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theo epstein about thatChicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein address the media yesterday, discussing a wide range of topics. If you’d like to check out his full thoughts, you can see them here, here, here, here, here, and here, for example.

The topics of conversation, together with my thoughts/reactions/analysis/etc. …

  • On chasing big name free agents this offseason: “I don’t think we’re going to get to where we need to be through free agency for the short term, honestly. Given the needs that we have and where we are and the likely price tags on the market, I don’t think we’ll have the ability to add multiple impact pieces in free agency.” As usual, the quote is a parser’s dream. When Epstein says the Cubs can’t get to “where we need to be” by way of free agent signings in “the short term,” is he saying he doesn’t project the Cubs could turn in a playoff contender in 2014, even if they went hog wild in spending this offseason? Surely he can’t be, because the Cubs could absolutely build a paper playoff team if they were willing to drop hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead, I think the latter part of his quote informs the first sentence. Given this particular upcoming market, and the state of the Cubs’ rebuild, going nuts in free agency in order to build a “winner” in 2014 isn’t going to get the Cubs to where they need to be – i.e., with a team that annually has a chance to make the playoffs over a ten year stretch.
  • On the need to improve the team’s on-base percentage, Epstein essentially said that he’d like to see the Cubs leading the league in that stat, and he wants it to be a hallmark of the organization. He indicated that the Cubs will look for it in free agency, but, for financial reasons, they’re not in a position to be able to go out and just buy as much on-base percentage as they want. Unnervingly, Epstein noted that some of the younger, impact players working their way up through the system are not prototypical on-base guys, and they could stand to have a veteran showing them how to grind out at bats. It feels like the angle to these kinds of questions is some variation of, “So, are you going to sign Shin-Soo Choo or not?” Reading over the accounts of Epstein’s responses, I get the sense that the Cubs aren’t ruling it out; but they recognize that they are in a financial situation where they can’t have confidence that, if they want Choo, they can get him no matter what. As I’ve always said about Choo, or any other bigger name free agent this offseason, it depends a great deal on how the market develops.
  • At the same time, you have to take all of this not-ready-to-spend stuff with a grain of salt. The Cubs weren’t ready to spend in 2013, either, and yet they added Edwin Jackson (narrowly missing on Anibal Sanchez), Carlos Villanueva, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Nate Schierholtz through free agency. I take Epstein at his word, as I always have, that the Cubs won’t be huge spenders this Winter, half because it doesn’t make sense to be (either because the players aren’t worth the required investment or because they won’t be the difference between losing and winning), and half because the money isn’t there yet. It sucks that the baseball operations department doesn’t have an unlimited supply of cash to use however they want, but we’ve known that was the case for a while now. That doesn’t mean there won’t be acquisitions. And, if the Cubs do pursue Masahiro Tanaka and/or Shin-Soo Choo, what exactly are we talking about here? The Cubs were unable or unwilling to pursue … Robinson Cano? Jacoby Ellsbury? There aren’t many free agents that are “bigger” than Tanaka or Choo, so it’s important to remember that the kinds of players Epstein could be saying the Cubs must eschew this offseason might be the kinds of big money free agents they’d want to eschew anyway. I guess what I’m saying: even if you accept that the Cubs don’t plan to be competitive in 2014, other than Choo or Tanaka, I’m not sure I see any big name “you have to sign them when they’re available” candidates.
  • On the (failed?) attempt to rework Starlin Castro’s plate approach: “We made an effort to introduce [Castro] to the concept of getting a pitch he can really drive, because in the long run, that can benefit him. But if that can’t be accomplished without him being himself as a hitter, you have to let time play its course, and he’ll naturally evolve that way.” Epstein suggested that, long-term, Castro will be better for having gone through this experience – not just the struggling and overcoming part, but the actual plate approach part. Even if it didn’t “take,” he’s still likely to come out of this a more selective hitter, who waits for pitches he can drive.
  • Epstein is pleased that Anthony Rizzo is among the league leaders in walks and extra-base hits, but the average being so low is a bit puzzling. (I take that to be his public thoughts; Rizzo’s got an 11.5% walk rate, a .188 ISO, and a .249 BABIP – in those numbers, alone, there are reasons to believe he’s going to be fine.)
  • On evaluation Dale Sveum this year, Epstein used a whole lot of words, but didn’t say much. Epstein wouldn’t commit to Sveum returning in 2014 (Sveum is under contract for 2014), but only because there is an evaluation process going on right now, which happens every year.
  • Epstein reiterated that the Wrigley Field renovation (at least not any revenue-generating portions) is not expected to get underway this offseason. Very disappointing.
  • Epstein said that the plan is for Javier Baez to open 2014 as the starting shortstop at AAA Iowa. He might get some looks at second base and third base this offseason, but there is no plan to move him off of shortstop until he’s absolutely knocking down the door of the big leagues, and still stuck behind a healthy/productive Starlin Castro.
  • Griff

    So what is Rusin? He’s pitched well but does he go into next year as our #5? Not sure he can have the success over 30 starts. I’m also rooting for Tanaka as a Cub and Corey Hart on a short deal.

  • rich

    TulaneCub, you’re right about Jesse (the wannabe ) Rogers. Great word trolling .

  • Frank

    Shin-Soo Choo I can see in center field at a half way decent price. Robinson Cano? Too much money and you can move Baez over to second. Jacoby Ellsbury is a sneeze away from the DL.
    The Cubs just drafted a third basemen, so maybe he’ll be ready in a year or two. The same for the Almora and the Cuban guy. (brain fart)

  • Not sipping the koolaid: 2014 Cubs record 69-93

    Ellsbury and Choo are not worth signing if they receive a qualifying offer. Unless there price drops AT LEAST 75cents on the dollar because of it. If it quite the steal and they still give you value and the amount of years you want then MAYBE its in the discussion to give up a 2nd rnd pick for them.

  • Not sipping the koolaid: 2014 Cubs record 69-93

    The real prize in this FA class is Tanaka bc of age (only 25), Potential frontline arm, and don’t have give up a pick to acquire him. He is pretty much the only target I think thats a no brainer for the Cubs to go after.

    Ellsbury age/$/injury questions.

    Choo age/$ questions

    Cano. i flat out don’t want us to get because I don’t want a 30yr old 2nd baseman for 8yrs +$200M. To expensive and doesn’t match with our competitive time to compete. He’d be leaving his prime even though he’ll still be very good.

  • Not sipping the koolaid: 2014 Cubs record 69-93

    From what Epstein said: it sounds like another 90 loss season, acquire flippable assets, and develop young players. I’m fine with that and I think its a smart decision

  • Not sipping the koolaid: 2014 Cubs record 69-93

    If it were me I would start Baez back in AA. Then a midseason call up to AAA. Then in 2015 start him off at AAA, and then in 2015 we wait till we get the extra year of control and wait to avoid super 2 status and then call him up. If this team is going to suck next year leave him down in AAA and gain as many year of control you can. Even if he mashes the ball just say your leaving him down in the minors to refine his approach and work on his defense in the field and make him get 500 ABs at AAA.

    The only excuse of calling him up before then is if we were making a miracle playoff run and bring him up only if the FO thinks he can help

    • Kevin

      If we are trying to be competitive in 2015, since you think 2014 will be another wash, we should definitely start him in AAA and let him get to the majors in 2014. He will need to make adjustments and since he tends to start slowly in each league with a high strikeout rate I would rather him do that in 2014 then in 2015 when we are trying to make a serious run.

      • Not sipping the koolaid: 2014 Cubs record 69-93

        Kevin: Do you think Theo/Jed actually think we are going to be competitive in 2015? I don’t. I think they’ll add maybe a signifcant FA in the 2014 offseason if there is a match.

        2015: will be a development season for our current minor leaguers, IMO. I don’t think when Soler, Baez, Bryant, Almora or any prospect comes up, I don’t expect them to lift us into the playoffs. I think it will be more of a learning experience and getting there feet wet while going through bumps and bruises

    • Not sipping the koolaid: 2014 Cubs record 69-93

      As much as we fans are dying to seeing Baez in the majors soon, I’d leave him in the minors as long as possible to gain extra yrs of control that will be his Prime.

      Just say you want to see 500ABs at AA and then additional 500ABs at AAA. Additionally say you want to see him improve his fielding and approach before you call him up. Make him a well oiled machine that is as refined as possible in the minors in order for him to get the call up to chicago.

      I’d rather have extra yrs of control then just get excited to see Baez at the bigs next yr. Gaining extra years of control in his prime are more important then seeing him next get call-up to Chicago in what will be a bad season (most likely)

      • Eternal Pessimist

        “I’d rather have extra yrs of control then just get excited to see Baez at the bigs next yr.”

        If they bring him in mid 2014 they won’t lose the extra year of control for 2014 use, but they will have to pay him more over the course of his control years (Brett gave a nice estimate of the added cost previously).

        I would rather have Baez up late 2014 to start making some adjustments to the big league pitching because I think this team may make some noise in 2015, though it will increase the salary costs in the long run (I think it might have been and extra 1-2 million per year)

        While our salary spending may not approach the Dodgers or Yankees levels, we will also have very few bad contracts to deal with.

        • Losing makes u better 62-100 > 75-87

          I believe he was talking about want to gain 2 addition years which might actually not be a half bad idea but would be very hard to explain to the fan base for why they aren’t calling him up.

        • J.F.Edwards

          There is a strange crew in Cubdom that seems to relish being bad as long as possible because of the dream of some long-forbidden fruit they seem to believe no one has waited long enough to acquire: the perfect baseball franchise.

          It’s like always siding with Theo Epstein and saying, “We are more patient than you.”

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, after 100 years we’re all patient enough.

          The Cubs got the best guys they could afford to make the best decisions the team can afford, to get as good as possible as fast as possible. That’s all.

          I think the 2014 Cubs could be a middling talent team to start the year that gets hot early, makes a move or two (or three) and makes a run at the second wildcard.

          And I’m tired of the patient optimists, that’s just a lovable loser in disguise. It’s time to get nasty and start expecting our mediocre guys to be better than the other team’s mediocre guys. We need fire. We need energy.

          I’m glad we have fights in the clubhouse at the end of a crap year. That’s the way it goes when guys want to win and don’t. They aren’t lovable losers. They get mad.

          • TOOT

            “The Cubs got the best guys they could afford to make the best decisions the team can afford, to get as good as possible as fast as possible. That’s all.”

            How do you know this wise one?

  • Frank

    Why is everybody talking about gaining another year of control? I don’t think that’s what’s on Theo’s mind or he wouldn’t have signed Castro and Rizzo to long term contracts. Both of them were under control for several years.

    • Not sipping the koolaid: 2014 Cubs record 69-93

      Frank: Thats foolish to say Theo isn’t going to be thinking about gaining an extra year of control on these stud prospects. He absolutely will be.

      He did that with Rizzo by leaving him in the minors for most of the season last season

    • C. Steadman

      it gives us an extra year to either work out an extention with him or trade him…a good example would be Shark..if this was his last year with us then we wouldve probably sold at the deadline or hastily signed an extension higher than the Cubs wanted, which wouldve resulted in a low return, (bc he would be a rental for the other team) then what we could get for him in the offseason when we can trade him to a team and they will give a higher return for a whole year of Shark or we can use this offseason to sign him now

    • hansman1982

      You’re talking about two completely different things. Service time control vs. cost control.

      Holding a player to late April is Service time control
      Holding a player to Super-two status is purely cost control
      Signing a player to a contract extension that only buys out arbitration years is cost control
      Signing a player to a contract extension that includes a couple free agent years is both cost and service time control. They got this with Castro and Rizzo

  • cubsfanforever

    Dear Mr. Ricketts, Theo and Company- I don’t mind if you do not spend any money on free agents and I am sure you wont mind if me and the other fans don’t show up to the ball park to buy a ticket, to buy beers and hot dogs. Its apparent you would rather lose millions by lower crowds and less concessions than to put a credible team on the field. I have no problem with the building process BUT also understand that you can in fact do both. You simply choose not to. If you couldn’t afford the team to put a winner on the field then maybe you shouldn’t have bought the damned team. How sad that what once was a hard ticket to come by now can come at penny’s on the dollar. Sometimes I hear your voice Theo that every season is sacred. Your full of crap steaks.

    • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

      The last two seasons under Ricketts we’ve had $100+M payrolls. Money does not always equal wins.

      • cubsfanforever

        They had shit payroll from the previous owner unless I am confused.

        • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

          Ah, so spending $100M isn’t enough. After they’ve spent the last 2 years getting rid of old bad contracts you want them to ink some more bad long-term contracts. Gotcha.

          • Kyle

            If all they could manage with more money is more bad contracts, then maybe they are bad executives.

            I have more faith in them than that.

    • http://bleachenation Sacko

      those are my thoughts also,cubsfanforever

  • Bill189

    Are there any kind of studies that show a correlation between the type of hitter a player is and his BABIP? Darwin Barney for example doesn’t have much pop at all and usually hits the baller “weaker” than players such as Anthony Rizzo. Does this mean his BABIP would be lower than someone with more pop? I know it is a dumb question, but I’m not good with these stats such as BABIP

    • Kyle

      Ground ball hitters will have higher BABIP, fly ball hitters will have lower (but they’ll make up for it with not-in-play hits, aka Home Runs). Obviously, consistently hitting line drives can help as well. Speed is a big factor as well.

      Barney will always be a low-BABIP guy. But not as low as he’s been this year.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Seems like Barney’s “line drives” are so weak that SS’s and 2B’s can catch up with them much more often than they can with those with more power, so some of his unluckiness at the bat is probably due to EXTREME weakness of his swings.

        • Kyle

          It really doesn’t work that way.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            So the speed at which a ball comes off the bat has no bearing on the amount of hits someone gets? Don’t tell that to Miguel Cabrera

            • Kyle

              Miguel Cabrera gets a lot of hits because he hits a lot of line drives, not because his line drives are super-special hard line drives compared to other people.

              • Mr. B. Patient

                Watch the game. You will notice that all line drives are not created equal.

                • Kyle

                  I watch the games.

                  Learn math, science and the rules of empirical evidence. You’ll understand a lot more about what you are watching.

                  • Mr. B. Patient

                    Wow.

                    Actually, I know math. I needed it for my degree in Chemistry (a science), and I have yet to see any empirical evidence that says the ball speed off the bat has no bearing on the amount of batted balls go for hits.

                    That being said, how does a knowledge of math and science enhance my baseball watching experience?

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      Agreed B. Patient. Barney hits some of the softest line drives I’ve ever seen. I have seen far too many of them float (like a butterfly) to the infield (not technically a ground ball). Other players increase their luck with screaming liners that get through.

                • Kyle

                  I hate when people take the time to force me to look things up.

                  Darwin Barney has a career .630 BABIP on line drives.
                  Cabrera is .746.

                  There’s a difference, but it’s not nearly enough to explain the difference in their BABIPs.

                  • Mr. B. Patient

                    Now look up the speed in which their line drives come off the bat. I’ll bet Cabrera’s come off faster.

                    • Kyle

                      OK?

              • Blublud

                I think the speed that the ball comes off the bat is probably the number 1 facter in BABIP. Typically, the harder the ball is hit, the harder the line drive, the faster it will get to it destination, the higher the chance it’ll go for a hit. If Cabrera’s line drives are consistently harder then Barney’s, then more of them will like drop for a hit.

                • Kyle

                  I don’t disagree with any of that, but it still goes back to the original point, which is that while it’s true that line-drive speed has some effect, there’s no reason to believe that it’s large enough to explain Barney’s low BABIP this season.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    “there’s no reason to believe that it’s large enough to explain Barney’s low BABIP this season.”

                    “Darwin Barney has a career .630 BABIP on line drives.
                    Cabrera is .746.”

                    I would add, there’s no reason not to believe it, and some reason to highly suspect it.

                    • Kyle

                      Darwin Barney’s career BABIP is .272. His BABIP this season is .224.

                      If he had a .746 BABIP on line drive and everything else stayed the same, he’d have a career BABIP of .298.

                      Miguel Cabrera’s line drive ability would only add 26 points to Barney’s BABIP.

                      Anybody who thinks that Barney hitting ‘soft line drives’ is the reason he has a .220s BABIP this season should feel bad about themselves. Just a little, I mean, it’s just baseball.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      It’s just a piece of the puzzle Kyle, I don’t think it is the only reason he’s failing at the plate this year by any stretch.

                      Misplaced this response earlier. My eye-hand coordination problems are reducing my successful post rate.

                  • When the Music’s Over

                    116 points on line drive percentage is huge.

                    Kyle, I cant remember if it was you who told me this before during a conversation about Baez’s BABIP, but when I brought up that it would dip a bunch at the MLB level, I was told it would dip, but that it would still remain well above average because he makes such hard contact. Brett may have even chimed in.

                    • Kyle

                      It’s not 116 points on line drive percentage. It’s 116 points of BABIP when they hit line drives.

                      It’s not nothing, but it isn’t in the same universe as large enough to explain Barney’s low BABIP this season.

                      People seem to be having a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that Barney can *both* be a low-BABIP hitter *and* have an unluckily low BABIP this season.

                    • When the Music’s Over

                      Yes, I understand it’s BABIP and that 116 on BABIP on all line drives isn’t enough to bridge the gap between barney and Cabrera, but it’s not insignificant enough to just gloss over it to fit an opinion. External pessimist isn’t saying it explains all of barneys shit BABIP. In fact, he originally said it contributes to his bad luck. That was it.

                    • Kyle

                      Well, then we’re just agreeing contentiously. It’s a thing I do sometimes.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      “People seem to be having a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that Barney can *both* be a low-BABIP hitter *and* have an unluckily low BABIP this season.”

                      No, actually I understand that perfectly…and also am pretty good at math, though I’ll spare you the resume.

                      People seem to be having a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that people can believe he can both have an unluckily low BABIP while still contributing to an overall low BABIP with weak liners.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    It’s just a piece of the puzzle Kyle, I don’t think it is the only reason he’s failing at the plate this year by any stretch.

              • TOOT

                E=C^2
                Sorry Kyle , you are way out in left field this time, wrong ball park too. I mostly agree with your posts, but, what you think’in. Of course line drives are hit differently. The batter’s tendencies, the pitcers deliveries, wind, I could go on and on about it. The fact of the matter is the ball DOES leave a bat at different speeds and DOES impact BABIP. There is no denying that.

                • TOOT

                  E=MC^2 before you jump on it.

  • jon

    On the subject of service time, was there any rhyme or reason for the White Sox to bring up Marcus Siemen this September (other than the fact they have no clue when it comes to their minor leagues?)

    I saw him on their roster the other week and I couldn’t believe they called him up in a lost season.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Jon, there is no rhyme or reason to ANYTHING the Sox do with their minor leaguers, yet they always seem to graduate more than the Cubs. I just don’t understand.

      • jon

        “Graduating” a prospect really isn’t much a feat. Any team can graduate a prospect from AAA or AA to the majors, it’s how they perform at that level.

        Sox fans love to brag about how many of their minor leaguers made the big league roster, while ignoring their actual production once in the big leagues.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          They’ve had their share of ‘no name’ pitching prospects do pretty well.

        • Scott

          To be fair, their young pitching is pretty good. Sale is a #1, Quintana has been a #2/3 this year and Santiago has looked good. In the bullpen Reed and Jones have both been solid. Their problem has been a complete lack of offensive production from the farm.

  • C. Steadman

    he still accrues service time, so they are probably bringing him up to see how he handles the MLB…however, to gain an extra year of control and/or avoid Super Two status they’ll have to hold him out even longer next season now though, unless they are not worried about that and will gift him a job outta spring training, in that case he’ll lose a year of control

    • C. Steadman

      whoops forgot to hit the reply button to jon’s post

  • Gridge

    If the Cubs make offers to two out of these three players— Jose Abreu, tanaka, and Choo—and when all is said and done end up with one of them, i’m happy.

    All will make us better next year as well as when when our “serge” of prospects arrive in the near future.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      Tanaka for a total of 6/90 & Choo for 2/30 would be nice.

      • Gridge

        Tanaka for 4 for 45, and Choo for 4 for 50

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          Angel Pagan got 4/45 with a lifetime .338 OBP; he turned 31 going into his walk year. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/paganan01.shtml#contracts

          Choo will get minimum 4 for 60, I think. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/choosh01.shtml – based almost solely on his lifetime .389 OBP. And that the qualifying offer is around 13.5-14.0M (not exact, but its in that ballpark.) So 14 x 4 is 56, I think he’ll get at leasr1-2 mil bump over that since his 4th in the MLB in OBP this year.

          Tanaka: That’s a horse of a different color. Posting system is under review – like to see how that turns out.

      • Hansman1982

        Don’t forget Tanaka is going to be subject to a blind bid. It’s more likely to be 4/90 once that is factored in. Some teams are going to hope he’s the next Darvish and forget all about the high bust rate of Japanese players.

        • aaronb

          Rest assured, we will end up finishing 2nd on any free agent that performs well in 2014.

          That tends to be the narrative on some message boards if we have yet another (5th consecutive) losing season.

          Theo and Jed tried really hard. They finished 2nd on every guy who was good and available.

  • Cubzfann

    I understand the idea of gaining years of control on Baez by keeping him in the minors and also off of the 40 man for as long as possible, especially with losing seasons for the big league club, but would it possibly be wiser to stagger the prospects coming into the Majors? I don’t think a 2015 club of 3-5 starting rookies is really going to be a contender. At that rate we are looking at probably 2017 – 2018 before a legit playoff shot. Would it do major damage, aside from cost control long-term, to have decent major leaguers fill in and call-up one prospect in early 2014, one after or around the trade deadline, one get a Sept. call-up or early 2015, and then one or two later in 2015 or in 2016? Assuming they are ready or at least succeeding in AAA. Just wondering. It seems a lot of eggs are being put in the same basket. Like the hopes of a playoff team as soon as we put rookies starting at at least 4 positions.

  • Die hard

    Bye bye Sveum

  • Steve

    Not that I enjoy seeing managers let go but after two losing seasons, I still don’t understand why Sveum rarely utilizes the bunt to move a runner into scoring position, hit and run or the suicide squeeze. Obviously the Cubs have lost numerous low scoring games because of lousy run production and using those offensive strategies would give the team a better chance to score a few more runs. During 2012 spring training the writers spent days reporting about the new manager’s bunting contests. Since then the Cubs rarely bunt. Bring in Joe Girardi and let him lead this supposed upcoming Cub team of the future!!!

    • Gutshot5820

      First, you are assuming that the Cub players are adept at bunting and then you are assuming that if they are able to execute a bunt properly, they have hitters with an ability to drive them in. I’m not a fan af Sveum, but as far as the bullpen and lineup is concerned he is in a no win situation. Whatever strategy he uses, Sveum is going to fail far more than the avg manager because he does not have the talent to execute his strategies properly.

      But concerning his ability to recognize and develop talent, he is a zero to me. I can see him being an excellent bench coach, but he makes a terrible manger.

      • caryatid62

        I think he’s also assuming that bunts increase the likelihood that runs get scored, when in fact the opposite is true.

  • Cheryl

    I’d like to see Baez and some more of the promising rookies invited to Spring training in 2014 but I sure hope that Sveum is gone by then. I don’t see him as being a positive manager for rookies and Theo may be inching toward a decision on Castro. He admits the attempt to rework Castro’s approach at the plate failed. If they hadn’t tried everything at once maybe he’d have been better..

  • Fastball

    Adept at bunting. If the government can teach a monkey to hump a football. You can teach a professional baseball player to bunt. I will never buy an excuse for any player not getting a bunt down. In stead of a bunting tournament have a serious bunting program. These guys suck and they can’t bunt either. So what does that tell me. Hmmmm!!!

    • Eternal Pessimist

      “If the government can teach a monkey to hump a football.”

      …going to write that one down for later…

    • Feeney

      Instead of teaching them to bunt, the Cubs should spend their time doing something smart like teaching the players valuable skills. Then never bunt. Ever. That would make the most sense.

  • CubsfaninAZ

    I honestly think the Cubs should make a run for Roy Halladay! If he returns to form and your not in the race, you would once again have to best flippable asset on the trade market. If he returns to form and your in the Race, who better to have fronting your young rotation? If he gets re-injured, thats why you have him on a 1 yr deal. Its a gamble I hope the Cubs take.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    Wow…that was a classic batting practice grand slam pitch.

  • Steve

    5-0 first inning. Might as well turn off the TV and find something else to do because this Cub team will never score enough runs to make up this early deficit.

    • another JP

      Well, that disparity between Rusin’s ERA & FIP should narrow somewhat with that stellar 1st inning. But that’s what this September roster evaluation is all about, and if Rusin can still go 6 innings w/o giving up any more runs that’ll be just as important than if he struggled thru 5 innings and got some lucky breaks.

  • X The Cubs Fan

    After next season is when our tv contract kicks in right? Kershaw 6/150. A 2015 rotation of Kershaw, Tanaka, Samardzija, Wood, Jackson.

  • cubs2003

    This isn’t directed at anyone in particular, but I think we’re coming to the point where MLB managers have to be as smart as NFL head coaches. That’s a HUGE shift in the game. Joe Maddon seemed to usher that in and has had great results given his payroll and a consistently competitive division. I think Sveum is a good baseball guy and a good coach, but he just doesn’t have the pure intellect it takes to get a leg up. The manager needs to be as smart as the GM in my opinion. That has nothing to do with his mannerisms or anything. Stuff like that doesn’t mean anything to me. Hire coaches to deal with the players.

  • Frank

    I wonder, Would the Fans Unite behind Ricketts if he Decides that Epstien & Hoyer is not the answer because of the mistakes they have made and they both made a huge one by not hiring Sandberg and hiring Dale…… You don’t get as rich as Ricketts is by not fixing your mistakes and no matter what he says since he hired Esptein he made promises to the Fans to go get Major League Talent and Epstien has refused to do what it takes to get them……. I would like to See Ricketts go get Mozliak from St. Louis and Give the Man 30 Mill……. If Epstien was worth 20, then Moz is worth 30…….He has proven he is way better at this job then the Cubs FO

    • Cubbie Blues

      Thanks, I needed a big belly laugh.

    • Brains

      Not the most coherent post, but I agree that at the end of year two there should be a light at the end of the tunnel and in fact we seem to have fallen down a mine shaft. Stop banking on some 19 year olds to fill the lineup. It’s never happened in baseball history that every prospect on a team has become a long-time starter. It’s like you guys have never paid attention before. This team is in awful shape, much worse than before Theo got here.

      • MichiganGoat

        Still waiting for your evidence that Ricketts is suing the city of Chicago or are you ready to declare that you made that accusation up? Don’t worry I’m patient and will wait.

        • Brains

          Sounds like I’ve piqued your interest. Keep checking all of my posts, I’ll provide what you seek.

          • mjhurdle

            “Sounds like I’ve piqued your interest. Keep checking all of my posts, I’ll provide what you seek.”

            in other words, he’s got nothing.

            • MichiganGoat

              Exactly he’s obviously had no intention of being using anything resembling Brains, and will flatly lie to make a point and then deflect anytime someone asks him to support his claims. He can’t support his claims and won’t admit hes been posting false claims all this tells us Brains has zero credibility and zero reasons to take anything he says seriously.

              • Brains

                Goat is seeing his fantasy empire crumble under reality.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Keep avoiding the question that is one thing you have been very good at doing consistently. Actual facts, truth, and reality… well there you keep failing.

              • mjhurdle

                i stopped taking anything he says seriously awhile ago.
                differing opinions is one thing. I can respect a opinion that someone holds and defends, no matter how ludicrous i find it to be.
                But making stuff up to try to make crazy posts somehow make more sense is going too far. No need to feed that kind of attention seeking.

    • SalukiHawk

      Frank: And how is it that St. Louis got to be a consistent winner? What is their model? A farm system that’s consistently ranked among the best in baseball. When you run your own organization, you can go out and overspend on free agents and bring up first rounders the same year you draft them, and see how it works for you, long term. At least you couldn’t be accused of making the fans wait. This post is not only asinine, but it ignores the fact we tried it the other way. The last half decade prior to Jedstein was spent selling off young talent and overspending on inflated free agent contracts. Please don’t misunderstand: I too am weary and am losing my patience with the current product that is our major league roster. But this isn’t Pitino taking over you college basketball team: you can’t get better now by signing a couple five-star recruits. To do the kind of rebuild the Cubs are doing takes time, and not just two years. I for one am willing to wait. I’ve seen the Cubs try it every other way in the 30 years I’ve been a fan, and I was once told the definition of insanity is doing the same bad thing over and over and expecting things to get better. Well the Cubs are committed to this youth movement, and if it works, it should be the foundation for sustained success for decades. And it will have been, ironically, modeled after the Cardinals. Oh, and riddle me this: what’s the last major league free agent the Cardinals went out and gave a long term deal to?

      • Kyle

        Their farm system has not been consistently ranked best in baseball.

      • Brains

        Yes, but also investing heavily in talent such as Matt Holiday, (Pujols), Carpenter, Berkman, Beltran, etc. Sure there’s home grown talent, but they also tried to build a good major league team with external parts. In other words they behaved like a real sports team. Your argument has a glaring omission, and half of you are just wannabe misers.

        • Cubbie Blues

          You realize that Carpenter and Pujols were drafted by the Cardinals right? They have built their team the same way the Cubs are trying to. They have home grown players and fill in where needed with FA and trades. We are attempting to build the home grown part. There is no reason to go overboard on the latter when you don’t have the former to begin with.

          • C. Steadman

            i think he meant chris not matt

          • Kyle

            And the Cardinals never once needed to lose the way the Cubs have lost to build that farm system.

            So, once again, I am forced to conclude that losing isn’t an important part of rebuilding. It’s just something that happens and sucks.

            • Brains

              It’s an opportunity, but for the owners to save money, not for the team. And how is signing ZERO good players in 3 seasons (if Theo follows with his press conference to manage expectations) going overboard? Sounds like going waterboarding to me.

              • Kyle

                We’ve signed a lot of good free agents. Not enough, obviously, but certainly not none.

              • C. Steadman

                because they just dont have the funds…wrigley and the surrounding area is getting a major overhaul($500million range) and its all being paid for by the Ricketts so thats why ticket prices are so high and thats why they cant buy quickly like the dodgers..the Cubs have to do it the way the Rays and Royals do it…suck for years and then the prospects come around..hopefully we dont have to suck as long as the rays and royals did since we still do have more funds than what they have

              • cub2014

                Brains, having a bad team (especially
                in consecutive years) hurts the owners
                bottom line. Maybe upwards of 60-100m
                except for Jackson they have been doing
                the sign and flip the last 2 years and
                extracted all long term bad contracts,
                while building up the farm system. It
                would be logical that they add another
                1-2 long term pieces this year.
                I don’t think Ricketts can financially
                afford another long dreadful season

            • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

              They also didn’t build like the previous regime and were great at drafting….they did it the right way long before most teams knew what the right way was. And because they did it the right way, they didn’t need to have these losing seasons.

              That’s what the Front Office is trying to get to. After the tear down, ideally, there will never be a need to lose like they have ever again.

              But it was necessary based on how the previous years went.

              • Kyle

                Teams have known that identifying and developing amateur talent since the days of Branch Rickey, at least, and probably before that.

                It’s not really a strategy or a plan to develop young talent. It’s just something baseball teams do. Saying it’s the right way to build a baseball team is like saying turning a profit is the right way to run a business. Well, duh, that’s what everybody’s trying to do.

          • Dave

            The Cardinals have done a lot more than build their team from the farm system
            The many of their best players over the last ten years or so came via trade or free agency.

    • chrisfchi

      So in other words its all Theo’s fault the ownership has all their money tied up into the renovation of Wrigley and its Theo’s fault that the farm system was shot. It must also be Theo’s fault that Hendry spent a ton of money in a last ditch effort to win a championship.

      Just want to make sure I understand.

      • Kyle

        I bet if we looked *really* hard, we could find a few things Epstein has done wrong that contributed some amount to the Cubs’ problems. He’s not Baseball Jesus.

        • mjhurdle

          nothing in his post precluding blaming Theo for some things, his post (accurate or not) was aimed at saying that Theo is not the sole problem for everything.

        • chrisfchi

          Ian Stewart. That’s maybe the only one.

          • YourResidentJag

            I wouldn’t say that.

    • C. Steadman

      Mozeliak has had a longer tenure with the Cardinals and also received a reigning WS championship roster when he took over the helm in 2007, so he had a way head start than what Theo has had with the Cubs…Theo took over a good Red Sox team and won two WS with them while the Cardinals have only won one under Mozeliak…Mozeliak did do a great job on building up the Cardinals farm system in recent years but the same can be said for Theo and the Cubs system…if you’re willing to jump ship after two seasons then you fail to see the good that Theo and Jed have done in the minor leagues

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  • John

    What we need is Ron Gardenhire! I think we will be 30-40 pts better next year at 1B, 2B, and SS, with the guys we got there now. Sveum wasn’t dealt a very good hand but some new leadership would do us good!

  • Frank

    It was really nice to see the Braves Celebrate today in Wrigley…. Ricketts, Epstien and Hoyer should be proud of the Money each of them have took home this year…….Attendance should drop even more for the rest of the year if the fans are smart

  • Aaron

    Question: How many people are on the Cubs Season Ticket Waiting List?
    Answer: Cubs currently have over 115,000 people on the Cubs Season Ticket Waiting List

    In all, the Cubs can “wait out the storm” of being terrible for at least one more season. Even though attendance will go down approx. 200,000 visitors, Wrigley Field is still a destination for over 2 millions fans each year. Also, the stat above lets you know that season tickets are still desirable, especially as our young prospects are promoted to the big leagues. It’s an unusual business situation for sure, but the Cubs are doing it right by building the team through high draft picks and trading major league talent for even more prospects. The FO is really good at these two things. Not so great at signing bigger free agents, whether in Boston or Chicago.

    Now is the time to get the right manager and coaching staff in place to realize much of that potential over the next 3-5 years!

  • http://Bleachernation Oliver

    Get whom ever to coach , but how are you going to keep
    The egotistical Epsteins nose away from day to day activity.
    Every decision will be 2nd guessed.

    • TWC

      … he says with such definitive proof, how could we not all agree?!

      • DarthHater

        [img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7298/10028587584_6054e705be_n.jpg[/img]

    • cub2014

      theo is ultimately responsible, he had
      better have his nose everywhere. I
      would also assume he is smart enough
      to let people do their jobs.

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