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Welcome to the Cubs TheoThe latest episode of the BN Podcast focused heavily on the evaluation and future of Dale Sveum. Although nothing Sahadev and I said is unuseful or off-base, I’ve come to understand that the situation has changed a bit in the last week. More about the managerial decision soon. Until then …

  • Team president Theo Epstein has a positive spin on the Cubs’ rapidly declining attendance. Epstein told Cubs.com that to have over 2.6 million in attendance in a last place season and after trading 40% of the rotation two years in a row is a pretty impressive thing. It speaks to the dedication of Cubs fans, and Epstein reiterated his belief that, when the Cubs win, it will be all the more special for the folks who’ve been along for the ride. He also dropped this comment, which is spot on: “I have no doubt that the minute we put a winning team on the field, we’ll have a packed park, raucous crowds, and maybe borderline intimidating crowds, and up until that point, all we can ask of our fans is to trust us that we’re working as hard as we can to make it happen.” I get tingles thinking about a packed and raucous Wrigley. Soon, baby. Soon. (Please.)
  • Epstein added, per Jesse Rogers, that the Cubs will be spending money in the future when they have infusions of new revenue to spend (i.e., Wrigley renovation and TV deal). The wins, too, will come. I guess that means it’s money, wins, fans, in that chronological order. And then probably more money. Maybe even more wins, then.
  • To those still paying ardent attention to the remaining games, today’s Cubs/Cards tilt has been moved up three hours to avoid projected inclement weather. Start time is now 3:15pm CT, not 6:15pm CT.
  • Both Dale Sveum and Travis Wood were bummed about how his one inning last night turned out (three earned runs, bringing his ERA over 3). He got the first two guys out, and then things unraveled.
  • The Cubs have the third worst franchise in professional sports, according to GQ. Though I’m not sure how much credence I can lend to a ranking that resides next to a slideshow of the 50 most unforgettable boobs in movie history. (I make that remark as a critique, and now 75% of you are feverishly clicking around GQ trying to find the slideshow to which I refer … (don’t bother – it’s a really stupid slideshow full of bluster and disappointment).)
  • macpete22

    Ausmus supposedly isn’t a guy the front office is looking at according to Mooney
    http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/joe-girardi-x-factor-cubs-prepare-final-decision

  • The Dude Abides

    Theo is a genius, how does he figure this stuff out?

    Money, Wins, Fans!!!

    Pure Genius!!!!

  • Die hard

    Bud Black was my prediction month ago — you can look it up and I stand by it given Hoyer will have more influence as Theos contract expires whole Hoyer given extension and promotion as he is Ricketts favorite

  • Eternal Pessimist

    Ricketts has an interesting problem…put money into the team too early and you not only fill the park, but it would help stabilize the revenue for the rooftops. How many years of failure to get a deal with the rooftops before they decide to just wait out the 10 years left on the contract (9 or 10?) and then put up the Jumbotron?

  • Jay

    How about a sliding scale on ticket prices? The crappier the team is doing, the more of a discount you get on your tickets (since the ticket prices now are among the highest in baseball).

  • Patrick G

    We gotta get jobs, than we get the khakis, than we get the chicks

    • Larry Horse

      DUDE!

    • Toby

      Can’t the Cubs get away with yelling, “Steve Perry”

  • http://worldseriesdreaming.com/ Rice Cube

    Why do you mention boobs and then don’t deliver? Man, Brett… #disappoint

    ;)

    • CGruegs45

      #GetBitches #BleacherNationChickMagnet

      • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

        Can we block this guy now?

        • MichiganGoat

          We can only hope

        • Wilbur

          Please …

          • CGruegs45

            Yo son get a #21stCentury name. #WilburWasMyPetHamstersNameAndINeverEvenHadAHamster

        • CGruegs45

          U can try to #block me bro or u can not try to #block me #ToughDecisions #HaterzThezeDayz

      • MichiganGoat

        Wow two days of twitter trolling impressive for a guy with only a few tweets and no followers.

        • CGruegs45

          Youre a goat bruh… #NoughSaid

      • Hansman1982

        Watch this and you will see how dumb you sound.

        http://youtu.be/57dzaMaouXA

  • Mike Evans

    Love Jay’s idea. Let winning percentage set ticket price. Could let that kick in after a certain date. My guess (but what do I know) is that there would be more fans in the seats for all teams.

  • josh ruiter

    ya know, theoretically, we could add choo, hart, and tanaka and spend less money next year on payroll. just sayin. imagine a lineup against righties….
    choo
    castro
    rizzo
    hart
    schierholtz
    olt
    castillo
    watkins
    and against lefties.
    choo
    castro
    hart
    rizzo
    olt
    lake
    murphy
    castillo

    I kinda like that…

    • Ivy Walls

      maybe 72 wins I don’t

      Rather trade Castro and Smardz to Philly for Lee, sign Tanaka and Choo, put up a rotation of Lee, Tanaka, Wood, Arietta, plus Baker and system

      Bring up Baez at SS and Alcantara at 2B by mid season, possibly Bryant by Sept or early next year.

      Trade Schierholtz for value and bring up Soler when ready June/July, have Lake in LF until Almora is ready and develop Lake as super utility.

      When Hendricks, Edwards, Black, Johnson, Pineyro are ready.

      Cubs make bigger splash and trade for Lee (move Jackson, Castro, Samardz $22M est for $25M) where Lee could be traded in 2016 or kept but anchor the starting staff. Starts Philly’s rebuild and allows the Cubs to open spots for SS and system starters coming up.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        That trade is just terrible. You, want to trade two young guys, very talented young guys for Cliff Lee who is 35 years old and he’s owed $77 million over the next 3 years.

        • X The Cubs Fan

          Edwin is also way better than Scott Baker.

        • Hansman1982

          Well, to be fair, by the time all 5 of those guys are ready, Lee will only have a year left on his deal.

  • jt

    Not buyin’ it!
    Theo/Jed probably have more faith in “the kids” than long term Choo, Jacoby contracts.
    *
    IMO, the hot stove trade results will tell the real story.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Who are the other two worst franchises in sports without reading the article? Jacksonville Jaguars and who?

    • Chris S

      I cheated – any Cleveland franchise and the Detroit lions. Jacksonville didn’t make the list.

  • Bwa

    I will be pretty disappointed if they don’t spend some really money this offseason on at least one quality guy like choo ellsbury tanaka etc. attendance is down about .4 million from where it used to be which amounts to way more than .4×50=20 million bucks and that’s being conservative. They can afford to bring in a mother 15-20 million dollar guy if it will help us win and bring up attendance.

    • Bwa

      Apologies for typos

  • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

    Brett, you offer it as a critique and (gently) poke fun at those who will now go check it out.

    But how do *you* know it’s disappointing, huh???????

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’d be the second layer of the joke, my good man. :)

  • since52

    (insert name of best baseball mgr in history) could not get any more from the two teams DS has been given. Watching the Cards kick Cub ass yet again with 20 rookies on their roster this year, and no doubt more to follow, managed by yet another long time CARDINAL tells me the best thing Theo could do at this stage is promote the next mgr. from within.

    Get some continuity going for God’s sake. At this point nobody knows WTF the “Cub way” means. Hint: it looks a lot like what the Cardinals do on a routine basis. The major leagues is not the place for your prospects to learn their jobs.

  • necubsfan

    I’d like to see slideshow of the “50 most unforgettable boobs to manage the Cubs”. Mike Quads has to be in the top 10.

  • Rizzo1684

    I’m torn on this offseason, Its a fact that young players develop better when they have great mentors around them. This is why the Cards can use 20 rookies and they come into a winning mindset with Molina, Holliday, Craig, Wainwright, and others. The problem the Cubs face is you just can’t go out and buy all of these players b/c a few have to come up through your system. I have always (as most readers of this site can) usually been able to predict what we were going to do in the offseason, but I have to be honest that I have no f’n clue what they are going to do this offseason. Nothing would surprise me b/c I could see a big trade(Cargo,Price, you know all the names,) sign Choo and Tanaka, sign another bounce back guy like Morse and make a solid run at the playoffs all the way to sign a few short term flippable players, miss out on Tanaka, and eye the following year(this is where I would lay my money though.)

    • cubfanincardinalland

      That is a media myth talking. The Cardinals have not won this year because of a whole bunch of rookies playing great. Most of their WAR has come from Carpenter, Molina, Craig Holiday, Beltran, Wainwright, Mujica.
      Fangraphs had a great article, their hitting with runners in scoring position has been freakishly better than their overall hitting. Has added 8 wins versus their normal historical numbers. Look at their record since June, they were a .500 team the last 3 months until 10 days ago. Stop worshipping the shit birds, they ain’t that good.

      • Rich H

        Thank you.
        If these posters lived in Mulletland and to listen to the fan base of the Cards complain about how lucky their team actually is then maybe they would understand. The Cards kids have actually really struggled most of the time.
        A friend of mine that works for the team actually questioned whether Matheny was going too make it till next spring. Said if the Cards got swept in first round he would not be suprised if a change happened. I naturally was skeptical but his reasoning was that Tony had the kids mentally prepared to play and he did not think Matheny did a good job at that.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The Cards probably won’t get swept in the first round. They have played well in September, and the only other playoff-bound team in the NL that has played well in September is the Reds: the Braves, Dodgers and Pirates have all had negative run-differentials over the last month. That’s a recipe for a quick exit!

          • Rich H

            We were playing what if’s with it Doc. I agree it is not likely.

            That being said the Cards have been riding the RISP rollercoaster much of the season and it might fall back to earth in the playoffs.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Another point. We know of course that when a team is losing 95 games a season, it certainly takes several years of rebuilding for them to even become competitive again.
    Just don’t look up the Cleveland Indians in the standings this morning.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      A lot of that has to do with why teams lost 95 games a couple of years ago. If it is a rebounding team that had everything go wrong (particularly with injuries), then those 95-loses will really misrepresent the basic talent. The Indians didn’t turn into a good team this year by any magic over the last two years: they’ve just kept progressing from some solid roots and avoided major injuries this year. (Their 230 shift in run-differential is quite impressive, though!)

      In a way, we’ve seen this with the Sox this year. 12 months ago, there were people saying that if Theo was not responsible for the 2012 Cubs disaster, then he was responsible for the 2012 Sox disaster. However, the 2012 Sox were not a bad team: they were just a team that had a lot of things go wrong. (The pitching injuries that gutted the team in Sept. 2011 gutted the team for 2012, too.) This year’s Sox have the basic core that Theo’s squad put together, and damned if they are not a really good team again.

  • willis

    So they’ll spend when the renovation starts producing revenue, because the owners don’t have any money to spend on a major league, yet they bought a major league team. And seeing that the renovations have stalled some, and seem to be in an endless cycle of dog fart, well…quite the black hole this team at the major league level is in. A lot to look forward to in the coming years.

    Maybe next year they’ll set a goal for something like only 94 or 95 losses. Improvement. Hooray.

  • Ron

    Going into this post I considered Travis Wood to have been on of the best managed pitchers on the Cubs staff according to my “eye” test. What I considered best managed is pulling a pitcher before the most “damage” occurs by allowing runs in the final inning pitched. Basically the manager managing fatigue. And for that matter I considered Samardja to be one of the worst. So lets look at the numbers.

    Jeff Samardja finished the year with 207.2 innings, 210 strike outs and a 4.33 era. He allowed a total of 106 runs with 100 of them earned. Of the 106 runs allowed 42 were in the final inning pitched or approximately 40%.

    Travis Wood finished the year with 200 innings, 144 strike outs and a 3.11 era. He allowed a total of 73 runs with 69 of them earned. Of the 73 runs allowed 36 were in the final inning pitched or approximately 49%.

    Conclusion, well first my eye test sucks! I do have a couple questions though regarding BABIP is there a correlation between number of innings pitched and BABIP? If nearly 50% of total runs allowed are scored in the final inning pitched what does that do to a pitchers BABIP? and then would fatigue be the biggest influence in BABIP for a pitcher?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Without checking, I would predict that there is a negative correlation between BABiP and innings pitched for one simple reason: as BABiP goes down, pitch count and batters faced goes down for the same number of innings, K’s, BB and HR.

      Now, within any one start, there might be the question of whether BABiP tends to be higher from (say) pitches 76-100 than in pitches 1-25. However, it does not need to do so for runs allowed to go up: if walks go up and K’s go down, then: 1) there are more runners and 2) more balls being put into play to fall in for hits even if the frequency at which they do so does not change. Whether HR:FB ratios go up, I don’t know: but if pitchers are losing their command, then FB:GB (or even just FB:PA) ratios will go up, so if HR:FB ratios remain the same, you’ll get more HR allowed.

  • CubFan Paul

    ”I have no doubt that the minute we put a winning team on the field…”

    Thanks for admitting that you haven’t

    • Hansman1982

      That’s like thanking MichiganGoat for admitting he drinks a lot of beer. Theo and Jed have said numerous times they haven’t put winning teams on the field.

      • CubFan Paul

        They’ve only accepted blame for the bullpen. Anything else was vague (to my recollection)

        • Professor Snarks

          I think the words they have used are “imperfect roster” I don’t think they are evaluating Dale on won-loss records. (that would be unfair).

        • hansman1982

          Back in June I remember them saying that Dale isn’t being evaluated on wins and losses because of the roster he was given.

      • MichiganGoat

        Why thank you.

  • http://BleacherNation.com Dean

    So I’m wondering how many wins a lineup of Rizzo, Baez, Castro, Alcantara, Soler, Bryant, Lake and Castillo gets you with a staff lead by Tanaka, Shark, Wood, Jackson and Arrieta. Purely hypothetical folks so please no but..but…buts. 80+? Maybe not so hypothetical after June 1st.

    • Kyle

      In 2014?

      65, tops. There’s a lot of players in that lineup nowhere near ready for MLB pitching.

      • YourResidentJag

        Repeat pretty much identically to this year.

    • Professor Snarks

      If we left spring training with that line-up, I’d say 67-70 wins in 2014.
      After the year of experience, probably would win near 80-85 in 2015.

      • cub2014

        wrong

        • Professor Snarks

          why?

    • Scotti

      The defense of Baez, Alcantara, Lake, Soler & Bryant would be, collectively, very sketchy. Very sketchy.

      In your hypothetical, Baez would be very inexperienced @ 3B (never played there professionally), Alcantara not polished @ 2nd (.954 fielding percentage this year), Lake not polished @ CF (.957% in 27 career professional games in CF), Soler has a TOTAL of 83 professional games in the field (all @ RF) and Bryant a MERE 31 (with ZERO in the OF).

      Rizzo, Castillo and Castro are all good defenders and all getting better (regardless of what many here think of Castro and Castillo). But each of the others would be expected to be among the worst defensively at their position if brought up by mid next year even though each has the potential to eventually be good defensively. This would have a large impact on the pitching.

      I would expect that, if brought up by midseason, Alcantara, Soler and Bryant would all likely be very poor offensively for their respective positions. This year Rizzo and Castro have been subpar for their respective positions. You would like to think they would improve with better coaching but that isn’t a given. You would like to think Baez would provide a plus bat at 3B (where you have him slotted) but that isn’t a given–some talented rookie struggle (see Profar). So that leaves your offense with Wellington’s career OPS of .748 @ C as the solitary “given” offensive plus.

      Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Arrieta and Tanaka would, IMO, be a good rotation. However they would feel the brunt of a horrible defense and a horrible offence. Assuming the bullpen and backup starter(s) are average, my prediction would be a 55-60 win season if the above rookies were all brought up midseason and a 45-50 win season if they were brought up to start the season. 2015 would likely be in the 60-65 win range if the team stayed with the struggling youngsters (they wouldn’t).

      • Professor Snarks

        Okay Scotti. Good analysis. Let’s break it down. Comparing the 2013 team to the proposed 2014 team. (let’s say the team breaks camp like this).
        -Agree on the defense, could be bad. Adv 2013
        -Starting pitching, probably a wash
        -Relief pitching. on paper adv. 2014
        -Catcher: because of Castillo’s growth. Adv. 2014
        -1st base: Rizzo will hit better. Adv 2014
        -2nd base: Alcantara will provide more than a .575 OPS, 7 homers and 4 sb’s adv 2014
        -Shortstop. Castro will be Castro circa 2011/12. Adv 2014
        -3rd base: Tough one. This year’s slash line about .230/.320/.420 with 30 hrs. I think in a full year Baez could do .250/.300/.450 with 25 hrs. Slight adv to 2013.
        -LF: Bryant for a full year would exceed Soriano/ 2nd half platoon. Adv 2014
        -CF: Lake will not exceed 2013’s platoon. Adv. 2013
        -RF: Soler would provide a higher avg and OBP, but wouldn’t match the 30 homers from this years platoon. Slight adv to 2013.

        I just don’t see this team winning less than 60-65 games. offense would be slightly better, bullpen HAS to be better, starters the same.

        (I do NOT believe the Cubs should do this).

        • Kyle

          Alcantara would be worse in the majors than Darwin Barney. Maybe even just including offense.

          Bryant would be significantly worse than our current LF

          Soler would be so much worse than our current RF that it’s hard to overstate it.

          You are wildly underestimating how hard it is to jump from the minors to the majors.

          • Professor Snarks

            No, I know the jump is tough. Bryant and Soler have good hitting approaches and both will be 22 next year. Alcantara, I’d bet provides more offense than Barney. Not really hard to do, and Alcantara is also 22.

            I think you may be overvaluing what we are currently getting in right and left fields.

            Again, I think this team would win, in 2014, the same number of games that you do. Again, in no way am I advocating doing this. I just don’t agree with Scotti’s 45-50 win projection. Hell, this years Astro’s have won 50 games, and their pitching staff is no where near as good as the one Scotti has projected for the Cubs.

            • Rich H

              Remember the standard variation is 5% per level. So Soler, Bryant and who ever makes the jump from Daytona to Chicago would have 15% less numbers and Baez and Alcantara would be 10% less. The only player with those variances that would be league average is Baez.

              • Professor Snarks

                I’m not sure, but Soler/Bryant/Alcantara would be better than what the Cubs are fielding now at those positions, using your magic formula.

                The Cubs currently aren’t fielding too many league avg players.

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

    Yeah, the GQ list was put together by a group of elementary school kids.

  • Frank

    Sept 27 2013
    Theo: I think it’s great that 2.6 million people came to watch the Cubs even though they didn’t do very good.

    Sept 27 2014
    Theo: I think it’s great that 1.9 million people came to watch the Cubs even though they didn’t do very good.

  • YourResidentJag

    Well, if the Cubs had any notions of signing Pence (which I don’t think they do) looks like he’s potentially off this yr’s FA Market per John Heyman.

    • YourResidentJag

      Yep $90 mil extension for Pence per multiple sources.

  • Jono

    Im sure it’s been written about (probably even recently), but can someone remind me who would get the 4th pick if the cubs and twins tie?

    • Kyle

      Cubs, due to worse record in the previous year. (the tank that keeps on giving)

    • MichiganGoat

      Cubs- tie breaker is last years record

    • Professor Snarks

      Cubs due to their worse record in 2012.

  • Steve

    Thank goodness. Only 2 more games.

    • wilbur

      There’s always next year!

  • Rich H

    The question I have is who would the fan base want to replace the coaches if that is the change that is made?
    If the Cubs go with an experienced manager or keep Sveum then you can expect a whole new staff around them.

    The only guy I would think is totally safe is McKay just on his OF defense work with Sorriano and Lake.
    I would expect Bosio gets a pass as well with the fixing he has done with Gregg and Wood this year. Everyone else is open for the chopping block.

    I can never remember a time where the bench coach has been as much of a nonentity as what we have now.

    At what point do you think you need to get Fassero into Chicago before we loose him to someone looking for a pitching/bullpen coach?

  • Steve

    SF signs Hunter Pence for 5-yrs at $18,000,000 a year. Baseball salaries continue to be unbelievable.

    • MichiganGoat

      Now Choo getting 100M+ doesn’t seem so outlandish.

      • wilbur

        And yes, E Jackson a bargain at 50 for 3 years, wait until the pitching prices start showing up.

        • MichiganGoat

          You may be right but that’s not a popular thought around here.

    • YourResidentJag

      Well, now MLBTradeRumors is reporting extension talks between them and Lincecum so I guess they’re rolling in dough.

  • Rich H

    Am I the only one that thinks that Alcantara and/or Lake won’t be with the Cubs organization next year?

    My reasoning is pretty simple. They are both flawed/streaky prospects that will never have their value higher. With the limited free agency and locking up young players that we see now and these guys flaws that seem to disappear for long enough stretches to get people excited about their ceilings the ability to flip them for Quality major league players makes the most sense.

    I am not saying that I don’t love the upside they represent just why keep them and show the baseball world the growing pains that these guys are going to have.

    With Baez, Olt, Bryant and Vilanueva all being talked about as possible 3rd baseman by next September in Chicago. Why limit the places they can play with Lake, Watkins, Alcantara or what ever AAAA player in the way? It just makes more sense to move some of those guys sooner rather than later.

    • Professor Snarks

      Rich, what would we get for them? Other teams know they are flawed, too. If you’re just looking for placeholders until the top guys arrive, why not just keep our AAAA guys? They’re cheap.

      • Rich H

        Alcantara is young enough and his talent is still developing that he has value. He does not however have the value of the guys he will block. It was reported that SD was interested in him in early discussions in June but nothing came of it. If a team still views him as a shortstop his value could be on par with the Baer/Choo trade last winter.

        Lake has flaws but his ceiling is so intriging that he could be the extra piece in a trade for a legit outfield bat. I was kind of thinking of a Cargo for Arrieta and Lake trade but that would be the start and a long way from the finish.

    • jt

      Lake, Schierholtz, Cabrera will be traded
      they take calls and listen with interest for Castro, Baez and Shark
      they see what they can get for Russell, Barney and Valbuena

      • Voice of Reason

        Lake schierholtz and Cabrera will be traded?

        What do we get for them?

        • http://www.facebook.com/anotherspacesong Bret Epic

          Obviously Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez.

          • Voice of Reason

            Bret epic,

            I would need more than that in return

            • http://www.facebook.com/anotherspacesong Bret Epic

              Thank you for being my voice of reason in my time of need.

          • jt

            Schierholz is a good player but the 0.299 OBP doesn’t fit this teams needs.
            Cabrera is out of options. They either cross their fingers and hope or get what they can for him.
            I believe they view Lake as the next Bill Hall. Again, a player of use but not a fit on the near future Cubs.
            I think they are packaged in bigger deals to round out value.

            • http://www.facebook.com/anotherspacesong Bret Epic

              I think that Schierholtz will never have a bigger season than 2013, Lake will likely be a 270/310/430 type of hitter if he pans out, and I actually really like Cabrera. Guy did well in AA as a starter, but I do agree that packaging these guys in a trade would be the best idea.

        • Rich H

          Not much. Well Shierholtz could get you a low 10-15 type prospect or an intriging arm. Because he is the heavy side of a platoon and the OF market is weak in FA you might get someone to blink but I just can not see anyone offering much value.

          The counter to that would be if someone is trading a guy that is about to get expensive. Then they may trade for a Shierholtz type to remain competitive without spending a ton.

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

      If the right trade is there for Lake and Alcantara together, and someone offers 1 solid piece – I can see anything.

      I’d rather move Barney – not that he gets you much – but will see.

      • Rich H

        I agree that Barney is replaceable but I would rather keep Barney and Valbuena around to start the year. If for no other reason than to let Baez know he has to earn his spot. If Barney is stll hitting like his strike zone is filled with sand come June and Baez is ready, make the move then.

        It could still be a moot point if the Cubs think they will go to arbitration with either of them.

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

          Valbuena can do 2B in 2014. Lifetime .989 2B; right at LG average for the position on saberstats.

          Baez earning a spot? Really? He knows he’s gonna a be a big leaguer as long as he’s hitting bombs, and doesn’t do an Aaron Fernandez. So, that pressure is minimal at best. Baez’s deal: does he move to 2B, or does Castro? The talent will tell us in 2014…

          Alcantara offensively is better than Barney – if magic formulas work.(I checked one MLB equivalent formula, and he is better from his AA offensive stats.) I put more credence in that because he did play an entire season in AA and has improved significantly up the chain.

          Alcantara’s defense has improved quite a bit, not quite MLB caliber yet from stats – but if his overall game has grown, so he’s got a least a floor of Darwin Barney at 22.

          1) Darwin has declined every season offensively.
          2) Darwin defense was slightly off too in 2013.
          3) He has just that tool: a glove.
          4) Darwin will only get more expensive. Thus the ARB argument. Why do it?

          2014: If Alcantara is hitting and fielding adequately in AAA come May 15th, he should be moved up. Put Valbuena of 2B in lieu of the promotion. At the very least, Alcantara is a utility guy – he steals bases well; can play SS; has some pop if AA showed anything. So he’s a cheap utility player for 2 seasons. That’s a plan.

          Barney: trade offseason W/another to land something of use; or let him go…negative WAR ain’t gonna cut it.http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/barneda01.shtml

          • Rich H

            This response is not very stats oriented because well this the way I wanted to explain it. If you had a chance of Vabuena/ Olt and Barney manning 2nd and 3rd with Baez, Alcantara and Villaneuva at ss/2nd/3rd in Iowa why would you think that you do not have to bust your butt to get a shot?

            Of all the guys I mentioned the one guy that has to go absolutely nuts to be the first to Chicago is Alcantara.

            Baez all he has to do is hit and keep improving that walk rate/k rate.
            Villanueva can play major league defense at 3rd now. He starts hitting for power and he is better than most teams 3rd baseman.
            So with that in mind why create another hole with out closing one by trading Barney at his lowest value. He should be made to come in to Spring Training as the back up 2nd/SS and maybe 3rd.

            I do agree that Valbuena should get a long look at 2nd next spring.

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

              We disagree.

              We have a dearth at catcher too. Why they are trying to convert guys to that role in Instructional leagues. Need a FA catcher signed. Maybe even a trade for a prospect catcher (Barney, if kept) to buttress that position.

              We also have no real CF now – Lake has 27 games – and it will be 2-3 years before Almora comes. I guess we could leave Lake there. Makes for an interesting OF next year.

              So, we have A LOT of holes. At some point, a guy or two is gonna have to be promoted to fill them.

              Alcantara & Christian Villanueva are low-risk moves upward by early to mid -2014 if they succeed at all at AAA. I say low risk because they don’t have high draft status or money attached to their successes. Olt is plausible, if he EVER can turn it around.

              I assume Baez, Bryant, Soler will not see the bigs until 2015.

              Baez can force the issue if he absolutely rakes at AAA (.320/.390/.600) so that, we suddenly have a talent issue to sort out instead of a marginally competitive team on most days problem.

              But Barney…you want to keep him around to hit .220/.sub .300OBP? And pay him even more to do it, as ARB will settle?

              I’d rather go to FA or a trade before bringing him back. If we had 5 other guys that hit a ton, to make up what he doesn’t bring offensively, and his glove was all-star gold glove, then yeah, maybe keep the -.5 WAR player…(not really.)

              We have declined in offense 5 consecutive seasons, badly. WE NEED to turn that badly. How bout some new faces to scream at?

              Barney, served his purposes.

      • Voice of Reason

        If we think alcantara and lake aren’t that good and we want to trade them together what would the solid piece be that we should expect in returned ?

        • Rich H

          I never said they were not good, just flawed and streaky. Alcantara is probably going to be a top 75 prospect in all of baseball. His value will never be higher.

          I answered your question of a return in a reply to Snarks earlier.

        • jt

          Shark will be 29 in ’14. He will be a 31 y/o FA in ’16. There are those 2 yr’s for a team feeling they are able to compete. He will be getting older and he will be getting expensive.
          They create a package centered around Shark for a younger highly thought of pitcher. They save the arbitration award to Sama this year, the larger arbitration next year and the huge FA amount in 2016. The money saved could be used to sign a FA (Tanaka) or trade for an expensive contract. They end up with a cost control highly thought of prospect that is almost ML ready and a 25 y/o (Tanaka) with paid for cost certainty. They give up a potential ace at reasonable cost ($13M?) for a couple of arbitration years to a team that perhaps can not afford to go the FA route. But after they would have to sweeten the pie. They would have to include useful players that a team ready to compete could use.

  • Brains

    I think Theo is just mocking the fans for caring about the team at this point.

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