swinging the bat, he’s a very premeditated swinger. He’s just not getting good pitches to hit, and he’s swinging at arm action a lot. He’s a guy who has a lot of bat speed, and doesn’t have to be a premeditated swinger but he’s still in that mode. He’s got all the tools — we didn’t get to see him play the outfield but a couple times. It’s a nice player to have but there’s still development there.” Sounds like Sveum’s take on Lake is like everyone else: impressive physical specimen, so much talent, but still a long way to go to harness it.
  • Hitting coach James Rowson says he really likes what he’s been seeing from Cubs hitters this Spring in terms of “good plate appearances.” Even if the results haven’t been great at times, what matters right now is seeing a good approach at the plate. (He also notes that, right now, the Cubs are mostly just letting Jorge Soler do his natural thing, see what he’s got, and then they’ll use that to work with him later. Pretty interesting.)
  • Anthony Rizzo’s Team Italy, though they had a chance to beat both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, lost to the latter last night, and were eliminated from the WBC after a cinderella run. At least they left us with this Italian style homer celebration. Jerry Crasnick wrote a nice profile of Rizzo the other day, too.
  • Look for Scott Baker to make his Cactus League debut on Sunday. He’ll still start the season on the DL, though.
  • John Sickels’ top 150 prospects list is out, and there are no huge surprises, save, I suppose, for the fact that he’s got Dan Vogelbach up at 98. Javier Baez (18), Jorge Soler (25), Albert Almora (44), and Arodys Vizcaino (112) round out the Cubs’ entrants. Brett Jackson is on the list of guys who just missed.
  • Remember when Javier Baez’s car got the “rookie” treatment? Well, naturally Baez suspects that the prank ring leader was Matt Garza.
  • BN’er Eric is once again the man, and sent over some video of Albert Almora taking batting practice over at Fitch Park. Cool to see what these guys look like in the cage:

  • And if the first video wasn’t enough for your scouting purposes, here’s more:

  • Morken

    We haven’t seen the last of Junior Lake, this season.

  • BluBlud

    Off the subject. I read an article on ESPN, that claims the City, the Alderman, the rooftops and the restrictions are costing the Cubs 73 million dollars a year. If this is acurate, then this is pitiful. Like the guy said, that the price of three Prince Fielders. Not that I would want Fielder on the Cubs, but I think you get the point. Three prince fielders, or a Fielder, Cabrera and a Price just might be the difference between 70 wins and a World Series. Something need to be done about this.

    • hansman1982

      Not that the ESPN article does much for me, but I have always thought the Forbes projections for Cubs revenue were too high.

      • CubFan Paul

        always north of the reported $270M

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It isn’t accurate. It’s Rick Reilly pulling numbers – often by his own admission – out of thin air. In a couple cases, they were duplicative numbers (i.e., if the Cubs got one portion of the “$73 million,” they definitionally couldn’t get a different portion of the “$73 million”). Reilly was just doing Reilly.

      • Seth

        Ya, I agree. Everything Reilly says I take with a grain of salt. He’s not someone I’d look to to get some cold facts.

        • Diesel

          Reilly is a pile of excrement.

      • waittilthisyear

        thank you. i read that article and wondered why i ventured for cubs news outside of BN

    • Edwin

      Accurate being the key word. I’d be interested on how they actually got to those figures. It’s pretty easy to play around with assumed revenues/costs.

      I think the current situation is costing the Cubs money, but it’s probably not as bad as ESPN makes it out to be. They’re most likely more interested in generating hits than being accurate. I think eventually both sides will come to an agreement, I just think that with it being political in nature, it’s going to be a slower road than most want. But that’s just how politics work at times.

    • Andrew

      Yeah. It’s a Rick Reilly piece. It’s a little sensationalist and his financial projections are probably a little high, but as a whole I did think it was a pretty good article. His view on how the rooftops and lack of night games affect revenue, I think, is spot on.

      • Andrew

        Again, the numbers he’s pulling – probably off. Maybe by a lot. But the principle behind lost revenue streams, I think, is correct.

    • DB KYLE

      It’s a collection of sensationalistic WAGs, and it ignores the important fact that despite all that, the Cubs have one of the highest revenues in the game.

  • http://Noclue Marc N.

    Cool video of Almora.

    How bothered should I work myself up to be in the case of Garza? Can’t say that once TE DL thing broke that I expected him back before late April
    or May. I have no issues with slowly bringing him back though I will be pissed he seems to be getting away with not getting the franchise back the prospects he owes them and us.

    • Edwin

      So not getting prospects for Garza is Garza’s fault? Wouldn’t it be Theo’s fault for asking too much for Garza at the start of 2012, and waiting too long to trade him?

      • frank

        Right, Edwin–and on top of that, how do you figure Garza “owes” us prospects? Do you think he figured–you know what? I think I’ll get hurt, and then take my time getting healthy so I can get away with not being traded . . . C’mon now, Marc–these things happen and weren’t in his control. Nothing to get worked up over.

    • BABIP (MichCubFan)

      He also has been allowed to swing away, among other things, until last year. The Cubs development staff was very suspect under the old front office.

      Now that he is finally receiving quality instruction he has made strides in his plate approach. Now he needs to keep that going while he finds a position and he has a chance to contribute at the major league level. We will see how he does from here on out.

      • BABIP (MichCubFan)

        oops…put this in the wrong place.

  • cubzforlife

    How does Junior Lake get this far and is still this “raw”?

    • CubFan Paul

      not challenged enough by lower level pitching?..

    • http://Noclue Marc N.

      Development is not perfectly linear?

      Possibly Lake was rushed a little bit. It would be just fine if this was his AA year coming up rather than his AAA year, he’s still young enough, but it is his AAA year. Shyte happens

    • DocPeterWimsey

      He’s a phenomenal athlete who lacks basic baseball tools of the sort that cannot be taught, only honed. From everything written about him, pure athleticism has taken him this far.

    • DB KYLE

      It’s just his skill set.

      Lake is an all-or-nothing prospect. Extremely talented but having trouble harnessing those talents into baseball skiills.

      There’s a very large chance that he never does and either flames out completely or carves out a career as a reserve player. There’s a small chance that it all clicks someday and he becomes a monster. You keep him around for the latter, but you don’t count on him.

      • BABIP (MichCubFan)

        oops, see my post 7 posts above.

  • http://Noclue Marc N.

    Sickels basically said you can flip a coin between Soler and Puig but he likes them both a lot.

    Meanwhile Badler on the podcast talked about how Soler was the consensus guy while questioining 42 million to Puig a little more.

    Both seemed to just explode on the scene, Puig moreso. I’m really curious to see how they both develop.

  • willis

    This Garza shit seems real familiar. Very mid 2000s familiar. I think we’ve all seen this show before.

  • Jono

    Great video of Almora. Love seeing those BPs. But the Garza situation just pisses me off. I’ve been okay with extending him, which to me seems like a logical decision. But my emotional reaction is that I just want him gone. I’m sick of hearing about him and his latest injury. Big difference between my logical and emotional reactions.

  • DB KYLE

    Prospects appearing on Sickels’ list:

    Cardinals – 8
    Pirates – 7
    Cubs/Reds – 5
    Brewers – 4

    • The Dude Abides

      Looks like the Cardinals never got the memo that you can’t be competitive on the field and build up the farm system at the same time. To boot they haven’t had a top ten pick since JD Drew went number 5 in 1998, generally picking in the 20’s ever since.

      • DB KYLE

        What they did with their first-round pick this year was sick. They got a guy in Wacha who was considered high floor/low ceiling, then he showed up as a pro with increased velocity and suddenly he’s high floor/high ceiling.

        • Marc N.

          Hopefully Almora can pull the same thing and become viewed as a high floor/high ceiling guy.

      • CubFan Paul

        No one got that memo, because it’s never been done before. Cross your fingers.

      • Jono

        The cardinals aren’t building. They’re already built, and now it’s paying off. This is what the cubs are trying to do, build a team that can have a good big league team and farm system. But it takes time. This front office has only been there for a year

        • DB KYLE

          The issiue is still “why do they have to build one at a time.” A good front office can build both.

          • Jono

            Not with this organization at this present time. You’re generalizing.

            • DB KYLE

              I can be more specific thien.

              The Cubs team Theo Epstein inherited had several interesting young MLB pieces, an emerging farm system, a ton of freed-up payroll, a big-market revenue base and an FA class that fit their needs quite well.

              His decision to take the team in the opposite direction was a mistake that hurt the team’s chances of winning a World Series in his tenure, and seems to have more to do with his curiosity and boredom than it does the needs of the team.

              • Jono

                the payroll isn’t that low. Its approaching $100 million. Plus they have samardzija and rizzo who they’ll have to pay soon. They also have the construction in AZ and the renovations for Wrigley. Also, they have spent money on free agents, just not enough to put them in playoff contention. To go from 101 losses to playoff contention with.the current state of the organization, they’d have to.spend so much money that it would hinder them in holding on to.young talent and.acquiring future free agents to put them over the top

                • DB KYLE

                  “the payroll isn’t that low. Its approaching $100 million.”

                  It wasquite a bit more than that when they took over, not including the new CBA that saved them roughly $15 million on amateur acquisitions.

                  “Plus they have samardzija and rizzo who they’ll have to pay soon.”

                  Rizzo is three years from even hitting arbitration.

                  ” They also have the construction in AZ”

                  Paid for almost entirely by a land sale from the taxpayers in Mesa.

                  ” and the renovations for Wrigley.”

                  Allegedly being paid for by improved revenue streams within the ballpark.

                  ” Also, they have spent money on free agents, just not enough to put them in playoff contention. To go from 101 losses to playoff contention with.the current state of the organization, they’d have to.spend so much money that it would hinder them in holding on to.young talent and.acquiring future free agents to put them over the top”

                  It wasn’t a 101-loss team when they took over. They don’t get to set the curve by tanking and then be graded on it.

                  • Jono

                    Your counterpoints are so weak

                    • DB KYLE

                      No, seriously. We have to save up all our money so we can make sure we can afford Rizzo when he hits free agency in 2019!

                    • CubFan Paul

                      this is usually were i call the troll an idiot or uniformed

                    • CubFan Paul

                      *uninformed…really ignorant to the facts or just a troll

                    • BABIP (MichCubFan)

                      You’re correct, Jono.

                      I know what Kyle is (always) trying to say, but it just isn’t that easy.

              • Jono

                And they did not inherit a good farm system. It was ranked 20th or so when they took over. Epstein and.hoyer brought it from the bottom 1/3 to the top 1/3 in one year

                • DB KYLE

                  I didn’t say good. I said emerging. It had a lot of low-minors talent that was poised to break out, and did, such as Baez and Vogelbach.

                  Epstein and Hoyer did bring it from 20th to 10th, or whatever rankings you prefer, in part because of the development of pre-existing guys they inherited.

                  But even without that, they had a No. 6 overall pick, they spent more than $40 million on IFAs, and they traded roughly half-a-dozen big leaguers for prospects. They darn well better have moved it up a few spots with that sort of resource commitment. Getting it up to 10th is barely a par score.

                  • Jono

                    20th ranked system sucks. If it was emergying, it would’ve been ranked higher. And yes, save money to hold on to guys like Samardzija, rizzo, and future free agents picks. It takes time, it doesn’t happen after one year. How did that plan work out when they did it in 2007, 2008, and 2009? We’ve tried it your way, and it failed terribly

                    • Jono

                      *free agents signings, not picks. And going from bottom 1/3 to top 1/3 in one year is very good work

                    • DB KYLE

                      Sorry, but you misunderstand a lot about the fortunes of baseball franchises.

                      First, farm systems look linear when you rank them 1-30, but it’s more of a bell curve. There’s a few great ones, a few terrible ones, and a lot in the middle. 20 isn’t terrible, 10 isn’t great, they are just a little on opposite sides of the bell curve. Plus, let’s not pretend that we can put this down precisely. They were ranked somewhere between 14th and 23rd when Epstein took over, iirc. I’ve seen them anywhere from 8th to 14th this time around. (But again, that’s with *massive* resources poured into the farm system, so they darn well better be moving up).

                      Second, they tend to go up and down organically. Systems in the bottom half will tend to rise and systems in the top half will tend to fall, due to the presence or lack of graduations. Moving a low-rated farm system up isn’t rocket science. It’s almost inevitable.

                      Third, no, they would not have been ranked higher for their emergent status. Prospects tend to be ranked higher the higher the level they are at. The Cubs were when Epstein took over that savvy observers were expecting to shoot up the rankings in the coming years because of their excellent 2011 draft class and a strong crop of international amateurs graduating from the Dominican.

                      Fourth, you don’t understand what “my way” is or the non-recent history of the Chicago Cubs. I’m not advocating short-term solutions and ignoring the farm system. I’m advocating what Epstein paid lip-service to when he took over, the “parallel fronts approach.” It’s the only approach that builds sustained success (and no, tanking for a few years and winning for a few doesn’t count).

                      Fifth, the so-called “your way” has also been tried and failed terribly as well. The Epstein plan is a warmed-over retread of the MacPhail plan (heck, the Epstein/MacPhail parallels are kind of eerie if you want to get into the details). Hopefully, he’ll be better at the execution than Ed Lynch was.

                    • Dale’s Ear

                      yeah yeah yeah we get it dude you hate theo you hate the major league team they dont spend money and they never make any smart decisions and we should be winning now, you understand more about baseball than everyone else on the planet but you don’t want to take the time to go into “detailed” explanations for why you think the way you do yadayadayada . I feel bad, your life must really suck with all of this hate you have for a team that you apparently cheer for(?) not to mention the fact that you spend all day every day on this site trying to talk down to people because they are on board for the rebuilding program that you apparently can’t stand. But it’s cool man if being a douche is what helps you sleep at night then by all means get your Z’s.

                    • DarthHater

                      “if being a douche is what helps you sleep at night then by all means get your Z’s.”

                      “Being a douche is not everything, it’s the only thing.”
                      — DB

                    • Jono

                      Make your point again in a normal-length version and I’ll respond. Now you’re the one avoiding me by not shortening up your super long comment

                    • Kyle

                      I actually like Epstein’s abilities quite a bit and have been quite effusive about some of his moves. He wasn’t my first choice to take over the Cubs, but he was in my top 5 or 6.

                      His ability to make excellent moves in limited scopes when he wants to (such as cornering the market on interesting starting pitchers this offseason) just makes it all the more frustrating that he’s not more interested in helping the Chicago Cubs win baseball games.

                      It seems to me that his time here is just an experiment. He was bored with trying to keep Boston on top in the AL East every year and wanted to see what would happen if an owner let him focus on the part he’s said he enjoys more, the farm system, without being held accountable for big-league results.

                    • db kyle

                      I’m amused that I got accused of hiding from detailed posts and trying to avoid discussion by making my posts too long to read, within a few posts of each other.

                    • DarthHater

                      I’m amused that DBK, of all people, is now concerned about consistency. Or perhaps it’s just that you’re supposed to wait for a more decent interval of intervening posts before contradicting yourself. :-P

                    • DarthHater

                      I’m sure they are (almost) always enlightening. I read them when I feel so inclined and have the time. When I don’t, I don’t. But I don’t think it’s DBK’s problem to worry about whether I want to read his posts. He’s got a major redouching project to worry about. ;-)

                  • Jono

                    If you want me to read one of your comments, make it short enough so that I can read it and respond without delaying my responsibilities here at work. I have a very fast paced job

                    • db kyle

                      That’s twice you’ve used avoidance posts to try to back out of acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, I understand the situation more deeply than you do, regardless of which one of us is right in the big picture.

                    • Jono

                      I guess you’re super long comment wasn’t worth shortening up so I actually have time to read it. If its not worth it for you, its definitely not worth it for me

                    • Jono

                      Your*

                    • db kyle

                      You think after all these years the Internet couldn’t surprise me, but seeing someone claim victory because I wouldn’t dumb down my post enough for them to be able to read it is truly a new one.

                      Jono is my new favorite poster. Suck it, Darth. You’ve been replaced.

                    • DarthHater

                      Boo!

                    • MightyBear

                      That is amusing being as your posts are so enlightening. You would think the more the merrier. But no.

                    • Dale’s Ear

                      Dude said your posts were too long I said they weren’t detailed enough. There’s a big difference in those two criticisms, his comes from the fact that he has a job and responsibilities that are more important, while my criticism is more about you not presenting any numbers, facts, or alternative options to your criticism of the front office. So no, I’m not asking you to dumb it down, rather I’m asking you to give me something real instead of “savvy people knew the cubs system would skyrocket because of the one draft where they spent money” (sarcastic paraphrasing)

                      Speaking of, I’m not sure how you can call these last two seasons “tanking”, the Marlins “tanked” this season. Theo and Jed have sold off veteran pieces in contract seasons at ONE trade deadline in the middle of a season when the team was clearly not going to be competitive. Not sure how trading off veterans in contract years that play for noncompetitive teams is “tanking”, considering you know, every team does it, and no one did it more than last year’s Red Sox. Epstein coming in at 5 or 6 on your GM wishlist is funny, considering I asked you before who you would have hired instead of him and you ignored it and gave me your company line about “really not wanting to get into the finer details”. You don’t have me fooled your arguments contain no substance and a whole lot of hot air, and honestly half the time I don’t think you even believe it and that you really are just looking for reactions. Like, honestly Epstein doesn’t care about winning baseball games for the Cubs? Who are you trying to kid? Sure, it makes sense that the guy is going to leave the franchise he grew up cheering for and won two World Series titles with to waste 5 years of his life playing games with the most desperate franchise in sports, while expanding the front office and bringing in some of the smartest up-and-coming executives in the game (who are probably looking to use the Cubs success to vault their own professional careers) to drink beer and screw up the Cubs and laugh and point at us. Yeah you’re right ohhh how could we have been so foolish.

                    • Jono

                      Db- either you have reading comprehension problems, or you know you’re full of shit

                    • db kyle

                      Believe it or not, this place existed before you showed up. When I decline to list the details, it’s because I’ve listed them dozens of times before and don’t feel like rehashing it every time some new guys comes along. The regulars have seen them many times.

                      ” Not sure how trading off veterans in contract years that play for noncompetitive teams is “tanking”, considering you know, every team does it, and no one did it more than last year’s Red Sox. ..”

                      The tanking didn’t come in July. The tanking came when they traded Marshall and converted Samardzija to starter without adequate replacements for them in the bullpen, when they gave third base to a terrible player like Ian Stewart, when they gave first base to whomever they had laying around in AAA in LaHair, and when they let the payroll shrink by almost $40 million.

                      Is that detailed enough for you?

                      ” considering I asked you before who you would have hired instead of him and you ignored it and gave me your company line about “really not wanting to get into the finer details””

                      I don’t recall that specific exchange.

                      My preferred guys over Epstein included Friedman, Beane, Cherington, Hahn and some guy from Atlanta whose name escapes me at the moment. I had concerns that Epstein wasn’t the right guy because we’d need to build the team via free agency in the short-term and he had a recent history of botching free agents. (Little did I know they’d sidestep this by just not trying in the short-term.) I liked guys like Cherington and Hahn because I think that sometimes it’s better to get a guy with something to prove in his first GM job than someone’s whose been a GM or won it all before. (Not that being a long-term GM is completely disqualifying, just a concern).

                      “to drink beer and screw up the Cubs and laugh and point at us. Yeah you’re right ohhh how could we have been so foolish.”

                      You don’t get to complain about lack of details if you are going to distort the ones I do give. I didn’t say anything about drinking beer and screwing up the Cubs. I said he likes the scouting and development of amateur players more than he likes running the big-league club, and he wanted a job that would let him focus on that.

                    • Jono

                      This place was here before I showed up?! Wow, you are a genius, DB!!

                    • Rebuilding

                      @Jono – You were right earlier, you are way too busy at your fast paced job to do anything but troll Kyle. Your one or two lines are adding nothing. Why do you think he’s wrong or why do you think the FO is doing a great job. Instead of throwing spitballs how about some substance

                    • Jono

                      Rebuild- I have been writing substance. And yes, I have a job that demands my attention enough so that I can only be.on this site for a couple minutes at a time

                    • Jono

                      Its ironic, rebuild, that now you’re trolling me with no substance, only throwing spitballs

                    • Dale’s Ear

                      Thank You! Like I said, I didn’t see your reasoning before because you never gave me any details like that, and I am aware that this place existed before I just recently started posting, and you obviously are too so you should be able to understand why I’m so curious as to why you think the way you do. The whole beer drinking thing wasn’t a play on you it was just me painting a worse picture of what I thought you thought of the Cubs FO. The Sean Marshall trade was a mistake I was a big fan of his, every Cub fan should have been, Travis Wood would have to really take a step forward to make it even close. Friedman was also at the top of my list but Epstein was right there with Billy Beane to me. I get what you’re saying about the new GM wanting to prove himself thing, but if Epstein wins one with the Cubs he’ll probably go down as the greatest baseball executive of all time. I feel like it’s a pretty high priority for him to do this right. I just don’t see how signing a couple of high priced free agents the last couple of years and turning the team into an 80-85 win team helps the team. I mean it would be nice to be somewhat competitive but I could foresee a situation where a high priced veteran is past his prime by the time the rest of the farm system(which is very young) is ready to make an impact. Now you have a veteran who is not only taking up a huge chunk of payroll, he’s also on the back end of his career. I personally think it would be smarter to let a core group of young guys develop into there first year or two in the majors and then add a 29-32 year old superstar vet to compliment them rather than signing one now and having him be on the decline by the time those guys are really ready to compete. But, now I can see why you think the way you do.

                    • db kyle

                      Interestingly, I *loved* the Marshall trade and still do. I just think if you are going to do that, you need to replace him in the bullpen.

                    • Rebuilding

                      @Dale’s Ear – That’s a nice response. I’m not totally opposed to how the FO is going about things. It’s prob never worked except in the cases of Tampa and Washington and they had to be bad for a loooong time to make it work, but I surely hope it does here. Winning 80-85 games sounds ok to me given that the Cards won the Series as an 83 win team a few years ago and with the 2nd wildcard it’s even easier now. The playoffs are such a crapshoot that just making it there should be the goal. I laid out what I thought was a reasonable scenario earlier of resigning Ramirez and making sure we won the bidding for Darvish and Cespedes that would have made us an 80 or so win team w/o hurting the farm.

                      I can’t speak for others, but my only real point is that the hero worship of Theo and Co in Cubdom seems more like the wishful thinking of the last 104 years. So far they have not impressed me with their management of the last 5 roster spots or their pursuit of free agents. What they are doing has flamed out many times (see the Royals). God forbid that Baez, Soler and Almora don’t become above average regulars or we might have 3-5 more years of this. Here’s hoping they pull it off

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      I don’t get it. I thought all the other nl teams were going to stop trying to improve so the cubs could pass them all by and win a division. If everybody else has a better mlb team and better minor league team then it looks like all this building is going to go to waste.

      • CubFan Paul

        LOL@sustained success

  • FastBall

    On the $73MM mentioned by ESPN. If this guy is 50% off with his guestimations that is still a very significant number $36.5MM. I would be more than a little concerned about that loss of revenue. That would be an major impact on the Cubs P&L yr over yr.

    I think Lake would could have been further developed if there was a prior emphasis on minor league development. The Cubs organization wasn’t exactly upper echelon with regards to player development or tutilege in the minor leagues. The new regime has addressed a lot of which was a glaring problem. Hard to build a roadmap for a kid when you don’t have a consistent roadmap to follow. At every level he was probably getting a different message. How much talent has this organization wasted prior too the arrival of Theo & Company. I bet the losses are significant if there where to be a study performed on talent that was wasted in the organization over the years.

    With regars to Garza. It is what it is at this point. Theo could have dumped him earlier last season. He played the game and lost. If he would have traded him early on and never gotten injured, everyone would be saying he F’d up and could have gotten more. Theo has a vision and built his plan. If he invokes constant change management he will never arrive at his destination. He is going to experience delays in reaching milestones. I am certain he has some variance tolerance built into the plan. I bet Garza never gets traded and is extended. At this point he more valuable to the Cubs if and when he gets healthy. Starting in May he really won’t have time to demonstrate he is worth a large return in trade. Especially when he becomes a Dempster type rental player for the second half. The return everyone hopes for just won’t be there.

    • mak

      I refuse to read Rick Reilly. But if he claims that the “Alderman” (or more accurately, the city’s landmark regulations) cost the Cubs money, you also have to consider the derived benefit of playing in a landmark.

      Had the city not landmarked the park, the Tribune or another private owner would have probably ruined the aesthetics of the stadium with video boards, more intrusive advertisement, etc. So, an argument exists that they derive some benefit from the regulations as well.

      Just playing devil’s advocate by the way. I think the Ricketts’ plan more than preserves the aesthetics of the stadium, and they should be able to work within the regulations without dealing with a parasitic industry like the roof top owners.

      • hansman1982

        “Had the city not landmarked the park, the Tribune or another private owner would have probably ruined the aesthetics of the stadium with video boards, more intrusive advertisement, etc. So, an argument exists that they derive some benefit from the regulations as well. ”

        So in the 15-20 years that they owned the ballpark before this landmark designation and they had every opportunity to “ruin the aesthetics” and didn’t take it because…???

        • mak

          Ball parks didn’t commercialize that way until more recently. Technology, economies of scale, etc.

      • JB88

        I absolutely HATE this type of argument. Landmark designations aren’t intended to cost businesses money. They don’t truly stop the business from doing whatever a business wants (within the confines of business ethics and the law) from earning money in that business. But that is exactly what these ordinances prevent the Cubs from doing. They aren’t permitted to modify the park in certain respects, they aren’t permitted to advertise in the way that the other 29 clubs are permitted to do. It is frankly an unmitigated disaster in government interference.

        Moreover, the landmark designation process is typically done by people who: (a) have an ownership interest in the building/site; or (b) who are trying to save a historic landmark from delapidated conditions. That simply wasn’t the case here. Instead, this was basically a negotiating ploy and seemingly some sort of punitive measure against the Cubs.

        I say all this as a lifelong Democrat who generally believes that business should be regulated. But this isn’t the way to do it. If the City wants to preserve Wrigley as a relic, then it should have purchased the stadium when Zell offered it up. Otherwise, regulating Wrigley Field at the expense of the Cubs doing business and maximizing their profits strikes me as pretty close to an illegal taking.

        • mak

          First, I have to disagree about your assertion that most people who are involved in the process of landmarking a building own a stake in the building. These cases go back years where the owner is fighting the status.

          In practice, I can’t disagree that many of the landmark laws do not achieve the original goal of the law. Here, its just being used as leverage for the community. I can’t agree with that use.

          However, to say that we should get rid of all landmark laws (or that landmark laws never preserve value in its buildings) is short-sighted. In a country where short term profits drive the markets, do you really have any confidence in the private industry to preserve any sort of aesthetic value at the expense of short term profits?

          • JB88

            Please don’t misconstrue my post as suggesting that landmark laws should be dissolved. That wasn’t the intent of my post.

            Rather, I think that landmarking a sports facility like Wrigley is improper where it prevents the business from attempting to earn revenue. The Parks Department was not prevented from renovating Soldier Field, preserving the collonades and the Bears are able to earn any sort of advertising revenue it wishes during the game. I think that the intent of landmark laws were to preserve the historic qualities of a building (laudable), but weren’t intended to prevent the business from conducting its business. Here, a large part of a professional sports team’s business model is derived from advertising dollars. To prevent that team from advertising to its heart’s content is ridiculous in my estimation.

            Basically, what I see is a one-size fits-all model of landmarking structures without taking into consideration the business model of the owner/tenant of that building. While landmarking the facade of certain buildings might be entirely appropriate, here, landmarking aspects of Wrigley Field has served to prevent the Cubs from conducting its business or renovating its building.

            • mak

              I think we are agreeing on the point. Landmark laws can preserve value, but not as they are applied to Wrigley.

            • Pat

              What, specifically, does the team want to do that the landmark status is preventing?

              • JB88

                I don’t know if they have publicly announced any of the changes they want to make, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they want to modify the scoreboard in some way.

                The Cubs can’t announce their intent to modify the stadium in a way that would violate the landmark ordinance because it would completely destroy their negotiating position. Better to get the ordinance dropped and then announce the changes.

          • hansman1982

            If anything, advertising all over the outfield wall IS the tradition in baseball.

            • mak

              Don’t mistake beauty with baseball tradition. Look at the Cell, Minuet Maid, even Milwaukee. Are they aesthetically pleasing?

              • hansman1982

                I like Minute Maid and don’t mind Miller Park. The Cell is incredibly boring.

                My favorite park of all-time has to be Polo Grounds 3.

                • Mak

                  Minute Maid is an abomination

  • Believe in 2015

    I really have a hard time believing Garza’s injury is THAT serious. It seems strange that they first though maybe only a week or two, now they say he won’t be back till early May? Wow

  • MightyBear

    How big is Almora? He looks pretty small in the videos. He’s got kind of a big, loopy swing. If he starts whiffing a lot, he might have to change.

    • JB88

      I had the same initial impression re: his size. I also though that his hands seemed to move a lot in loading up for his swing and that his leg kick was going to cause him problems as he goes through the minors/majors. On the other hand, I’m just a fan, so what do I know :)

      • MightyBear

        I’m just a fan too. Maybe some of our resident hitting instructors could illuminate us on what they think of Almora’s swing. A little help, please?

        • BABIP (MichCubFan)

          I like how he is starting with his feet closer together than they were in older videos. He is also setting up open but that is more preference.

          In the older videos, he started with his feet pretty far apart, then had to move his head and body back too far to load, and then would go forward again to swing.

          Now he has a lot less movement to start his swing.

          His hands are pretty loose with a little movement before his swing but that might be more of a batting practice thing…would have to see what he does with live pitching. Once he loads his hands he is pretty quick to the ball, but again its a little different in batting practice vs. game speed.

          Just from that video he looks pretty good to me.

  • DPRagen

    Not to beat a dead horse but I think many of the Cub faithful are suffering from a fundamental logic error in their hero worship of Theo and company, namely: “post hoc ergo propter hoc” or after this therefore because of this. That the Red Sox won two World Series shortly after Theo’s arrival there doesn’t mean he was the only or even the deciding factor in their success. I tend to believe circumstance played a greater role than anything else in their winning but that can be debated forever. The problem I have with Theo is that his strategy of trading established major leaguers for “prospects” requires for success a level of precognition that simply does not exist in this world. I don’t wish to repeat the same tired arguments over and over about the farm system, etc. Suffice it to say that what he is espousing has been tried and has failed numerous times. In my opinion only a true clairvoyant could make his stated strategy work in the real world over time.

    What we have here is a case of unrealistically high expectations for the team. Given the numerous handicaps the Cubs labor under fielding a competitive team with a chance to make the post season is all one can reasonably ask. The previous Hendry administration did that. Perhaps Theo can do better but I have my doubts. Unless someone with a real feel for evaluating talent as it breaks into the major leagues can be brought in I am afraid the Cub faithful is in for a very long wait for a World Series. Only time will tell.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think people make it way too much about Theo. His importance is as much about the many guys he surrounds himself with as it is about his past or his abilities.

      • db kyle

        It’s true in a sense, especially because it’s just easier to type “Theo” sometimes than “the front office.”

        But if you go back and read Ricketts quotes over the years, it’s pretty clear that he (Ricketts) doesn’t have any strong baseball opinions other than what his baseball guys tell him as far as the long-term direction of the team. That’s pretty much been set by Epstein, afaict.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I think if you watch carefully, you’ll find that the “haterz” say “Theo” and the “deifierz” say “front office.” I think there’s a lesson there that is the exact opposite of what those who like to rip the “deifierz” claim.

    • Plop Plop Fizz Fizz

      I think it’s adorable you used “post hoc ergo propter hoc”. Oh, how smart you must have felt at that moment. Did your eyes glisten with pride?

    • Internet Random

      “I think many of the Cub faithful are suffering from a fundamental logic error in their hero worship of Theo and company, namely: “post hoc ergo propter hoc” or after this therefore because of this.”

      [img]http://s89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/XMLCTkd76eTb/?action=view&current=61cd814731a7042e86934d8c7df22638.jpg[/img]

  • mudge

    sure has been a long off season.

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