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broken legThe Wife and I went to an indoor trampoline park yesterday with a group of friends. It was quite fun, but I’m not the young pup I once was. Thus, I’m really sore today, and I have a skinned knee, to boot. Still worth it.

  • Ian Stewart will begin his rehab stint today in Iowa (together with Darwin Barney, who started his stint there yesterday, going 1-4). I like that both he and Barney elected to play their games with Iowa, where they might face the same kind of early-season cold that they will face in Chicago. Barney will be back on Tuesday, assuming his knee cut doesn’t re-open or something crazy. Stewart’s rehab stint has been a slight mystery, but he hasn’t been expected back until May. That would put his time with Iowa at about two weeks. Hopefully he feels good, and shows he’s ready even before that. Stewart has been out with a strained quad since before Cactus League games started.
  • Speaking of injuries, Steve Clevenger was rushed off to have an MRI on his side after crumpling in a heap after his final swing yesterday. It was a pretty ugly scene, especially against the backdrop of Clevenger having suffered a serious oblique injury last year. From Dale Sveum, per CSN: “I’ve seen it many times, not quite that severe, though, never seen somebody in that much pain. It was unfortunate, obviously. Hopefully it’s not bad, but in that kind of pain, something obviously happened in there. It could be pretty bad.” I don’t think there’s any chance Clevenger doesn’t go on the DL after that. If and when he does, you’ll either see a temporary move involving someone already on the 40-man roster like Logan Watkins (just to have a body up, without wasting an option year on anyone (since guys on the 40-man and in the minors are already using an option year); and so the Cubs don’t have to clear a 40-man space), or you’ll see the Cubs just hold out on making a corresponding move until Darwin Barney comes back on Tuesday. It’s just today’s game, after all, with an off-day on Monday. I’m thinking that’s what they do, and they’ll just play with 24 today. The Clevenger injury has spared Alberto Gonzalez or Brent Lillibridge from being shipped out, at least until Ian Stewart returns.
  • Speaking of injuries, the forearm strain that put erstwhile closer Kyuji Fujikawa on the DL yesterday is apparently something he’s dealt with before in his career, and is apparently something he’s been dealing with for a few days. Fujikawa, himself, described the DL stint as “precautionary,” according to Cubs.com, and says it usually takes him about 10 days to get over. If true, he might not need much more than the 15 days to get back into action. Everyone was very adamant that this is not an elbow issue, by the way, and Fujikawa isn’t even expected to get an MRI. Kind of seems like this is one of those “yeah, he’s a little sore, but it’s also pretty cold, and he’s not adjusting very well just yet” disabled list stints.
  • Speaking of injuries, Scott Feldman is dealing with a sore back, so he’s going to have his next start pushed back a few days until Saturday (at the earliest). There’s an off-day tomorrow, so the move doesn’t really mess with the rotation. It also conveniently allows Feldman to skip a cold start at Wrigley against a potent Rangers lineup, and instead face a so-so Brewers indoors.
  • Speaking of injuries, Scott Baker was in Chicago yesterday to meet with team orthopedist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo. Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and he had a setback after his first in-game appearance last month. Since then, he’s been training in Arizona, but the quantity and character of his throwing these days is unclear (if he’s been throwing at all). No one is saying that the visit is anything but a routine checkup, so I’m tentatively hopeful that’s all it is (rather than some additional setback). Gordon Wittenmyer suggests that the visit was to determine when Baker can start a throwing program, which would be a nice sign.
  • Speaking of injuries, Josh Vitters is now on the DL at Iowa with a bad back. That’s not what he needed after just getting over a strained quad, and coming off a disappointing showing in the bigs late last year.
  • I’m happy about Dioner Navarro’s two pinch-hit homers the last two days, too, but I’m not sure I understand this quote from Dale Sveum (per CSN): “A guy walks up there, he’s ready to hit and swing the bat and not have any kind of thought process, meaning, ‘I’m not worried about what the guy’s doing, I’m going to get my swings in.’ It’s called pinch hitting and not pinch walking or pinch taking. That’s nice to see. That’s why we went with the three catchers, to have the ability to do those kinds of things with those two guys.” If I took the name off, you’d swear that was Dusty Baker, wouldn’t you? Alert to all pitchers: if you’re facing a Cubs pinch hitter, don’t throw them a strike. They’re swinging anyway, because it’s pinch hitting, not pinch walking.
  • Sveum redeemed himself when discussing the Cubs’ offensive woes against lefty pitchers, when they’ve gone with a righty lineup that features Scott Hairston replacing Nate Schierholtz, Dave Sappelt replacing David DeJesus, and Brent Lillibridge/Alberto Gonzalez replacing Luis Valbuena. “These guys are on the team for a reason,” Sveum said of those righties, per ESPNChicago. “Everybody has their role, and right now, Hairston is going to play against lefties, [Dave] Sappelt is going to play against lefties. We’re going to put the best lineup out there to be able to slug and do things.” Bingo. Changing the plan based on three games, when the plan came backed by hundreds of games’ worth of data, would be completely asinine.
  • http://www.bleachernation.com colonel ichabod

    so thats you holding the knee right after the scrape? brett to the DL

  • Jp3

    What was Brent Lillibridge’s purpose in the all righty lineup? He doesn’t hit righties or lefties

  • notcubbiewubbie

    not to wish ill will on anyone but boy wish something minor would happen to brent lillibridge that guy is brutal.

    • @cubsfantroy

      I was thinking the same thing yesterday. A broken leg or torn ACL or something. Nothing major.

      • Ash

        Or a trade back to the White Sox.

  • Sircub

    “Thus, I’m really sore today, and I have a skinned knee, to boot. Still worth it.”

    I wonder if Jaba Chamberlain feels the same way about his indoor trampoline park experience?

  • Jp3

    [img]URL: http://i.imgur.com/Beckv.gif [/img]

    I believe this to be more accurate Brett

  • Jp3
  • Mike

    Isn’t there a rule about how long you can rehab?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      20 days for position players, 30 days for pitchers, I believe.

  • JR

    I like Sveum, but that dude says some really dumb things, quite often. He is like the anti-THeo with thinking things thru before saying them. Hopefully he becomes better at speaking publicly when it matters…

  • Jp3

    We’d have to ask John Daly about that… Ba dump pump…

  • Timmy

    God is punishing Cubs fans for being complacent with bad ownership’s decision to put up a jumbotron.

  • Die hard

    Only problem with strategy is when opposite thrower relieves in 6 th…. Also pigeon holing a player does a job to psyche… What happened to playing the hot hitter? … The more Sveum talks the less sense he makes …. Why again did Theo pick him over Sandberg? Oh that’s right because Sandberg has more baseball knowledge in pinky than Sveum in entire body which is too much of a threat to Theos need to control everything

    • caryatid62

      I know, right? I mean, as soon as Sandberg got passed over by the Cubs, he got offers from a bunch of teams for their manager posit…ok…well…at least he got a job managing in MLB within a yea…wait…so…ummm…he’s an awesome third base coach!

      • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

        So how does your reply have anything to do with why Theodore hired Sven over sandburg?

        Do you even know how to follow a step by step thought process from one post to another?

        The question. Was why did Theodore hired a drooling non combative person like dale?

        The answer was because he could control they rather than have a competitive guy like sandburg at the helm that would probably get tired of losing 100 games for 3-4 years straight.

        Get it, junior?

        Next.

        • caryatid62

          Your reply is stupid. Most of your posts are stupid.

          That’s the only reply you deserve.

        • KidCubbie

          For Christ sake at least spell Sandberg right. He’s only one of the greatest Cubs ever. Have some respect.

        • willis

          WW nailed it. Sveum has no business managing a major league team and it shows all the time. But he’s Theo’s guy, much like Hoyer, who will bow down to Thoe’s wishes, not rock the boat, basically being a puppet.

    • Timmy

      Three years in and we’re getting worse while teams with lower salary bases are getting better while building farm systems.

      NOTHING adds up here. If we can’t muster a respectable year by the end of next year Theo is officially the biggest fraud in baseball history. Four years is MORE than enough time to begin to put together a competitive team.

      • Tim

        How did you get 3 years? This is his second season he has put the roster together. What’s funny, beside the fact that you can’t count, is how much you are going to love Theo/Jed/Jason when 2015/2016/2017 roll around. The Cubs farm system will be producing guys much more consistently than at any other point in recent memory (maybe ever) and we will be contending for World Series year in and year out.

      • Tim

        Also, four years is enough time to put together a competitive team? It all depends on the state of the team when the new guys take over. The Cubs were in pretty bad shape. When you say NOTHING adds up, clearly you are ignoring how the Cubs have jumped dramatically in organizational ranks since Theo/Jed/Jason have come on board. Or how our minor league system is widely considered WAY better since they have been making decisions. Just wait till this time next year, a top 5 minor league system is well within reach.

        And guess what? When you have a good minor league system, it tends to lead to good major league teams.

        So how is Theo a fraud? And who would you like in his place?

        • Timmy

          OK, I hope you’re right. I hate the new ownership and I know they’ve made things tough on Theo, so I’ll give it more time (1-2 years) before I make a decision about him.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Epstein hired dale because he knew him in Boston and knew he could control the hairless drooling Harley rider. I’m sure Epstein probably watched sandburg s hof speech and probably realized that ryno wouldn’t put up with the constant garbage that Theodore signs every couple weeks.

    • Tim

      Constant garbage? Who is Theo signing that is so terrible? You do understand they aren’t trying to win this year? You do understand that for the first time since…….. EVER they are going about building a baseball team the right way.

      Was Paul Maholm garbage? Is Carlos Villenueva garbage? How about Jorge Soler? Edwin Jackson? How are these guys garbage?

      Not everyone you sign is going to work out, OBVIOUSLY, but who has Theo signed that has been a problem. Marmol? Soriano? ARAM? Zambrano? Oh wait, that was the last regime.

      Who bothers you so much, Stewart? Feldman? They are on one year deals, and are cheap.

      It’s amazing the insane, stupid comments people make.

      • Jp3

        You do have a point a few of those signings aren’t too bad but how about Lillibridge, Scott Baker, Kevin Gregg today, Ian Stewart (had the chance to cut our losses on that one but…)ect… I guess these aren’t terrible signings if your goal is to establish yourself as the most mediocre big market team in history

        • danimal8

          Every single one of those players does at least one thing well. They are cheap and they fill a role. This is baseball team building 101. You do not bring up guys before they are ready, and there is no reason to spend on a team that isn’t going to be competitive. The money you save by going with a Lillibridge (tell me who else we could have signed) allows you to compete in the coming years, with teams like the Dodgers for guys like David Price. You don’t waste money or assets when you have a well defined plan. 2 years in and after being told to be patient and some people are still whining…

          • Kyle

            Lillibridge is a sub-replacement level player. You should literally be able to throw someone in for free from the minors and get better than him. The list of positive alternatives is too long to be worth going through.

            If this is Team Building 101, maybe Epstein should try graduating to the advanced class, because this beginner stuff has given us 65-108 since he got here.

            • caryatid62

              It should be pointed out that Brent Lillibridge makes $500,000, and that the major league minimum salary for 2013 is $490,000. While you could likely find better production, the cost is essentially equivalent.

              • Kyle

                He’s actually making $750k this year, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, so we could save a few hundred K with a low-service-time replacement.

                But as always, the more important costs are playing time and roster space.

                • caryatid62

                  My mistake–I saw his salary from last year.

                  $250,000 is fairly irrelevant, of course.

                  • Kyle

                    Yeah, but this is supposed to be the front office that gets the little things right.

                    They talk a big game about it. How they have big organizational meetings about which foot to hit the bag with and how they have all the manpower and drive to fight for every small edge.

                    Then when they don’t fight for those edges and make constant small mistakes, I have to hear *shrug, it’s not that relevant.*

                    • ProfessorCub

                      Kyle, do you yell at little kids when they can’t ride a bike within 30 seconds of the training wheels coming off?

                      It’s as if we’re in year 5 or 6 of the rebuild, rather than the very beginning of year 2.

                    • caryatid62

                      I think you’re trying too hard to differentiate between “little things” and “generally irrelevant things.” I understand the issue you have with it and generally agree with your larger thesis about the mistakes of the front office thus far, but I just disagree with the level to which you think things such as this matter. I think these issues tend to be minutiae, and using them to support a larger thesis actually undermines the appeal of the larger thesis, as they appear to be nitpicking.

                    • Kyle

                      “Kyle, do you yell at little kids when they can’t ride a bike within 30 seconds of the training wheels coming off?

                      It’s as if we’re in year 5 or 6 of the rebuild, rather than the very beginning of year 2.”

                      There should never have been a rebuild. And the idea that it should take 5 or 6 years is absurd.

                      “Rebuild” isn’t a magic word that absolves a MLB executive of all mistakes for half-a-decade.

                    • Kyle

                      It’s exactly the sort of thing we used to crucify Hendry for. I remember people calling him “Retail” because he’d pay too much for everything, even the little things.

                      This front office is supposed to be better in that regard, but they aren’t.

                    • caryatid62

                      DeJesus, Schierholz, Maholm, Camp, and Villanueva are all evidence contrary to your final sentence, to varying degrees.

                  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

                    You should just copy and paste “my mistake” so you can start every one of your posts that way.

                    Next

                    • caryatid62

                      I know you’re desperate to get me to respond to your trolling posts, but you have already received the only response I will ever give you.

                      To reiterate: I think pretty much everything you have written on this site is stupid.

                      That’s all I feel you deserve. I’m moving on. Have a nice time here.

              • JDBlades

                As soon as Ian Stewart comes off the DL, Lillibridge should be gone. Atleast, that was the plan before all of the injuries.

                • Kyle

                  The original plan was for Lillibridge to be the 2nd backup infielder and on the 25-man roster.

                  When the injuries hit, it opened up jobs for Clevenger and we picked up Alberto Gonzalez.

                  It’s possible that Gonzalez has since leapfrogged ahead of Lillibridge in the team’s mind, but if not, Lillibridge isn’t in danger from the returnees.

      • Kyle

        “Constant garbage? Who is Theo signing that is so terrible?”

        Ian Stewart, Brent Lillibridge, Kyuji Fujikawa off the top of my head.

        “You do understand they aren’t trying to win this year?”

        That’s why the team is garbage.

        It’s pretty stupid to spend $50m on new free agents when you aren’t even trying to win.

        ” You do understand that for the first time since…….. EVER they are going about building a baseball team the right way.”

        Ah, another Cubs fan too young or too new to remember the Andy MacPhail era. Welcome to the fandom!

        • caryatid62

          I’m with your general beliefs about the silliness of not trying to win while rebuilding, but panning the Fujikawa signing after less than 20 games is ridiculous.

          The mistakes the Cubs have made thus far have not been who they have signed, it is who they have chosen not to sign.

          • hansman1982

            I didn’t catch that the first time through. Lumping Fujikawa in with Stewart and Lillibridge?

            The Theo hatred flows free today.

            • Kyle

              It truly does. He’s got a 12.46 ERA in the only real data we have on him.

              Epstein has completely lost all benefit of the doubt with me, so I’m going to assume he sucks until he proves otherwise.

              • hansman1982

                So 10-years of success is thrown out based on 170-ish games?

                How about let’s get more than 2 weeks of sample size before we say that Fujikawa was a terrible signing.

                • Kyle

                  10 years of success is thrown out because it happened in essentially a minor league.

                  • hansman1982

                    I was talking about Theo, unless you think the AL East is a minor league…

                    • Kyle

                      Ah, I see. Well, executives lose their edge over time, just like everyone else. The market advantages he found in Boston are no longer cutting edge, and he hasn’t shown much ability to find new tricks.

                      And then there’s Hoyer…

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Hoyer didn’t turn around a shit San Diego roster in one year or a shit Chicago Cubs roster in one year, OMGLOL HE SUX!

              • hansman1982

                Otherwise you’d have to call Wood and Villanueva hidden aces found by Theo.

                • Kyle

                  We have a MLB track record to know what they are.

                  • Kyle

                    Although I have been pretty effusive about the hidden gem that is Travis Wood.

                    • hansman1982

                      But based on the sample size of this year, your praise of him isn’t praisy enough.

                    • Kyle

                      There’s a difference between “sample” and “population.”

                    • hansman1982

                      Mike Trout had a .672 OPS in the entire population of his first callup in the big leagues.

                      Darvish’s first 11 innings featured 8 walks, 6 earned runs and a pathetic .870 OPS against.

                      Cespedes’ OPS ran down to .731 at one point last year.

                      I know this doesn’t fit your method but give it some time.

                • Jp3

                  I will say TWood is looking like a great move, let’s calm down on calling the Villanueva move great until he has more than 2 starts.

                  • hawkcub

                    I thought the book on Villenueva was he’s good early not so much the later the season goes.

                  • hansman1982

                    Oh, I didn’t. I was just saying if we are only looking at this year’s results, then Wood and Villanueva are aces.

          • JDBlades

            You do realize free agents have a choice where they want to play. The FO could overpay to influence some of the free agents, but that isn’t smart. They are trying to build up the farm system, which is allot smarter than building your team around free agents. You can get better contracts through trades which takes a good farm, also. Since the new FO got here they have made the farm system very respectable and no bad free agent contracts that will hurt us like the Soriano, Marmol, and Zambrano deals.

            • Kyle

              Signing free agents doesn’t prevent you from building the farm system.

              • hansman1982

                but it does hinder it, doubly so in the new CBA.

                • Kyle

                  The hindrance is very marginal and certainly manageable.

                  • hansman1982

                    It depends, if you are talking about a 1-year bump in playoff chances from 3% to 10% while decreasing the chances of playoff contention over a 2 year period, then it’s a big difference, especially when you factor in how little was tradeable from the Cubs farm system for quality big leaguers last deadline.

                    • Kyle

                      I wasn’t talking about merely a 7 percentage point bump, fortunately.

                    • hansman1982

                      Last year? How much then?

                    • Kyle

                      Last year?

                      Well, let’s see. BP had us around 15% this year, so I’m guessing last year was similar.

                      I see no reason why a savvy and aggressive front office couldn’t have gotten us to 50% last year.

                      So, 35 percentage points?

      • Kyle

        “It’s amazing the insane, stupid comments people make.”

        So I guess this proves that lack of self-awareness is not fatal.

  • Kaitlyn Fitzjarrell

    So with Feldman skipping a start and looking like he will pitch next weekend, what does the rotation look like for that Brewers series? I’ll be up there for the Saturday and Sunday games, am I going to be seeing Feldman and VIllanueva?

  • Crazyhorse

    Speaking of Injuries LOL. This front office has made a habit of signing and trading for experience convalescent veterans . Noone should be surprize when they excel at what they do best. Rehab stars.

  • Dustin S

    I kind of felt the same about Fujikawa’s injury. Not saying he isn’t in some pain, but it seemed a little Lendy Castillo-y, like “you’re hurting aren’t you (wink wink)” to stash him on the DL while he figures things out. If Marmol was pitching ok it would be one thing, but having 2 semi-unusable RP on the 25 man wouldn’t work.

  • MichiganGoat

    Anyone else hearing the MASH theme music while reading these bullets?

  • Bric

    You know there are six quality starts combined between Villanueva, Wood and Shark but 0-4 combined between Jackson and Feldman. I think the number one player injury anybody is really thinking about is Garza, which is progressing verrrrry slowly. Does anybody have a solid idea when we can expect him back?

  • Stu

    Makes you wonder why they have a manager at all. I mean if the computers have already decided what decisions to make based on long run statistics (whatever that is), then most of the decisions have already been made for the season.

    • Bric

      Biggest reason I hate fantasy baseball.

    • caryatid62

      Strategically, most managers likely do more harm than good.

      However, the factors outside of strategy (such as human interactions, health and emotional stability) probably differentiate some very good managers from less successful managers. While these aren’t really quantifiable, they certainly play some non-zero role in the success of players.

      • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

        Lol!!!! “Certainly play some non zero role”

        Seriously?

        That’s gold, Jerry.

        Real gold

        Next

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, look at it this way: over the last 50 years, 50% of teams have records within 3.5 wins of what you expect given OPS for and OPS against. It’s the GM who controls team OPS much more than the manager: sure, a manager can maximize a lineup’s potential (or do stupid things like play Neifi Perez over Todd Walker), but: 1) the expected difference in run production by a lineup usually is very few runs each year; and, 2) chance factors contribute more variance, anyway. Sure, managers can juggle bullpens: but, let’s face it, most of them might as well be spinning roulette wheels going with “hot hands” or going with the completely obvious.

      Now, there is a lot of inertia in baseball: your system in 2013 is your 2012 system plus/minus a small proportion of players. So, if a new GM has a completely different set of tactics than the prior GM (which is certainly the case here!), then it will take multiple seasons to make the system what the current GM wants.

      • Drew7

        You kids and your “science”…

        Next

      • Kyle

        “Now, there is a lot of inertia in baseball: your system in 2013 is your 2012 system plus/minus a small proportion of players. So, if a new GM has a completely different set of tactics than the prior GM (which is certainly the case here!), then it will take multiple seasons to make the system what the current GM wants.”

        I think that severely underestimates the amount of churn that a baseball team goes through.

        I count 12 players on the 25-man or 15-day DL that were not here in 2012. Each year, you bring in, what, 40 or so new prospects and cut that many washouts? Not to mention the constant comings and goings of organizational fill.

        The big guns change slowly, but there’s a lot of chances for an organization to make small changes, and consistently getting those small changes correct adds up significantly.

        One of the big stories of Epstein’s early years in Boston was an incredibly high hit percentage on those small changes. One of the big stories of his and Hoyer’s early years in Chicago has been how terrible they’ve been at them.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “The big guns change slowly, but there’s a lot of chances for an organization to make small changes, and consistently getting those small changes correct adds up significantly.”

          You know better than most, no matter how many small roster moves you get right in a two-year period, you ain’t creating a Ryan Braun.

          I believe you are the patron saint of the non-linear nature of WAR around here, yes? One player worth 6 WAR is far, far, far more valuable on a roster – and impactful – than three players worth 2 WAR. And this goes to that point.

          • Kyle

            I bet we had more than a Ryan Braun’s worth of negative-WAR players as compared to league average last season. Maybe even two Brauns. Wouldn’t be shocked to do it again this year.

          • Kyle

            It’s absolutely true than a single 6-WAR player is more impactful than 3 2-WAR players.

            But a trio (-1) WAR players in place of those 2-WAR players hurts you as much as getting a Braun would help you.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          One, 12 men on the MLB roster is a small fraction of the whole system. Two, where are most of the different players on most MLB teams from 2013 to 2012 or 2012 to 2011? Bench players and bullpen guys. Those are essentially the “migrant workers” of MLB, going from a 1-year contract on one team to another 1-year contract on another team.

          A big result of that is that there is a much bigger proportion of 2012 PA or IP are from guys who were with the team in 2011 (and contributing most of the 2011 PA or IP) than the roster turnovers themselves imply. Moreover, a lot of the big differences in 2011 vs. 2012 PAs / IP for any given team are not because of acquisitions, but because of injuries.

          At any rate, Theo didn’t improve Boston through “small changes”: he did it through a few big ones. Sure, he took advantage of Minnesota’s stupidity, but it got him a DH. He took advantage of Arizona’s finances to land Schilling. And, of course, he was doing this with a team that was better than 0.500 in the first place!

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Sorry, I mean to write: “better than 0.500 in the first place AND had been working under the same general strategy as him for several years.”

          • Kyle

            One, I didn’t say *just* 12 guys in the whole organization. I said 12 guys on the 25-man and DL. I’m pretty sure that if we added it all up, it’d be around 20-30% of the whole system turned over each year. There’s also been dozens of new roster-fills added, and each year brings a new crop of draftees and IFAs (whether you want to count them when signed or when promoted to the domestic system).

            But yes, small moves were a big part of Epstein’s early legacy and were a big part of his failures last year.

            Was Schilling an amazing pickup? Absolutely.

            In the 2004 WS season, they also got 3.7 WAR out of Mark Bellhorn, who was picked up for essentially free from Colorado. 1.2 from Bill Mueller, another freebie. 4.2 from David Ortiz, an extremely savvy low-cost pickup. Bronson Arroyo was a waiver pickup that gave them 2.7 WAR.

            That sort of magic touch was nearly completely absent last year. Not that he didn’t try. We had just as many freebies and low-cost pickups, he just whiffed on them badly.

            We’ve gone over repeatedly the shocking number of sub-replacement players the Cubs used last year and how large the effect on the win total was. That Boston team fielded just 16 for -3.7 wins against replacement. Epstein and Hoyer matched that last year in just two moves, Mather and Volstad.

            Epstein’s early tenure with the Red Sox was marked by an incredibly high success rate in both the big moves and the little ones. WIth the Cubs, we’ve gotten neither.

            • Kyle

              Actually, for funsies, lets add it up.

              2004 Red Sox negative WAR players: 16 for -3.7.

              2012 Cubs negative WAR players: 27 for -15.2.

              Roughly 1/3rd of the 37-game difference between the two teams can be explained by a simple failure of the front office to find replacement-level players, which in theory should be fairly easy.

            • hansman1982

              He also got 3 WAR out of Darwin Barney from the previous year and 2 WAR out of Alfonso Soriano. Just 2 gaping holes formed in the offense, we had to sign Koyie Hill just to have a reasonable C on the team and those left in the bullpen sucked it up.

  • Jp3

    While a lot of the strategy is taken away from the manager via the stats, one of their main functions is to manage egos. They have to play to a bunch of millionaire babies like the Yankees. Girardi I believe would’ve been a great fit in Chicago but he didn’t have enough experience at the time. Oh well we missed out on a good one I think

    • Bric

      Agreed. I always thought he would’ve been the best fit a couple of years ago because his resume was similar to Francona’s turning around the Red Sox. But Hendry was always about bringing in big names who’d already proven themselves elsewhere (Garza, Lou, Sori, etc.). Oh, well.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      heh, managers use tactics, not strategy. Trivial definitions aside, statistics are a tool for tactics, not a hindrance to them. Ignoring statistics leads to bad tactical decisions.

      I do find it funny how people use the Yankees as an example of statistics hurting the game: I mean, how many post-seasons have the Yankees missed since MLB went to the new playoff format?

  • Idaho Razorback

    Huge signing! We got Kevin Gregg back!!!!!!

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Solid theo signing.

    • Jp3

      NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

  • Bric

    Agreed. Can’ hurt to have more experienced depth especially in the pen.

  • Jp3

    Gregg was terrible as a Cub! Theo/Jed want us to jump off the building, Gregg was a terrible reliever with an ERA just under 5 and 7 blown saves in his 30 chances in a Cub uniform! All this was 4 years ago and he hasn’t gotten better since then, they signed him and were laughing at us.

    • caryatid62

      They signed a bad reliever to a minor league contract. It’s not really something to care about, positively or negatively.

      • Jp3

        It will be nothing as long as he doesn’t leave the Iowa Cubs headed for Chicago, then the universe collapse in on itself

  • cubmig

    Kevin Gregg back????!! Shades of monkey shit!! ………….when does the “Impeach Theo” start? Isn’t there enough disgruntledness going on? Didn’t someone ask what kind of Theo signings were “constant garbage”? Oh wait—– the numbers say Kevin Gregg is “experienced”…….

    • Jp3

      You missed I already lumped Gregg in with garbage Theo signings, although I think calling Gregg garbage is unfair to heaping piles of garbage everywhere

      • cubmig

        Jp3…………………does “shades of monkey shit” qualify as worst than those “piles”?

  • Jp3

    Cubmig, shades of monkey shit did make me laugh pretty hard. Whichever is worse, be it shades of monkey shit or heaping piles of garbage is the pile I want to put Kevin Gregg in.

  • aCubsFan

    I know this is off topic, but there’s a great article on the front page of today’s Chicago Tribune explaining why the Cubs need a Jumbotron to improve fan experience in the park.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Heard that he was a strong candidate for tj surgery so naturally Theodore went for him. I’m sure he had at least ten to twelve other teams interested in him.

  • Kyle

    “Hoyer didn’t turn around a shit San Diego roster in one year or a shit Chicago Cubs roster in one year, OMGLOL HE SUX!”

    He’s still GM’d as many playoff teams as I have, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing this year.

    And I’ve failed a lot less.

    It’s not even that he didn’t turn it around. He managed to make it worse. Someone in the front office thinks Brett Lillibridge is an MLB player. If not Hoyer, who?

    • Kyle

      And by Brett I mean Brent. Wouldn’t want to besmirch the name.

      • ETS

        Freudian slip?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A great deal of that is how you choose to frame it.

      I could just as easily say …

      Hoyer has been a part of a playoff team six out of the nine seasons he’s worked immediately under Theo Epstein.

      • DarthHater

        “A great deal of that is how you choose to frame it.”

        Indeed. My kid’s hamster has made far fewer stupid comments on this subject than has Kyle. :-P

      • hansman1982

        Just think, Hoyer’s FIRST GM gig was winless…

        • Kyle

          I swear that Cubs fandom’s theme song should be the Lowered Expectations jingle from Mad TV.

          Now GMing is something you get to fail at for awhile with no consequences. NBD. It’s only his second job, right? Would you fire a hitter after going 0-for-2?

          Anything to be able to pretend for another day that the empreror isn’t naked.

          • hansman1982

            I was actually referring to the 2-3 months he was GM when Theo walked out.

            Although, his tenure in San Diego isn;t as bad as you make it out to be. His first year was 90-wins, he managed to trade Adrian Gonzalez at the peak of his value and a .500 record over the two seasons.

            • Kyle

              I thought being over .500 was meaningless if you didn’t make the playoffs or were a true contender? I thought it only hurt the team’s long-term ability to be stuck int he middle like that?

              • JR

                I think being a .500 team is meaningless and really bad in all sports. Especially with MLB’s jacked up compensation rules. That’s just me though…

              • hansman1982

                Not sure that I have said that recently, but hey, I guess you aren’t impervious to fallacious arguments either.

                Nor am I saying that it was a good tenure. Just, his tenure in San Diego isn’t as bad as you paint it.

      • Kyle

        You could say that, but I wouldn’t find it very compelling.

        • DarthHater

          I just read Brett’s comment to the hamster. He paid no attention and kept eating. Didn’t find it compelling at all.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Naturally. Because Jed’s setup in San Diego bears a far greater similarity to his setup in Chicago than did his time in Boston.

          Oh, the opposite is true?

          Compelled.

          • hansman1982

            No, no, no, you got it all wrong. The fact that Hoyer is to this regime as Randy Bush was to the last regime is irrelevant. He has the GM title, therefore, the context of the situation is not relevant.

            Why, do you ask? Because it doesn’t advance the “Epstein and Hoyer don’t care about the Cubs and I could do a better job” agenda.

            • Kyle

              The only agenda I see present is “try to make it sound like Kyle has said things he hasn’t said, because I find the strawman more intellectually comforting than the reality.”

              The only agenda I have is “Epstein and Hoyer aren’t doing a good enough job, and I wish they’d either done a better job or we’d hired other people who would do a better job.” I’ve never once said that I am that person.

              I’m willing to accept the plausibility a “Jed Hoyer isn’t the problem” hypothesis, but we’re running out of places to put the blame for all this failure.

              • hansman1982

                I know I was throwing out a bogus statement. I think there is blame to go around to Epstein, Hoyer, McCleod and Ricketts. I also think some of the “failure” of last season rests on pure chance. Byrd and Soto becoming below replacement level players, the Cubs losing 3 catchers (especially when 1 of them was having a hell of a good start) Wood completely falling off the table (not that I was expecting late 2011 Yankees Wood, but not 8-something ERA).

                The big mistakes of last year were not re-signing Ramirez and giving Mather a roster spot but many of their other gambles did work.

                • Kyle

                  It’s hard for me to overstate how frustrating the “Mather 2: LOLlibridge Boogaloo” decision was. Didn’t even learn their lesson.

                  • hansman1982

                    According to WPA through the deadline, Mather was near replacement level. His suckiness (along with, I’m guessing most of last year’s replacements) came after the Cubs were toast.

                    The problem with a “replacement level” player is that at some point they blow up and never have a job again.

                    Not that Mather was a good choice.

                    • Kyle

                      We’re using WPA for individual position players now?

                      I feel dirty using it for entire bullpens, but it needs to be done.

                    • hansman1982

                      I know of no better way to begin to reference a player in terms of wins off B-Ref game log.

                    • hansman1982

                      His OPS was crap at the deadline (.646) drawn down from a terrible (can’t stress that word enough) July.

                      Prior to July he was at .704. For the 25th man, not terrible.

          • Kyle

            There’s a point where additional context isn’t adding clarity, but is just excuse-making for lack of results.

            • hansman1982

              Generally when that context sheds doubt on your statements.

    • Tommy

      Lillibridge has been on 4 other MLB 40 man rosters to date. I don’t think that move really says a whole lot of Hoyer’s lack of GM skills. And as for your ‘playoff’ comment – there are several GM’s that fall in that category, so please – enough with the hyperbole.

      • Kyle

        Those four didn’t have the knowledge of his previous failures that Hoyer did.

        As far as other GMs who are 0-for-3 and staring at 0-for-4, maybe we shouldn’t hire any of those GMs, either.

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  • Freshness21

    Ya, what this guys said. ^^^^ WTF?

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