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miller parkAfter yesterday’s loss, the Cubs cannot leave Milwaukee not in the basement of the NL Central. Jeff Samardzija is still going to try and win anyway.

He’s working on a rough stretch of starts, and I’d imagine he’d like to finish the year strong for a variety of reasons.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (63-87) v. Milwaukee Brewers (66-83), 7:10 CT on CSN+.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

Apologies for the lack of a Series Preview on this one. Just didn’t have time with the family move.

Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.44 ERA, 3.80 FIP)

versus

Marco Estrada (6-4, 4.29 ERA, 4.18 FIP)

Milwaukee Brewers Lineup

1. Norichika Aoki, RF

2. Jean Segura, SS

3. Jonathan Lucroy, C

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Carlos Gomez, CF

6. Scooter Gennett, 2B

7. Caleb Gindl, LF

8. Sean Halton, 1B

9. Marco Estrada, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Junior Lake, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Ryan Sweeney, CF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Donnie Murphy, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • mjhurdle

    i actually like this lineup, considering who we have to choose from.

  • willis

    I do too. It’s about as good as you can do.

    I guess Theo had an interesting media session before the game, looking for more details on it but from what I’ve seen, don’t expect a big FA signing and look for Baez to play 2B and 3B in AZ Fall league. Oh and they f’d up trying to mess with Castro, are content just letting him be himself.

    • Brains

      I’ve totally lost patience with this season. If by the end of year 3 they are just beginning to consider trying I’m losing patience with Theo too. This time next fall, if there aren’t substantial improvements through signing, trading, whatever, I’m going to start calling for Theo to be fired. Being paid millions of dollars to engineer a team built to purposefully lose just doesn’t seem sportsmanlike to me. This isn’t Montreal, people love the team, go to games, and pour entire third-world country amounts of dollars into the organization to make it worth our while, and their while.

      • willis

        Well, as we have mostly all inferred from comments and expected, there won’t be any splashes this coming offseason. Looks like continuing to operate with a middle market major league budget until the kids are ready is the way it’s going to be. Not really anyone out there though that I think is worth sinking big money into this year. Now, trying to trade some guys for a proven TOR starter or even middle rotation starter, that’s what will irk me.

        But I get the feeling a lineup like tonight, is what will be rolled out opening day next season. Hooray?

        • willis

          Whoops, I mean “not” trying to trade for a proven starter…if one’s made available.

        • Brains

          Rebuilding takes some time and planning, I get that. But at some point they’re just dicking us around. Sorry but it’s not cool, it’s not good business, and it’s not good baseball. It’s bad everything. One more year of goofing around, and no repeats of that DeJesus trade. That only happens when you’re indiscriminately trying to dump players for no reason. Someone else finds a reasonable opportunity.

          • Eternal pessemist

            Problem isn’t Theo…his moves have been good to great. Problem is the owners agree only to put all profit back into the team, but don’t include the growing club equity in that calculation. If they let Theo spend he wiil spend!

            • Brains

              I’m guessing this is probably right. Those new owners aren’t real “baseball people”, but what owners are outside of the Yanks or Detroit?

              Everything just seems to be going wrong in the same way, and we keep getting fed a bunch of catchphrases repeated by overly-optimistic fans. Guys, this ship sunk and we’re trying to raise it and patch it up. There’s no supreme hope in the current minor leagues. They rarely become stars just because they’re ranked.

              • mjhurdle

                well, if you say so, i guess it must be true…

          • mjhurdle

            The irrational DeJesus love is getting out of hand.

            Pretty soon he will be at Watkin and Campana level.

            • MichiganGoat

              Yeah it’s perplexing.

    • Jason P

      Tanaka would seem to fit the kind of player they would want to go after. Not often a mid-20′s potential TOR starter comes on the market.

      • hansman1982

        Well, about twice every 3 years. And there was Greinke last year.

        • X The Cubs Fan

          “Mid 20s” Greinke was 28

          • hansman1982

            Potatoe, Potato

      • Jon

        Papa isn’t going to give Theo the money for Tanaka.

        • willis

          Pretty much. No big FAs means no going to battle for this dude with actual big market teams. No way they get into that bidding war. Payroll…shred shred shred.

      • willis

        He would actually cost money. So…it won’t happen.

        • mjhurdle

          well, considering the Front Office seems willing to spend money on just about everything (except random internet FA signing suggestions) i think that if money is the only issue, Tanaka will be a Cub.

          • willis

            Do you really think they’ll drop the amount of money it will take to get that guy? Especially considering there will be big market teams involved? I just can’t see it with all that’s been said about money, then they’ll say they did their best and came up just short.

            • mjhurdle

              i look at the sheer amount of money that the Ricketts have legitimately thrown at this club (not in the form of big FAs, so most people ignore it), i look at the way he maxed out the budget for the draft, then went waaaaaay over budget in IFA, i look at the offer to Anibal Sanchez in the off-season and i don’t see where the reational comes from for ‘OMG THE RICKETTS WONT SPEND!!”
              that is almost 100% contrary to the facts we know, and are mostly spun by people who had their heart set on a FA or two that the Cubs didn’t sign.

              Tanaka wont command near what Darvish got, and they are looking at changing the posting system before it even happens to be more MLB team friendly. he may not end up with the Cubs, but it will be because they did not think his talent was good enough, not because they simply dont want to pay him.

              • Brains

                My understanding is they bought the team and are spending most of the money suing the city and paying themselves back for their self-loan. Hey, “me first” when you’re a billionaire. You don’t see too many rich people start as social workers.

                • DarthHater

                  Got a reference to the Ricketts’ lawsuit against the city? I hadn’t heard about that.

                  • Brains

                    So you agree that the Ricketts’ are using team profits to pay themselves back is a problem. We can start there.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      Looks to me like he was just asking a question and not agreeing with anything.

                      I’d also like to see what this suing the city business is about. I’ve been working quite a lot lately, so I guess I missed that article. A link would be appreciated.

                    • Tommy

                      I only saw this one snippet of a post and wanted to reply, so if I’m saying something that has already been said, I apologize.

                      Brain – if you want to complain about the Rickett’s, that’s your right. Complain about the ML team sucking and what not, but choose to ignore the money and effort they have dumped into the FO, the minor league system, and the international leagues while you’re at it. If you can’t see what is being built by now, then you are short-sighted, and not unlike many of the instant gratification crowd that is so prevalent these days. Keep complainin’ and go buy some more penny stock while you’re at it.

                      Most of us here will continue to watch this organization being built up from the ground level for sustainable success, and when it happens, we’ll be there to celebrate.

                      Rickett’s has dumped millions into this organization, but the casual baseball fan that doesn’t pay attention only sees the major league payroll and jumps to false conclusions and makes poor assumptions as we are seeing here.

                    • DarthHater

                      So by evading my question you admit that you pulled that “suing the city” comment out of your rectum. We can start there.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Well said Tommy you also forgot the 300 Million he’s paying out of pocket to renovate Wrigley and the surrounding area, renovations that were expected to start in a few weeks but because of political hurdles that won’t start for another year at this point. And the money that renovation was bringing will be delayed. If you look at the expenses of the Tribune/Zell era you see the majority of money only spent on the MLB roster but this ownership has devoted money on foundational pieces and were expecting a major increase in ad revenue next year to bolster the MLB payroll. But that is now delayed.

                      So yeah of course Ricky is just cheap and only wants to gain profit… They don’t care about winning. Obviously. DUH!

                      Alas, we now face another year of short sighted cry babies. Yeah.

                  • Kyle

                    He’s not paying anything out of pocket to renovate Wrigley Field.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      Exactly.

                      I would also say that while the Chicago taxpayers should be very happy, and perhaps even grateful that the Rickett’s didn’t request financial help for Wrigley, Cubs fans are also entitled to feel that the Rickett’s aren’t making enough of an investment in the current team. As they improve Wrigley using up 100% of revenue on the team/facilities they will also be building equity, which is really just delayed profit.

                      I am still very hopeful with the crops of players coming up that we will be able to sustain a level of competitiveness into the future, and if the new revenue streams work out well we should be able to end this world series drought. But I also think the Rickett’s could be spending more today…even if it is more than the revenue they take in, so I don’t think they should get a pass on their dedication to bringing a winner to Chicago. I think Theo is doing a great job with what he has.

                • Tommy

                  Your understanding is wrong.

                  • Tommy

                    Thank you for filling in my blanks, Goat.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Anything to make sure everyone understands that Ricketts is a cheap horrible owner that wants to screw fans over.

                    • willis

                      Short sighted crybabies is a little much, but I get where you are going with that. Look big picture think big picture. But when is enough enough? When does the ownership start being accountable? Next year will be year 5 in a row of crap. Another year as the one of the worst teams in baseball. I understand “the plan” and I love what’s going on with the minor league teams, but soon enough I’d like to see improvement and competition in the majors. If it weren’t for the Astros, who are now gone, we’d be looking at 5 straight years in the basement of the central. I don’t think it’s too much to want to see a contending team soon.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Next year is the start of the Theo regime’s third year. So now I’m not going crazy Chicken Little at the start of the third year nor am I lumping the years before Theo has part of the current plan. Yeah it sucks to lose but are we seriously this short sighted that we demand a giant payroll and if we don’t get it we start to puns the ground and curse the heavens. Are we that pathetic? Sadly many on here lately are exactly that.

                    • hansman1982

                      So far, half the years the team was crap, they spent out the wazoo on FA. Now they spend out the wazoo on everything but big name FA.

                • cub2014

                  Brains your comment that “you dont
                  see to many rich people start out as
                  social workers” is what is wrong with
                  this country. Self made wealth is what
                  has created this amazing country we
                  live in. We need more self made people
                  (risk-takers,innovators,people with
                  vision). In the end he is a business man
                  I think he will make decisions that are
                  good for the team and in the end good
                  for his bottom line, Man some are so
                  cynical how do they make it through
                  the day.

                  • Brains

                    This just sounds like an advertisement for Trump Towers, no one actually thinks this way, do they? How about the 95% of people who read this site who put in 50 hours a week and aren’t recompensed millions of dollars? Are they just inferior or lazy? Significant wealth has almost no correlation to hard work except in rare circumstances. And if we put our hard earned money into a baseball game they could at least provide the pretense of trying to make the sport resemble a sport within the lifetime of a rabbit.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Still waiting for the evidence about Ricketts suing the city. We’ll wait we’re patient.

                    • Brains

                      Last I heard I think he was going to sue you for parading the curse…in Michigan.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      I’ll await you evidence for that as you keep moving the goal post and deflecting your precious comments. Keep the fallacies coming it really adds to your genius.

                    • hansman1982

                      I think I’d disagree. My wealthy older brother has put in quite a bit of hard work to get where he is. It’s not like millions of dollar just flopped into his lap one day.

                    • Jeff

                      I think what Brains is trying to say is that the uber wealthy, sorry your brother does not qualify as much as you might want to lump him in that group but someone like Tom Ricketts does, inherits their wealth from a previous generation.

                      The argument is that they have worked hard to get where they are, but the reality is that they started off in a much more privileged position than others and were given better educations and had more opportunities than the average rise to riches individual.

                    • bbmoney

                      Making broad generalizations about any group…including the “uber” wealthy…is a fools errand.

                      Example 1…Bill Gates…did not inherit his wealth and has been the richest man in America for quite a while. Brains didn’t really make that generalization, but Jeff did. So I just wanted to point it out. Brains did say wealth and hard work have little correlation though, which may or may not be true, but you need to take it on a case by case basis.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      Ricketts and his three siblings grew up in Omaha, Nebraska.[5] His father, J. Joseph Ricketts, founded Ameritrade when Tom was 8 years old. The Ricketts’ childhood is described as normal middle class, with their father working 80 hour weeks and worrying about paying bills. Ricketts senior let it be known that he wanted his children to establish themselves through their own hard work and would not be allowed to join TD Ameritrade until they reached the age of 30.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_S._Ricketts#Biography

                      Yes, hard work can pay off. Is it guaranteed that everyone that works hard will make it big? No. That sure as heck doesn’t mean that those that do become highly successful don’t work hard.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Brains likes to make a broad generalization or a false claim and then never back up his statements. Yesterday he said Ricketts is suing the city of Chicago and has yet provided any evidence nor will he. What he says has less and less validity or reason to reply.

                    • Jeff

                      bbmoney

                      I read you post and other than spewing a bunch of words to have your voice heard, I’m not really sure your point.

                      I didn’t make any broad generalizations, I pointed out rational facts.

                      Gates is not a second generation wealth holder so I fail to see how he compares to someone like Tom Ricketts.

                      Your grasping, but good luck with that.

                    • mjhurdle

                      “Gates is not a second generation wealth holder so I fail to see how he compares to someone like Tom Ricketts.”

                      ohhhh, so now we are only talking about second generation wealth holders, and not the just the uber-wealthy?

                      it is hard to try to converse with you when you constantly change what you think you are talking about.

                    • Jeff

                      Mjhurdle

                      You guys need to learn how to read, the original comment was always about earned wealth over inherited wealth and the difference between the two.

                      Only your inability to read and think make it difficult to converse with you.

                      but that is to be expected, you only come on here to argue, it’s what you get off on.

              • Kyle

                Lowering payroll by $35m and throwing an extra dozen million at the draft is not really as impressive as you are trying to make its ound.

                • cubs2003

                  I agree with Kyle, but perhaps this isn’t what he was saying. Maybe I was a bit premature, but I expected payroll to be about the same after ownership changed. Come down a little, I guess. For a big market team to act like TB or Pittsburgh while they rebuild the farm is not what I expected. What alarms me even more is that every MLB team is on to this strategy by now. We’re already seeing it in a player like Castro, who might be a bust but is under contract for a long time. I don’t know if the FO is trying to prove they can do it or the budget limitations are that severe, but it should be easy to understand Cubs fans’ frustration. I guess I’m just not as patient as some. The farm looks good, though. That’s certainly something.

                • jt

                  I didn’t mind the lack of money flow for the past couple of years. I’m kind’a looking past the payroll sums and viewing the value being created; and I see value being created. Point in fact, I see a surplus of value in some areas. However this seems like a good time to add a couple of impact quality players. My fan thing is to see how the hot stove shakes out. It seems to me that the trade market will have more value than that of the FA’s. They should have desirable pieces and financial room to make trades as to needs in that they have already built the surplus.

                • hansman1982

                  So we are going to take the 1 year in Cubs history as gospel as to what the club can spend?

                  The $30M difference between the Cubs 2009-2011 average and now is actually quite trackable and being spent on useful things (sans the debt repayments).

    • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

      Yeah, I think Baez replacing Valbuena/Murphy at 3B by mid-2014 to 2015 reduces our need for Barney. We could sign someone who actually contributes to the offense at 2B, Omar Infante to a 2 year deal. The FO probably made their minds up to deal Alcantara soon, awaiting Bryant (or Olt) to take over 3B, moving Baez to 2B in 2015.

    • cubs2003

      If anyone has audio/video/quotes from this session, I’d love a link. I’m starting to question Ricketts’ capabilities. If he was a self made man I’d give him more benefit of the doubt. Rich people aren’t always smart and smart people aren’t always rich. I guess time will tell, but if I was Theo and didn’t know what I was getting into I’d be more than a little pissed.

  • CeeDeeVee

    Lake batting second?! Finallyyyyyyy. I like this lineup. Sveum is smart, hes trying to earn brownie points after what happened yesterday haha

  • Aaron

    Lake batting second tonight means a hitter batting over.300 with speed to score runs in front of the RBI guys batting behind him. This is Junior’s 54 game this season. Does anyone remember Lake batting second before tonight? Hope he does well.

  • Jon

    Surprised we haven’t heard from the Logan Watkins fanboys yet…

    • Melrosepad

      How is it fanboyish if someone just wants to see him actually get a start or two. He has had 2 starts since he was brought up (8/4 and 8/14) and 3 plate appearances in September.

  • Aaron

    I read that Logan is the bat boy for tonight’s game.

    • Eternal pessemist

      Heh

  • Senor Cub

    Everyone here talks about Theo as if he signed up for this. He may end up leaving before he gets fired. This entire Wrigley renovation stand-off thing is not what Theo signed up for. I don’t have much hope for 2014 and 2015 is starting to look like the beginning of something but that’s two additional years out. We are 3-4 years before we can even think about contending for the division, let alone a pennant, and a WS.

    • Jon

      Yep, in a interview, just a few weeks ago, from Theo’s mouth he admits this.

    • Brains

      I agree with this – but everyone is banking on this “plan” as though it’ll work because Theo is some kind of genius…”so it has to work!” Well what if it doesn’t and he’s been pissing away years of contending to protect his image? Based on his performance the past two years he’s clearly no genius. The GMs in Tampa and Oakland do a whole lot with very little. We do very little with a lot. He’s just had big machines behind him and he makes moderately good decisions that cause moderate impact. He clearly has a bad machine behind him and he’s no magician.

    • willis

      I do believe Theo came here to have a chance to build a winner as the main man, and was intrigued by doing in Chicago. I do not believe he came here knowing this thing would be a 5-6 year project before competing was possible and that he would have no money to spend on pieces that weren’t for flipping, but actually to help win. I do think he’s much more handcuffed than he expected and eventually he will become frustrated with the lack of money. Saying that, I can’t imagine he’d walk away with nothing but insane amounts of losing here on his resume.

      • Brains

        He’ll walk away when a better owner comes along and blame it on the machine. And he won’t be wrong. If he was given a reasonable operating cost he’d do more, I agree with everyone about this. But he’s on track for the _worst_ “splash” in the history of baseball. The guy has no chance to build a winning record within 5 years of getting here, he’s going to have a 90 loss average and have made insane amounts of money feeding a culture of defeatism evident at this posting board.

        • willis

          Well yeah, if another owner comes and offers him something better with money to spend, then he would most definitely walk. I meant I don’t think he’d walk away from the organization (resign) for grins. But, if a real owner comes around and offers him something, hell yes he’ll jump.

          • ClevelandCubsFan

            What world is this that a baseball executive can unilaterally renege on his contract, walk out the door, take another job at a competing franchise, and call it a day?

            • MichiganGoat

              I assuming this is sarcasm… since that’s what Theo did to come here.

              • ClevelandCubsFan

                Not really at all. The Red Sox had to agree to let him look, the position had to be an upgrade for him, and the Cubs had to pay the Red Sox off.

                • hansman1982

                  Ya, the Red Sox basically pushed him out the door.

        • MichiganGoat

          [img]http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/410/773/776.jpg[/img]

        • mjhurdle

          way too early in the night to be full-on ridiculous.
          save some of that for later.

        • DarthHater

          “have made insane amounts of money feeding a culture of defeatism evident at this posting board.”

          Hmmm, then I guess the people here who are constantly harangued as “koolaid drinkers” are actually intrepid spirits heroically resisting the “culture of defeatism” while the hordes of whining negative nellies limply succumb. :-P

          • Brains

            Defeatism is calling a loss a win. Or a failing a virtue. And that’s all we have a chance to do these days.

  • Jon

    Theo isn’t bailing, it would look like shit on his résumé if he did. He just has to deal with it for now and ride Papas ass to spend some $$$

    • Brains

      Either way, this is looking to be an avalanche for him that he didn’t start by yodeling. Poor Theo. He’s just not up for this Herculean task.

    • willis

      I surely don’t think he’d bail unless a great opportunity came around. I do believe he had no idea money would be as tight as it is and that this turnaround would lead to years of 95+ losses on watch.

  • Senor Cub

    I’ve seen this movie before therefore I think I will iron my socks tonight. My prediction, Smards give up 3 HR’s and and the they lose 7-1. His ERA closer to 5.00 by end of night. Enjoy that!

  • Blublud

    The Shark is not an Ace club has neen out in force lately. I wonder if the Shark is an Ace club will show up tonite.

    • willis

      Seeing that he just gave up the game tying bomb…I doubt it.

  • willis

    Castillo homer-awesome.

    But Shark just gave it right back.

  • willis

    I know you guys hate bunting but how about bunting here?

    And before I can post he Ks. Crap.

  • Fife

    All the negatives saying Theo’s failing and all that is garbage… no way. Remember the huge Hendry contracts he couldn’t move. He certainly couldn’t dump them and get nothing. He’s done a masterful job and really I’d say he’s probably ahead of schedule on the huge task of rebuilding an organization with serious deficiencies. With the Wrigley renovations, new revenue plans, new TV deal coming, new spring training facilities, new baseball institute in the DR, cuttng edge scouting and analysis, a farm system that’s gone from crap to awesome in 2 years. These were all stated goals of the Ricketts’ when Theo he was hired. Organic talent, player development, top notch facilities, They’ve nailed it better than what anyone could have reasonably expected. They’ve flipped average rental players for good prospects and prepared the field for an exciting surge of farm team talent. I, for one, would sign up for 5-10 more years of Theo and Ricketts. I cannot wait to see where we are in 3 years because it will still take that long.

    I expect Baez and Bryant to be decent contributors from the start when they come up starting the 2nd half of next year, but will still go through a year of fine tuning. Hendricks sounds like he could be there too. Almora, Alcantara, Soler, C.J. Edwards, probably won’t be consistent producers until their 2nd or 3rd years. Some may not even pan out. I expect Vogelbach and Villanueva to get traded when their stock is high. Olt will eventually become a utility player if he starts hitting again. I expect we’ll get a killer, quick rising draft pick again in the next draft, but the Major League team won’t be much different in 2014 than it has been this year. 2015 is when the real improvement takes place and an emphasis on winning starts to become evident. 2016 and thereafter is when we consistently will compete for the division.

    • cub2014

      Well said fife! we are all so impatient.
      You have to have the guts to follow a plan,
      and the testicles to stick with that plan. That
      is what we are counting on the FO to do.
      That being said it would be great if we were
      in the playoff hunt in 2014

    • cubs2003

      I agree. I have no problem with what Theo, Jed, and the FO have done to date. They’ve done as well as could be expected with what they’ve had to work with. I am a little disappointed with the ownership side. I hoped the MLB payroll would be higher and the renovation would be further along by now. That’s the job of ownership as far as I’m concerned.

      • Fife

        I can understand the disappointment and sympathize but what would be the point of a higher payroll? The outflow of dollars to all these foundational projects really must take priority. We’d also feel obligated to play high priced free-agents instead of evaluating and flipping talent. The renovations…. well I don’t blame ownership… its all Chicago politics and lawyers causing the delays.
        I give them all a 3 year leash from here to show improvement. I think we’d all agree, that’s almost inevitable after what they’ve built in the minors and that is a success in itself. I have confidence the payroll will rise when it is prudent to do so. But it won’t be until 2015. Hoping for more before then would be inconsistent with the plan, and unfairly impatient given what they started with.

        • cubs2003

          They traded DeJesus for salary relief and publicly said so. That’s the one that got me. I’m not an irrational fan of his or anything, but that tells me something about the financial health of the organization that is disconcerting. I’m also pretty stuck with the opinion that having some veteran everyday players can help young players succeed with less pressure. If someone is being blocked, and that may have been the case, then I guess I understand. They should have said we want to play Lake, Sweeney, etc. Not we need the $2M or whatever the number is.

        • Kyle

          The point would be to win enough baseball games to have a chance to win the World Series.

          That really shouldn’t need to be said.

          • TOOT

            Yikes! Just because youwin the most games doesn’t mean your taking the WS.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              He said “win enough”, not “win the most”…and he said “have a chance to win win the WS”, not just “win the WS”. Trolling should be a more subtle art form.

        • cubs2003

          I was willing to give them a three year leash from the get go. We’re about two years into that. I’m not expecting a World Series, but I would like to see significant improvement. I’m impressed with the turning around of the farm, but a .500 team next year is what I’d like to see. A couple prudent free agent signings, feather in the top four over the next couple years as well as others, and the Cubs can compete for the Central in 2015 and compete for the World Series after that. Here’s to hoping.

          • TOOT

            I think a .500 team for 2014 is doable. The Cubs were only 7 games under .500 before the sell-off started this year. W have to see a turnaround from Castro and Rizzo though. Rizzo is really scaring me. It no longer is a small sample size for him. Take away his good May and he would be hitting a mere .217. To close to the Mendoza line for sure. But he is only 24. I’ll wait till the end of next year to reach a persol conclussion on him. Castillo is looking good. Lake looking gooddespite all the bad PR he is putting up with.

            • ClevelandCubsFan

              .500 team until July.Sure. But they will be looking up at 3 other teams and 81 wins won’t seem so important. They will sell… er… flip. and we’ll finish at 73-89. No. One better because the talent pool coming in after the deadline will be better than this year so the drop won’t be as bad. Let’s say 74-88. That’s my from the rear prediction for 2014.

            • hansman1982

              ” Rizzo is really scaring me. It no longer is a small sample size for him. Take away his good May and he would be hitting a mere .217.”

              Well, thank God they play all the games and he has more XBH this year than last. Otherwise…

              ZOMG RIZZO IS A BUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            • jt

              Rizzo’s OPS is comparable to that of David Freeze, the somewhat regular 3B of The Cards. Freeze’s BA is higher than that of Rizzo but The Cub 1B has a higher SLG via the greater number of xbasehits. Rizzo’s BB rate is a bit higher than that of Freeze but doesn’t seem to be a difference maker.
              Who is likely to improve? In 2014 will a 24 y/o Rizzo likely hit more singles and improve his OPS or will a 31 y/o Freese likely get more xbasehits and improve his SLG?
              2013 Rizzo could bat 6th on a good team’s lineup. That is not a bad thing. That he has been batting 3rd just indicates The Cubs need for a couple more big bats.
              Oh yeah, does it seem like he is starting to hit that low inside pitch hard? If he can get to that pitch maybe he will be worthy of hitting 3rd on a good team. I guess we have to wait and see how that works out.

          • willis

            Read the quotes from Epstein tonight before the game…it’ll put a damper on those positive thoughts. He said they are not in a position to sign/spend on FAs because they aren’t ready to win. For those holding out hope 2014 will be any better than another year in the gutter, time to temper that and realize this rebuild is going to take much longer than many of us had initially thought and hoped.

            • TOOT

              I don’t know about that. Our rotation looks to be pretty good. Hasn’t been bad. Add Kyle Hendricks in the mix and it be very good provided Shark and Jackson start pitching the way they can. Castro and Rizzo come around and an unexpected breath of fresh air from another player, and guess what? You are a .500 club or better. I reeally envision it.

            • cubs2003

              I haven’t read the quotes, but that is a little depressing. I see Rizzo as a Carlos Pena more than an Albert Pujols. Maybe that’s off base. Good player, but will need a strong lineup around him. If they’re not spending any money this could take some time.

              • TOOT

                Here is why I can’t believe(at this point) that Rizzo is another Pena. Look what he did last year. His line was not Pena like. Don’t know what has happened in that short amout of time. I know suggestions have been made that the league has adjusted or it’s the sophmore jinx. I don’t know what to think. That’s why I’m on boat to give him another year before jumping ship. If next year brings these kinds of numbers, time to jump off the Rizzo boat.

                • Jason P

                  I think the full season sample size this year after the league’s had a chance to adjust is a more accurate representation of where he is as a player than the half season he had last year when he was just breaking into the bigs.

                  The one thing about Rizzo that makes me think he won’t turn into a perennial low average-high power guy is the fact that even this year he has struck out less than your prototypical power hitter. Granted, much of the contact he makes is on the ground right into the shift on the right side of the infield, so it would be nice to see him go the other way a bit more often like he did in 2012.

                  But there’s no way he’ll be a career .251 BABIP guy. Nobody’s stays that low for their entire career, even guys like Dunn, Howard, etc who have similar tendencies to hit into the shift. Maybe he won’t be a star, but I think he’ll hit at least .250-.260 with an OBP almost 100 points higher. With power, that’s a very productive first basemen.

                  • TOOT

                    I’m hoping you’re right. I want to believe so badly.

                  • TOOT

                    But again, you can’t deny the fact is is not hitting left handed pitching. Bycontrast, I think Mark Grace hit leftis better than righties. Not comparing the two by any means. Just pointing something out.

                • cubs2003

                  Pena wasn’t a bad 1B in my opinion. He had a good career. I really think losing/having so much pressure on him is hurting his hitting. There’s just no one he can look to help on an everyday basis. People will probably disagree, but another power bat would help this lineup a bunch in my opinion. It’s not just about production, but Rizzo’s development as well as all the young players. Even if you have to overpay.

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70′scub

      I agree 2015 is when the young talent emerges therefore I like to see the Cubs get a top 10 pick in the next two drafts.

    • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

      A great read. I’m sure if you asked every GM and Owner out there about what the Cubs have done in 2 years it would be nothing but positive feedback and amazement at how far along they have come in such a short period of time.

  • willis

    This is about to be a loss…why is it the Brewers, who on paper suck just as bad as the cubs, kick the crap out of the cubs? Even though the season is way over, it’s still annoying to continuously lose to that piece of crap team.

  • swaz46

    Do any of the rest of you feel like every time Milwaukee walks off against the Cubs that they do it with a squeeze?

    • willis

      I’d say they outsmart the cubs in most meetings. I wonder where that comes from? I’d guess the dugout.

      • MichiganGoat

        Totally Sveum’s fault totally

        • Jeff

          Look at the bright side, we hold firm to that #4 pick

          • willis

            Draft picks are all that matter for this organization. So I agree. Hooray another toilet season.

  • Blublud

    Castro seem to be finding a rhythm, Lake seem to always have at least 1 hit(even though 3 SO is pretty bad), our Catcher position continues to produce (Castillo finally showing some power lately).

    On the other hand, Rizzo continues to noes dive, Sweeney is proving to be nothing more then a bench bat, Schierholtz absolutely sucks right now(4 hits, 3 walks in 45 September at-bats, going .097/.155/.170)

  • wasssup

    This site has reached lame status. All the new posters have drabbed it out for all of us. $ is not the solution. If they signed Cano and he was a bust? Well, we would have a ‘Soriano Fall Out 2.0.’ Negativity is contagious, ya’ll. I read this site to find the good in the Cubs, not to listen to bitching and moaning. Are we Cubs fans or are we complainers?

    • Jimbotron

      Have you considered that the other POV is in fact the negative one? The one where we don’t expect success because there’s the never-before-seen too-smart-for-you-to-understand “plan”? The one where we sit through unnecessarily awful seasons to field a team with low payroll while we don’t make that up in other expenditure? The one where our market is big enough that we should be doing both?

      Sounds pretty negative to me to give up. But hey, if supporting the cubs means supporting the owners, then I guess anyone who criticizes them is nothing but a cubs-hating boobird.

      • MichiganGoat

        That makes no sense if we don’t scream, shake our fist at the sky, ask for Sveum’s head, call Rizzo a bum, hate Ricketts for being cheap, damn dirty apes, demand a huge payroll, and don’t see promise and a bright future of sustainable success DOES NOT MEAN we want to lose and we are okay with losing seasons. It means we are not calling the team’s bad seasons as the being of the end of days, we have patience that goes beyond one year, we are see the direction and the plan unfolding and don’t see the need to gnash our teeth.

        But continue to have fits if you want, but don’t try to deflect your negativity on the other side.

        • Cubbie Blues

          [img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tVKwihK3Bwo/TGQYbaMOI-I/AAAAAAAAAF4/Kt2EQhNfHHE/s1600/the+other+side.jpg[/img]

        • EQ76

          I see both points. Honestly, I’m pumped about the farm system… I’m optimistic that Wrigley will get a face-life and bring in revenue.. but let’s all be truthful here, the MLB team is awful.. like barely better than the Astros and Marlins awful.. It’s hard to watch them play and it seems a bit unnecessary to be this bad right now and there doesn’t seem to be any hope that we won’t be just as bad next year. What scares the hell out of me is the possibility that several of our prospects don’t pan out.. what then? What if Soler, Almora, Bryant all flake out in the pros? Then what’s the plan? Another 3-5 years of hope?

          • Stinky Pete

            Yup. That’s the plan. And there ain’t nothin’ you or I can do about it.

        • Stinky Pete

          Yes. I particularly like the phrase “shake our fist at the sky”. Because that’s basically what you are doing when you come on here and try to incite the people of the oppressed baseball team into revolution.
          Hey, maybe you’re 100% right and Theo and Jed are bumbling fools and only end up damaging the franchise for 100 more years. So what? Not much we can do about it. The Chicago Cubs franchise is going to operate how the Chicago Cubs franchise operates regardless of what is posted on a message board. And any objections are just barking at the wind.
          Just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with someone saying “I don’t think this strategy can work” and discussing it. But there is a not so fine line between rambling and discussing. Just sayin’.

      • wasssup

        Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. I’m OK with that. I see both sides. I am a glass half full man, not half empty. There are a lot of things behind the scenes, we, as fans, don’t see. Cubs fans have faith that one day it will work out. Keep the faith and drop the nenegativity.

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