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dale sveum mediaAaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback on one of my two fantasy teams (I know, boo, hiss). He’s on a bye this week, so I had to grab a replacement off of the waiver wire. Who gets the nod? Jay Cutler. Thoughts?

  • Dale Sveum says the winning isn’t too far off for the Cubs, pointing to the Pirates and Nationals as success stories in recent years. And, although the Cubs have struggle this year, Sveum thinks the weight of failure is being placed inappropriately on the shoulders of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. “The thing that gets blown out of proportion is that these are the two guys getting talked about all the time,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “Are they having really bad, bad years? No. Rizzo has [39] doubles, he’s got [77 RBIs], he’s got home runs in the 20s, and Castro has been swinging the bat a lot better. These guys just have to keep playing and build on the adversity they’ve gone through this year.” I’m glad to hear Sveum finally say it out loud, and I don’t think he’s just defending his own efforts. Castro’s down year is pretty clearly traceable to an organization-level decision to rework his approach at the plate (laudable attempt, but it just didn’t take), and Rizzo’s “down year” is largely the product of a fair bit of bad luck on balls in play.
  • That is not to say that Castro’s and Rizzo’s performances are not a part of the reason the Cubs have performed so poorly. It is only to say that (1) their failures have been overblown, and (2) their failures are, in part, understandable/explainable.
  • For what feels like the hundredth year in a row, the Chicago Cubs have a worse home record than road record (30-50 versus 35-43). In reality, of course, it’s just the second time since 2005 that it’s happened, but our memory fails us. Why? The Cubs’ home success relative to the rest of the league has been crummy for a long time.
  • In any event, the point here is that last night’s loss was the Cubs’ 50th at home this year, and that hasn’t happened in a long time – as in, ever. I won’t make it all about the day games. The 2013 Cubs are going to lose a whole lot of games, and a big chunk were bound to come at home. If you lose 90+ games three seasons in a row, as the Cubs have, there’s a statistical chance that 50 of them in one season will come at home (especially if your team is predisposed to being disproportionately less good at home than other teams are good at home).
  • When asked about Chris Rusin, who was knocked out of last night’s game in the third inning, Dale Sveum told the Tribune that Rusin had showed what he can do when he was fresh. The implication there is that Rusin – who is approaching 190 innings on the year between AAA and the Majors – was wearing down over the last couple weeks.
  • macpete22
    • itzscott

      If not Castro and Rizzo, then which players get most of the blame for this year’s failure?

      • cubmig

        ….especially when Rizzo and Castro were herald as as they were……we expected better and didn’t get it. End of story. It is what it is.

        • willis

          Man those numbers in that article are ugly as piss and go along with what many have said around here…just not enough progress under this coaching staff. I’ll get peppered now with “Castillo, Navarro, Wood, Schierholtz!!!!” but in the end the three “faces” or players to hang you hat on were Castro, Rizzo and Shark, which makes this season hurt a tad more than it normally would.

      • CubsFaninMS

        The player is called “The Chicago Cubs”. It’s a team effort. All should share the failures and accomplishments as a team. That being said, Castro and Rizzo are both still young developing players. It’s unfair to place blame exclusively on young developing players like that. I believe the front office hit the nail on the head (although I’m surprised they were honest about this) when they said the team is suffering from a lack of talent. When you have several positions on the field that lack talent or results, your potential future stars, who are not performing like superstars, will take the brunt of the blame. It’s admittedly a frustrating season, but we can point fingers in many directions. We can also blame the “phantom players” Feldman, Garza, Soriano, Marmol, Camp, Hairston, etc. Those traded players and underperforming assets have obviously contributed to the lack of talent in the second half of the season. We can also hope that the early career slumps that Rizzo and Castro have experienced will leave this in the rear view mirror and make them better players moving forward. That is a strong possibility.

  • Blublud

    You can say what you want, or make an excuse, but Castro and Rizzo have had bad years. The may be an appropriate explanation, but it doesn’t change the fact they had bad years. I still a huge fan of both and think they will be fine baseball players going foward, but this was not good for either one of them.

    • ssckelley

      Good comment, and I agree. It is a shame that the FO approach to hitting was not successful for Castro, they wanted him to see more pitches and be more selective at which one he swings at. Unfortunately that did not happen so now we know his ceiling to much lower than what we all had hoped.

      Rizzo has been a disappointment, he started struggling towards the end of last season and it carried over into this one. Going into this season I had visions of Rizzo doing much better this season. The biggest disappointment for me is his struggles against left handed pitching. Hopefully he collects himself this off season, take some time off, and then hit it hard come next spring training.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Yes, Rizzo really should have hit some of those grounders 3 feet further from the defenders.

        • jon

          It not really as simple as that, but ok.

        • Blublud

          I do believe his BABIP is affecting his stats, but I believe his approach is affecting his BABIP. Rizzo is being to patient or to selective and trying to drive everything, or hit everything hard. This explains his higher walk rate, and his XBH rate and also his lack of single. I believe the FO is driving this selective approach with all the players, and I really think its one of the few mistakes they made. Just let hitters be themselves. You can tweek their approach, but drastic changes very rarely work, just ask Brett Jackson.

          • jon

            If you look at Rizzo’s LD% that’s down about 5 points. His GB% is down about 2.8 points and his FB% is up 7.6% (From 2012 to 2013), some of it may be bad luck but I think you have to account for some of these variances altering his lower BABIP.

            • jt

              “but I think you have to account for some of these variances altering his lower BABIP.”
              –jon
              yeah!!!!!
              It is amazing how much info is there for those who care to look beyond a single number.
              nice post

            • Norm

              Unfortunately, LD% is too subjective.

              Just look at Fangraphs LD% and B-Ref’s LD%.
              B-Ref has Rizzo at 23% this year (24% last year)
              Fangraphs has him at 19.4 this year (24.4 last year).

              110 line drives at B-Ref, to only 91 at Fangraphs.

              Sure, the batted ball data will have an affect on his BABIP. But, no matter what the cause, his BABIP is too low. It will go up.

              • jt

                “Unfortunately, LD% is too subjective.
                Just look at Fangraphs LD% and B-Ref’s LD%.”
                –Norm
                OK, that is a fair point and I haven’t done my homework at BR nor have I looked at the previous year. But I will…
                Often the importance of such a measure is change. As long as the means to measure is consistent it will report that change. The GB/FB ratio also indicates this change. I haven’t looked at it in over a month but I believe he was hitting more of his GB’s to the right side which indicates a wrist role over by a player trying to elevate outside pitches to the the pull side.
                It is not an easy read but there are indicators there that explain BAbip in deeper terms than “luck”.

                • Norm

                  I agree there are other factors, but no matter what factors they are, a .250 BABIP isn’t going to be his career BABIP. It will regress.
                  Be it to .270 or closer to league average of .297ish, or closer to last years .310 Rizzo put up is unknown….but it WILL bounce back up.

            • Kyle

              There’s a stat called “xBABIP” that accounts for all that.

              • jt

                “The batting average for ground balls that are not infield hits is .195. The batting average for fly balls hit to the outfield is .134. The batting average for line drives is .740. And a player’s xBABIP will be higher when you adjust for their expected infield hits and bunt hits.”
                http://www.smartfantasybaseball.com/2013/01/xbabip/
                Interesting
                Doesn’t indicate the effect of a player changing his approach. Rizzo attempting to elevate more could have a tendency to create rollover and thus depress his BA on ground balls until he adjusts.
                There is a lot of meat there though.

          • CubFan Paul

            “I do believe [rizzo's] BABIP is affecting his stats, but I believe his approach is affecting his BABIP. Rizzo is being to[o] patient or to[o] selective and trying to drive everything, or hit everything hard”

            This 100%. and that’s why I don’t agree with Brett when he says: “Rizzo’s “down year” is largely the product of a fair bit of bad luck on balls in play”

            Ssckelley drives it home even more below.

            Watch the games people.

            • Napercal

              Neither Rizzo nor Castro played well this year. Would the Cubs have been appreciably better if they had played better? Unlikely. But the FO keeps selling us on the prospects in the organization. We can all look at the minor league numbers and feel good. However, not all of them will be big time players. Seeing Rizzo and Castro struggle at the big-league level has been fairly depressing because the fan base has so much invested emotionally in their performance. The key for next season will be how Rizzo and Castro respond. If they bounce back, we will all breathe easier. Let’s face it almost every other player on the team is roster filler at this point.

            • YourResidentJag

              People are also saying this with regards to Edwin Jackson’s down year in terms of his pitching BABIP. At some point in time, the player himself has to be accountable based on what he can control like pitch selection and plate approach. Jackson gives up way too many hits. Some drop based on the luck of the defense behind him and elevate his stats poorly and in the wrong direction. Others don’t. The simple fact is that the more balls you put into play, the greater pressure on the defense in general.

          • MichiganGoat

            Wait so know being selective with pitchs, driving the ball, and increasing walks is a bad thing?

            mkaythxbye

            This place has gotten sillier than Camelot. Now we are against doing what great hitters should do, WTF has happened. Does a player’s BA have that big an impact on everyone that they don’t see the flaws in these logic models. Lets just develop a team of slap single hitters… THE NEW CUBS WAY 2014 i guess.

            • Blublud

              No one is saying that MG, so get down off your hoppy horse.

              The point is, guys are walking up there thinking about a new approach, instead of walking up thinking see my pitch, hit my pitch and if I don’t see my pitch I’ll take the walk or swing only when I have to(2 strikes and ball is in the zone) . It’s not working. The slight hesitation in the decision making is causing more soft grounders and and lazy fly balls. To suggest that you starting first baseman, whose OPS .734, which is decent for a SS, not a firstbaseman, isn’t struggle is just crazy.

              • DarthHater

                What the f___ is a hoppy horse?

                • DarthHater

                  Never mind. :-P

                  [img]http://www.verticaledgeentertainment.com/product_inflat_pony_hop_2.jpg[/img]

                  • Blublud

                    It seems really dangerous to that in a pair of flip flops.

                    • DarthHater

                      Better than doing it in cleats. Then you’d end up with a poppy horse!

                    • Jono

                      c’mon everybody, let’s boo darth. BOOOOOOOOOO!!

                    • DarthHater

                      ::bows dramatically::

              • MichiganGoat

                You said exactly that:

                ” I believe the FO is driving this selective approach with all the players, and I really think its one of the few mistakes they made.”

                So being selective to find pitches to drive is a bad thing? Or is this another goal post we need to move?

                And I never said he didn’t have a bad year,t you and other keep believing that just because some of us aren’t against the coaching then we believe that everything is perfect. But continue to tell everyone exactly how to coach these professionals I’m sure you know more than me. Carry on- you are amazing and fantastic and I’m the drooling troll under the bridge.

                • Blublud

                  Being selective is fine if that’s the kind of hitter you are, but if you are an agressive type hitter, its not going to work.

                  We can’t expect to turn Castro into Joey Votto. He is not that type of hitter. Trying to turn him into Votto will only make him worse. Let the hitter do what he has done to get to this level, tweek it here and there, but don’t change who they are, because I can bet it going to be unseccessful many time then successful.

                • itzscott

                  Since the FO is driving the selective approach with all the players, I’d love to know which players (if any) have been successful in adopting this comparing their stats from this year to their previous norms.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Even Joe Sheehan has looked into his plate approach and realized that Castro has difficulties squaring up fastballs and driving them for power. He’s about as well researched as they come.

                  Isn’t the driving the fastball for power what the FO wants from Castro? Moving on….

              • MichiganGoat

                btw
                “walking up thinking see my pitch, hit my pitch and if I don’t see my pitch I’ll take the walk or swing only when I have to(2 strikes and ball is in the zone) .”

                IS EXACTLY WHAT A SELECTIVE APPROACH TEACHES! SO YOU WANT THEM TO DO EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE BEING TAUGHT.

                • Blublud

                  No, I disagree. I think the FO/coaches are trying get players to take more pitches and that one pitch. Chances are you are only going to get that pitch 1 time I a whole game, if then. I have seen Castro swing at 1st and 2nd pitches far less this season then seasons past looking for that one pitch. Before you know it, he has 2 strikes and can be as agressive. So then he either SO or hit a soft grou der somewhere. That’s not the Castro of years past.

                  • Blublud

                    This touch screen really sucks. I’m going back to a keyboard phone.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    You moving goal posts again.

                    • Blublud

                      I can always tell when you can’t even convince yourself, because you stop debating and start making stupid comments, like “moving goal post”. You are pitiful.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Blu, this is your classic progression:

                      1-say something
                      2-people easily refute that something
                      3-you change that something into a slightly different something
                      4-people quote what you originally said to keep the conversation on point
                      5-you say something quite different
                      6-you get called out for it
                      7-you tweak your original comment further
                      8-you act like the other people are the ones that are misinformed
                      9-you get angry

                      you see how you are moving goal post here, you started saying the selective approach was bad, then you defined what they should do (which is exactly what they’ve been doing), then you talk about something completely different.

                      It happens every single time anyone questions your “flawless” comments. But don’t worry your logic is the growing majority and I will just leave you allow to enjoy the new BN.

                    • ssckelley

                      He was doing this shit yesterday when comparing Almora to Barney.

                    • jon

                      You forgot.:

                      10) Scotti comes in and complains about people attaching BluBud

                  • Drew7

                    The approach is known as being “selectively-aggressive”: waiting for a pitch in a location that you can drive, while letting the rest go. The goal isn’t simply to take more pitches – it’s to avoid putting the ball in-play weakly.

                    Joey Votto seems to receive a fair amount of criticism (mostly from Dusty Baker) for it, but he’s a great example of a player successfully utilizing this approach.

                    • DarthHater

                      “The approach is known as being “selectively-aggressive”: waiting for a pitch in a location that you can drive, while letting the rest go.”

                      When I first read that, I thought you were posting another attack on the kinds of comments I post. :-D

              • Hansman1982

                Regarding your second paragraph, you described the same approach just used different words.

                Castro is a hitter that swings at any pitch he thinks he can hit. The coaching staff was trying to get him to swing at pitches that were in his red zones. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have the batting eye to know what pitches are going to be in his red zones.

                • ssckelley

                  ^ this exactly, and I am not sure how the FO could have known this without having him try it.

                  • hansman1982

                    If this is something that I can dissect from the situation, I am guessing they did know that. I think, as others have pointed out, that they figured it had a low probability of happening, but when they started they probably figured (in order of liklihood):

                    1. Return to old Castro
                    2. Be mostly old Castro but slightly better for it all (as in, he would retain some of what he was taught but nowhere near all of it)
                    3. Become a permanent sub-.700 OPS SS
                    4. Everything would click and he becomes Troy Tulowitzski without injury concerns

                    I still think that #2 is going to happen and he is going to get scary good.

                    • Professor Snarks

                      Yes. Your #2. I’m hoping Castro eventually sits in the .775-.800 OPS range, with a year or two in the .850 range.(and Rizzo is going to have an OPS in the .875-.900 range, starting as soon as next year).

                    • C. Steadman

                      I always wished Tulo could stay healthy for an entire season…he’d be the best shortstop in the bigs hands down and maybe arguably Top 10 SS of alltime…hes a stud when healthy

                    • CubChymyst

                      Hanley Rameriz has been an offensive force when healthy this season as well

                    • C. Steadman

                      yeah its sucks Puig gets all the attention sense he is a rookie but veterans like Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez get overshadowed by the media(namely ESPN)

            • jt

              “So being selective to find pitches to drive is a bad thing?”
              –MG
              It is a great thing. Rizzo has just not been “catching up” to some pitches he should be driving. That said, there is no indication that he can not make some small adjustments and drive those pitches in the future. His other numbers are good and he has had success with contact prior to changing his stroke. When he hits to left he still gets his doubles and singles.
              I think he believes and those around him also believe that he can and eventually will get it done with the power stroke. If that happens then…

        • ssckelley

          I hate using the “watch the game” argument but when I watch the games I am not seeing Rizzo hitting much of anything hard. I get bad luck, when I see players making solid contact but it is hit right at a fielder to me that is bad luck. But when I see weak ground balls hit in the infield or lazy fly balls because he is unable to square up the ball then that is not bad luck. It does not matter if he hits the ball 3 feet another direction because it is going to be an out anyway.

          • Jay

            I’m seeing what you’re seeing…..some of the time. And again, like I’ve reiterated with Castro, I’m not a big believer in this “see X number of pitches per at bat” mentality. All it seems to be doing is messing with the heads of our young players and creating a very tentative approach at the plate—which helps explain why they don’t seem to be able to pull the trigger on fastballs. Yes, you want to swing at your pitch, not the pitchers, but the first pitch may be your pitch and if so you’d better be ready to pull the trigger, not be standing up there worrying about crap like OBP.

            • cubmig

              ^ Amen.

      • C. Steadman

        sad to say that the FO approach actually gave Starlin his worst BB% and K% of his career, but he has seen the most pitches of any season

        • Jay

          Which tells you all you need to know about this “approach”. Seeing more pitches doesn’t mean you’re going to hit any of them any harder.

      • willis

        Good news is, while we now have a better handle on Castro’s ceiling, it’s what it is and with a decent lineup (hopefully) in the future, there is definitely a place for a guy that can hit it to all fields and hit around .280-.300 (before the batting average snipers get on me) I think that BA is a huge stat with Castro vs. some others because he goes up there looking to hit and does not take many walks. He won’t hit a ton of HRs. He’s a singles/doubles hitter. So in his case BA is important. You decorate him with a couple more damn good bats, his game will play perfectly as is.

        • ssckelley

          Your right Willis, I will take the offensive Starlin produced in 2011 and 2012. A +.750 OPS is pretty good production out of a shortstop.

      • Kyle

        The human mind isn’t remotely qualified to watch 600-700 plate appearances and remember differences in types of batted balls that are matters of a few percentage points.

    • Professor Snarks

      Ding, Ding, Ding. We have a winner! Exactly Blubud, exactly. If you want to look at BABIP and say “don’t worry, they’ll be fine next year”, fine, but it does not change the fact that they had bad years, this year. They left a whole bunch of guys on the base paths, and because of their low OBP, they didn’t score as much as they could have. Runs matter.

      Saying that, I’d be willing to bet that this year was one step back, and next year will be two steps forward.(at least I hope so).

      • MikeW

        this right here is exactly what i’ve been trying to say for weeks about Rizzo but then i get brow-beaten by the BABIP’ers. I minored in stats, so i get all of it, but the end game is that he’s not produced enough this year. Will it be better next year if the BABIP normalizes? Sure. But for 2013, it wasn’t there.

        • jon

          I will say, there does seem to be an “agenda” here on this site by some to defend Rizzo to utmost lengths for whatever reason. For the life of me, I don’t understand why we can’t call a “spade” a “spade”. He’s had a disappointing season and no it’s not as simple as hitting a few more ground balls to the right.

          Now, he’s young so I’m still bullish on his future, but that doesn’t change the present status.

          • Norm

            The results have been disappointing.
            The process has not been disappointing.

            • Jay

              Plus, he’s gotten a lot of walks, which has kept his OBP in the .320′s and he’s hit 22 homers and a pile of doubles, without striking out a prohibitive amount (for a modern power hitter). Yes, the RISP drought is a head-scratcher but I just don’t believe he’s not going to rebound in a big way in the next couple years. He’s just turned 24, not 29.

              • Professor Snarks

                Jay, I can only speak for myself, but others may agree, but I don’t hate Rizzo. He has done some good things. He has not, however, been better than last year. Here are the facts: 1). Rizzo is in his second full(ish) year. last year his BABIP was around 3.00, this year it’s around 2.50. We don’t have enough evidence to determine which is closer to his actual skill level.2). His low BA has hurt his RBI number, which means the Cubs haven’t scored as many runs as possible. His low BA has hurt his OBP. Which means he personally has not scored as many runs as possible. BA may not be the be all, end all of stats, but it does matter.
                Also, not a knock on you, but do you remember when Castro hit .308 and had an OBP of ‘only’ .340? People complained about that, yet, because Rizzo walks a lot, his .320 OBP is okay?

                • Norm

                  I doubt anyone complained about a .340 OBP.

                  What they probably complained about, is his low BB%, because unless he continued to hit over .300 every year, his OBP would be borderline league average.
                  And he’s shown that it’s not all that easy to hit .300 year in and year out.

                  • Professor Snarks

                    Okay. I’m sorry. It’s kind of a pot-A-to vs.. po-tat-o thing. Yes, it was the walks people were concerned about. But you have to admit, ‘hacker’ Castro got on base at a higher percentage than ‘patient’ Castro. Could he have maintained it? Who knows?

            • Dave

              All that matters is the results.

              • DarthHater

                There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sacrificing results for a period of time in order to get better results thereafter.

                • Professor Snarks

                  This is true. And the best time to do it is when you are going to lose anyway.

              • Norm

                Yes, results matter for the past.
                But process is more important in looking to the future.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Ding Ding Ding

          • http://www.hookersorcake.com Hookers or Cake

            I think a lot of the “agenda” was born out of people lumping in Rizzo with Castro and Barney. Many people were just pointing out that Rizzo actually hasn’t been as bad as a 230 BA average might suggest. While he’s not been great or even good he hasn’t been as bad as Castro or the black hole that is Barney.

        • MichiganGoat

          When are we going to stop with this “people are mean to me because they don’t agree with me and I don’t like it” mentality. Are egos this thin?

          Bizarro BN is now fully operational.

          • Blublud

            Sorry MG, I didn’t get what you got out of that.

          • mjhurdle

            MG, people are too obsessed with winning the internet now.
            Im not sure there has been a legitimate discussion on the blog in weeks.

            Just a bunch of posts where the authors concede no chance that their perception is not accurate, then they cry persecution when anyone disagrees, then changes the topics rather than admit that perhaps they weren’t 100% right. It happens on all sides, but it is tiring and depressing.

            at least, thats how i see it.

            • DarthHater

              I think your view of this blog is completely wrong and only a total moron could believe otherwise. :-P

            • MichiganGoat

              [img]http://genderben.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/i-won-the-internet.png[/img]

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              It’s a cheesy line, but it sure applies to Internet communities:

              “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

              • Hansman1982

                See, moving the goalposts to avoid admitting defeat

              • DarthHater

                So, if I want to see the ultimate triumph of the Dark Side, then . . .

    • CubsFaninMS

      I believe it’s best to approach it from this angle: Rizzo or Castro did not play up to their potential this season. I can generate an extraordinarily extensive list of players with great promise who also had underwhelming seasons. Think about this for a second: Only a select few players can have all-start seasons every year.. and they are in Cooperstown.

      Starling Castro – Obviously Castro’s results in general has seen a regression in comparison to the past two seasons. Although it’s less forgiving because he has been in the league going on his fourth season, again, few players will be persistently All-Star caliber every season. All of us Cubs fans have a reason to be concerned but, as the article mentions above, they made a concerted attempt to further develop Castro’s swing with negative results Maybe he will take away a few tips (i.e. slightly better pitch selection, not chasing the breaking pitch low/away) with him that he can incorporate into his previous plate approach and have an All-Star season next year.

      Anthony Rizzo – This is his first full season in the Major Leagues. His peripherals look good (look at his extra base hits). Compare Rizzo’s “disappointing” season to elite slugger Prince Fielder. Rizzo has 3 less homers (22 to 25), 3 more doubles (36 to 39), and 27 fewer RBIs on a team with a poor offense. If anyone expected him to launch 30 bombs this season, they were expecting too much. This was the season for Rizzo to “set up shop” and establish a full 162-game MLB year. He did that and performed respectably. Let’s see what he can do next year.

  • Professor Snarks

    Cutler could be a great choice. Detroit’s secondary and linebackers are suspect. (lots of catches for Forte and Bennett-TE), plus Detroit will score a fair bit, maybe a lot, so the Bears won’t be able to sit on the ball.

    Jay will throw for 320 yards, going 25 for 35,, 3 TD’s, I int, with a passer rating of 95ish.

    • On The Farm

      3 TDs seems pretty optimistic

      • Professor Snarks

        Here’s my thinking. With the Lion’s defensive front, especially Suh and Farley, the Bears won’t be able to run it at the goal line, so Cutler will have to pass.

        And yes. My projections are always on the high side. (if you gonna dream, dream BIG).

        • On The Farm

          Maybe, but AP put up 2 TDs, Mendenhall got 60+ yards and a TD, and Morris got 70+ and a TD. If its a goal line situation, yeah Cutler is probably going to call a pass (especially since Bush couldn’t score on the goal line against the Steelers and Bennett is a beast), but I think how Morris scored his TD last weekend is the way Forte will get in the end zone.

          • Professor Snarks

            AP is AP, and 1 of his TD’s was the 78 yards. I think the Bears can run on Detroit, just not at the Goal line. Hey, if they score 4 TD’s on offense, I could care less how they happen. (and they better score at least 4). I just think Cutler has a big day.

    • C. Steadman

      3 TD’s is definitely attainable against the Lions D…i expect this one to be a shootout, but TD’s could be taken away by Bears potential pick-sixes

      • On The Farm

        Just did a quick look at the Lions D, RGIII had the best game with 326-0-1. Carson Palmer 248-1-1, and Ponder 236-1-3. If you ask me through three games the Lions D against QBs has only allowed 2 TDs and averaged 1 INT a game. 3 TDs just seems like a reach.

        • C. Steadman

          i think Cutler will throw 2 TD’s but 3 isnt out of the question…Bears have a more potent offense then the Skins, Cardinals, and Vikings because Cutler now has 4 good weapons to throw to..while the Lions were able to hone in on the lack of passing options those three teams had

          • On The Farm

            I know three isn’t out of the question, but to project three, is overly optimistic.

    • soberlarussa

      Culter has a career passer rating in Detroit of 105+. When his passer rating is over 100, he is 26-1. This is basically the safest week to play him, ever.

  • ssckelley

    In the league I have Aaron Rodgers my backup is Jay Cutler, so that choice looks good to me.

  • Aaron

    Castro and Rizzo are both young players under long-term contracts with the potential of solid futures with the club. Let’s see what they can do in 2014. My hope is that the FO adds an impact offensive player to help the team score more runs and provide leadership to our younger players, including Castro and Rizzo.

    • Jay

      That’s not going to happen next year.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    Htt://suntimes.com/m/22768653-773/cub-rebuilding-project-has-taken-on-as-much-fiction-as-fact.html

    • Bea Arthur

      I said my piece below. Not sure where jmc stands, but thanks for putting up the link.

  • Bea Arthur

    Is it me or is Gordon Wittenmyer’s cubs “myth” columns one of the bizarre hatchet jobs by a beat writer in recent history? His hatred of the team (Even when is correct about the debt) is so unprofessional. Criticize all you want — the team deserves it—but let’s hope the ST is smart enough to take the hating Gordo off the beat. Give him the SOx.

    • Professor Snarks

      Gotta tell you, Bea, it does seem like Wittenmeyer has an ax to grind. He has lost ALL credibility when it comes to covering the Cubs. I’m not so sure his take on the Cubs financials is correct. He is not balanced in his reporting, so I don’t read him.

    • Professor Snarks

      That being said, did Gordon say anything that was wrong?

    • caryatid62

      Wittenmeyer didn’t raise any points that haven’t been pointed out elsewhere. Many of his arguments were quite valid, and the piece was far, far, far from a “hatchet job.”

      • bbmoney

        Yeah I didn’t think it was a hatchet job at all. I don’t agree with it all, but I’m not always going to agree with everything written about the Cubs. Doesn’t make everything I don’t agree with absurd or a lie.

        I do think many of the things he said were facts are….. like…….his opinions…..man and aren’t actual facts. Or maybe better said, many of the “Facts” are him quoting things that aren’t necessarily factual or him adding something to the factual part. For instance the Forbes profitability report. It is factual that Forbes said that, but in no way shape or form is Forbes necessarily right about those kinds of things. See Astros, Houston. Or “But what if the Cubs had been able to afford to sign international building blocks such as Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes?”…..just because they didn’t sign them doesn’t mean they couldn’t afford them…it only means they weren’t willing to pay more than the teams that did not that they couldn’t have (See Edwin Jackson signing…..could have been used to sign Cespedes (different offseason I know)).

        • caryatid62

          Here’s the thing:

          If they didn’t sign those guys because they chose not to, it was a mistake on the part of the front office. If they didn’t sign them because money wasn’t available to sign them, then it’s the fault of ownership.

          Either way, someone in the organization made a mistake. (and even if 29 other teams ALSO made that mistake, it’s a mistake nonetheless).

          The reality is that this team, for whatever reason, does not have the financial means that they should have, given their revenue streams. That’s just reality.

          • http://CBSSports.com Matt Snyder

            And if they did sign Cespedes and miss the playoffs — as they would have — you’d be crying about his .241 batting average and .296 on-base percentage, just as Wittenmyer would be.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    Htttp://suntimes.com/m/22768653-773/cub-rebuilding-project-has-taken-on-as-much-fiction-as-fact.html

  • http://BN Sacko

    Here is a scarey stat Rizzo has 63 XBH most by any lefty since….Corey Paterson in 2004.
    Holy…yikes

    • C. Steadman

      ugh Corey Patterson…sad reminder of what our Big Four could become…

      • Kyle

        Patterson did have a four or five year stretch of usefulness.

        • C. Steadman

          2 years of usefulness..`03-04 are is only 2+ WAR(FG version) for the Cubbies

          • Noah_I

            He had a 4 year stretch where he was generally pretty good with one real stinker (’05) in there. When he really started becoming useless was when he lost some of his speed and his defense started going downhill. He looked like he was on the verge of becoming a star in ’04.

            While I know Patterson was largely viewed as fairly unteachable, I also still think he was one of the worst handled Cubs prospects of all time. They promoted him too quickly (he skipped High A altogether and was called up to the Cubs after about 80 games in Iowa despite struggling there), and after being a middle of the order hitter throughout the minors was asked to become a slap hitting leadoff man just because he was fast, when the Cubs should have just been trying to get him to be a bit more patient at the plate.

            Odds are Patterson would’ve become a flash in the pan long run anyways, but the Cubs did nothing but hurt his chances of becoming anything more than that.

            • C. Steadman

              sorry I fail to call `01 and `02 generally good…in 02 he played alot of games but it was on a crappy team, he didnt have results with a .676 OPS

              • Noah_I

                I’m referring to his first year in Baltimore as well. So ’03, good but got injured, ’04 very good, ’05 terrible, ’06 good.

                • C. Steadman

                  oh gotcha, yeah i was just analyzing CP while on the Cubs..`06 was a good year for him

            • cms0101

              While hailed as a prospect in Cubs Nation, Patterson was never as toolsy as Baez. He had power, but it wasn’t as dangerous. He was faster, but never figured out how to use it on the basepaths. He was an average fielder, just fast enough to get to more balls. He was more hype than substance. As Cubs fans we all wished he was a 5-tool future all-star. But he wasn’t. Neither was Felix Pie. Both had promise, but if in this system right now, they’d fall somewhere in the bottom of the top 10, IMO. In general, I agree that most of the Cubs phenoms of that era were handled poorly by the front office. Zambrano, Juan Cruz, Pie, Patterson, and others all had regressions specifically related to how quickly they were rushed to the majors, and what roles they were in once they got there. Some of the prospects that are in the system today will fizzle out as well, but it won’t be because of front office mismanagement.

              • Kyle

                Corey Patterson was significantly more than an average defender. This is pure revisionist history.

                Patterson at the height of his prospectdom would be tied with Baez as the best prospect in the system, at worst.

              • Kyle

                And the whole “hailed as a prospect by Cubs Nation” thing is silly.

                Patterson was ranked No. 2 overall in all of baseball by Baseball America and was a consensus top-5 in every publication.

                • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                  Truth ^^^^… I love Baez as much as the next person and realize he COULD wind up as somebody, but have seen prospects fizzle more than not. Very few can’t miss prospects. I can count maybe 3 in my lifetime with 2 of them coming up in the same year. Ken Griffey Jr., Trout, and Harper were the only prospects in my lifetime that people referred to as can’t miss. Reason for that.

                  • bbmoney

                    Yeah I’d argue there is no such thing as a can’t miss prospect.

                    Obviously I have higher confidence in Baez than I did before. But others have put up similar numbers at a similar age and have failed before.

                    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=wood–002ric

                  • C. Steadman

                    i would also argue against Trout being a “can’t miss” prospect because 21 teams missed on him(I count the Nationals missing not when they drafted Strasburg, but when they drafted Storen at 10th)…glad the Cubs didnt miss on him :P

                • cms0101

                  How much of that was hype though? He never put up the numbers Baez has. He didn’t really even perform well enough in AAA to warrant being called up. They rushed him to the majors as a flawed young player with some impressive tools, but clearly not fully developed. I won’t argue with you on the defense, but I felt even then that his speed was really the only quality that made him a “good” defender. His arm was average, which is fine for CF. He covered a ton of ground. Maybe I’m being a little revisionist on the defensive side, probably due to bitterness, so I’ll concede that. Call my assertion that Cubs fans’ hype played into his rankings silly if you want, but I stand by that comment. It was only after that time period, where we as Cubs fans all thought we had such a solid system, BA and other publications started to critique the system more objectively than they had in the past. To me, that’s why this current crop being ranked as it is now is even that much more impressive. I mean, come on… Bobby Hill? I bought into the Hee Seop Choi hype, but thank goodness Hendry saw that cavernous hole in his swing and spun him into Derrek Lee. Vine Line and the Cubs hype machine really built those guys up, just as the Yankees were able to in the early 90′s. The only difference was the Yankees moved many of their overhyped guys to acquire major league talent, where the Cubs may have held onto guys too long.

                  • C. Steadman

                    he put up great numbers his first two seasons in the minors as a 19 year in Low A he had 20HR 33SB and an OPS of .949…20 yr old in AA he had 22HR 27SB and an OPS of .829….the only thing I’m arguing with you on(bc i agree with the rest) is that CP was a top prospect in all of baseball not just Cubs circles and he had the numbers to prove it, not just hype

                    • cms0101

                      That’s fair. I can admit that maybe I am being a little revisionist, but I vividly remember some critics specifically saying the Cubs prospects were overhyped at that time. I wholeheartedly disagreed then, but looking back on the overall results, those guys were mostly correct. Let me ask you this, where do you think Patterson would rank in the organization today, at his prospect peak? He had nice low minors seasons, but just given the fact he was a power hitter in a tiny body, I always felt his best tool, speed, was wasted. Therefore, I wouldn’t rank him highly as compared to some of the guys the Cubs have today. Just to tweak that many more people… I feel like Almora may be overhyped, being Theo’s first pick and all. I hope I’m wrong, But I’m much higher on the other top prospects. Maybe I favor ceilings a little too much.

                    • C. Steadman

                      In my opinion it would be #1-Baez, #2-Bryant, #3-Patterson(lets say he was coming off his double-A season) if i were to rank them

                    • Norm

                      “where do you think Patterson would rank in the organization today, at his prospect peak?”
                      -
                      He’d be WAY up there.
                      As a 19 year old in Single A (same age/level as Almora), Patterson had 320/358/592 line with 35 doubles, 17 triples, 20 HR’s, and 33 stolen bases as a center fielder….a 5% BB rate and 17% K rate.

                      He’d still be a Top 10 overall prospect today like he was back then.

                    • cms0101

                      Ok, I’ll follow you there. I might have ranked Soler, Edwards, and Johnson ahead of him, but I could see him outranking Almora. I’d probably have him outrank Alcantara too. With Soler coming off injury, maybe he would fall back as well. And if we’re talking his AA season, I could make an argument to move him above Edwards and Johnson too, given they’re just in high-A. I guess that lands me somewhere near where you landed.

                    • cms0101

                      If he’s a top 10, Baez and Bryant would have to be top 5.

                    • Blublud

                      CMS0101, I agree on Almora. I think Almora is a nice player. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t see a star when I look at him. I see a guy who at his peak, may be a good starter, carried mostly by his defense, with average offense, but I do not see star power. Honestly, I don’t what more you can really expect from the 6th overall pick. While most MLB stars are drafted in the first half of the 1st round, most guys drafted in the first of the 1st rd end up being average to just above average players.

                    • cms0101

                      Agreed Blublud. I will be joyfully wrong if he ends up being better than that. But I’ll take a steady everyday player. I wish Brett Jackson would have turned out to be that good.

                    • ssckelley

                      There you go again, knocking Almora. The guy is only 19 years old and you already write him off as nothing more than a serviceable type player. We all get you have a hard on for Baez because you love all his power. But between between the 2 Almora has a higher floor than Baez. With Baez high SO rate he is more likely to flame out while defensively Almora would already be a good MLB centerfielder.

                    • Blublud

                      Ssckelley, I never mentioned Baez. You sir are proving to be very ignorant. I’m calling Almora exactly what I see him as. If I had a hard on for Baez, wouldn’t I dislike Bryant, Soler, Alcantara and others too. I actually think long term, Bryant will be a much better player then Baez, though I still feel Baez is the top prospect right now.

                      If I feel Almora Is an average offensive player, with GG potential defensive, doesn’t mean I expect him to be an above average. Most those guys inn the top 100 will all be about above average players. I don’t see how that really knocking. I have really said nothing about Almora that was a knock against in the last 2 days other then he need to inprove his XBH % and that he’s not on level compared to Baez, Bryant and Soler. I’m starting to question if Soler is as good as the first 2, but I’m giving him into next season because he ended the year hurt.

                    • ssckelley

                      Oh hell no, they have better power numbers so you obviously love them. But you take every chance you get to slam Almora without acknowledging that he is only 19 years old and has a body that could develop into a decent power hitter. He is a skinny 6’2 and if he adds muscle could be a 15-20 home run per year guy. But if he doesn’t and just hits .320 while hitting singles and doubles that is still damn good production out of a plus defender in centerfield.

                      The Cubs have plenty of power coming up through the minors in Soler, Bryant, Baez, and Vogelbach, it would be ok if Almora never did develop into a slugger. But at 19 years old already calling him an “average” and just a “nice player” is outrageous. It is still way to early to predict anything with him yet, heck he should just be starting his 2nd year in college.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    Whittenmyer andd Morrissey seem to have inordinate hatred of the Cubs

    • Kyle

      Things are not going well for the franchise. There should be a reasonable amount of hate from the media.

      • DarthHater

        And just what amount of hate is reasonable, o’ most wise fist?

        (I need to know so I can continue to exceed it)

        • Kyle

          Less than so far. Not enough to make it the majority opinion so I have to switch sides.

    • The Dude Abides

      100+ losses last year, set a franchise record for home losses this year, constant revolving door of players, etc. Their job is to cover the team not excuse them.

    • YourResidentJag

      Wittenmyer doesn’t have hate for the Cubs. What a misappropriated statement based on realistically and appropriately critical article.

  • JulioZuleta

    Grab that Peyton Manning guy if he’s available…

    • Funn Dave

      He’s been a pleasant surprise for me this year….As has Tom Brady, who the cocky guy I got matched up against in Week 1 thought was gonna get him so many points….Hahaha. Although, once Gronkowski gets back, he’ll probably put up good #s again.

      • On The Farm

        God I hope so

  • Aaron

    Just imagine the “hate” from the media and fans if next year is just like this one. It’s going to be non-stop criticism and backlash all season long if things don’t start improving with the major league club. Dale could go nuts if he’s still the manager. Our younger players could press even more. All eyes are on the FO and ownership. It will be interesting for sure.

    • cubmig

      ” All eyes are on the FO and ownership. ”

      …..where our eyes SHOULD be…..

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    it’s hard to see how they turn things around without established veterans. That means they have to spend money which they said they are not prepared to do now.next year will probably be more of the same.but I bet the fans still show up.

    • TSB

      Yes, since they didn’t sign the veteran Josh Hamilton last year, they should strive for something similar. Look how much he has done for the Angels! Hah!

      • terencemann

        Top 5 contracts for free agent hitters last off-season:
        1. Hamilton – .735 OPS
        2. Upton – .561 OPS
        3. Swisher – .758 OPS
        4. Bourn – .314 OBP
        5. Pagan – .736 OPS

        Which is not to say all free agents are bad or that all these guys will continue to have poor seasons but they wouldn’t have made the Cubs better this season. Victorino has put up a 5 WAR season but a lot of that is thanks to moving to right field where he is seen by advanced metrics as one of the better defenders for his position.

        • King Jeff

          They signed Navarro and Schierholtz this past offseason, and both of them had higher OPS than everyone on that list, they don’t have to break the bank to add an impact bat. I think they will continue to be smart about who they sign, but there will definitely be a veteran bat or two added to the team.

    • Funn Dave

      Overrated. These guys have dedicated their entire lives playing baseball. They already know what it’s like to play under pressure; to play in front of people; to play in the postseason (most of them, anyway). They don’t need their hands held.

  • MightyBear

    You may want to look at Hoyer for Cleveland (Make sure he’s starting which I’m sure he will). He looked good last week against a pretty good Vikings D. He throws a good ball and he’s got a beast of a target with Jordan Cameron. He’s also probably available unlike Peyton Manning.

    • Professor Snarks

      MightyBear, two things are going against Hoyer this week. 1). he’s going against a Cincinnati defense that did a decent job on Aaron Rodgers, and 2). there is now game film on him. Well, okay. three things. Cleveland is BAD.

      • MightyBear

        Bengals defense is good. I was just trying to suggest someone who is probably available. I can’t see his FA list.

        • Professor Snarks

          I was just talking sports. Just giving my opinion on Hoyer’s value this week. Didn’t mean it to be critical.

  • Voice of Reason

    Sure it’s going to take veterans to turn things around. BUT, it’s going to take a strong group of young talent that with veterans integrated at the positions where we don’t have minor league players.

    That’s why we have to be patient and let the kids develop for another year or two. THEN, we will be ready to add the veterans and compete for a World Series.

    What happens if we sign a left fielder and then determine that Kris Bryant can only play the outfield? He can’t play center and perhaps Soler is in right? Then where do we put Bryant? What happens if we sign another middle of the road starter and end up with four middle of the road starters then don’t have the money needed to land an ace?

    These are all reasons why we have to see what we have developing on the farm before we start spending money on free agents. There will be another Choo that we can sign if we need him. Or, maybe the team that signs him ends up wanting to trade him! Then we can trade for him, etc.

    • ssckelley

      “What happens if we sign a left fielder and then determine that Kris Bryant can only play the outfield? He can’t play center and perhaps Soler is in right? Then where do we put Bryant? What happens if we sign another middle of the road starter and end up with four middle of the road starters then don’t have the money needed to land an ace?”

      Then you have some interesting trade pieces. Honestly I hope the FO is not waiting around for prospects to develop before signing free agents. If they see value in the free agent market I hope they pursue it without first checking to see what they have in the minors. Use prospects to fill the gaps, and if they cannot fill a gap then use them to trade for what you need or trade the player for what gap they can fill. You build a strong organization by acquiring more talent than what the other teams have, and when you have it in both the majors and the minors then that leads to sustained winning. Having log jams in the minors filled with talent is a good thing.

      • C. Steadman

        i think they proved that by trying for Anibal and then taking the consolation prize with Edwin Jackson…if they see value, they’ll try for it

    • CubFan Paul

      “These are all reasons why we have to see what we have developing on the farm before we start spending money on free agents. There will be another Choo that we can sign if we need him”

      Because that’s what the Cardinals and other winning orgs did to get to where they are now [sarcasm alert].

      • Voice of Reason

        You’re exactly right CubFan Paul!

        The Cards have one of the best minor league systems in the game and always have.

        How about the Yankees? Look at their roster and the homegrown talent that made them successful over the past 15 years. Sure they added free agents and had the money to do so, but it all starts with developing minor leaguers AND THEN filling in with free agents where you have the need.

        The Cards AND the Yankees are perfect examples!

        • CubFan Paul

          “The Cards AND the Yankees are perfect examples!”

          Name the 1-5year stretch where the Cards & Yanks sacrificed wins on the major league level ‘AND THEN [started] filling in with free agents where you have the need?

          • Joe

            Those teams never had to do that because those org. weren’t run into the ground for the last 100+ years like this one.

            • YourResidentJag

              In the early 2000s and throughout the 2000s, as Kyle has indicated, this organization had one of the best farm systems in MLB. During Dallas Green’s regime, moves where being made akin to the ones Theo and Co are doing today. Those two examples alone should indicate this organization wasn’t run into the ground for the past 100 years. What an overly biased, hyperbolic statement!

          • ssckelley

            You make a good point, it is not very often where you find either franchise in a sell off mode on July 31st. In fact the last time I could see the Cardinals ever doing that was clear back in 1995 when they were sellers and traded away players like Ken Hill and Todd Zeile (to the Cubs). But that off season they signed guys like Ron Gant, Gary Gaetti, and Andy Benes and ended up 1 game short of returning to the World Series. But the Cardinals never had to do it more than 1 year.

            Not sure the Yankees have ever had to sell off players. George was always the kind of owner to throw more money at the problem, or fire Billy Martin.

    • Kyle

      “What happens if we sign a left fielder and then determine that Kris Bryant can only play the outfield? He can’t play center and perhaps Soler is in right? Then where do we put Bryant?”

      You trade the signee or you trade Bryant. Having too many good players is not a problem to be preemptively avoided.

      • Voice of Reason

        “You trade the signee or you trade Bryant”.

        When you sign a player like Choo to such a large amount of money you are limiting the teams that he can be traded too. Then those teams need to be in contention to want to trade for the high salary and they additionally have to have the need that Choo will fill.

        Soriano is a perfect example. We were stuck with that bum until the Cubs ate most of his paper just to move him.

        No thanks on Choo. I’ll wait a couple of years and see who develops and then determine the needs and sign free agents from there. Choo is a solid player, but the Cubs are not ready to start adding veterans yet.

        There is a plan gang! The ownership and front office is sticking to this plan. The same plan I am explaining.

        • C. Steadman

          honestly in my opinion i think the Cubs add 1 of the three….Choo, Ellsbury, or Tanaka…and sign a cheaper FA of who they miss on…if they get Tanaka they go for a cheap OF…they get Choo/Ellsbury they go for a cheap SP(or maybe even sit on who they have now)

        • CubChymyst

          If your replacing a veteran with a rookie, the rookie is going to be cheap enough that you can eat most of the veterans contract with out much of a budget increase. Especially if the veteran has 4 years or less on their contract.

        • Funn Dave

          Soriano was a different situation. Fans weren’t clamoring to deal him because there were prospects lining up to take his position. Fans were clamoring to deal him because he didn’t perform up to expectations.

        • Kyle

          You aren’t limited in whom you trade him to unless you are trying to save salary in the deal.

    • Blublud

      Right. So we should pass on Choo, when we can get him for money only, only to trade for him later and pay multiple prospects as well as money just so we can make sure exactly which prospect are going to pan out or not?

      I now see how to do business in baseball. That makes no sense. You sign who you need on the roster, and if a prospect Is ready, you make a decision then.

      Example, I’m a huge Baez fan. If the Cubs decide they want to sign Cano, and then trade for Chase Headley (just randomly picked names), I’m cool with that. If Baez proves to be ready, they can try him in the outfield, or as much as I would hate to see him go, they can use him in a package to obtain that OF or a frontline starter. Or you move Headly, Castro, or Cano, which ever is best. But you don’t wait to see if that prospect is legit or not before making that decision. You would be waiting for forever.

  • Aaron

    Established veterans will think twice about signing with the Cubs, especially if the FO insists on not including no-trade clauses in their contracts. This is why the team will probably need to make trades to add talent to their major league roster. The question is who do you trade AND who do you trade for?

    • Voice of Reason

      That’s such bullshit it’s unbelievable!

      Free agents will go where they get the most money! Most don’t care if they win or lose.

      Besides, free agents are usually free agents because

      1. They are over the hill and the team they are with doesn’t want them

      or

      2. They are trouble makers and the team they are with doesn’t want them

      Sure there are times when the team they are with can’t afford to keep them so they move to a team in a bigger market that can pay them more. But, usually when you sign free agents they are probably available for one of the two reasons I mentioned.

      • Blublud

        Right. So I guess Robinson Cano is over the hill and the Yankees don’t want him.

        • Voice of Reason

          Did Robinson Cano leave the Yankees as a free agent? I guess I missed that memo?

          Or, is it that he is going to be a free agent and more than probably the Yankees will resign him? Is it that Cano is becoming a free agent for leverage to make more money?

          Cano is just doing what he can do to make the most money.

          Cano hasn’t left the Yankees and the Yankees want to keep him.

          Bad example, Blublud. At least give me an example of someone who has actually left his team!

          • C. Steadman

            Cliff Lee comes to the top of my head…left the Rangers to go the the Phils..took less $$ than what the Yanks offered

          • CubChymyst

            How about everyone that was tied to a compensation pick last year. Obviously there team wanted them enough to be willing to pay the 13 million for them.

          • CubChymyst

            Also Scott Baker comes to mind. I remember Minnesota wanting to keep him.

            • willis

              I bet they are glad that didn’t work out.

      • C. Steadman

        most of the time the teams offering the most money are trying to win…e.i. Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox…

      • Funn Dave

        These blanket statements are just not accurate. Why do you think the Big 3 went to Miami? They wanted to win a championship. They would’ve gotten paid wherever they went, but they went to Miami because they wanted to win. What does everybody say come trade deadline, when it’s time to deal a great SP on the crappy Cubs? Think Dempster, Garza, Lily. “Oh great, let’s deal him to a contender so he can have a chance to win.” Obviously, those aren’t limited to free agency scenarious, but there’s truth behind that statement. Players want to win. The good free agents will make bank wherever they go, so they go where they can win.

        As for your reasons players become free agents, those are only two of many. It has more to do with the ebb and flow of baseball–if a player nears the end of his contract and the team is bad enough that its management feels it needs more than just one great player to around whom to build, that team will trade him. Or, like you said, it could be that the team just can’t afford him–do you think Fielder left the Brewers because he wasn’t good, or he was a troublemaker? Hell, no.

    • ssckelley

      But if I was an established veteran I would be thrilled if a team like the Cubs were pursuing me. For one you have a team with money to spend involved in bidding for me, and secondly if it does not work out they will trade me to a team who is competing. So I get the best of both worlds, I get paid and could end up in the playoffs. If the Cubs do end up winning then I end up being part of bringing the playoffs back to Cub fans, something that would be special.

  • Aaron

    Voice of Reason…you are crazy. “Most don’t care if they win or lose” and “only go where they get the most money”. Absolutely crazy.

    • Voice of Reason

      Not crazy at all.

      Why did Pujols leave the Cardinals? It wasn’t because they were losing games!

    • On The Farm

      Well here is a thought, right now the Cubs are losing, so we are trading our FA acquisitions to contenders. So FA can look at it this way: 1. I can go to the Cubs and prove my worth and if the Cubs aren’t in contention, they will deal me to a contender so really I am only playing half a season in Chicago. 2. The Cubs are a big market team, and even though they are restricted in FA signings, they have shown every indication they are willing to eat player salary in order to get a better deal from a trade partner. Therefore my contract won’t necessarily dictate where I am traded for.

      Seems win-win, the Cubs get a player who is a tradeable asset. The player gets a place to showcase his talent and once injuries or need arise in season, the player can go to his “winner”. I think you are looking at this all wrong. Players will still come to the Cubs.

      • Voice of Reason

        Your dad gun right free agents will still come to the Cubs.

        The statement that they won’t is just silly.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    how about Ramirez, Soriano, lee, nomar did they not almost get us there?

    • Voice of Reason

      All free agents who have come to the Cubs in the past certainly didn’t come here because they were winning!

      You can’t use Cubs free agents as examples as it just backs up my point even more!

    • Professor Snarks

      Of the guys you mentioned, only Soriano was a free agent. The rest we acquired in trade.

      • Voice of Reason

        I didn’t mention them by name. All I said was you can’t use Cubs free agents as examples as it just backs up my point even more!

        • Professor Snarks

          Sorry VoR, my comment was a reply to jmc.

    • cRAZYHORSE

      “their failures have been overblown, and (2) their failures are, in part, understandable/explainable.”

      Stop rationalizing and just accept the fact that these two players have played poorly this season. The fact is these players are usually at the top of the order and they produce outs Rizzo batting third with sub a 240 batting average is almost laughable his clutch hitting is what (??)below 200 or damn near with runners in scoring position. for the season and the Combine WAR for both players is equal or less than 1.5

      Do they have upside ? Absolutely but both players performance aided in the teams horrible record this year, and if they continue to perform at this current level the Cubs will be mediocre at best when the youngsters are ready.

      • willis

        His RISP is .182 for the season. (prepares of reply onslaught)

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        “That is not to say that Castro’s and Rizzo’s performances are not a part of the reason the Cubs have performed so poorly”

        Make sure you leave out context. Otherwise, you might sound foolish.

        • DarthHater

          Nah, he’ll sound foolish anyway.

        • CRAZYHORSE

          The rationalization of your topic sentence was weak . You and I both know your topic sentence was correct but your following supportive sentence was a kiss ass . That is why I called it a rationalization.

          BOTH PLAYERS SUCKED THIS YEAR WITH A COMBINE WAR OF UNDER TWO .

          • bbmoney

            Putting it in caps does not make it any more true. Rizzo hasn’t sucked. He hasn’t been great, but an ~2 WAR season does not equal suck.

            Castro has sucked. Doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad player (I still think he’ll be very good), but he’s had a bad year. No doubt.

  • Aaron

    We’re talking about the top veteran impact-type free agents not all free agents.

    Scott Baker (after Tommy John surgery..2012 season lost) and Scott Feldman (other 7 seasons produced a sub-par record of 22-36 with a 5.63 ERA) were not part of any top tier free agent list in the off-season.

    On The Farm…I get your point and the FO is working this system. Overview: If you’re a free agent that has not produced lately but perhaps could…do to a change of scenery, want more playing time or have time to heal after a major arm injury, the Cubs will give you good money to see if you can work things out. If you do, they will trade you to a better team that may very well get in the playoffs.

    • TWC

      Aaron, baby, you’ve had lots to say recently, but your unwillingness to use the Reply button makes it awfully hard to figure out what the hell you’re talking about.

  • Aaron

    Sorry TWC. In and out of meetings.

    • DarthHater

      D’Oh!

      • TWC

        Meetings… smh!

  • cubsfanforever

    IMO I think there could be a trade in the off season where one of the prospects are gone. Its hard to think that all your prospects are going to make it. I say if you can improve your club by adding a potential star for an unknown you do it. I am not saying to trade Baez but I have no trouble trading for a 25-26 year old stud arm or bat. This club is years away if they don’t make some strides. At some point don’t you have to mix and match and get some talent in here.

  • Fastball

    I think the hitting philosophy cannot be stamped onto every players chest in the organization. Whether it’s the FO or the Hitting Coach somebody is to blame for the results. The former hitting coach maybe was better than this Rowson guy. Castillo hit better but he may not even listen to Rowson. The guys who have listened to him pretty much have gone in the tank. Hitting coaches with an agenda to stamp out hitters who are going to all use the same approach the cookie cutter approach, almost always fail as instructors. A really good hitting coach can look at a guy and come up with an individual plan. You can’t stamp out hitters like the do Walmarts. They all don’t look the same. I believe the organization finally admitting that they F’d up Castro is a sign that Rowson will be getting the AXE after this season. Hopefully along with his boss. Because I just don’t see any improvement in this team as a whole. I don’t care if they have the worst players in the league at every position. You can still instruct and manage a fundamental game and not mistakes all over the damned place. You could say that some of the pitchers have failed to progress at the big league level. Shark hasn’t improved over last year in my opinion. He looks like the same damned pitcher as last year. Wood has improved but who says our pitching coach should get credit for that. Wood is a pitcher not a thrower so he probably has a pretty good idea what he is doing without somebody tinkering with his mechanics or psyche.
    What the hell …. Fire’em All. Get Joe in here and let’s get the show on the road. I don’t know if next year will be any better with Sveum. You could load this team up and Sveum would still produce a loser. Get Joe in here and lets have some goals that are set in stone. Something a little more than each season is sacred or we are playing for a top 4 draft pick.

    • Funn Dave

      So if a player does poorly, it’s his coach’s fault; but if he does well, he must not have been listening to his coach?

    • TWC

      “Castillo hit better [fact] but he may not even listen to Rowson [speculation]. The guys who have listened to him pretty much have gone in the tank [false]…. Wood has improved [fact] but who says our pitching coach should get credit for that [speculation].”

      This guy cracks me up. No matter what happens the coaches are to blame. A player improves, it’s because the player didn’t listen to the coach. A player who doesn’t improve, or whose performance declines, is because he listened to the coach. It’s an awfully loaded way to frame the debate, akin to: Have you stopped beating your wife?

      • DarthHater

        Clearly, you have never played baseball at a high level. :-P

  • Aaron

    The Cubs fans and media are demanding results from ownership and FO on improving the big club sooner rather than later. We all understand that their minor league system is better and have some nice talent throughout. But most of that talent is at single or double A.

    Dale and his staff will be under an even more powerful magnifying glass next season. Attendance will go down at Wrigley another 200,000 fans which it has over the past two consecutive seasons. No improvements are scheduled to be made to Wrigley Field for next season. I’m not sure if the Cubs can wait out this “storm” as they wait for their better prospects to play on the big club over the next 2 or 3 years. Then there’s the hope that they’re going to be impact players.

    Time to update the plan Theo. Trades…perhaps. Free agents…at least 1 top one please.

    • Funn Dave

      My feeling is, it’s the Cubs. No matter how low attendance drops next season, it’ll bounce back eventually. As we all know, the Cubs haven’t won in over a hundred years, and yet they’ve consistently been one of the most fiscally and sociologically successful franchises in baseball. I wish the FO had that kind of accountability, but I really don’t think that’s the case, even though some people are making it out to be. I guess my point is, the Cubs can absolutely “wait out this ‘storm;’” if less marketable franchises like the Astros and Pirates can be so crappy for so long, then the Cubs can, too.

    • Voice of Reason

      I understand the plan and I don’t want them to change it.

      In fact, I’d rather go watch a bunch of young kids at the major league level hustle their asses off and lose compared to a bunch of overpaid free agents who don’t give a shit and lose. That said, I hope they don’t add any free agents next year so we can see the kids play as much as possible.

      I do, however, understand the attendance thing. I believe that after the 2014 season they will have to land at least one big name free agent to help get people through the turn styles. They are still paying for Soriano next year and ownership seems to be watching the dollars and cents very closely these days. That’s why I think they might add a marginal free agent or two next year similar to Schierholtz, Feldman, etc.

      • Professor Snarks

        I think the attendance thing will turn when we get more players on the team who fit in the ”core’ category. Let’s say when Baez, Bryant and Soler are playing. Even if they initially struggle, fans will come to see the future. it’s kind of unfair, but I can’t get excited by a Valbuena or Schierholtz or even a Barney, if I know they won’t be around long. Yes, the team matters, but I think having players the fans can rally around matters more. When the future arrives at Wrigley, so will the fans.

  • Patrick W.

    Tyrelle Prior is the pick-up for this week.

    • Professor Snarks

      Washington’s ‘D’ does suck. That’s for sure.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Since it’s just a fill-in for me, I was too worried about the possibility of him having to sit (concussion).

  • Noah_I

    I think the real question regarding Rizzo and Castro is how predictive their current struggles this year will be of performance on future years.

    Quite honestly, with Rizzo I’m fairly heartened. Yes, the BA was bad, but as has been bandied about here a lot, that’s largely based on a low BABIP. Whether you chalk BABIP up to luck, randomness, or players getting out of sync at the plate, BABIP is not particularly predictive from one year to the next. I like Rizzo’s walk rate (11%) and K rate (18.5%), with my only concern being that he’s hit significantly more fly balls this year than last year. If those fly balls turn into home runs as he gets a bit older and stronger, that’s great. If they don’t they remain outs. Quite honestly, the only difference between Rizzo and Freddie Freeman this year is BABIP. They have near identical walk and K rates and near identical ISOs, and a near identical number of home runs (Rizzo has significantly more doubles, for what it’s worth). But Freeman’s BABIP is an unsustainably awesome .364, while Rizzo’s is .255.

    This year was a bit of a bigger bummer for me for Castro. I’m hoping that Castro getting back to his see ball/hit ball ways will return him to the version of Castro we saw from 2010 to 2012 at the least, but being a see ball/hit ball player likely limits his ceiling to a 3-4 WAR type of player. Still a well above average Major Leaguer, but not a star.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    The two are separate and different situations. To say the two are to blame for the mess, no. But it is not the real question. The real question is whether Castro is to blame for Castro and if he is part of the future for the Cubs. That question is much simpler. He is to blame for his to year regression and he will not be the star focus they wanted. He doesn’t have the capacity to do things mentally they want from a prototypical Manny Ramirez. Dale isn’t as dumb as so many think, he effectively and lawyerly changed the subject on you. In the process he excused Castro and everyone else for what has occurred. Makes me laugh a little…..

  • Spriggs

    While it’s a good thing that Rizzo can take good pitches the other way, I think he may need to become at least a little more pull conscious in his approach.

  • Gutshot5820

    Sveum needs to go and it’s a pretty easy decision. Sveum is a few million dollar investment vs Castro and Rizzo a 100M investment gone wrong. All you have to do is ask yourself, is Sveum the guy you want coaching that investment along with all our young studs in the future? Well we can agree that Sveum by himself is possibly not the problem, but he definitely definitely is NOT THE ANSWER. So Sveum may not be the primary cause of the problems, but if he does not have the ability to help solve or improve core players, then it automatically becomes an easy answer for me.

    • Voice of Reason

      Gutshot,

      What has sveum not done that makes it an easy decision to get rid of him?

      • Gutshot5820

        Exactly my point. He has not done anything. Things have gotten worse for the core players. Especially the 100M dollar investment the FO made recently. He may have not done anything wrong, but he sure as heck has not done anything right that has helped improve them. Why not give another hitting instructor and manager a chance to help develop the core and new players. Give someone else a shot, we have nothing to lose in this case except a few million dollars.

        • Gutshot5820

          If there was a stat that could figure a manager’s WAR in terms of strategy, Sveum would be a zero. Not great and not bad, mediocre would be a good description. If there was a stat that determined the development of young players, based on the past two years results, I would have to go with mediocre again or possibly even slightly a negative WAR. Is this the type of guy you want as a manager for your club? A guy that won’t hurt you much? Considering how cheap a manager’s salary is comparatively to player’s contracts and also considering how important the young players coming up will be to the future. Do you want a mediocre manager and teacher guiding our young club. Because no matter what your opinion of Sveum is, I think we can all agree, he is not an elite manager or coach by any means.

          • Cyranojoe

            “I think we can all agree…” You say a lot of stupid stuff, man, but this one takes the cake. Don’t sully the rest of us with your ham-handed, poorly considered opinions.

            • Gutshot5820

              So you are saying you think Sveum is an elite manager? LMAO Anybody who thinks Sveum is an elite manager or any good at developing young players please speak up or shut up.

              • hansman1982

                “any good at developing young players please speak up or shut up”

                Wood, Samardzija, Rondon, Castillo, Rizzo (outside of singles rate), Barney and Soriano’s Defense, Marmol’s 2012, Gregg, Valbuena, Schierholtz, the old reliever from last year, the myriad of arms in the bullpen now, Sweeney, Navarro all think that Sveum and his group are good at developing, at least, some aspect of their game.

                And this was after an amazing 30 seconds worth of deliberation.

                • C. Steadman

                  Barney’s 9/25/2013

                • Gutshot5820

                  I’ll give you Wood and Castillo, but that’s it. Considering the record amount of players that went through the DFA waiver, injured rebound take a flyer, see if it sticks merry-go-round, it can be mathematically argued that they actually under-performed as a whole. And I discount any veterans you named because much of their success can be attributed to the FO and the literally record amount of players they have put through the turn-styles.We were bound to have a few with good years, just by sheer luck. Besides, who are all these extra-ordinary players/veterans you speak of that have done so well that we are the laughing stock of the Central. Your bar for performance or excellence has sunk this low?

                  In any case, I am not saying Sveum absolutely sucks and that their wasn’t any bright spots during his time with the Cubs. All I’m saying is that he is MEDIOCRE. That;s all.

                  • hansman1982

                    HAHAHAHAHA

                    SVEUM SUCKS AND ANYTHING YOU SAY TO PROVE OTHERWISE I WILL JUST SAY “PFFFFFFT, IT DOESN’T COUNT BECAUSE I SAY SO!!!!!!” NEENER NEENER!

                    “Besides, who are all these extra-ordinary players/veterans you speak of that have done so well that we are the laughing stock of the Central. Your bar for performance or excellence has sunk this low?”

                    I blame the FO for giving Dale a bunch of players that, even if they over-performed, would still not be playoff contenders.

                    • Gutshot5820

                      Mind-boggling that you included Samardzia, Marmol, Rizzo, Barney, and a bunch of fourth outfielders and a back-up catcher as your reasons that the Cubs are much improved under Sveum. I guess we each have a right to our own opinion.

          • bbmoney

            Organizations develop players. Giving all the credit or laying all the blame on the manager for the success or failure of young players is a little silly. There are waayyyyy too many factors involved to do that.

        • http://It'searly Mike F

          I think that is the wrong way to look at it. Sveum may not be the guy which well could be, but Theo can’t lie to himself about Castro or Rizzo. The wise thing with Rizzo is to wait and see, but Castro is another story. To continue to believe somehow that Castro is the center of the Cub’s future, is likely to be destructive to Theo and this organization. You either move forward with him as just a guy who fits or goes, or you do the wiser thing and take corrective action. It is idiotic to fire Sveum over Castro. Castro is not Derrick Jeter and never has been, and Cub fans refuse to accept it and instead place blame on Sveum. The larger problem in so insanely elevating Castro is he becomes immune from competition making a guy like Baez, who might be worth all the hassle, more available that most fans think.

  • Aaron

    Besides Sveum…who else will take the beating from the media and the fans next season when the club loses 80+ games? He may be the only real answer to get through next season, before the team is ready to make some noise in 2015. Plus he’s also under contract for 2014. Dale is a tough dude…and can take a beating for at least one more season.

    • Matty Ice

      “Besides Sveum…who else will take the beating from the media and the fans next season when the club loses 90+ games?”

      FIFY

  • Aaron

    Matty Ice…you’re probably right but I was trying to be a touch more optimistic.

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