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gods-wrath[See the Updates below.]

The beat writers are reporting that righty reliever Rafael Dolis, who had been pitching at AAA, is in Chicago today, suggesting that a roster move is coming. Interestingly, Dolis was one of the last relievers not to make the Cubs out of Spring Training, and is the only one of that group who is already on the 40-man roster.

That suggests to me that, whatever roster move is coming, the Cubs didn’t want to have to use a 40-man spot (or open up a 40-man spot) to call up a different reliever (because the 40-man currently stands at 40). Your obvious best guess is that someone in the bullpen is going on the DL, but it’s also possible that there is going to be creative roster rejiggering (someone gets DFA’d, Dolis comes up, and the Cubs chill with 39 on the 40-man roster for a little while to give themselves some flexibility).

I’ll update this when the details on the roster move – if one comes – are released.

UPDATE: Jesse Rogers points out that Kyuji Fujikawa isn’t on the roster sheet today. Something seemed a little off with him yesterday, as we discussed, so it’s possible he’s hurt. Which, yeah, would sound about right for the Cubs’ luck.

UPDATE 2: If it does wind up being Fujikawa going to the DL – and everyone seems to think it is – I’m not sure we’ll see a new, dedicated closer in his stead. It might just be a mix’n’match situation, which strikes me as the proper approach, given the personnel.

UPDATE 3: Rogers says Fujikawa is “definitely” injured.

UPDATE 4: And the Cubs announce that, indeed, Fujikawa is headed to the 15-day DL with a “muscle strain in his right forearm.” The Cubs were careful to describe it that way, I suspect, because they’re trying to make sure this sounds as “muscular” as possible, as opposed to “ligament” or “tendon.” This really could be a minor thing, but past experience tells me there’s a very fine line between a “forearm” issue and an “elbow” issue. Hopefully it isn’t serious, and the Cubs are just being cautious while it’s early in the year and the weather is nasty anyway. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. It’s going to be a closer-by-committee situation in his absence, which is the right move.

  • http://obstructedview.net Myles

    That’s So Cubs!

    • Internet Random

      That’s So Raven

  • Kyle

    Wasn’t “keeping pitchers healthy” supposed to be one of the new moneyball edges that our front office was going to find?

    *crosses that one off the list too*

    *sobs quietly*

    • Internet Random

      If you were less literate, I’d suspect you were Die Hard.

      • Kyle

        *shrug*

        I can’t ignore how so many of the pretty things the front office says have completely failed to show up on the field.

        • OCCubFan

          I don’t think it’s a petty point. I agree with Kyle’s original point. A small difference in keeping pitchers healthy can equate to signing or not signing a good FA pitcher.

        • Andrew

          cubs have been seeing a lot of pitches so that is one.

          • Kyle

            We’re 10th in the NL in P/PA, below average.

            • Andrew

              better than what theyve been in years past

              • Kyle

                From 2008-2011, we averaged 10th.

                • Andrew

                  I’m not going to delve into the research of this but im just gonna say that including 2008 is probably inappropriate given that that offense was one of the best in the majors. I’m guessing if you take that year out of the average you calculated, the average ranking goes way down.

            • MIkeL

              I think it’s funny that some actually believed that the cubs were supposed to be playoff contenders this year….and that they thought front office really expected the cubs to be playoff contenders. About 21 or 22 of the 25 guys on this team will not be around when the cubs are contending, the front office knows this…..

              • Kyle

                We’re spending $50m this year of free agents signed last offseason. If the team is bad, they don’t get to hide behind “lol, we didn’t try.”

                • MIkeL

                  Jackson will be one of the guys on the team when they do contend and was signed with that expectation. He WAS NOT signed to compete this year. All of the other signings were fairly minor and you know. You also know that about Jackson.

                  • Kyle

                    It seems kind of stupid to pay one pitcher $19 million this year when he’s not trying to help the team compete, and $30m or so for all those other players.

                    If their strategy is to not compete but pay a bunch of players a bunch of money, it’s kind of a stupid strategy.

                    • ProfessorCub

                      “Hey Edwin, we really want you to be on our team in a couple of years when we feel we’re going to be competitive, but we’re not there just yet. Can we sign you to a contract, but only pay you the league minimum now (since we’re not going to win anyway)? When we’re ready to compete, we’ll start paying you market value.”

                      Sounds like a great strategy! Why didn’t Theo think of that?

                      You have to sign FAs when they’re available.

                    • Kyle

                      So we’re paying $52 million for 2 or 3 years meaningful years of Edwin Jackson?

                      That’s a really bad return on investment.

                    • baldtaxguy

                      I don’t think the Cub’s strategy is to sign one player (i.e. Jackson) a large amount of money and at the same time not compete. I believe Jackson was signed because (1) every team (including the Cubs) needs to sign free agents if/as they are available (and available ones that are quality are becoming more scarce), and (2) you need to sign those free agents that will allow you to compete. I think the Jackson signing, just as the attempted Sanchez signing, fits/would have fit the above criteria.

                    • MIkeL

                      Actually, it is for the full four years and it the contract is actually a very good return on investment and a very good approach.

                    • Kyle

                      Nuh-uh.

                    • MIkeL

                      That response was kind’ve by design. You wouldn’t have wanted me to elaborate on it, Kyle. Or maybe you did but only because it would have given the chance to shoot down another pro cubs front office argument. All you are doing is taking the opposite end of any pro Theo/Jed you can find.

                    • Kyle

                      “All you are doing is taking the opposite end of any pro Theo/Jed you can find.”

                      That’s the product of lazy and uncritical thinking. I’ve praised many of their decisions. Ironically, including Edwin Jackson’s signing.

                    • MIkeL

                      Kyle- When people compare you to Die Hard (which is a valid comparison) you are not praising many of the Cubs decisions. I have also seen you post many, many, many times without responding…..you have not praised many of the cubs decisions….at least not this year.

                    • Kyle

                      Apparently we can just put anything we want into “when, then” statements and they became true, regardless of their previous factuality or lack of it.

                      Lemme try.

                      When bananas are mostly associated with the color yellow, then obviously MikeL’s grandmother was a sentient robot from outer space.

                      There, it must be true now.

                      I do say a lot of negative things about the front office, sure. That’s appropriate when it is their job to put together a baseball team and that team is not very good.

                    • MIkeL

                      Kyle–oh god….that is what I was saying!!! I was saying that pujols or fielder would NOT have done much to improve last year’s team. The fact that you can’t blame previous management for a very mediocre farm system (one in which did not provide new management the opportunity to trade prospects for proven talent) and players past their prime on the major league level (many of which could not be move because of no trade clauses or the size of the contract) is absolutely absurd to me. That is a really silly and small minded way of looking at this organization.

                    • ProfessorCub

                      I would love to be in a position similar to Tampa or DC in a few years – wouldn’t you, Kyle? This organization needed rebuilt from the bottom up, and it’s a multi-year process. Sure, if this team isn’t much better in a few years, then the FO has truly failed. But I don’t think the FO has ever claimed that they were going to come in and turn this thing around overnight. It’s a slow roll, and we need to have some patience before we can have enough data to judge. FO personnel from other teams have recently praised our long-term strategy. It still blows my mind when Cubs fans are angry at the FO for not winning in year 2 of what has always been advertised as a long-term project. There are plenty of other blogs where this short-term view is the majority.

                    • MikeL

                      I have to clarify that statement about Pujols/Fielder because it came out wrong after typing it on my phone and I missed a sentence: I was trying to say that signing a large number of free agents doesn’t guarantee that you will avoid a horrible season.

                    • Kyle

                      “I would love to be in a position similar to Tampa or DC in a few years – wouldn’t you, Kyle?”

                      That’s a silly question, of course.

                      But why should I believe that we’re going to get there? For one thing, those teams each needed nearly a decade of losing to get to the point they did.

                      For another, many other teams lost just as much as those two teams did and never got to that level. I see no reason not to think we might become one of those teams rather than the next TB or Washington.

                      “This organization needed rebuilt from the bottom up, and it’s a multi-year process.”

                      Rebuilding the organization and putting together a competitive MLB team were never mutually exclusive propositions.

                      “Sure, if this team isn’t much better in a few years, then the FO has truly failed. But I don’t think the FO has ever claimed that they were going to come in and turn this thing around overnight”

                      They don’t get to set the standards by which they are judged. Whether they promised or not, the most important part of their job is to put win major-league baseball games.

                      “It’s a slow roll, and we need to have some patience before we can have enough data to judge. FO personnel from other teams have recently praised our long-term strategy.”

                      If my opponent were driving himself off a cliff, I wouldn’t exactly discourage it.

                      “It still blows my mind when Cubs fans are angry at the FO for not winning in year 2 of what has always been advertised as a long-term project. There are plenty of other blogs where this short-term view is the majority.”

                      I don’t care what they advertised. They were advertising a bad plan.

                    • Kyle

                      “I have to clarify that statement about Pujols/Fielder because it came out wrong after typing it on my phone and I missed a sentence: I was trying to say that signing a large number of free agents doesn’t guarantee that you will avoid a horrible season.”

                      Of course it doesn’t. Nothing is guaranteed in baseball. Making better decisions in the last two years wasn’t guaranteed to make us competitive, and all this losing isn’t guaranteed to give us a brighter future.

                      Whether it be trades, free agents or promotion from within, their job is to put together a baseball team and we have an objective way of judging how well they’ve done it. So far, that objective way says 65-107.

                    • ProfessorCub

                      Kyle, the FO is obviously not meeting your expectations as a Cubs fan, and that’s legitimate. However, I’m (obviously) also a Cubs fan, and my expectations were that this team was going to (and probably needed to) be pretty bad for awhile as the rebuild took place – and I don’t think that the FO has done or said anything to make me think they didn’t know that as well. Of course there’s no guarantee that this plan will work – all I’m saying is that it’s WAY too early to call this plan a failure. Maybe you have some great ideas to have a good major league team while also building up the farm system (I haven’t heard them), but I do trust that Theo/Jed know more about this than either of us.

                    • MikeL

                      You don’t care what the advertised? That seems to imply that no matter what Theo/Jed advertised, you were going to be against it….

                      “They were advertising a bad plan.”

                      No they weren’t.

                      Kyle, teams that only spend money on free agents and trade away their prospects are setting themselves up for long term failure. You know what team is going to learn the hard way very soon?? The White Sox. They have no impact talent coming up through the minor league, (one of the worst systems in the league) no talent on the major league club to trade for impact prospects, and a very thin free agent market these next couple of years.

                      Why wouldn’t you want to stock the farm system? Free agency is the lowest return on investment. This is the truth. When you have a top farm system, you have the flexibility of trading those prospects for young, talented, cost controlled players. You also can work on developing your best talent into impact players for your club. Finally, you are depending on the free agent market. Even if the free agent market is thin, you won’t panic because you will have a ton of flexibility with the other two options.

                      Most (I said MOST) teams who only spend on free agency and nothing else are setting themselves up for failure. Don’t use the Yankees as an example because they have far more resources than anyone else.

                      Even when the Yankees had those great teams in the 90s and early part of the 21st century, they had a great farm system where they developed some of their own impact players, traded others for young, impact players, and then used free agency. Since they have been almost 100% in the last ten years or so, how many world series have they won since 2005 compared their run from 1998-2004?

                      The teams that have smaller payrolls have a much shorter window of opportunity than teams who have developed a strong farm system. The 2007-2008 Cubs are a good example of this. Statistics have shown that teams that make the playoffs over a ten year period have much greater chances of winning a title than teams who make it once or twice every ten years, and teams with strong farm systems (or have talent as a result of a strong farm system) are in the playoffs far more often than those who rely on free agency.

                      Finally, Kyle….it is it worth jeopardizing a title just because you wanted to watch a 76-86 instead of a 61-101 teams?

                    • ProfessorCub

                      Good post, MikeL – the last sentence is particularly great.

                    • Kyle

                      “You don’t care what the advertised? That seems to imply that no matter what Theo/Jed advertised, you were going to be against it….”

                      That’s a very odd inference. Their job is to produce a good baseball team. That doesn’t change based on what they advertise, be it rebuild, go-for-it, parallel fronts or midnight rave.

                      “Kyle, teams that only spend money on free agents and trade away their prospects are setting themselves up for long term failure.”

                      I don’t recall advocating any significant prospect trades.

                      :” You know what team is going to learn the hard way very soon?? The White Sox.”

                      It’s kind of funny, but people have been predicting that for about a decade. They keep defying that expectation. But that’s kind of an irrelevant tangent, because you are missing the most important point.

                      You’ve set up this gigantic false choice where I have to choose between a competitive team and building the farm system. We shouldn’t have to choose. Smart front offices can do both simultaneously.

                      “Finally, Kyle….it is it worth jeopardizing a title just because you wanted to watch a 76-86 instead of a 61-101 teams?”

                      I want to watch a 100-62 baseball team. If the best this front office is capable of is 76-86, then I want a better front office.

                    • MikeL

                      “Whether it be trades, free agents or promotion from within, their job is to put together a baseball team and we have an objective way of judging how well they’ve done it. So far, that objective way says 65-107.”

                      And as I said, sometimes it takes awhile to clean up another person’s mess. Jim Hendry made bad decisions on contracts. many of the contracts are immovable or belong to a player that you cannot get much value in return. As I said, the fact that you can’t blame decisions on previous personnel decisions made by the previous front office that have caused long term damage to this organization is kind of outrageous.

                    • Kyle

                      ” Maybe you have some great ideas to have a good major league team while also building up the farm system (I haven’t heard them), but I do trust that Theo/Jed know more about this than either of us.”

                      That’s an absurd cop-out. Jim Hendry knew much, much more about baseball than either of us, too.

                      Our front office isn’t competing against you or I. They are competing against other front offices, and losing.

                    • Kyle

                      “And as I said, sometimes it takes awhile to clean up another person’s mess. Jim Hendry made bad decisions on contracts. many of the contracts are immovable or belong to a player that you cannot get much value in return. As I said, the fact that you can’t blame decisions on previous personnel decisions made by the previous front office that have caused long term damage to this organization is kind of outrageous.”

                      They’ve had two offseasons, and the vast majority of the big contracts were purged before they got here and certainly only a sliver are left now.

                      If they can’t put together a competitive team in two offseasons with the resources they have available to them, then they are aren’t good enough at their job.

                    • MikeL

                      Kyle –
                      “They’ve had two off seasons, and the vast majority of the big contracts were purged before they got here and certainly only a sliver are left now.”

                      No, those contracts were not purged before they got here and you know it. They had to take almost all of Zambrano’s contract, and they had to take on Byrd’s contract as well. That was year one, so even though the players were gone, the contracts were not. They also had Dempster until the trading deadline of last year and he also had a huge contract.

                      So you think they should have success at the major league level after one year?

                      Is Billy Beane a bad a GM? I ask because from 2007-2011 A’s did not make the playoffs and usually lost around 90 games a year.

                      Is Brian Sabean a bad GM?

                      I ask because from 2005-2009 the Giants didn’t make the playoffs and averaged about 90 losses a year.

                      Walt Jocketty?

                      From 1996-1998 the Cardinals missed the playoffs.

                      How about Pat Gillick? Sure, he was the GM of an expansion team….but from 1977-1990 the Blue Jays were in the playoffs just once.

                    • Kyle

                      Well, first of all, you’ve once again tried to change the language in order to move the goalposts toward a kick you find easier to make. I didn’t say anything about our front office being a “bad GM.” I said they were doing a bad job. You need to stop creating strawmen by filling in the blanks on what you imagine people said.

                      “No, those contracts were not purged before they got here and you know it.”

                      Ramirez, Pena, Fukudome came off the books as Epstein was being hired. Zambrano came off the next year. Soriano remains. Adding Byrd to the list is pretty silly, he doesn’t belong on it.

                      Billy Beane is a good example of a guy who is probably a good GM but definitely had a bad run. When you build your career around one market inefficiency, it’s not always easy to find the next one.

                      Theo Epstein is certainly not a bad GM, but he’s probably had a bad run with the Chicago Cubs. Jed Hoyer might actually be a bad GM, but we’ll know before long for sure.

                    • hansman1982

                      Kyle is operating under the false impression tat free agency is a good place to get wins, nevermind that GM’s ave spent $11M per WAR through free agency over the past 6 years. Nevermind that years 2+ of contracts typically provide less than 1 WAR.

                      Spending through free agency really only is a good idea if you can get guys on 1 year deals, get the superstars or, literally, get every decision right on the guys you sign.

                      There have been some head scratching decisions, just as you will always have with any GM in any season, ever.

                      The interesting thing, seeing that free agents (outside of the Pujols/Fielder/Rodriguez types) become generally worthless after year 2 and seeing that there are fewer free agents to make up for years 2-3-4-5 of the contracts handed out before last offseason. It is entirely possible that Epstein actually beat the market to hoarding prospects.

                    • MikeL

                      ” I didn’t say anything about our front office being a “bad GM.” I said they were doing a bad job.”

                      Come ON!!! Now THAT is a stretch! LOL!

                      Ok, so Ramirez, Fukudome, and Pena…and by the way…if you are going to take Byrd off then I am going to Pena off since he was signed to a one year deal after the 2010 season. So Ramirez and Fukudome were gone, while Marmol, Zambrano, Soriano, and Dempster remained. So I am not sure I would say that “most” of the big contracts were purged, I would say some were gone.

                      Theo Epstein is going through what all of those other front offices (since that is what you want me to call it) that I pointed out to you went through. They all went through an overhaul of their roster and went through a rebuilding period, which is exactly what this front office is doing, it just happens to be with a new team. I agree with you, time will tell if they are successful or not, but it is WAY too early to judge them. I wouldn’t totally judge their time here until opening day 2016.

                    • Kyle

                      “Kyle is operating under the false impression tat free agency is a good place to get wins, nevermind that GM’s ave spent $11M per WAR through free agency over the past 6 years. Nevermind that years 2+ of contracts typically provide less than 1 WAR.”

                      Not exactly.

                      I’m operating under the following correct impressions:

                      1) No matter how inefficient FA is, it’s better than simply giving up and allowing your team to be terrible, when the opportunity cost is minimal.

                      2) Our front office should be able to beat the average, or I want a better one.

                      3) The post 2011 offseason represented an unusually good opportunity for the Cubs.

                    • Kyle

                      “Come ON!!! Now THAT is a stretch! LOL!”

                      It’s an important distinction. If Rizzo strikes out on three flails at balls in the dirt, it was a bad at-bat. Does that mean he’s a bad hitter?

                      Epstein’s got enough of a track record that I can’t possibly say he’s a bad executive, but he’s having a bad Cubs tenure. Hoyer? I’m leaning pretty hard toward him being a bad executive, but he might be able to pull it out yet.

                      “So I am not sure I would say that “most” of the big contracts were purged, I would say some were gone.”

                      I was pretty sure we were talking about bad contracts. Are we talking about big ones or bad ones? Please specify so I know where to go from here.

                      “Theo Epstein is going through what all of those other front offices (since that is what you want me to call it) that I pointed out to you went through. They all went through an overhaul of their roster and went through a rebuilding period, which is exactly what this front office is doing, it just happens to be with a new team. I agree with you, time will tell if they are successful or not, but it is WAY too early to judge them. I wouldn’t totally judge their time here until opening day 2016.”

                      That’s playing awfully fast and loose with the definition of rebuilding.

                      I don’t know all of those teams in and out, but the ones I do know don’t fit the definition. The Giants teams you referenced, for example, were roundly criticized for *not* taking the rebuilding route and continuing to sign expensive free agents instead of giving up and piling up prospects.

                    • MikeL

                      “The Giants teams you referenced, for example, were roundly criticized for *not* taking the rebuilding route and continuing to sign expensive free agents instead of giving up and piling up prospects.”

                      You are talking about right at the end of the run during the Dusty Baker/Felipe Alou era which ended after 2004 which WERE teams that spent a lot on aging free agents and they paid for it.

                      I am talking about 2005-2009 when they developed the great young arms, catcher, and third baseman that is out on the baseball diamond today. They DID pile up on prospects and they have two world titles, something that they could not get when they were spending big money on aging free agents.

                    • ProfessorCub

                      “1) No matter how inefficient FA is, it’s better than simply giving up and allowing your team to be terrible, when the opportunity cost is minimal.”

                      OK – this is where we just disagree. Since I’m thinking long-term, sustained success, I would honestly rather have a last-place team that is afforded a better draft pick and more international FA money than a mediocre team who finishes around .500 (and let’s be honest, that would be the ceiling for this team this year even if they signed a few of the high-profile FAs). Give me a serious playoff contender, or give me the team with the most resources (via draft picks and money) to build with young prospects for success down the road. It amazes me to still find Cubs fans with no patience when none of us have seen a championship within our lifetime.

                    • Kyle

                      You continue to be wrong essentially every time you tell me what I’m talking about.

                      I’m very specifically talking about the 2007-2008 Sabean Giants, who were frequently criticized for not going into full rebuild mode. They kept signing expensive veteran free agents *while* they built the farm system.

                      They signed a lot of veteran free agents while people lumped them in with the White Sox and said “LOL, why won’t they rebuild, they’ll be terrible for the next decade if they don’t!”

                      But they were able to build the farm system while simultaneously signing those veterans and trying to win, and they won the World Series much sooner than they ever would have if they’d listened to the “rebuild/avoid free agency” advocates.

                      This is why you are so fundamentally wrong about what is going on with the Cubs right now. You think that only teams that stop signing free agents and stop trying to win at the MLB level can build a good farm system.

                      That’s a false choice. The team can and should be built on parallel fronts, with both sides of the organization thriving almost independently.

                    • MikeL

                      I have to agree with professorCub. Do I want the Cubs to lose 100 games?? OF COURSE NOT!!! But I also don’t want them to go 82-80 if it means it will jeopardize the long term success of the team.

                    • Kyle

                      “OK – this is where we just disagree. Since I’m thinking long-term, sustained success, I would honestly rather have a last-place team that is afforded a better draft pick and more international FA money than a mediocre team who finishes around .500 (and let’s be honest, that would be the ceiling for this team this year even if they signed a few of the high-profile FAs).”

                      I’d rather have that too. But I don’t see those as the only options. Baseball is far too volatile for any team with resources to be doomed to peak at .500 after two offseasons.

                      The difference between us isn’t that you want long-term success. Don’t be patronizing and trite. Of course we both want that.

                      The difference is that I think it’s possible to have both long-term and short-term success, provided your front office is skilled and ambitious enough to pull it off. You think we have to choose.

                    • Kyle

                      “I have to agree with professorCub. Do I want the Cubs to lose 100 games?? OF COURSE NOT!!! But I also don’t want them to go 82-80 if it means it will jeopardize the long term success of the team”

                      I don’t want a front office for whom 82-80 is the best they can do.

                    • ProfessorCub

                      Clevenger is hurt! This is obviously a failure of the FO! Fire them all!

                    • MikeL

                      “You continue to be wrong essentially every time you tell me what I’m talking about.

                      I’m very specifically talking about the 2007-2008 Sabean Giants, who were frequently criticized for not going into full rebuild mode. They kept signing expensive veteran free agents *while* they built the farm system.”

                      Yes Kyle, lets ignore 2005, 2006, and 2007 when the Giants were doing their developing. Lincecum would make his major league debut in may of 2007, Cain was developing in to a fine starter, Posey would soon make his major league debut and Bumgarner was not far behind.

                      What was happening in 2007 is that the Giants were signing free agents to compliment their young players in preparation for a run.

                      The same thing the Cubs will do!!! That is why the Giants splurged. They felt that they were ready to win.

                      By the way, can you show me a couple of the articles where the Giants were criticized? Make sure you have the dates on them as well.

                      Kyle, the difference between the White of 2002, 2003, 2004 is that they were trying to build their farm system and eventually had the #1 farm system in all of baseball. Today, experts all over baseball agree that it is one of the worst if not THE worst systems in all of baseball and has been totally neglected.

                      The White Sox used their farm system for flexibility to help trade for some key players that played a role in their 2005 title run. Now, they have no one to trade for talent, they are going to be losing a lot of impact talent in the next year or so, and they won’t be able to find the talent to replace it through free agency.

                      “This is why you are so fundamentally wrong about what is going on with the Cubs right now. You think that only teams that stop signing free agents and stop trying to win at the MLB level can build a good farm system.”

                      Do me a favor: Stop it with the use of the word “wrong”. You have no idea what the Cubs are doing in their front office so there is no way for you to know that I am “wrong” about what is going on with the Cubs right now and there is no way for you to know that you are “right”.

                      We have a difference of opinion of how to rebuild (yes, the term rebuild is used for a team that goes all in with free agent signings as well as one that only trades and drafts talent) and what is a good move and what is a bad move.

                      Now it is my turn to lecture you about twisting my words: I never said that teams that stop signing free and stop trying to win at the MLB level can build a good farm system.

                      However, I will say that the new CBA has made it much more difficult to build a strong farm system while fielding a competitive major league team. The rules are much different than they were when the White Sox were developing their farm system.

                    • MikeL

                      “I don’t want a front office for whom 82-80 is the best they can do.”

                      You are totally missing the point.

                    • matty ice

                      I believe Kyle’s point is 65-108. Really the only point there is

                  • MIkeL

                    “Nu-uh” is usually something a 13 year old would say. I think Kyle is older than 13, I just don’t think his brain is.

                    • Kyle

                      Your “actually” post was nothing but the multi-sentence form of “uh-huh.” It had no substance.

                      “Nuh-uh” seemed like the appropriate response.

                    • MIkeL

                      Have you taken the time to consider that maybe the cubs were in such awful shape that it would take more than a year or two to fix it?? That maybe one of the reasons ARE so bad is due to years of bad front office management? That maybe 100+ losses had a lot to do with previous GMs than anything? The cubs didn’t get this bad overnight, they are going to get dramatically better over night either. Please don’t go on and on about signing pujols or fielder because teams like the angels went on a major spending binge and they haven’t exactly set the world on fire.

                    • Kyle

                      The fact that you think the only choices were “Pujols/Fielder” or 100 losses shows a disappointing lack of imagination.

                      Of course I’ve considered that possibility, and I’ve rejected it. I don’t believe it remotely reflects the reality of what the Cubs had in place, the resources available to them, or the flexibility of MLB teams to improve rapidly.

                    • Jp3

                      While I agree Mikel that Rome wasn’t built in a day it’s unacceptable to have a 100 loss season this year and run out another 90 loss team next year and tell everyone to be patient. Other GMs for big market teams don’t get a guaranteed 4-6 year window to MAKE THE PLAYOFFS so I don’t think these guys should be given a pass either.

                    • Die hard

                      I resemble that remark comparing him to me or verse visa

                    • ProfessorCub

                      *resent?

    • ProfessorCub

      Yes, because when a 32 year-old pitcher playing his first season in the majors in cold weather gets a forearm strain, it’s totally the FO’s fault and proof that the “Cubs Way” is BS. Great logic.

      • Kyle

        It’s always possible to zoom into to a granularity that makes larger points look silly. It’s not productive, but it’s possible.

        With Feldman and Fujikawa today, we’re up to four injured pitchers and it’s only April.

        • ProfessorCub

          The particulars are where reality reside: which one of those 4 pitcher injuries is due to flaw’s in the FO’s system? Injuries happen – it’s just chance.

          • OCCubFan

            It’s not just chance. Another BNer cited an article a week or two back, which showed how much time each team’s pitchers lost to injuries. The White Sox consistently did much better than any other team.

          • Kyle

            You’re looking at the burden of proof the wrong way around.

            When the front office says they are going to make keeping pitchers healthy a priority and that it’s a major portion of their ability to be better than other teams, the existence of these injuries suggest they’ve failed at that job.

            It’s not that they are causing the pitchers to become hurt. It’s that like so many of the other things they’ve promised, they’ve shown no special ability to keep them from getting hurt.

            • ProfessorCub

              Two weeks into the season. Four injuries. The sample sizes aren’t big enough to make any conclusions one way or the other (assuming that “preventing” injuries to pitchers is even possible through policy).

              • Kyle

                At what point is number of pitchers injured over X amount of time statistically significant?

                Epstein certainly thinks it is possible to prevent pitcher injuries through policy. He’s repeatedly referred to his staff’s deep research into the subject and how he considers it “the next moneyball.”

                • ProfessorCub

                  Kyle – why don’t you do the research and find out for us? I’d love to know when statistical significance kicks-in on this issue. I can tell you that it certainly hasn’t at this point. What can the FO start doing to make you happy? What are the wrong moves that they have made given the reality of the situation? Are you Jim Hendry (that might explain not having the profile pic). Is Greinke’s broken clavicle Magic Johnson’s fault?

                  • Kyle

                    “I can tell you that it certainly hasn’t at this point.”

                    Since you’ve apparently not done any research on the subject and are asking me to do your work for you, I think it’s clear that you can’t tell me that.

                    “What can the FO start doing to make you happy?”

                    Put together a team that wins a lot of baseball games.

                    “What are the wrong moves that they have made given the reality of the situation?”

                    Too many to mention.

                    “Are you Jim Hendry (that might explain not having the profile pic).”

                    No.

                    “Is Greinke’s broken clavicle Magic Johnson’s fault?”

                    Yes.

                    • ProfessorCub

                      Ha – I do appreciate the humor in the last line.

                      There is perhaps a long-term plan to try to increase pitcher-health over the long-haul through training regimens begun early in a pitcher’s professional career. So, if a few years down the road the Cubs’ pitchers – those that came up in the “Cubs Way” from the beginning are getting injured more than average, than you might start to begin to have a point…but to blame the injuries to recently-acquired veteran pitchers (who established their own training regimens long ago) on FO policies is crazy. Even if Theo thinks he can decrease pitcher injuries by a little bit over the long-term, there’s no way he thinks he can prevent all or even any particular injuries, unless he plans to replace our human pitchers with cyborgs (even then, machines break down unpredictably).

                      Also, you brought this issue up, so I am asking you to do the research if you are making crazy claims about what any FO can or cannot control…and I don’t need to do any on my end when I claim that two weeks of baseball isn’t enough to see any significant trends.

                    • Kyle

                      Sure you do.

                      Because if you go back and read what I posted, *you* are the one who brought up the idea of a causal effect.

                      I simply noted that a list of the things that the front office has promised have not shown up in the games to date. So the games to date are literally not just a sample, but the entire population, needed to prove my point.

                    • ProfessorCub

                      Just because you said I have the burden of proof doesn’t mean I do. I’m claiming that pitcher injuries are part of the game and just happen by chance. You’re claiming a relationship between FO policies and pitcher injuries:

                      ” the existence of these injuries suggest they’ve failed at that job.”

                      I’m asking you to show how this is a failure of the FO rather than just a random string of injuries that could have happened if these pitchers played for any team.

                    • Kyle

                      There’s a reason I said “suggest” and not “prove.” I don’t choose my words randomly.

                    • ProfessorCub

                      Researchers never use the word “prove.” The results of a study always “suggest” a possible cause within a certain confidence interval. I’ve never conducted a study with a p-level of absolute zero, so I’ve never “proven” anything. Such is science.

                    • Kyle

                      Words only have meaning within context.

                      I am not a researcher, this is not a research paper, applying that context to the words to try to derive meaning is futile.

                    • DocWimsey

                      heh, but if you could get a p-value of 0, then you probably can just falsify the idea from first principles: and that means that there is not much to do!

                      Still, most of us are quite comfortable at declaring an idea bunk when an alternative hypothesis predicts what we see at much higher probabilities.

                      Regardless, *if* the Cubs FO can find a way to reduce pitching injuries, then I do not expect them to do it quickly: this has been an issue forever. Moreover, it’s like “finding a cure for cancer”: there are myriad types and reasons for pitching injuries. Moreover, in a complex system like this, I would bet anything that techniques that reduce the probabilities of some types of injuries will simultaneously *increase* the probabilities of other types of injuries.

                      And, of course, it will take years of data to do anything: remember, you’ll be making predictions about frequencies of pitchers who go X, X+1, X+2 seasons without injuries. This is not fruit fly science, where you can get a new generation every couple of days!

                    • ProfessorCub

                      Doc – ha! I knew I could count on you to invoke “first principles” – and you’re totally correct!

                      I was just pulling rank there with the p-value thing – it was probably a low-blow.

                      Anyway, I think important point is that we don’t have anything approaching enough data to determine whether a plan to reduce pitcher injuries is working or not, if such a thing is even possible…and I agree, since we’re working with human beings here, any plan that reduces injuries for some may cause more in others.

            • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

              They have failed at a lot of things but I’ve noticed that everyone is rounding first base touching the bag with their right foot.

              So they have that going for them…which is nice.

        • Andrew

          Feldman is injured now?

          • Die hard

            If true blame that on weather too— time to see Coleman or Struck or both

  • TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

    Give rondon a shot at closer duties?

    • MIkeL

      No.

    • baldtaxguy

      I agree, not at this point. Needs more experience. But could be a good one.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Rondon s fastball tops out at 89 mph. You want him closing? He won’t even be on the roster next year.

      • Kyle

        After a slowish start, Rondon’s fastball has averaged 91.91 MPH and has touched 94 this season, according to Brooksbaseball PitchFX.

        • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

          I’m just giving him the eye test. He doesn’t have closer stuff at the moment. He looks very average to me.

          • DocWimsey

            Who does have “closer stuff” without having Mariano as a first name? The whole concept is misguided in the first place. Unless you are lucky enough to have one of the 2-3 guys who really match up well against most batters most of the time, then teams should focus on using the pitcher who matches up best against the 3 batters coming up that inning.

            • ProfessorCub

              ^++

            • MightyBear

              Thank you Doc. I’ve been saying that for 10 years.

            • Kyle

              It’s very difficult to deploy your bullpen that way consistently.

              I’m not saying that they can’t go to Russell when they have are facing three lefties in the 9th and he’s available to pitch.

              But having certain guys being most likely to be used in certain innings makes it far easier to handle who gets loose and when.

            • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

              All you have to do is watch the types of swings that a batter takes against the pitcher to see if the pitcher has closer stuff.

              • caryatid62

                Wow–that’s utterly ridiculous.

          • baldtaxguy

            Your eye test. I’ll take an average closer, since we have had below average closing results.

  • http://Bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    What I don’t understand is if the casual baseball fan could tell that Fuji was uncomfortable how did the coaching staff not? I just hope he didn’t make the injury worst by trying to pitch through it.

    • CubFan Paul

      He was definitely uncomfortable physically yesterday, stretching out/rolling his shoulder before every pitch.

    • willis

      Because they are ignorant? That’s what I’d go with in this case, and every case.

      • baldtaxguy

        Coaching staff is ignorant?

  • JR

    Fuji didn’t seem right yesterday, and all signs pointed to him being hurt. But why in the hell did they leave him in so long? Could have cost the Cubs a game.. And they must have had an idea he wasn’t right as he was warming up way early. And this whole Cubs durability thing is getting ridiculous.

    • willis

      Without an absolute miracle, he would have cost them the game. Being obviously uncomfortable out there. But, I’m not surprised nothing was done about it.

  • auggie1955

    DFA Lillibridge. I know he is not a pitcher, but with Barney due back in a couple of days he is of no use to this team.

    • notcubbiewubbie

      washed up ex-white sox bumb.

    • Njriv

      Yeah as much as I want that, I think Gonzalez would get the boot. Even though he has handled the bat better than Brent, albeit not by much, but what makes Brent useful is that he can play pretty much all over the diamond.

      • Jp3

        Unspectacularly

  • Dustin S

    Hopefully Fuji’s injury is minor and more of the 15 day variety. I wonder if culturally Japanese players are more likely to keep injuries to themselves and try to play through them. If he was hurt and was trying to overthrow that would explain why his control has been so off the last couple outings.

    Dolis could prove me wrong, but if he’s now the closer I predict a blown game or 2 in our future.

    • ProfessorCub

      I don’t know if it’s a “Japanese” thing, but you do bring up a good point. If Fuji was feeling uncomfortable, he should have pulled himself from the game rather than continue to float pitches over the heart of the plate – and risk further injury.

  • OCCubFan

    Didn’t Theo try the closer-by-committee approach early is his tenure at Boston, but give up the idea when it didn’t seem to work?

  • mark

    Don’t kid yourselves. “Serious injury” is a relative concept. Sprains take a long time to heal properly and are definitely disabling at a professional athletic level–as witness Fujikawa’s struggles yesterday.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thank you for shaking me loose of my naiveté.

      • Kyle

        Dang it. I’ve been working on you for years, and he swoops in and takes the credit? Weak sauce.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          No worries. You’ve been receiving my sarcasm – and, appropriately in this instance, my negativity with respect to injuries – for those same years.

      • mark

        no problem. i’ll know better than to read your blog in future.

        • baldtaxguy

          Don’t kid yourself.

  • Ivy Walls

    I actually think that rosters should be increased to 26 and 45.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Closer by committee is the way I hope they go. I have been saying that since Marmol’s first blown save this year. Or, if anything, go with just Camp and Russell based on match ups.

  • JR

    Damn a forearm sprain. Holy Tommy John..

  • baldtaxguy

    I think Camp should be placed in the closer role.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      Russell and Camp should split the SU role and Marmol should be occasional closer.

  • MIkeL

    They tried that last year and learned very quickly that it wouldn’t work.

  • Scott

    Hi Brett.

    First time commenting. One of the beat writers has the info wrong. You can’t sprain a muscle only a ligament. Muscles and tendons are strained. Fujikawa either has a forearm muscle strain or a sprained ligament of some kind. Hopefully it is a muscle strain.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, I think it was just a game of telephone issue from the Cubs. Thanks. Fixed to what I think it should be – a muscle strain.

  • Kyle

    Anyone mentioned that Feldman is missing his next start with back issues? (Brett probably is posting it as I type)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not really worth a dedicated post. Bullet item tomorrow.

  • Jp3

    Can we option Marmol? He’s going to stumble back into the closer’s role, that or spark an idea of his to Tonya Harding his way back in to it

    • Kyle

      No. Marmol has far too much MLB service time to be optioned.

  • Jp3

    Yeah well I knew they wouldn’t option him anyways since they wouldn’t be able to showcase him for any trade in Iowa. I’m really not looking forward to seeing him stumble back into the closer’s role

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      What world do you think marmot will be traded in?

  • I love marmol

    JUST LEAVE MARMOL AS THE CLOSER

    • Willie Smith

      We should be going for the draft pick; leave Marmol as closer!

    • Tim

      You are not smart

  • X The Cubs Fan

    K-Rod

  • Die hard

    Blame this injury on weather

  • Tim

    The Cubs need to CUT Lillibridge. The dude is just terrible. When Barney comes back, Lillibridge needs to be the one that goes. He is god-awful

    • baldtaxguy

      Quite likely, assuming Gonzalez can fill in at 3B

    • I love marmol

      YOU are not smart

  • Die hard

    Joe Girardi speaking out against early season start – to start an avalanche of complaints against snow games may draw fine and suspension from the commish— how dare he meddle with the natural order of things even tho he’s right

  • Kyle

    “Clevenger is hurt! This is obviously a failure of the FO! Fire them all!”

    I don’t recall them having promised to have done piles of research on keeping third-string catchers healthy and making it a focus of how they can be better than other organizations.

    But maybe they should, because we have had a problem with it the last few years. Hmm…

  • Kyle

    “You are totally missing the point.”

    There’s a difference between missing and rejecting.

    • MikeL

      Fine–

      You are missing the point that you are rejecting.

  • Kyle

    “Yes Kyle, lets ignore 2005, 2006, and 2007 when the Giants were doing their developing. Lincecum would make his major league debut in may of 2007, Cain was developing in to a fine starter, Posey would soon make his major league debut and Bumgarner was not far behind.”

    Yeah. Those guys were developed while the team was simultaneously trying to win. That’s how it should be done.

    “What was happening in 2007 is that the Giants were signing free agents to compliment their young players in preparation for a run.”

    That’s hindsight. At the time, they were coming off a 71-91 record. Coincidentally, the exact same record as the last Hendry Cubs that Epstein apparently decided was hopeless.

    “The same thing the Cubs will do!!! That is why the Giants splurged. They felt that they were ready to win.”

    The Cubs should have felt they were ready to win immediately as well.

    “By the way, can you show me a couple of the articles where the Giants were criticized? Make sure you have the dates on them as well.”

    Nope, sorry. Not your errand boy. You can believe me, who lived through it, or not, but I’m not going to do exhaustive deep internet searching.

    “Kyle, the difference between the White of 2002, 2003, 2004 is that they were trying to build their farm system and eventually had the #1 farm system in all of baseball. Today, experts all over baseball agree that it is one of the worst if not THE worst systems in all of baseball and has been totally neglected.”

    The White Sox have a long history of neglecting their farm system. It’s been Reinsdorf’s calling card.

    The 2002-2004 White Sox farm systems were ranked 9th, 15th and 20th by Baseball America.

    “Do me a favor: Stop it with the use of the word “wrong”. You have no idea what the Cubs are doing in their front office so there is no way for you to know that I am “wrong” about what is going on with the Cubs right now and there is no way for you to know that you are “right”.”

    I know what the Cubs’ front office has done, and I judge them on it. You disagree.

    “Now it is my turn to lecture you about twisting my words: I never said that teams that stop signing free and stop trying to win at the MLB level can build a good farm system.”

    You’ve repeatedly set the argument up as you choosing the farm system vs. my choosing to sign free agents.

    “However, I will say that the new CBA has made it much more difficult to build a strong farm system while fielding a competitive major league team. The rules are much different than they were when the White Sox were developing their farm system.”

    Good scouting and development will always rule all.

    • MikeL

      Silly to continue argue with you when you make ridiculous statements like this:

      “That’s hindsight. At the time, they were coming off a 71-91 record. Coincidentally, the exact same record as the last Hendry Cubs that Epstein apparently decided was hopeless.”

      The Giants have hardly any huge contracts on the books and a plethora of young arms and talent coming through the minor league system and money to spend in the free agent market. The cubs had to no impact talent coming through the minor league system while tied down with bloated contracts. You cannot compare the two situations simply by their record and say that since both were 71-91 that there is no reason why teams should have similar outcomes. If you look to what I said earlier, the Giants averaged close to 90 losses a season between 2005 and 2008, so no, they were winning while building their farm system.

      “I know what the Cubs’ front office has done, and I judge them on it. You disagree.”

      *facepalm*

      I am not just talking about player acquisitions…..

      • Kyle

        “Silly to continue argue with you when you make ridiculous statements like this:”

        That’s confirmation bias at work. Your mind wants *so* badly to find an excuse to dismiss me because I’m challengnig your ocognitive maps.

        “The Giants have hardly any huge contracts on the books and a plethora of young arms and talent coming through the minor league system and money to spend in the free agent market.”

        The post-2008 Giants? I swear you are posting from a parallel universe with a different baseball history.

        The Giants at that time were dealing with Barry Zito, widely considered one of the biggest free agent busts of all time, and that albtross.

        “The cubs had to no impact talent coming through the minor league system while tied down with bloated contracts.”

        As we’ve discussed, the contracts were beginning to come off. The Cubs had a ton of money to spend. They cleared more than $50m in payroll heading into the 2011 offseason.

        Their minor league system was underrated after 2011, but much of that was because so much of the talent was in the low minors.

        “he Giants averaged close to 90 losses a season between 2005 and 2008, so no, they were winning while building their farm system.”

        Good thing I didn’t say that then. I said they never stopped trying to win, not that they actually won. The 2012 Cubs stopped trying, and they are paying for it still.

        “I am not just talking about player acquisitions…..”

        Not much else to go on. Some pretty promises that I’ve heard before and they’ve shown little ability to follow up on, a bit of infrastructure development and the Dominican Academy. Big deal, those are bare minimums. They don’t get a pass on their failure to win baseball games because of those things.

  • Kyle

    Actually, I will go ahead and do some errand boying.

    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/sfgate_ratto_giants_in_worse_shape_than_frugal_as

    This is one of my favorites. A 2008 article blasting the Giants for not being smart like the A’s, and the comments from the Baseball Primer (was it still called that then?) folks at the time.

    “My personal opinion is that the Giants have the worst franchise in baseball because of Sabean. His poor choices has made them a large market failure instead of a rebuilding one.”

    “As much fun as it is laugh at the local fanbase and media here applauding Sabean’s efforts, he doesn’t deserve all of the blame. … Anyway, some of the blame needs to be dumped on McGowan for letting him run the franchise into the ground. Unfortunately, by the time ownership realizes what has been done and cans Sabean, it is going to be too late.”

    Oh man, here’s an even better one. From November of 2008:

    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/oracle/discussion/2009_zips_projections_san_francisco_giants/

    From the article itself:
    “As I see it, Sabean’s main challenges are: …
    – Resisting the temptation to short-circuit rebuilding. The rotation looks solid, even if ZiPS yearly too-optimistic look at Barry Zito fails to pan out, and a few lucky seasons from the offense and the Giants are competing in a very bad division. Getting, say, Brian Roberts for Sandoval/Tanner/Romo is a bad idea if it’s just to charge for 83 wins and get into the playoffs.”

    Yeah, don’t even try, 2009 Giants. You are too far away and can’t shortcircuit the rebuilding. Oh wait, you won the WS? Never mind.

    From the comments:
    “Sabean has to occassionally make a few moves that are good just on accident. This team is still pretty darn bad and when Lincecum’s arm blows out because of all the abuse they put on it for no good reason it will only get worse. There are only a few franchises that are in worse shape than the Giants and I don’t think any with their level of payroll are in that bad of shape.”

    • Kyle

      Derp, mistake. The 2010 Giants won the World Series. 2009 merely won 88 games.

  • MikeL

    All of those articles are from 2008 and later a little bit after the period I highlighted which is where Sabean DID do the drafting and rebuilding 2005-2009. Tell me How they did between 2005 and 2009, you keep ignoring a big chunk of that time. Funny.

    You also never said anything about Billy Beane and his 5 consecutive losing seasons….

    Or Walt Jocketty….

    Or Pat Gillick…

    Any, I am out….see ya later.

    • Kyle

      “You also never said anything about Billy Beane and his 5 consecutive losing seasons….”

      Actually, yes I did.

      I said he had a prolonged stretch where he did a bad job. In sum for his career? Good GM. But he had a stretch there where he struggled to find any traction once the rest of the league smoothed out the market inefficiencies he did find.

      “Or Walt Jocketty….

      Or Pat Gillick…

      Any, I am out….see ya later.”

      Don’t know enough about their history to know what they were doing then. I know the Giants weren’t rebuilding in the way the Cubs are, and the A’s are an odd case to categorize. Maybe those two teams were doing a Cubs-style rebuild, maybe they weren’t.

  • Illini Iceman

    Please don’t encourage him and let him ruin another message board.

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