cubs theo epstein uh ohFollowing today’s announcement of Dale Sveum’s dismissal as manager of the Chicago Cubs, and the attending statement, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein met with the media answer questions. Among his (paraphrased) thoughts, with links to the Twitters and reaction/commentary:

  • Although Sveum indicated that he was surprised that it had come to this and only two weeks ago (when Epstein made his noncommittal comments to the media) was the first he’d become uneasy, Epstein said that issues had popped up in the first half of the season and there were discussions around the All-Star Break. Epstein also gave Sveum a heads up that he was thinking about a change before he made those comments in Milwaukee two weeks ago. It sounds like, from these comments, as well as the prepared statement, that player development concerns drove the change.
  • Sveum was informed of the final decision last night over a few hours and “a few beers.” I suspect Epstein really does think quite highly of Sveum personally – and maybe even professionally, at another time in another role – and I’m sure none of this was particularly easy.
  • Epstein did not address (at least not in the blurbs I’ve seen so far) whether he feels like the front office made a mistake when hiring Sveum – it was a thorough process – but he did say that the first half of 2013 caught them by surprise (presumably, in terms of player development at the big league level), and he feels very confident that he knows exactly what the organization needs right now. I’m sure that latter part is quite true – after two years and this process, the front office is going to have a very clear picture of the kinds of things they need in a manager. Indeed, Epstein later added that he feels like they’re in a better position now to know what they need in a manager now.
  • The coaching staff has been informed that the new manager will make the coaching decisions, but some of them will receive a strong recommendation from the front office. Epstein mentioned that the staff and the manager have to present a united message, which suggests there may have been some communication problems or “too many cooks in the kitchen” situations going on. Sveum was a former hitting coach, James Rowson was the Cubs’ new hitting coach, and Rob Deer was the Cubs’ new assistant hitting coach. I know nothing beyond what’s said there, but it does make you wonder.
  • Epstein said that the Cubs will, first and foremost, be looking at candidates with managerial experience. Other criteria include track record, overall experience, leadership skills, and expertise developing young talent. That last one figures to be a biggy with a young roster laying ahead of the next manager, and a wave of prospects reaching the big leagues (everyone hopes).
  • The Cubs don’t feel any pressure to hire a “big name” manager, nor should they. Neither is a Cubs background a requirement, but it helps. (Everyone simultaneously screams “Girardi, Girardi, Girardi!” after reading this and the last bullet.)
  • Epstein feels like the talent in the organization, and the strong near-term future of the organization are going to be key selling points in bringing in the next manager. I’d certainly agree that I’d feel much better about becoming the manager of the Cubs today than I would have two years ago. That said, 2014 could be another rough season.
  • Although he’s not opposed to a swift process, Epstein said that the Cubs would like to have the process completed by the GM meetings (usually in early November). Should the Cubs be interested in anyone who is under contract and currently in the playoffs, the Cubs will wait to ask for permission to speak until after that team is eliminated. Obviously the goal is the get the right guy, but the sooner the Cubs can get a manager in place, the sooner they can begin working with him on player development plans, the coaching staff, offseason acquisitions, etc. And, although I know they can juggle many balls, it would also be nice for their total focus to be on the players/prospects at hand as soon as possible, rather than the next manager.
  • Dustin S

    After doing a little homework, I’d agree Tim Bogar might be a possibility. Jed and Theo like guys they’ve been linked to at Boston/San Diego and Bogar fits that bill. He also has like a .600 winning % as a manager. No big league managerial experience knocks down his odds, but I think he has enough to make the list.

    Another alternative for sure if Girardi doesn’t pan out would have to be Tony Pena. His record in KC was mixed, 1 good year and 2 very bad with a young team. But from a coaching style he’d be similar to Girardi in a lot of ways and might be a good match to handle the prospects coming up. The closer you look he does fit quite a few of the criteria.

    I don’t see Theo/Jed giving Ozzie much consideration. The relationship they described that they wanted doesn’t match up at all with a confrontational manager like him. The press would love it because it would give daily stories that write themselves and he’d fit the dynamic part, but I would be amazed to see him even get an interview.

    • EQ76

      so…. you’re saying you’d pick bogar

    • YourResidentJag

      Who could they trade to SD to get Bud Black in here?

  • Brad

    How about give Steve Stone a shot? Seems extremely intelligent baseball wise, surprised he’s never gotten a shot to at least be a pitching coach.

    • Jim L

      Can’t Stoney come up with a better alias than Brad?

  • Robert

    Key is to develop young talent.
    They will need a ‘head coach’ that believes in small-ball and can get;
    1. A Spanish speaking coach.
    2. A coach dedicated to and that can teach base stealing/running and ‘BUNTING’
    (think of Rick Monday)
    3. A coach dedicated to and that can teach, playing the infield
    (think of Popeye and Sandberg)
    4. A coach dedicated to and that can teach, playing the outfield
    (think of the Cubs CF when Sandberg was playing)..

    • bbmoney

      “They will need a ‘head coach’ that believes in small-ball”


  • DCF

    The only thing I find mildly interesting about the firing is the fact that the FO insinuated that they expect the team to be better next year, and that they expect the rebuild to be completed in 2014 or 2015. I love that optimism, even though I am not sure it’s justified.

    • Voice of Reason

      It could be 2014, but it is such a stretch! It’s totally dependent on the development of the minor leaguers. “IF” Baez and Bryant develop and someone like Szczur steps up or another wild card player it could happen. Then they’ll need to add a number one starter or someone similar. It could happen, but it’s doubtful!

      Look for 2015 or 2016 for the Cubs to become the Tampa Rays of the National League, but with deeper pockets to add free agents and keep free agents from leaving!

  • I-CubsFanBoy

    Hey brad…The reason Steve Stone’s not being considered is because he’s an arrogant, self important douchebag who’s alienated almost every single person he’s ever met who wasn’t as many beers deep into the day as Harry Caray…not to mention his complete lack of real world leadership experience and what is quite possibly the most mediocre pitching career for any Cy Young winner ever.

    • Brian Peters

      I-Cubs, THANK YOU for your astute analysis of “Stoney’s” behavior. I can’t stand the man, myself, and obviously I’m not alone. He couldn’t keep his damn mouth shut long enough to take direction from Theo and Jed.

      • YourResidentJag

        I wouldn’t worry about Stone getting anything.

  • I-CubsFanBoy

    Hey JED & THEO…we know you read the site, and the message is clear…BRING JOE HOME!

  • josh ruiter

    Girarid, Bud Black, Bob Melvin, Jose Oquendo, Jim Hickey, Dave Martinezand Sandy Alomar would be my top 7.
    After that I would include Tony Pena, Brad Ausmus, Mike Maddox, Scosia (if available), Matt William, Tim Wallach, Bryan Price, Bob Brenly.
    That is a list of 15 with a wide variety of attributes…all of which I like…honestly at first glance I would eliminate Maddox, Scosia, Pena and maybe Ausmus to narrow the list as well as maybe Wallach.

  • ssckelley

    If you’re a Rangers fan, how much you liking that Garza trade now? Trade away all those prospects and not even make the playoffs.

  • Brains
    • ssckelley

      That had to be one of the worst articles I have ever read from Jon Greenberg. It appears to me he is just trying to build a case for a different opinion to get people to read his articles.

      • frank

        Agreed–he literally took the whole article to say absolutely nothing except that the team needs better players.

      • Kyle

        What precisely did you find objectionable about the article?

        Despite Brains’ characterization, it was just an absurdly long way of saying “OK, they fired the manager, but they need good players.”

        • Norm

          I don’t like that he simply says “Get good players for the Major League team”.

          Well, no shit, but what is he suggesting? Throw some names out rather that just say “get good”.

        • EQ76

          yep.. i didn’t care for the underlying hatred that came across in the article but much of it was true.. especially this excerpt:

          “Epstein can deservedly crow about their “clearly top-five” farm system, but the real problem is that the major league team needs some serious attention. No one expects a new manager to deal with the same grind.”

          • hansman1982

            In the article, he sounds like that friend who, for years, has told me how evil smoking is and how I need to quit and doesn’t say anything more than that.

            Well, no shit, Sherlock.

            This is another meatball article from ESPN.

            • bbmoney

              “Well, no shit, Sherlock.”

              Very underused phrase. And yeah that article was fine, there was nothing wrong in it. It was just kind of no brainer and it appears Jon is getting paid by the word.

              But it’s what you expect from a national media outlet. .

        • ssckelley

          Kyle I did not find the article objectionable, it is the same opinion that I keep hearing from everyone that defends Sveum. This article reeks of a writer simply presenting a different opinion to get people to read it. Had the article been written in favor of the FO’s move then we would not even be discussing it and 1/2 the people probably would have never read it. Writers do this all the time, they create a different spin on things to create controversy.

        • Brains

          Just for the record I love what Theo has done with the minors. He’s just the only guy ever who thinks the major league team is less important than fantasy baseball projections. When reality crashed in – and he didn’t do anything to help our young hitters in the lineup – he blamed it on Sveum over player development. It’s a structural problem, not a managerial one. Sveum did a good job and Hoyer did an awful job. That’s the story of this year.

          • On The Farm

            I thought Hoyer did a rather good job acquiring talent for this team this offseason. Schierholtz, Feldman, and Villanueva all played very well. The Baker thing didn’t really pan out, but through calling up Parker, and acquiring Strop they strengthened the bullpen. I don’t see how you can really fault them for trying to re-establish Marmol’s value, because they were stuck with them and they tried to make the best of a poor situation. Camp was decent last year, and just was awful this season and probably could have been booted earlier. But I still got the sense that they tried to put together some sort of a team to start the year, but the bullpen struggles were just too much to overcome to start the year.

            I am not saying he is perfect, but I really do think he tried to put something on the field that could win some games.

            • Brains

              I think we all agree that McLeod did a superb job with the minors. I don’t see what dumping all of our halfway decent players did for anyone. We hit a huge slump after, had little solid upside on the return, and those dumps did absolutely nothing to help invest in the future. Throwing leftovers out with the trash is a waste of good food.

              • On The Farm

                “I don’t see what dumping all of our halfway decent players did for anyone… those dumps did absolutely nothing to help invest in the future”

                I guess I am not sure what you are saying. Are you referring to the trade of Feldman, Harriston, Soriano, and Garza. Because to me those look like they did a lot to help invest in the future. Maybe I am understanding you wrong though.

    • jon

      I thought that article was spot on.

      • When the Music’s Over

        Agreed. You could have cut it in half, but the message was pretty clear.

        1) Sveum was an unfortunate scapegoat of the by design refusal (whether right or wrong–that isn’t being questioned here), to put together a competent major league team.

        2) Expect a similar situation with the new manager if the same approach is employed next year.

        3) Unless the Cubs add veterans that aren’t for the sole purpose of deepening the farm system, the Cubs will be pinning so much of their hope on very young players.

        Wasn’t a total worthless article, it was just too long. He’s basically ripping on the front office for firing Sveum for a shit situation they put him in by design, and following that up by saying that unless changes are made, there’s a good chance the next manager will experience the same fate.

        • ssckelley

          I think it is pretty clear Theo did not fire Sveum over wons and losses, he said it up front when he hired Sveum and he said it again when he fired him. If you are in the minority that think Sveum should have been given the 3rd year then, of course, you are going to love Greenbergs article. But evidently he and some of us here have not been paying attention to what Theo has been saying all a long, that the key for the Cubs future success is in the player development. If the FO is not seeing it getting done with Sveum and staff then NOW is the time to make the changes.

          The clock is ticking on the FO as well, they cannot afford to waste next season. For a fan base that has not won anything in a 100 years we have been more than patient buying into his system, this Cub fan expects to see improvements at the MLB level next year. If the FO thinks another manager is better for the job then I applaud them for making the move.

          • When the Music’s Over

            I’m not defending Sveum. I don’t think the article was doing a ton of that either. They’re saying that unless changes are made, the next manager is likely setup to fail again.

            As for Sveum’s actual performance, it’s so hard to tell what he accomplished / failed outside of the wins / losses. For example, Castro and Rizzo had bad seasons. Is that really his fault or not? Are the poor performances from changes to Castro’s approach and Rizzo’s retooled swing (may have had a bit of impact) / bad luck really Sveum’s fault? Barney always was a poor hitter, but when his BABIP went this year, it just exacerbated it. Who else? Edwin Jackson’s bad luck / poor performance? Perhaps that was a major league coaching staff problem to some degree. Etc, etc.

            I don’t know the answer to these questions. If the front office doesn’t force Castro to change his approach, maybe he still hits .300 this year. If everyone, including the players, weren’t pretty damn sure the front office wasn’t going to shed players again this year (and the previous year), maybe they take a more solid mental approach to the game everyday.

            • ssckelley

              lmao, so bad luck is the excuse here to? Lazy pop flies and weak ground balls are not bad luck, hitting line drives right at fielders or fielders making a good play is bad luck. Good hitters are driving the ball even when they make an out, Rizzo was not doing that consistently and neither was Castro. Both Rizzo and Castro were getting worse under the current coaching staff. The easy move would have been to give Sveum 1 more year to prove himself, hardly anyone would have questioned it. I applaud the FO for seeing something was not right and having the guts to pull the trigger now before more young hitters get to the big leagues and start getting mixed messages.

              • When the Music’s Over

                You can laugh at whatever you want. Love when people like to put others down on message boards.

                Anyhow. I’m saying there’s lot of factors in play, including things outside of a manger’s control. If you want to largely dismiss them, that’s your choice.

                • ssckelley

                  Sorry, I was not meaning to put you down. But using bad luck makes me laugh and there are plenty of people here that use it as an excuse. Simply being able to make contact does not make you a good hitter, being able to square up the ball does and I did not see a lot of that from Rizzo this year.

                  “I’m saying there’s lot of factors in play, including things outside of a manger’s control.”

                  I agree with this but I don’t think this had anything to do with Sveum getting fired. IMO in listening to Theo discuss the firing it did not sound like to me they held Sveum accountable at all for the lack of wins and losses, he even acknowledges that the talent was not there on the MLB roster. The lack of a consistent message to the young hitters and lack of development with the hitters is what got Sveum fired. If you get a chance listen to what Theo said yesterday.

                  • When the Music’s Over

                    I find the bad luck argument so interesting. People point to it hard when they want to defend someone like Rizzo using BABIP or Jackson using FIP or xFIP, but when applied to an entire team, it’s laughed away as a ridiculous notion.

                    Here’s how I see it. I couldn’t really care any less if Sveum got fired. I think the dude was handed a few handfuls of shit and was thus more or less set up to be a sorta fall guy when the Cubs front office plan went as expected through 2013, which was to lose to get high draft picks. There are far too many factors in play for me to confidently believe they it is almost exclusively his fault that the development of the young players when to shit.

                    What I don’t like is what is beginning to be the group think notion that this was a great move by the front office. I just can’t get on board with that yet. First, if it was such a great move, then their has to be admitted fault that the front office f*cked up hard bringing in the wrong guy, especially if the is the main reason for screwing up so many young players. Second, it remains to be seen who the Cubs bring in, and if that manager fares any better in an extreme losing environment. Third, if the Cubs don’t field a better roster real soon, it doesn’t really matter who’s managing the team anyhow.

              • cubmig

                When the Music’s Over

                “First, if it was such a great move, then their has to be admitted fault that the front office f*cked up hard bringing in the wrong guy, especially if the is the main reason for screwing up so many young players.”

                I agree with that. I recall how Theo was high on Sveum as the “right” guy to hang his hopes on. Sveum had a hitting-coach background and against Quade’s terrible record, I have to believe that weighed into Theo’s decision with Castro and Rizzo core pieces of any rebuilding. What puzzles me in what I’ve just said, is why it was necessary to have two other coaches on Sveum’s staff with hitting coach backgrounds. Was that Sveum’s doing or the FO’s doing? Were too many “experts” giving hitting advice? Was that the source of “mixed messages” players were receiving……or am I being simplistic and naive?

                So…..I agree: “…the front office f*cked up hard bringing in the wrong guy, especially if the is the main reason for screwing up so many young players.”

                “The speed of the Boss is the speed of the gang.”

  • baldtaxguy

    I’m in the minority here – I’m disappointed Sveum did not get a third year. I’ve second guessed his on-field moves (bullpen especially) but cutting him loose due to “development” issues seems like a convenient excuse to change. Castro was a failed experiment offensively this year, and short of the glaring episodes of his day dreaming in the field, he did shore up his fundamentals a bit these last two years.

    I will not disagree that Maddon is an example of superb player development, but his two first full managerial seasons yielded the exact same W-L as Sveum’s, with a similar set of facts as far as talent reaching the ML level. I am not suggesting that Sveum is, or has potential to be on the same level of player development as Maddon is, but I don’t think Sveum managed his way into losing an opportunity for the third year, just like arguably Maddon did not after his first two seasons.

    I am not sure the Cubs will be replacing Sveum with anyone markedly better. Will we be gaining much incrementally without Sveum? If we add Girardi, likely so, but if its Martinez, or Ausmus, etc, is it just change for the sake of change?

    • Brains

      I’m with you. Even ESPN just insulted Theo’s “plan” as an incomplete and poorly thought through approach to winning.

      • AB

        ESPN – the bastion of intelligence and throughtful analysis of the professional sports

        • Brains

          I think they’re pretty good, not as good as Brett, but good. Overly optimistic fans need to stop excusing every minor transgression as a conspiracy against Theo and see the team for what it is, an uneven attempt to “try something new”, almost a gamble, that has worked in some areas and not others. The “plan” is only half sensible. Time to attend to the other half – the actual games being played that fans actually go to.

          • Norm

            In other words, “appease the fans”.
            Always a great way to build…

            • Professor Snarks

              Norm, I do agree with you about that. If they make decisions now just to draw fans, it will set us back. But, and this ia big, things don’t get better in a reasonable time frame, they do have to revisit the plan.

              The Cubs are nothing more than a retail business, and some point you need to keep your customers interested.

              I personally think if their current minor league system doesn’t provide 2 star players and 1 decent player by mid-2015, they will have to change course.

          • BT

            This is crap, by the way. Until Theo “critics” can do better than characterize defenders as overly deferential, and constantly call for the team to get nebulous “better players”, I’ve got no time for you. Last off season, the only 2 impact players that made any sense for the Cubs to pursue were Sanchez and BJ Upton, if you considered their age and possible impact. One, we basically had signed, until the Tigers outbid us, the other thank God in heaven the powers that be decided not to go after.

            No matter how many times it’s drilled into their heads, people fail to understand a full rebuild simply can’t be done the way it was done before. It’s not possible. That is why the Cubs decided to “try something new”. Just watch what the Yankees do. They can’t buy their way out of an aging roster because there isn’t anyone to buy anymore. They can’t buy prospects anymore, because the draft rules won’t allow it.

    • cub2014

      bald guy, did you watch the cubs this year? did
      you watch all the head scratching moves by
      Svuem? Anyone in carge knows that to be the best
      you have to have the best working for you. Theo
      made a mistake with Svuem he realizes this he
      has made a change and THAT is a good decision.
      I don’t think any of us want him to leave incompetent
      people in place.

      • cub2014

        oops! “in charge”

      • bbmoney

        I really don’t think his in game managing was the problem. It was all about them thinking he wasn’t the right guy for player development.

        His lineup construction was odd the last couple months, but they probably just wanted to get Castro, Barney and Rizzo as many ABs as possible.

      • baldtaxguy

        Yes, I did. I head scratch alot (i.e. bald) re: managerial moves, and Sveum is one of many that gets second guessed. I thought his bullpen management actually got better, but there were questions. Line-ups were at times odd to me and his use of Watkins needs to be explained.

        I don’t think he was fired for W-L or on-field moves/results, but as a result of apparent communication issues and lack of maximizing the development/performance of his young players. I agree, Theo and Jed are smart guys and saw the issues that maybe are not as apparent, but a two-year performance window given “the plan” seemed to be one year premature to me.

        • YourResidentJag

          I concur with your sentiments. And given the fact that Theo wouldn’t talk specifics, but certainly for obvious reasons, we’re left to assume no W-L but communication issues with young players and with Theo and Jed themselves. I think off-field debates over the future of Castro and Rizzo got pretty heated between Svuem and his superiors since the AS break.

    • cms0101

      Sveum had to go. It wasn’t W-L related. It was more than Rizzo and Castro not performing this season. There were unreported clubhouse issues, and general communication issues. Theo and Jed are smart guys. There are probably things that happened that will never be reported in the public. If they were telling him at the all-star break that this could happen, they were doing that to try and address something he was doing or not doing. They didn’t make this change for the sake of change. He was a bad hire. If anything, they should be embarrassed that they had to fire him so quickly. They’re eating his last contract year. The easy thing would have been to let him manage one more season. They pulled the trigger because they knew he isn’t the guy for the job.

      • baldtaxguy

        What you state seems plausible. And you are probably correct. Its all academic now, but it would have been nice to have seen what his contract year (2014) results could have been. I think most here believe it would have been the same old crap, but I question whether we will be seeing the same old crap for 2014 regardless, or whether we could have seen positive signs with a 3rd year under Sveum.

    • ssckelley

      But if you have a manager and coaches sending different messages to young hitters then you have a negative impact on their development. Rizzo and Castro both looked lost this season at the plate and when your manager is a former hitting coach, you have a hitting coach, and a assistant hitting coach all sending different messages then something has to change. This very well could have been the reason we seen McDonald remain on the active roster instead of other prospects on the 40 man roster like Szczur.

      Everyone likes to focus on wins and losses, but there is no way the FO judged Sveum based on the record of the MLB team. Player development is critical to the Cubs success moving forward as these prospects start showing up in Chicago, if the FO sees something wrong then NOW is the time to correct it.

      • CubFan Paul

        “This very well could have been the reason we seen McDonald remain on the active roster instead of other prospects on the 40 man roster like Szczur”

        & Mike Olt…

      • cms0101

        The reason we saw McDonald instead of Szczur is because Szczur was not ready. He’ll be in Iowa next season and on the radar to get called up, but Theo doesn’t call guys up from AA. And Olt was batting under .200 in AAA. They decided to shut him down and let him rest after a trying season. They clearly don’t want Sveum to get his hands on Baez or Bryant, but I don’t think they hesistated to bring up Szczur because they were afraid he might turn him into a 4th OF. He already is that, at best.

    • CubsFaninMS

      I can respect some of the positives that Sveum brought to the team, but he certainly had some deficiencies in how he handled the team (as several have discussed before). Theo’s public statement on Sveum’s dismissal is not going to drive into the heart of why they conclusively fired him. Imagine if the front office said “We are firing Sveum because some of the players didn’t like him, he shows poor leadership, and we don’t trust him at all developing our young players after what we’ve seen over the past two years.” They have their reasons, they had two years to evaluate him, and they clearly think he’s not the man for the job. Personally, I believe leaving him as manager for 2014 was a risky move, but replacing him with someone else can only yield the same or better results. They’ll utilize the selection process to find those “better results”.

  • Ivy Walls

    Now the question goes from determining what is the requirement of a Cubs manager who will not only resurrect this mess, actually turnarounds are more common in MLB than other sports. The Cubs have less than a handful of players whose WAR is above utility replacement, Castillo, T Wood, and barely Rizzo, everyone else is expendable. You can argue all you want about Castro’s subjective value but the reality is he is no better than Cedeno was.

    As far as Girardi goes, if he and his agent are talking the Cubs can land him.

    • CubsFaninMS

      Let’s give Castro some credit. He was much more valuabe than Ronny Cedeno.. except for this year. Cedeno has never been an All-Star, never had 200 hits. Castro showed improvement towards the end of the season after they set him free to use his original hitting approach. Castro’s season was clearly disappointing, but let’s not dry-erase the achievements he’s had so far. Next year will be a big year for Castro. If he flops like this year, he may be an expendable asset. If he returns to his previous form, we have a smart investment on our hands, a .300-hitting shortstop, or a valuable trade chip. He is none of those right now.

  • since52

    Neutral here on DS abilities as mgr. But Theo et al can’t have it both ways. 56-57 players on a ML roster in ONE year? This in year 2 of “the plan.” Why blame DS for odd moves when he’s managing a revolving door AND “player development?” Which is a load of crap to begin.
    The place for player development is the minor leagues. Apparently, the FO feels the same since they refuse to promote the prospects early. If Rizzo, Castro, etc. cannot produce at the ML level, they need to go, not the mgr. Whatever happened to “accountability” of the players?

    Sweum didn’t sign Ejax, Baker, Fujikawa. Sweum didn’t screw up the Dempster and 2012 Garza trade. Sweum didn’t keep Marmol when they had the chance to launch him.

    • Jeff

      Your making an argument to fire Theo then….lol

      Which, he is the next one to go but that won’t happen because then what would Ricketts do with his toy??

      • cub2014

        this is theo’s baby, i like where the cubs are headed
        but if in 2015 the cubs arent winning then theo’s job
        will be in jeopardy

        • cms0101

          Theo will send the last year of his 5-yr contract, regardless. When he was hired, he told Ricketts exactly what he thought he needed to do to fix the organization. Ricketts didn’t tell him no. Despite the bad ML record, Theo has been enacting his plan as described. The progress milestones are evident, given the number of top prospects that are now in the system. It sucks the ML team isn’t winning, but he’s not being penalized by his boss for the 2 losing seasons. And he won’t be penalized for 2 more losing seasons if the prospects start to get called up soon, and it appears that we’ll see that first wave in 2014. His contract ends in 2016, and they’ll renew it. They fired Sveum because he wasn’t a good fit, not because of the losses.

          • YourResidentJag

            No, I don’t think a renewal of Theo’s contract is an automatic. If and this an “if” he doesn’t make a postseason appearance at the end of 2016, it’s just as likely his contract won’t be renewed.

  • cub2014

    i will be shocked if they dont add a few long
    term pieces this off season

    • Kyle

      I won’t.

      We’re going to be interested in the top guys, but so are other teams with more money. We can explore trades, but you never know what the other teams will want or if they’ll even want what you have.

      Standing pat seems like a very viable option to me this offseason.

      • When the Music’s Over

        Viable as in the correct move, viable as in the likely move, or viable as in the correct and likely move? That word has multiple meanings.

        • Kyle


          I believe it is both likely and correct *if* a few key assumptions are true and given that we can’t go back in time and fix some mistakes that were already made.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      To follow on Kyle’s point, it’s not “The Cubs and the Other Team”: it’s the Cubs and X other teams. Just because we want the Padres to give us a Headley or the Orioles to give us a Roberts, it does not mean that those teams are willing to deal them. If they are willing to deal them, then another team might pony up more appropriate prospects for them. And if the guy is a free agent, well, other teams get to make offers, too.

      Hopefully the Cubs will be able to add a key part or two: but far and away the most probable outcome on any one player (no matter how much Jed and Theo try to “get it done”) is that the player winds up on one of 29 other teams in 2014.

    • Professor Snarks

      At best, Tanaka, but I doubt it.
      Could you get a Hart or some other reclamation project? Maybe.
      The only elite guy that they may be interested in is, in my opinion, CarGo, but age and cost may be prohibitive.

      So basically, I think 2013 looks a whole lot like 2014, with the possible addition of Baez, and even that is not guaranteed.

  • Rizzo1684

    I was all about the Cubs spending money this off season and try to build a solid team that could maybe could get a wild card but the more I really break down all of the free agents the more I just want to stand pat and sign a few solid bounce back type players who can be dealt for prospects. Here is my guess on how the offseason will pan out: Cubs miss out on Tanaka and Choo, they sign Ryan Sweeney, Jason Kubel or Michael Morse, Scott Kazmir or another solid free agent starter that can be counted on for the next 2-3 years, and Dioner Navarro. I also see the Cubs working out an extension with Travis Wood and trying to get one done with Shark. If an extension is not reached with Shark he is dealt for prospects when they would sign a Scott Baker type free agent on a 1 year deal.

    • Chad

      Since when is Kazmir a starter that can be relied on for 2-3 years?

      • Rizzo1684

        I really like Kazmir but obviously if his medical records come back that he could not be counted on for 2-3 years the Cubs have that knowledge. My point was not Kazmir as the only option is was a player up to Kazmir’s skills that could be counted on for 2-3 years.

  • Aaron

    I’m looking forward to next year’s draft after a terrible major league season of over 90 losses. This is one of the bright spots of having a terrible big league club.

    There are three potential #1 starting pitchers that I like with the Cubs #4 pick: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt or Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina or Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (TX). All three have good size, are very athletic and throw hard. Great potential front line starter for the Cubs in 2016 and beyond.

    • Chad

      You forgot Carlos Rodon LHP out of NC State. That kid is a beast. He’d be my first choice at the moment (long time til June)

  • Aaron

    Chad…I like Carlos Rodon (LHP) alot, but he’s projected to be taken by the time the Cubs pick at #4. The 6-foot-3 left-hander has the stuff, command, and build of a prototypical power pitcher, but from the left side. His fastball hits the mid-90s. If he were available at #4, the Cubs would take him in a heartbeat. More than likely he’ll be gone by then but you never know between now and next June.

  • YourResidentJag

    Cashman to meet with Girardi and agent on Wed.

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  • CubbieBlue

    If the Cubs don’t get Girardi then look for Tim Bogar to be the pick. He was unfairly linked to the Bobby Valentine disaster in Boston. His future managerial stock was extremely high prior to that debacle.