Checking In On the Standings, and Discussing Protected Picks

dale sveum haz a sadIn an off-day exercise that will become increasingly important as we approach the end of the season, I want to take a look at where the Chicago Cubs currently sit in the overall standings. Well, “reverse standings” is more accurate, since the playoffs aren’t in this team’s future for 2013. Instead, all that matters is where the team finishes relative to the overall records of the rest of the league.

My position on losing – and, given that I’ve been covering the Cubs at BN since the Winter of 2008, I have had to have this discussion every single year – is that it sucks. I don’t like it. I don’t like watching the Cubs lose, and I can’t bring myself to actively root against them while watching a game.

That said, I recognize that, in the grander scheme of things, if the Cubs aren’t going to seriously challenge for the playoffs, the benefits of losing 90+ games probably outweigh the slight benefits of winning 75 games instead of 70. Those benefits include a better draft pick in 2014 (including a larger draft bonus pool), a larger international spending pool in 2014 (all of which the Cubs can use, even if they are subject to penalties), the ability to focus on young player development/evaluation, and a variety of other things I wrote about in May 2012 as I looked ahead into a sea of awful.

Because the Astros, White Sox, and Marlins are sufficiently awful that I can’t envision a realistic scenario where the Cubs pass any of them in losses, I’m not going to focus today on the very “top” of the reverse standings. Instead, I’d like to focus on the range in which – again, assuming the Cubs are going to pile up losses either way – you’d like to see the Cubs settle by the end of the year: the bottom ten teams.

Why does being in the bottom ten (the “playoffs” of the reverse standings!) matter? Well, if you pick in the top 10 picks in 2014, your first round selection is “protected.” In other words, when a team signs a free agent who has been extended a qualifying offer (i.e., the best of the best free agents), that team loses its first round pick the next year … unless that team picks in the top 10 picks. In that instance, all that is lost is a second round pick.

Now, I don’t foresee the Cubs going aggressively after too many top free agents this offseason, but if there is even one whom they really like (Jacoby Ellsbury?), then having a protected first round pick is a great benefit. The prospect of losing the 11th overall pick in the Draft is a much more ponderous consideration than losing the 10th pick in the second round.

So, let’s look at where things stand:

1. Houston Astros (39-80)
2. Miami Marlins (46-73)
3. Chicago White Sox (46-73)
4. Chicago Cubs (52-68)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (52-68)
6. San Francisco Giants (52-67)
7. Philadelphia Phillies (53-67)
8. Los Angeles Angels (53-66)
9. Minnesota Twins (53-65)
10. San Diego Padres (54-66)
12. New York Mets (54-64)
13. Toronto Blue Jays (55-65)
14. Seattle Mariners (55-64)

After the Mariners, there are a collection of teams that could plausibly fall into the bottom ten, but it doesn’t seem realistic that the would pass the Cubs. While the Cubs currently sport the fourth worst record in the league (thanks to a losing streak and some untimely wins from the Brewers, the two teams are tied), as you can see, a huge number of teams are bunched up together behind the abominable trio at the top.

On a glance, I could see the Twins, Padres, Mets and Mariners moving “up,” and the Giants, Phillies, Angels, and Blue Jays moving “down.” Which is to say, the former group of teams, I think, are probably going to continue to be quite bad, while the latter four are probably better than they’ve been showing.

If things play out in that way, you’d probably see the Cubs settle into the five to eight range (there’s no way the Cubs are losing more games than the Brewers – you can book it), and their pick would remain protected. It would take a fairly serious winning stretch for the Cubs to “fall” out of the bottom ten records, but it remains something worth watching.

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

215 responses to “Checking In On the Standings, and Discussing Protected Picks”

  1. Jon

    You can talk all you want about the “deadline deals”, the “international spending”, smart and agressive trades, but if you look at the big 4 in the organization:

    Javier Baez
    Kris Bryant
    Albert Almora
    Jorge Soler

    Three out of those four are a result of a top 10 pick and a terrible team. Tanking is a neccessary evil to get better and fast. Replace those top 3 players with leser players and this system probably isn’t even top 20, and the future really looks terrible.

    It does no good for this team to hover around 5 games under .500 and get the #14 pick in the draft.

    1. Kyle

      Next year will be three years since the season that gave us Baez. I wouldn’t call this “fast.”

      1. Jon

        They could trade him today for Stanton, if they wanted to.

        1. On The Farm

          Well not literally today with the whole non-waiver deadline being over for two weeks.

        2. terencemann

          That would have to trade almost that whole group to get Stanton seeing as how the most advanced prospect is in AA.

          1. Rich H

            After the last off season where we got a good gauge of what the value a glove first Shortstop is with the price Arizona paid, I do not see too much of an extra prospect add in for Stanton. This Front Office would definitely have to be knocked off their chair to trade any of the big 4 at this point.

      2. Cyranojoe

        I think he meant to get our minor leagues/prospects better “fast”. The major league team becomes consistently good *after* that happens. In theory, anyway.

        1. Kyle

          I hope that’s not what he meant, because that’s a tool and not a goal.

          1. Cyranojoe

            Not sure I agree. I think it’s a sequence of steps towards a goal.

      3. TK

        Kyle, I’m guessing the “fast” reference may have been theoretically, hypothetically speaking in regards to a “typical” organization that has not been so inexcusably mismanaged for so long. MOST teams draft, develop, trade, and sign in a much wiser and productive manner than the Cubs have for years, until Epstein & Hoyer took over. For MOST teams, a couple high draft picks goes a long way toward reclaiming a decent run of competitiveness due to the relatively respectful strength of the overall organization. Can’t blame the FO for how long this rebuild is taking. It’s all on the Trib.

  2. Jon
    1. DarthHater

      Mercy indeed.

    2. Cubbie Blues

      That looked like Bo.

  3. Bilbo

    A loss is more valuable to our cubs then a win is. I would be happy if the cubs lost every game for the rest of the season. On personal level I’d be bummed but for the future and long term I’d be happy

    1. Jon

      The big league club is almost non-relevant to me. I check in the box scores to see how Rizzo, Shark, Cassy, & Lake (I’ll flip the channel as well when they are batting, if I can)are doing, but other than that I don’t care.

      1. TWC

        “Cassy”? Seriously?

        Okay, Quade.

        1. Jon

          For some reason I had Quade and his odd nicknames on the brain this morning on my morning drive, lol, i know, odd.

        2. DarthHater

          Your new nickname is “Tweeky.”

          1. Rmoody100


          2. Rmoody100


  4. HoustonTransplant

    I agree. It doesn’t make me feel better if the cubs suck less…they’re still bad and they’re still not getting anywhere near the playoffs. If they’re going to be bad, might as well be REALLY bad and get a decent (and protected) pick in the draft. There’s really very little benefit in being mediocre.

    1. ClevelandCubsFan

      One thing people forget is that there is a human factor to all this. If the Cubs REALLY, REALLY suck it’s going to show up in the butts actually in seats. Not ticket sales as much. Butts in seats. Which translates to a loss in revenue from concessions and parking and all that good stuff. Lower numbers looking at ads might (not sure how these contracts are negotiated) affect how much they can sell ads for next season/month/whatever-time-period-is-relevant. So, tanking just to get a better draft pick isn’t THAT great of a solution. Allowing your team to lose has to be balanced with competitiveness.

      I’m sure the front office has some calculations that give averages for like.. X wins = Y butts = Z dollars. And they have to decide if the difference between what X and X-5 or X-10 does to Z is worth the slightly better draft pick.

      I get the general sentiment from all you guys. I’m just saying, it’s a little more complicated than we sometimes make it.

      1. cubsfanforever

        agreed. good call

  5. Jason Powers

    Here’s just a hypothetical thought:

    Is the cost to bring up guys (and starting MLB ARB/or add service time) and bench the current regulars, to say, assure losses, worth the benefit to get a top 7ish pick certainty? (Matt Harvey went 7th overall…just 3 years ago.)

    And snag one top tier FA you undoubtedly would not be after at all under the current rules?

    NOT saying to do it, but what are all the real costs v. benefits? Can we get bad enough to do it? Really?

    Fun thinking…

    1. Cyranojoe

      Odds are more likely they get randoms like Murphy and Ransom, and maybe-prospects that the FO hasn’t fully bought into like Lake, to come fill out the roster… oh, hey…

    2. Joepoe321

      If you were to bench starters like that it would hurt their development. I mean if you were to bench Castro and rizzo the rest of the year how are they supposed to progress. So yes you might get the better pick but the starters that u have now and need for the future might not be as good.

      1. Jason Powers

        You do have 8 positions. I did not specify any particular one…or player.

  6. millhah

    So… only 5 or 6 games to “catch” the Sux / Fish!

  7. Kramden

    Always mostly true…. You have to get really bad in order to get really good (except if you’re the Cardinals & Yankees).

    The Cubs are really bad but their system is now stronger because of it and the results of that putridness will soon bear fruit.

  8. Tonto

    Our rotation should be: Rusin, brooks Raley, Carlos Villanueva, Marcus hately, Barrett loux. Tank the season. This season is all about the trade deadline and the win/loss record for the best draft pick.

  9. Featherstone

    I hope your right on that prediction about the Brewers Brett because I got a steak dinner riding on it.

  10. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    One thing I do wonder about next year is will our standings in August make us more or less likely to bring up one of the top talents. If we are hovering around that 10th spot, does Theo and Jed bring up Baez if he is an obvious upgrade for the position he comes up for? Or does he wait until the spring?

  11. Kyle

    I have to admit, the post-deadline tanking is going better (or worse, rather) than I expected. Castro, Samardzija and Rizzo coming up small has really helped/hurt.

    I still hope we go on a hot streak and draft 14th.

    1. Jon

      I have to ask, why?

      1. Kyle

        To flip the bird to all the “yay, losing is fun” fans and enjoy their laments, mostly.

        Although there are some side benefits to it. Coming off a 79-win season would do a bit more for ticket sales, TV ratings and attracting free agents than a 71-win season would.

        1. Tonto

          62-100 > 75-87. I hate losing but this already a lost season so might as well get a top 3 pick rather then, suffer in mediocrity and get an unprotected pick and not get an elite prospect from the draft.

          1. Tonto

            Funny thing is privately Theo/Jed probably agree with me privately. Losing is the best thing for the team in the short term so we could increase our chances of sustaining long term success long term. I’m all in for the future

            1. Kyle

              Privately? They’ve had explicit quotes to the effect.

              1. Eternal Pessimist

                I think most free agents are bright enough to see through the tanking strategy with the up and coming talent and can see the chance that they are going to join a team with a high success potential.

                You may be right about the ticket sales thing, and that is important to the Cubs success.

                1. On The Farm

                  Like Jayson Werth with the Nationals. He also got paid, but its not like he needed more money to go to the Nationals, he was the best player on the market.

                  1. Kyle

                    The consensus at the time seemed to be that the Nats had paid quite a premium.

          2. Kyle

            I understand the concept. It is overemphasized and the downsides are underemphasized.

            1. wilbur

              The downsides you’ve mentioned aren’t really significant for a team at the bottom of a rebuilding swoon. Revenues, free agent signings, tv ratings, are mostly meaningless, even attendance is not likely to bother anyone this year or next. There is still a waiting list for season ticket sales, but people aren’t going to want to give theirs up when they know what may be coming in a few years. As far as revenue, do you really think cubs fans care if the ricketts have to ease back on the profits for a few years? The value of the team has already doubled from when they bought it and once the wrigley ronovations are done it will add another half a billion. Then there are the tv deals that will be getting redone. Money is not the issue,, talent is, and the lack of talent in the minors was abysmal, just as the bloated contracts with no trade clauses was choking the major league team. Now that all the bad contracts with no trade clauses have been cleared and some talent infused into the minors, it is just a matter of getting the minor league talent to the majors and add ing a few pieces where needed. Hopefully this will coincide with the completion of the stadium rehab, if you are really worried about revenue, worry about not being able to sell enough tickets to fans who want to buy them because half the stadium is torn down.

              Free agents will come if the dollars are there and the commitment to winning. You have to give it some time, and some high draft choices. I’m hoping for the third pick, and right back at you with the salute.

              1. Kyle

                We aren’t at the bottom of a rebuilding swoon, unless we want to be.

                And I’ll need to see some work on the value of the team doubling.

              2. Scotti

                Marmol had a no-trade clause. The rest were 10-5 guys who were all signed/re-signed when the Cubs were contending. That’s what contending teams do. They sign guys that help them get better and resign their better guys.

          3. Rcleven

            The main problem is there is not a protected free agent worth going after next off season. Jacoby Ellsbury a 29 year old who can’t stay healthy on the field long enough and be demanding big money? Will be 31 before the Cubs can be competitive? No thanks.

        2. Cyranojoe

          What significant FA looks at 79 v 71 wins and gives a flying flip? I suppose… but in any case, what significant FA do we care about this offseason, unless you’re pining for Cano?

          1. Jon

            Elsbury, Choo, Cruz, start….

            1. Cyranojoe

              I like Choo. Granderson will be 33 next March. You don’t think Texas keeps Cruz? I suppose he might be a good low-buy if the PEDs stuff lowers his asking price… And I’m not high on Elsbury, I don’t see the excitement. I’d rather our prospects get development time (not necessarily next year, but he’d block them in 2015 and beyond).

              1. Jon

                I think you can get a good deal on Granderson, but I wouldn’t overpay too much.

                I don’t think Cruz returns, I think their is bad blood over his decision to appeal the suspension so he can be clear of it for FA.

                I’d see about shorter years(higher avg salary) for Elsbury and he can keep the seat warm for Almora.

                1. Cyranojoe

                  Short contracts work for me. But that probably means those guys are looking more to “prove it” than to win as a team, at least a bit. Not a bad thing, I’m just saying.

            2. Eternal Pessimist

              Theo hasn’t seemed to show interest in players w/ the stank of PED use. Hard to tell how much he will fade (short term evidence won’t do it for me).

              1. aaronb

                David Ortiz
                Manny Ramirez
                Curt Schilling
                Erik Gagne

                Theo hasn’t shown to be adverse to going after PED’ers. Not even mentioning that an “unnamed front office official” suggested that Curt Schilling try HGH to rehab from injury during his last year in Boston.

                Theo and Jed are good front office stewards, but lets not pretend these guys are saintly figures.

                1. Eternal Pessimist

                  I may have mistaken his history…are these Theo pick-ups after the PED was detected/admitted to???

                  1. Eternal Pessimist

                    Not really thinking Theo as a Saint, just a guy that doesn’t want to pay for a guy like his enhanced performance will continue withouth the PED.

                  2. aaronb

                    We will never really know who was all guilty during that period. Gabe Kapler is another guy who had a ton of speculation that I left off the list.

                    That list is guys (other than Manny) who have been linked to one report or another that were brought in by Theo.

                    My guess is that Theo is looking for value. If a failed PED guy offers the best value. Then I’d bet we would target that guy.

                  3. Scotti

                    The Boston clubhouse had massive PED scandals–literally down to the bat boys. Google it.

          2. Kyle

            Who knows? They don’t explicitly come out and say it. They do things like Sanchez did: let the Cubs drive up the market price and then sign elsewhere.

            There were reports that at least one major FA last offseason told the Cubs not to even bother making a pitch.

            1. wilbur

              The only free agents the cubs were going to sign last year were ones that didn’t have a qualifying offer, so no great losss if someone like that didn’t want to sign with the cubs is it?

              1. Kyle

                Of course it wasn’t. Everything bad that happens is actually part of the plan.

                1. Kyle

                  If I had to throw a wild and crazy guess out there, it’d be Upton.

                  1. Jimmy james

                    So far they dodged a bullet if it really was him and they were interested.

            2. college_of_coaches

              Kyle, do you have any thoughts (or suspicions) who this was? Second question: Any idea why this was so?

    2. Justin

      Castro has been a consistent participant in the tanking for this entire season. What a team guy that Starlin Castro is, he’s all about the protected picks…

      1. On The Farm

        Wood and Samardjiza seem to have figured it out too. Looks like our FO has been good at teaching the players the Cubs way

        1. Tonto

          Not sure Samardzija has figured it out yet. He has made strides with the process of converting from a reliever to a starter but I’m not sure he has figure out the nuances of pitching that wood has. Throw in woods pitching knowledge and control with Samardzijas arm then you have have a top 5 starter in the league. I think Samardzija has converted from thrower to pitcher but he still isn’t really all there but I kind of get you point though

          1. Richard Nose

            aaaaand the wwwwhif.

            1. Tonto

              Richard Nose: yes I get a 4.23 ERA is getting it these days….

  12. someday...2015?

    Dream scenario would be the Cubs fall to #2, the Astros go cheap by passing on Rodon, and we come in and draft our future ace. I don’t see it happening, but that would be ideal.

    1. On The Farm

      True, but the Astros getting Appel-Rodon to have on their rotation for years to come makes me happy they left the Central

  13. Justin

    I really would be surprised if the Cubs went after any qualifying offer FA’s, so the top 10 probably isn’t that big of a deal. Maybe Ellsbury, but I think someone else could give him a pretty long contract like the Mets if they’re out of the top 10.

    1. Jon

      I’m really fckin tired of this front office crying “poor”

      1. Cyranojoe

        I don’t disagree, but what FAs are out there for next year that you really want?

        1. Kyle

          Almost none of them. That’s the big thing.

          I’m not a fan of waiting for prospects and young, talented guys to develop as our only plan, but it’s about the only one available to us at the moment.

          1. aaronb

            I’m not sold on the idea that “We can’t do nothing but sit and wait”.

            I’d hope we would explore all avenues to improve. Salary relief trades for guys like Gallardo or Lohse. Buying low on Chase Headley. Spending some money on a Corey Hart flyer. Maybe kicking the tires on Ian Kennedy or Phil Hughes.

            There are many ways to improve a club, not via free agency.

        2. Jon

          Position Players
          Jacoby Ellsbury
          Shin-Soo Choo
          Nelson Cruz
          Curtis Granderson
          Carlos Beltran

          Tim Lincecum
          Masahiro Tanaka
          Josh Johnson

          Just to start…

          1. Jon

            In fact, if they are not seriously in a a young arm like Tanaka, then be worried. It means Papa Rickets won’t open up his checkbook.

            1. Kyle

              Or that, as Wittenmeyer is still reporting, he can’t because of the sales agreement with the Tribune.

          2. Mr. B. Patient

            Which of these players will be important to our next playoff team?

            1. Kyle

              If we do things right, all of them could be.

              1. Mr. B. Patient

                Lay it our for me. What is our rotation? What is our line-up? If any player is obtained by way of trade, who did we send for him. What year will we be a playoff team? On the free agents, what contract terms are we talking about? What will motivate anyone to sign with us?

                1. Norm

                  What is our rotation?
                  What is our line-up?
                  If any player is obtained by way of trade, who did we send for him.
                  What year will we be a playoff team?
                  On the free agents, what contract terms are we talking about?
                  –Let me get my crystal ball….I mean, there are no answers to any of these questions.

                  What will motivate anyone to sign with us?

                  1. Mr. B. Patient

                    If you believe the Cubs are near playoff contention, and this list of free agents will help them reach that goal, you have an idea of what you think the team will look like. I am just asking those who believe we are near contention to share their vision.

                    1. Cyranojoe

                      Personally, I think next year we try to make .500 and slip into the playoffs. If a couple low-buy, short term FAs get us there or plug holes, you go for them. Or if a team-making trade (Stanton?) or FA pickup (Cano?) can happen, you make a go for it. But you keep your eye on 2015-2016 and the prospects that should be ready then as the “go for it” years, so you don’t sacrifice/block the players who will make those years successful, if you can help it.

                    2. Kyle

                      We share our vision all the time. It’s a bit presumptuous to make a long list of demands.

                      There’s a lot of different ways next season could go. Some of them end with us in the playoffs. Some of them end with us in the playoffs without many significant outside acquisitions. A lot of them don’t.

                2. Jon

                  Just some ideas for 2015


                  Jeff Smardja
                  Masahiro Tanaka
                  Travis Wood
                  Josh Johnson(or some other low buy)
                  Arrieta/Hendricks(+ other internal options compete)

                  CF – Elsbury
                  LF – Cruz
                  RF – Soler(Assuming ready)
                  SS Castro
                  2B Baez
                  3B Bryant
                  1B Rizzo
                  C Castillo

                  Those are just some hypothetical. I got Bryant @ 3rd because I don’t have faith in Olt.

                  Maybe you move Bryant to RF, play Soler and LF and then you only need 1 FA outfielder.

                  1. Brad

                    Jon, Thank god you aren’t our GM. No offense but Cruz? Josh Johnson!?!? Do like roided up and often injured players on that wrong side of 30? But you make a great point about Tanka. He will be very interesting. Not sure the Cubs would be willing to our bid other teams for his services on the posting fee

                    1. Jon

                      All depends what you can get Cruz for. I would not go more than 3-4 years. But a shorter term deal. For sure.

                  2. Mr. B. Patient

                    Thank You. Well thought out roster.
                    Much better team that we have now. I’m going to say it’s a bit short on pitching, and too reliant on youngsters playing well right away.
                    If we are lucky, Baez, Bryant, and Soler are like Trout/Machado,, and pretty much produce big right away, this team could be a playoff contender. If not, there would be growing pains, so maybe 2016 becomes more realistic. Then the question would be, will Ellsbury, Cruz and J. Johnson still be good/healthy, or will we be saddled with bad contracts?

                    1. Jon

                      I’d also look to trade for Price without giving up Bryant or Baez. I also want to take big time this year to get a college arm ready for 2015 like Rondon, Beede,Hoffman.

                      2015, we can win!

                  3. wilbur

                    That is pretty good lineup but I think it may be a bit overly optimistic on the timing. I don’t think you expect all the players coming up to instantly adjust and start playing at their best in the first year. Look at the year Rizzo is having, and imagine if just half of the players your lineup is counting on in 2015 have similar struggles when they get to the show. Not to mention the addition of the free agents would then also probably be at least a year too early since the team will be unlikely to be able to compete with so much youth in 2015. So may as well get another year of adding as many high ceiling prospects to the farm system throught the draft, keep your free agent powder dry and not have to lose a draft pick or two in compensation. If there is a foreign player from japan and it is just a question of being the high bidder, they I think they will at least be in the mix.

                    I think it will be 2016 before the team is competitive and probably 2017 before they are in the playoffs, if things go well. The stadium will be redone by then the wgn deal will be redone and the comcast deal will only have a couple more years to go. If it all comes together at the same time it will be quite a story.

                  4. Ferris

                    Where is jackson…hes our three next yr anhopefully four or five moving forward…but you gotta figure him in.also cruz worse defence than soriano… pass.

                  5. X the Cubs Fan

                    Tanaka, if he is as good as advertised should be a cub. But I dont know about the rest of the team.

                3. Kyle

                  No. I’m not going to do all that.

                4. Kyle

                  Heck, I think I can get the Cubs in 2014 into the playoffs without *any* outside acquisitions, if you give me a magic wand that makes three things happen:

                  1) The trio of Samardzija, Rizzo and Castro each take a step foward put up 4-win seasons like we hoped they could.
                  2) The mass of interesting prospective bullpen arms we have comes together into an above-average (not great, just like 12th in MLB) pen.
                  3) We get +3 or 4 wins of general clutchy variance.

                  If all that happens and nothing big happens good or bad anywhere else on the roster (or at least it all evens out), we could run out a team with what we have now and probably win 90 games.

                  1. DarthHater


            2. Jon

              When do we want to try and win?

              1. wilbur

                When the stadium is done. When the team is getting market value for the media rights. When the farm system can sustain the success for years, and not just another one year flyer followed by years of mediocrity and bloated underperforming contracts. 2016 we’ll get a glimpse, 2017 they could surprise everyone with how fast it all came together.

                1. Kyle

                  The stadium won’t be done for, what, five more years at the optimistic?

                  It’s completely asinine to think that a rebuilding plan needs five years just to “get a glimpse.”

                  1. MichaelD

                    I think the more ridiculous part is that it took six years and would surprise everyone how fast it came together.

          3. Cyranojoe

            I like Choo, but he and Ellsbury would block our prospects in 2015 and beyond; Granderson’s gonna be 33 next year; Cruz could be a great low-buy option, potentially but not likely; and Beltran will be 37! Actually, that’s not bad — might get him for a short contract, he’s an experienced winner… ok, I can dig that.

            I would love to get Lincecum if the FO sees a rebound in him. Don’t know Tanaka. JJ is on the DL again, but maybe a “prove it” contract could be terrific.

            OK, there’s more out there this off-season than I really thought. That said, I don’t think I’d want any of them on blockbuster deals. Would you?

            1. Jon

              Almora isn’t going to be ready by 2015, and when he is ready, he’ll probably be hurt. He’s my favorite player to dangle in a trade for a veteran on the market like David Price. A short term CF upgrade for the Cubs makes sense.

              1. Cyranojoe

                Price seems like a good idea, but he’s been headed downward, which is worrisome. I totally don’t see Almora being injury-prone, but that’s a matter of opinion.

            2. Kyle

              There are three outfield spots. We don’t need to worry about blocking A-ball prospects because we sign one outfielder

              1. wilbur

                Still need a top of rotation guy on the staff to win. And I don’t see him yet do you?

                1. Kyle

                  You don’t *need* one. It’d be nice, but it’s not an absolute necessity.

  14. Steve

    Up until Rizzo joined the Cubs last season Castro was producing at an All-Star level ever since he joined the Cubs. I think he became jealous of all the attention that came Rizzo’s way and instead of him being the star- of- the- team, all of that attention paid to Rizzo truly affected his overall play.I

    1. Mr. B. Patient

      I think Dale/Theo/Jed and ‘The Cubs Way’, and trying to make Castro conform, is the reason Castro took a step back. Hopefully he can recover.

  15. AlwaysNextYear

    “You can book it”. Has to be one of the worse sayings ever and often comes back to bite a person in the ass. Brewers at least have some offense which if you score runs at least gives you a chance to win meanwhile the Cubs can barley mustard a single run often times. Keep running a lineup like yesterday on the field and I do not care whose pitching your not going to win.

    1. Kyle

      “You can book it” is right behind “Case closed,” “’nuff said” and the always popular “But, but…” construction.

      1. waittilthisyear

        the worst phrase used today is “just sayin.” say something really ignorant, follow it by saying “just sayin” as if that makes it ok.

        the cubs suck and brett is a hack and jedstein are running this franchise into the ground. just sayin.


        1. Drew7

          Including the phrase, “In my opinion” to a post just drives me bananas.

          Oh, and the misuse of the term, “literally”.

          1. DrReiCow


            Did you see that dictionaries have decided to accept the the non-literal literally?


            Sad day, I say.

            My biggest grammatical pet peeve is the misuse of “good.” Soriano did well last night – he did not do good last night (unless he is also Batman).


          2. DocPeter Wimsey

            Yeah, that mistake drives me mad, figuratively.

          3. MichiganGoat

            Mine is the great “You know what I’m saying” in response to a question. If I knew they WOULDN’T ASK THE FARKIN QUESTION YOU NITWIT ARSEBAG.

            1. Edwin

              Or when people try to define or explain a term by using the term in the definition. That also sucks, you know?

          4. Edwin

            Using the term “begs the question” wrong always gets me, for some reason.

          5. On The Farm

            In my opinion it is okay to use “In my opinion” if you are trying to seperate your post from facts that you presented and what you think. I am sorry if I drove you literally bananas.

            1. Eternal Pessimist

              I agree…in my opinion.

            2. Drew7

              Sure, but saying something like, “Baez won’t be ready for The Show until he gets his K% down” is obviously an opinion already – there’s no way to prove that statement to be 100% true. So adding, “IMHO” to it is silly.

            3. Soda Popinski

              I like to read the phrase “in my opinion.” It shows a sense of humility and an admission that one could be wrong. It separates you from the really loud, arrogant people who are often wrong, but type in CAPITALS to really drive their point home.

          6. DarthHater

            Welcome to the Bleacher Nation Grammar Nazi Forum:

            1. Geo

              Girls You are so cute when upset.

            2. MichiganGoat

              This isn’t really a grammar issue instead this would be a style discussion.

              1. DarthHater

                Ask Mr. Language Goat

          7. D.G.Lang

            Literally? In my ever so humble opinion I think that you may be slightly overstating your case.

            If I told you one I’ve told you a million times, Don’t over exaggerate.

    2. forlines

      Mustard singles? Is that like a condiment packet?

      1. LWeb23

        Kraft singles?

      2. AlwaysNextYear

        No just good ole auto-correct on my phone.

    3. Spencer

      “Has to be one of the worse sayings ever and often comes back to bite a person in the ass.”

      Worse than what?

  16. cubsin

    I’m far less concerned about where we finish this year than I was last year. I don’t think we’re at all likely to sign a free agent requiring compensation this winter, so the protected pick wouldn’t add any value. The extra IFA pool money is nice, but we’ll probably trade part of it for a lottery pick or two since we can’t sign anyone for more than $250,000. Obviously, I’d rather draft 4th than 14th, but that’s about it.

    1. terencemann

      I’m also of the opinion that the Cubs aren’t going to sign a free agent with compensation attached given the fact that it impacts all the draft picks they will attempt to sign in the first 10 rounds – not just the 2nd round pick they’d lose.

    2. D.G.Lang

      One good thing about a high draft pick is that it is high in EVERY round and not only the first round.

      Being higher in EVERY round gives a team a slightly better chance for getting a player than if they had to wait to the end of the round to try to get him.

  17. Jon

    Mike Olt is 0-for-2 with 2 “Mike Olts”. Theo got sold a bad bill of goods :(

    1. mdavis

      People need to stop looking Olt as the centerpiece of that deal. He was a buy low guy, which I think was great. CJ Edwards was the main guy in this. This year i think is a wash with Olt. I sill expect him to come back next spring refreshed and 3B, in my humble opinion, is his to lose for opening day.

  18. jeff1969

    Olt has put up some pretty poor stats since becoming a Cub. What are people saying about his performance? Is it a vision thing, a concussion thing? Is there a consensus?

  19. bigbluebear

    Ok start this off by saying as someone who has had concussion problems I will state due to experience that Olt will more than likely be more like his old self next year as compared to this year those concussions can take a while ask Justin Morneau. Next the only free agent I would consider signing next year is McCann. He could occasionally give Rizzo a day off and could be used in a semi platoon with Castillo keeping him off the dl quite as much. With what I said earlier about Olt I think if he’s doing anything next year in ST he gets his shot which allows us to use Valbuena as a platoon with Barney even occasionally allowing the cubs to give Castro a day off here and there by playing Barney at short. Sweeney, Lake, DDJ gives us a good defensive outfield although light on hitting. With an improved Bullpen which isn’t hard as this years sucks we will be much better off. Let the young’ns keep developing only maybe giving them a September call up if there raking and were much better next year. As far as rotation goes I don’t think Shark is a #1 but is close enough to play the roll next year. Add Baker or Cabrerra and Arrietta in the mix with Rusin as back up and we will have a good enough rotation. This way were not out much money next year keep out young’ns developing and will be much improved to keep a few people in the seats. I really think McCann with his experience could help our young pitching staff take a step forward next year. Also we will undoubtedly make at least one or two trades next year and with that I’m looking for a supp. draft pick to replace what we lose if we do decide to go after McCann. This isn’t going to win us a world series but we improve in short term while keeping the long term goals possible. But thats just an idiots perspective who knows how this really plays out.

  20. TSB

    To all those people that are hoping that the Cubs lose to get a higher draft pick: How about getting proactive, and start walking the walk? At Wrigley, if the Cubs have a big lead in the late innings, do everything in your power to make the Cubs forfeit the game; trash the field, throw batteries at the opposing team’s outfielders, maybe start a fire or two. Of course you would probably get thrown out of the park or maybe even arrested, but hey, if you’re going to ruin the game for the fans that want to see some sportsmanship and a Cub victory, go for it…

    1. Edwin

      False dilemma much?

  21. Headscratchin

    I get the tanking for draft picks angle, but I still WANT TO SWEEP the Cards. Don’t care what the long term impact is just want to see a good old fashioned country butt kickin!

  22. Ivy Walls

    Of course I have been watching this via Sunday morning posts on the message board.

    This is all big picture stuff, deep “business strategy” where nothing is said publicly and only can be interpreted by actions. Look at their actions in the Intl FA signings.

    I don’t think we have seen the full measure of their plan and except for Soler (and Conception) I think things are going according to plan, though more numbers is part of the plan to account for injuries.

    As for FA I think position players is not the direction, but look for pitchers, though I doubt a big head liner is its direction. The rest of the season is actually on Sveum not the FO. But I really think that we will see some trades over the winter that some loving Cub fans might have some angst.

    Again I see Samardzija and Castro as prime targets when the timing is right, though both values have diminished because their game was not fully developed in the Cubs old system.

  23. Die hard

    When does Theos contract expire? Does he or Cubs have option? Does he get bonus for .500 season? Will a .500 season trigger an option? All such questions on the horizon

    1. DarthHater

      Are any of Theo’s relatives birds? When did he stop having sex with iguanas? Inquiring minds want to know.

    2. MichiganGoat


      1. DarthHater


        1. DarthHater

          Begin countdown for Bleacher Nation Annie to appear and start hating on us…

          1. MichiganGoat

            Or Jon with an inappropriate gif

            1. DarthHater

              Hell, I can take care of that:

              [Ed. - I mean, it wasn't *that* bad ... but I think we should probably avoid that, don't you?]

              1. MichiganGoat

                Okay Darth now it’s time to get a post of yours deleted.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Damn Brett quick on the draw

                2. DarthHater


                  1. TWC

                    Hurts, doesn’t it?

                    1. DarthHater

                      Actually, I’m just amazed that it’s taken this long for it to happen.

              2. DarthHater

                At least it was sports related. :-P

                1. DarthHater

                  And suddenly, multiple users are reading the gif thread… :-P

                  1. Jp3

                    So I don’t frequent the message board much but when I do… I like GIFs (like the piece…of workout equipment..)

                  2. Jp3

                    So I have to say if I’d just had seen that GIF and was guessing what I thought the topic was I’d have guessed our possible IF future starters(Alcatara, Baez, Bryant specifically)💁🍌

  24. DarthHater

    Oscar Taveras Out For Season Feel bad for Oscar, but it’s kinda nice to see that God’s wrath doesn’t fall only on the Cubs.

  25. Bilbo161

    There might be some tight-wad effect from management that limits the spending when they know the team is going to be bad. There is only so much that can be done to the MLB roster in any given year, without affecting the future success of the team. That is not tanking. It’s thinking ahead. This team looks like its playing to win every day on the field. Folks who think this is tanking are wrong. Tanking would be reprehensible.

  26. Kirbs414

    I know this is a little off-topic for this article, but does anyone know who is considered to be the frontrunner on Abreu?

  27. JeffR

    Who has a higher ceiling Zastrryzny or Skullina? Both pitched decent tonight?

  28. Kramden

    Looks like C.J. Edwards got back on track tonite.

    I have a hunch that both Olt and Brett Jackson are going to need to rediscover “it” at AA.

  29. another JP

    And Baez with the dinger to straight away center to give TN the lead. Enjoy him Smokies fans, because he won’t be back next spring.

  30. Chris


    Statistically speaking, you want the Cubs to get a top 5 pick.

    From 1997 to 2010, teams who draft in the first five overall picks have a 80% chance of drafting a player who makes the MLB, while those who draft in picks 6-10 have a 73% chance.

    Also, in that same period, teams who draft in the first five overall picks have a 34% chance of drafting a future MLB All Star, while those who draft in picks 6-10 have only a 21% chance.

    And that’s why I’ll be rooting for the Cubs to lose as many games as possible over the next 6 weeks.

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