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lance-berkman-cardinals-championsDoing some visiting today, friends and family, so I’ll be in and out. There’s more to discuss on the managerial search, but I’m going to save my thoughts for when I’ve got a little more time (tomorrow) to crystalize them. Feel free to discuss in the comments today, though, if you’d like.

  • The Red Sox are your ALCS champions, having beaten the Tigers last night in the longest nine inning game ever (probably – it was almost four hours) last night. I’m already dreading this World Series for a number of reasons, and the ensuing narratives are probably the greatest ones. The Cardinals do it the right way. The Red Sox showed you can turn it around in a year, as long as you’ve got the right front office. Crap like that. It’s still going to be very easy to root for the Red Sox, though.
  • CSN Chicago continues its tour through the Cubs’ various positions organization-wide, and is currently reviewing third base. It’s a deep, high-impact crop, including Kris Bryant, Mike Olt, Christian Villanueva, and Jeimer Candelario (among others). Remember when it was Josh Vitters and a whole lot of nothing?
  • Jorge Soler’s rust continues to show in the AFL, with another 1-4 performance yesterday. I definitely wouldn’t count myself as worried, though. Wes Darvill was 0-4, and each of Matt Loosen and Lendy Castillo threw scoreless innings (Loosen struck out two).
  • Keith Law was unimpressed by the stuff he saw from Armando Rivero in the AFL, but caveats that, given Rivero’s long layoff coming into this season (the Cubs signed him earlier this year after he defected last year, and he got in very limited action in the second half), an uptick in stuff in the Spring wouldn’t be a surprise. Also, if Rivero was striking out everyone he faced last year with sub-par stuff, I’d hate to see what he could do with good stuff.
  • Wow – Cincinnati is doing that thing that Chicago used to be so very good at: shredding a player after the season as a precursor to said player being dumped. Here’s an example piece tearing Brandon Phillips apart, mostly for good reasons. It’s a reminder that, sometimes, the post-season shredding was justified … even if it doesn’t help you get good value for your damaged merchandise.
  • Brains

    BoSox go from last to first in one offseason with a few choice signings. Cubs go from last to the Washington Generals over two seasons because we only hire from waiver lines and want a jumbotron. How different are our baseball cultures?

    • Brains

      And how glad are the Sox that Theo left?

      • turn two

        Haha, you can’t blame theo’s bad signings, if your blaming the front office for giving him no money.

        Also, i think Theo will always be welcome in Boston, he killed their drought.

        I have liked many of your posts, this one is just the usual sour grapes that get thrown out so often.

        • Brains

          anything for a laugh, mission accomplished

        • MichiganGoat

          Turn two – see first bullet and realize that Brains is exactly that, embracing anything that will bait others into frivolous arguments.

          • Brains

            Once the team finally evolves from a comedy of errors surrounded by court jesters (goat) to a winner intent on competing in good faith, I’ll go back to working in a different tone.

            • MichiganGoat

              Glad to see you admit to purposefully baiting posters, thank you.

              • Brains

                admitted and delivered. but it’s not all i do. you just like to focus on what you don’t like, and you miss the calculated and reasoned arguments in the process. but this is also part of why you’re my favorite poster here besides die hard. you willingly engage and stand your ground.

              • DarthHater

                And you’re not an annoying pain-in-the-ass like me, MG. :-D

    • farmerjon

      Brains, the sign in my office reads, “If you’ve thought about it and have a reasonable solution, your complaints are welcomed. If you are here to complain for the sake of complaining, please smile, turnaround and walk out before you open your mouth.”
      I will even give you the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently the past two years that would have a.) made the cubs better immediately and b.) not compromised the foundation for sustained success. Please include payroll implications, lost draft picks, prospects returns etc… I can be sold on the idea, please give me you most well thought out strategy OR smile, keep your mouth shut, turn around and come back when you have a solution.

      • MichiganGoat

        You know that will never happen.

        • mjhurdle

          it is a fun idea though, imagining Brains trying to formulate an actual argument instead of simply baiting and crying.

          • Brains

            thanks jerry

      • Brains

        this isn’t a job interview and you can’t coerce fake smiles on a blog. sounds like a miserable experience.

        the obvious answer is to use revenues for obtaining key foundational players to build around, instead of using profits for park logistics or the bizarre paying back to oneself of one’s own loan that the owners are doing. you know what we call that in the neighborhood? keeping all the profits for yourself.

        so once they start to actually treat the team like a baseball team, which means signing players who can hit or pitch a ball, something fishy has been going on and will continue. i also don’t like this “purity by fire” approach in which we trade away absolutely every player for marginal returns, with no intention on competing within a 5 year span. the team is so awful that we don’t have a chance to begin to compete until roughly 2017. and a lot of people just buy PR as though its fact. the team isn’t playing baseball. that’s the nuts and bolts, and it’s dumb.

        • YourResidentJag

          I agree at least with you position that the team stinks right now and may not be good for longer than originally projected. However, they will be infusing young, potentially impact offensive players into the lineup in the next yr to three. I just wish they’d understand this and get a head start by signing some veteran FAs this yr to lesser deals. Maybe Granderson to a 3-4 yr deal or Lackey. I don’t think they will but a man can hope.

      • Oswego Chris

        I like that, can we install that as a national policy regarding everything?

        It promotes thinking…I like thinking

        I prefer it to whining, complaining, and random shouting…

        • Brains

          you all must work in cubicles, and you like it too much. this is the worst idea for a policy ever.

          • MichiganGoat

            Yeah thinking is such a horrible idea

          • Oswego Chris

            Worst idea for a policy ever?….let me think about that one for awhile…

          • DarthHater

            Okay, I haven’t really given this any thought, but I’d like to complain about what Brains said, just for the sake of complaining. I’m sure he’ll agree with my approach. :-P

            • Brains

              where’s my meme? lazy…

              • DarthHater

                Here you go:
                [img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2839/10390313945_5bddc86102_n.jpg[/img]

        • Oswego Chris

          I was referring to what Farmer John said..

      • Kyle

        That’s such an asinine argument. Basically, if anyone ever dissents from what actually happened with a baseball team. they have to do a crapton of work to lay out the point by point alternatives. The asymmetry between “everything’s fine and here’s a homespun analogy about building a house to prove it” vs. “lay out all the alternatives” is noticeable.

        And some of us *have* been laying out alternatives since even before the rebuild began.

        • MichiganGoat

          Yes you have done a great job outlining an alternative version to what the Cubs have been doing, and many disagree with your arguements but at least you have an arguement. The point is many people on here are simply screaming and complaining and that helps nothing- thinking and creating a solid counterpoint is always the best way to have a dissenting opinion.

          • Brains

            tragicomedy

          • jt

            some enjoy the puzzle and some enjoy the vent
            I read those who I believe enjoy the puzzle

            • Brains

              there’s no puzzle if they remove 1/3 of the pieces.

          • YourResidentJag

            You forgot, whining, Goat. You do that A TON on here. :)

        • Brains

          the alternatives are stark. disagreeing with a business model (to be contrasted with a baseball model) that doesn’t seem to be working is called crying. but what do we call massive hostility, inexplicable complacency, lack of critical analysis of baseball fundamentals, misuse and misunderstanding of what statistics indicate to rationalize bad moves, and the application of fantasy baseball logic to actual on the field play?

          i call it tragicomedy. y’all are absurd.

        • college_of_coaches

          Kyle, I was going to say something similar to Goat, but he said it better. I don’t think that the comment you are reacting against was intended for you (or anyone else that challenges the dominant narrative in well-reasoned and articulate responses). It was directed at silly, naive, ill-conceived drivel.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      As someone who is a Sox fan as well as a Cubs fan, the idea that there was a “rebuild” in Boston is laughable. The Sox went from worst to first with largely the same team that was the best team in baseball in 2011 until all of the starting pitchers went down in the final 6 weeks.

      The big difference between this year and last year is not the new acquisitions or the new manager. The big difference is that Buchholz, Lester & Lackey are all healthy. The “big contracts” shed last year really didn’t make a difference: the Sox would be as good with Crawford and AGonz as they were with Gomes and Napoli. True, Beckett would not have helped much: but they still would have had the finances to sign Dempster and the depth to acquire Peavy. Victorino has been good: but chances are good that Theo et al. would have had someone productive there, too.

      But, really, this is the 2011 team fine-tuned a bit. Hopefully we’ll get to see what we expected to see then.

  • Bones

    The talent level Boston had to turn it around at the MLB level is what made it so easy and quick to do. To think that the Cubs turnaround was going to be quick is thick headed. Come on guys, use your head a little bit.

    • MichiganGoat

      Nah why would anyone want to do that, gnashing of teeth is soooooo much easier.

  • IndyCubsFan

    I’m sorry, but I really think Theo could build what the Red Sox have to Chicago. The ballpark history is almost exactly the same too!

    • Brains

      He could, but will he be allowed to? And in the process, will they make some smart signings instead of piecemeal panicked decisions?

  • Cubfan Budman

    Boston will most definitely be easy to cheer for!!

    • Jimmy James

      They will be easy to root for but I have accepted the cardinals will win and some Facebook friends will need to be ignored for a week or two lol

  • Die hard

    Cubs can make it to playoffs in 2015 and WS by 2017 using one formula– take the risk of promoting Bryant and at least 3 other youngsters before or by the 2014 AllStar game and let them take their lumps in 2014 which will create an us against the world attitude that will carry over into 2015 and beyond leading to a new winning tradition

    • Jimmy James

      I’m not far off from that……Bryant and Baez up in August would make 2015 much more interesting……I don’t think soler or Almora will be ready though, who else you bringing up?

      • Die hard

        How about that lefty drafted this year?

        • Blublud

          I feel like Theo and comp move prospects entirely to slow. I have always stated this. But there is a difference in moving prospects faster, and throwing prospects to the wolves. There has to be an area somewhere in between that works.

          • Jimmy james

            I’ll agree there, the prerequisite at bats in aaa can go away (if they truly believe in it). They may see some craftier guys in Iowa but the elite pitchers aren’t there long, if at all.

    • MichiganGoat

      I think there is a very real possibility that Baez (very likely) and Bryant (need to continue his AFL like numbers in the minors) will come up in 2014. It’s exciting, and completely dreaming, to think about Castro and Rizzo returning to expectation and Baez at 2B and Bryant at 3B making a big splash. It would be a hell of an infield that could be together for years.

      Sadly the reality of all four of those being good is all a dream.

      • Blublud

        I disagree. We already know what Castro can do, Rizzo had a “sophmore slump”, Bryant is an absolute monster, and Baez will atleast contribute some power. I actually think its very likely that they all will be above average players.

        • TOOT

          I have to agree with MG on this one. The chances of all 4 being above average is a dream. Of particular concern to me is Rizzo. I don’t believe we can simply dismiss his performance last year as a sophmore slump. His plate appearances give a good sample size of what to expect. Maybe a .250 hitter at best. I certainly hope I’m wrong, but how can you deny the numbers?

          • Jimmy james

            Even if not a soph slump, hes still young and i would expect it to creep up each year…..all other numbers look good.

      • jt

        I don’t understand limiting the discussion to “the big 4″.
        hell, I believe 21 y/o Geiger and his 0.824 OPS has a chance to be a productive MLB player.

        • MichiganGoat

          True there are others that could be promoted to help the Cubs but so much is depending on the Big 4 making a splash.

        • AB

          Probably not in the NL

      • Kyle

        I don’t think it’s out of the question at this point that Bryant gets to the majors first. Baez probably could hit in the majors right now, but they may want to really pound him on approach in Iowa for awhile first.

      • Kyle

        “Sadly the reality of all four of those being good is all a dream.”

        And here’s what really sucks: We *need* them to all be good if we want any sort of chance in 2014-2016, unless we finally decide we want to pony up in cash or prospects for some elite talent from outside the organization.

        • MichiganGoat

          This is soberingly true

          • Kyle

            I’m starting to feel pretty bearish about our 2014-16ish chances.

            There’s certainly a chance, and I’ll gladly argue with anyone who says we don’t have a chance as soon a next year. But there’s an even better chance that we’re not good enough in any of those years.

            We’ve got a full set of interesting role players and fringe-useful starters. All we need now is four or five legitimate star players, and I don’t see where they are going to come from unless everyone with even a scrap of talent breaks out.

            The Cardinals had four players of at least 4.0 fWAR, for a total of 23.3.
            The Red Sox had four (and about four more who just missed) totalling 21.1.

            The Cubs had zero. They only had one player over 3.0 and two more over 2.0.

            Where are the Cubs going to get four players who can total 20+ WAR in the next three seasons? We might get a couple from Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija, Baez, Bryant, but trying to get four from that bunch is at best drawing to an inside straight, maybe a two-outer.

            • MichiganGoat

              This is a huge offseason where the FO needs to make the right decisions about trading or not trading prospects, which FA to sign, and who will be the manager. I’m not sure is the pocketbook is as tight as it’s been reported but not sure if there is anyone worth spending big on.

              • Brains

                if you like it or not – it looks like i’ve convinced you goat. this is exactly what i was saying for months before the wheels fell off of the organization. now they have to change the oil and the transmission.

                • TOOT

                  Um, how about tighten the lug nnuts before a wheel falls off seems to be a much better analogy.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Yes when you weren’t trying to bait people and make up stuff like Ricketts suing the city of Chicago you had good points that were agreeable, but then you decided to start playing a pseudo-troll dance. The former is good the latter is annoying.

                  • TOOT

                    What?

                  • Brains

                    sometimes it just takes some carefully calculated rhetorical flourishes to shift the tenor of a perspective

            • turn two

              Kyle, i agree with everything your saying. However, i think its reasonable to expect phase two here. Phase one was to develop young talent, we are currently in the process of letting that play out. Once e’er see who or if any of these prospects pan out, we will act like a big market team again. Maybe two years out. The renovation funding will be set aside and we will buy some impact players, whoever is the hot name of the off season then, to add to the lineup.

              We just don’t want to do that now, because by the time we need them they will be out of their prime and we don’t even know what positions we need yet.

              Id say we have two year of exciting legit prospects coming up and then just signaling maybe in 2016, we are ready to add some help.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                One thing to remember is that how “big market” teams act already has changed, simply because so many teams have started locking up good young players with long term contracts. It’s a risk for both parties: if the player breaks down early (a la Chavez), then the team pays a lot for nothing, and if the player becomes a perennial All-Star (a la Longoria), then they probably could have gotten more from the Yankees at some point.

                But it does mean that the pool of free agents is often going to be weak.

                • turn two

                  Absolutely agree, but doesn’t change the fact that pieces can be found each year if your smart

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    Even that will not necessarily be true: there have been multiple types of “pieces” that have been basically unavailable on the FA market.

                    And that is what is gong to make it really tough if you need *multiple* “skill” pieces: the teams that needs just one piece to fill out there team are going to over-bid on (say) that good hitting SS because they don’t have to worry about the other positions. If you have to bid on guys knowing that you need to save $$$ to bid on other guys (and if your team is comparatively less attractive because the FA knows that you have holes), then it is even more difficult to make the best offer than usual.

                    (By comparison, look at Boston’s “rebuild”: the “new” pieces were either ones the Cubs already had filled or involved guys who hadn’t played that well in a few years.)

                • Kyle

                  Yep, this. When we decide we’re “ready” to add big names, we may be all dressed up with no one to dance with.

                  Sitting around waiting on prospects has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It might be all we can do now.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    The one market that I can see opening up is the “I’ll take that ‘team friendly’ contract off of your hands” market, where the guy is still playing well, but his team still cannot afford him. That is where prospects will come in handy as much as anything else.

                    However, this is a relatively new situation, and it could take a few years for both sides of the trading partnership to sort out how to best play it.

        • college_of_coaches

          Furthermore, of those 4, the most tradable piece is a player (Soler) who has a contract that is difficult to move.

        • jt

          “We *need* them to all be good if we want any sort of chance in 2014-2016″
          –Kyle
          another route would be for OPS’ by Rizzo, Castro and Castillo of 0.800, 0.740 and 0.750.
          If, and we are dealing with ifs, one of the big four becomes a 0.850 OPS guy and 2 attain around 0.730 they could then find a couple David DeJesus types to fill out a balanced lineup.
          Johnson and Edwards would have to rise to their potential yielding a rotation of Shark, Wood, Johnson Edwards and Jackson.
          It would then depend upon the BP.
          Hey, The Bucs, Tribe, Rays and A’s did it.

          • Kyle

            In this case, “four” was referring to Castro, Rizzo, Baez and Bryant. Not the four prospects.

            • jt

              Reread and accept your explanation so it becomes my bad!
              OTOH, if Almora or Soler create OPS’s of 0.800 and 0.740 (in either order), my point still holds. Only one of the six has to be a hands down AS while another be good enough to be considered for the July classic.
              That leaves the need for a need for 3 of the remaining four to have productive, though unspectacular, seasons. One could actually flop.

            • college_of_coaches

              Yes, I had misread the “four.”

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Rizzo was badly snake-bitten by low BABiP last year, so it’s easy to see him rebounding. I suspect that the “lets see if someone can learn pitch recognition” experiment with Castro is done, so he probably will return to his usual form. (That actually is a plus from a SS with good range, but it’s not top-of-the-order.)

            • Kyle

              I think that’s extremely optimistic on Castro, and with Rizzo, even with his BABIP stabilized, he’s barely one of those types of players (4-7 wins), if at all.

              The problem isn’t any one of those things we need to happen is unlikely. The problem is that hitting on all of them or nearly all is unlikely A 75% chance isn’t bad, but when you need to hit on five in a row, you’re probably screwed.

              • jt

                I’m projecting a reasonably plausible path; not projecting the most likely path:
                0.740 OPS 0.340 OBP
                Castillo 0.750 OPS
                ? 0.850 OPS
                ? 0.800 OPS
                Rizzo 0.740 OPS
                ? 0.730 OPS
                0.730
                Castro/Baez 0.720 OPS
                *
                Perhaps Bryant becomes the 0.850 guy and Soler the 0.800
                Almora then becomes the 0.730 hitter behind Rizzo.
                Alcantara could even become one of the DeJesus types and Sweeney the other.
                The point is that they really only have to hit big on two of the six.
                Yeah, it would put more pressure on the pitching. But that could also be dealt with.
                Add to the mix Vogelbomb and Olt.

                • jt

                  not labeled properly
                  above is a lineup 1-8 with lead-off and the 7 hitter being FA’s of a DeJesus type quality.

                • Kyle

                  So all we have to do is find two players better than anything we have now, and then we can have an offense that isn’t really great but good enough so long as we completely fix the pitching staff, which is the weak part of our organization and notoriously finicky to put together from the outside.

                  That’s not exactly a rosy picture.

                  • jt

                    If 2 of the players we have now are to be above avg and 4 of the players we have now are close to avg (Castillo was not mentioned as either in the set of (Baez, Bryant, Castro and Rizzo) nor in the set of (Soler and Almora) then they would have to find 2 players that are avg. That is not a heavy spend into FA.
                    Again, The Bucs, The Tribe, The A’s and The Rays pulled it off in 2013.
                    The Pirates and Cleveland had good but not great pitching.
                    In both cases IP was distributed to many pitchers.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    Not all that unrealistic to think a couple of our best prospects (Bryant and Baez) might contribute that…I expect each of Bryant and Baez to be better than our current stash.

                    A couple more lottery tickets that could also be the ones with the 800+ OPS’s.

              • Andrew

                I think you could get 4 wins from rizzo pretty likely. I think 3 from Shark and Castro is somewhat likely as well. But you are right that they need outside help for a bit more impact talent. Luckily I think it is out there right now. I think Choo would be a great addition (as long as he’s not expected to play center) and would get us 4 wins. I think Tanaka is another chance for a TOR arm. I think it’s entirely possible for some seemingly out of nowhere players to become big time contributors too. Castillo being a 4 win player seems plausible to me if he continues his improvement and since he’s only 26, theres still time for him to grow as he enters his prime years. Mike Olt seems like a long shot but hes only a year removed from being considered a top prospect, so I wouldnt give up on him being an impact player next year.

            • TOOT

              “Rizzo was badly snake-bitten by low BABiP last year, so it’s easy to see him rebounding.”

              I’m not a saberman, so I’m not going along with the BABiP excuse. What I have has seen , again sadly, is a under acheiving(though great kid) kid. You take away his good July and the kid hits .215ish for the season. Surely you see the pattern here Doc.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                There is no rhyme or reason to why singles-rates fluctuate for players: it does not correlate with anything in particular, and it’s the most variable of the outcomes among “healthy” seasons for players. (Injuries can nuke power rates and K rates by affecting the swing.)

                As Rizzo’s extra-base hit rates (which is much more strongly correlated with “well-hit balls” than are singles), and his K & BB rates all stayed the same as before. Barring injury, those are predictive of how a batter performs next year.

                • TOOT

                  The facts remain the same. Rizzo’s slash line for career is .233/.324/.412/.735. There is NO way he magically turns in to a Lou Gehrig type hitter, no matter how much people want to beeve it. He is what he is, a mediocre hitter with a good glove, honestly.

                  • Joe

                    Those career numbers are pretty skewed. 2011 was his first MLB action and he really struggled. The next year he hit a little over his head in his first season with the Cubs. Then 2013 he struggled a bit again. I’d say his true talent level is a little more optimistic. .260ish hitter with good OBP, good power and possibly great defense.

                • Eternal Pessimist

                  I agree with this, and this is why I believe Rizzo will be back to his former numbers next year.

                  I also believe Barney, in particular, and also Castro hit particularly soft liners and expect they will be more likely to keep their low BABIP and OPS’s throughout their career (barring some new PED intervention.)

                  • TOOT

                    Not sure what you mean by former numbers. Upper numbers or lower numbers.(Regarding Rizzo)

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      Former higher OPS/BABIP. He hits the ball hard, and seems like the one guy that really ran into some temporary bad luck.

                • OCCubFan

                  Doc, wouldn’t you expect a player’s singles rate, and BABIP, to go down when he faces a lot of extreme shifts and continues to try to pull the ball most of the time?

                  • TOOT

                    Not answering for Doc, but your point is VERY valid.

                  • TOOT

                    And here we go. Why was Sveum fired? He went aginst a player signed to a big contract(Rizzo) by saying he was trying to pull the ball all time and trying to hit homers. I believe the FO took that as a “knock” (As in bad signing) and therefore let Sweum walk. Not saying that was the sole case.

                  • TOOT

                    “And here we go. Why was Sveum fired? He went aginst a player signed to a big contract(Rizzo) by saying he was trying to pull the ball all time and trying to hit homers. I believe the FO took that as a “knock” (As in bad signing) and therefore let Sweum walk. Not saying that was the sole case”

                    Yhis comment was meant for you occuubfan

                • TOOT

                  Rizzo had RISP of .191. RISP/2 outs .182. The guy seems to me to be a bust unless a sudden outburst, which I don’t see ever happening.

              • jt

                What you saw was 0.683 Rizzo OPS from July 1 to season’s end.
                You didn’t notice the 0.802 Rizzo OPS from season’s start to the end of June.
                What Doc sees is the already low Rizzo BAbip April 1 – June 30 of 0.283 drop to 0.237 from July 1 to seasons end.
                Doc isn’t saying why it dropped. He is saying there is enough reason to believe that it will again rise closer to his career norms and that because he attained an 0.802 OPS with a low 0.283 BAbip that it is not unreasonable to expect his to approach that territory again.
                *
                I believe he will again get close to the 0.800 OPS mark. But even if he stays in the 0.742 with good defense he would still be good enough to contribute on a good team.

  • auggie55

    I hate the Cardinals, but I despise all east coast teams. (NY, Bos, & Phil) Because of that I’m going to be pulling STL I was hoping the Tigers would be in the WS, so I could pull for them. I just can’t stand the egotistical east coast fans who treat visiting fans like crap and the bias towards their teams that exist on ESPN and MLB Network.

  • Idaho Razorback

    I can’t wait until pitchers and catchers report. My Hogs, Steelers, and Devils are all garbage. I can always fall back on my Clippers though. It’s gonna be a long winter up here in North Idaho.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      “It’s gonna be a long winter up here in North Idaho.”

      Six months of character building.

    • Blackout

      I know your pain. CBS opted to show the Cleveland Browns over the Ravens/Steelers. How the mighty have fallen.

  • Bigguy

    It seems simple to me after the marathon bombing and everything that happened this summer , if the Red Sox do not win the World Series the terroist have won

    • Jimmy James

      Please send in memo format to stl, I mean they are America’s baseball team with baseballs best fans….we need to make sure they know if they win, the terrorists win….they will gladly fall on their swords

    • DocPeterWimsey

      And yet all of the Sox players look like the stereotype of terrorists…..

      (Seriously, you could hide a nuke in some of those beards. And I mean an old one, too!)

      • jt

        Sox terrorize opposing pitchers

    • Blackout

      The terrorists already won. We continue fighting wars, keeping innocent people locked up in Guantanamo, and living in fear of the next attack, rather than taking care of our elderly, the poor and showing compassion towards each other.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        You must be lost…MSNBC is down the hall to the left.

  • arta

    agree. anything better than 2013 would be an improvement from Castro and Rizzo.

  • Blublud

    If the Reds trade Phillips, after firing Dusty, despite the fact they won nothing before they got him, they would be stupid.

    If Brandon Phillips goes on the Market, and the Cubs don’t at least check in on the price, especially if the Reds are trying to dump him for the cheap, they would be stupid. Brandon Phillips could play for my team anyday.

    • turn two

      If he’s truly as big a showboat and clubhouse, all about me, guy as Cincinnati claims. It could set the rebuild back a decade. An aging second baseman ain’t worth the risk.

    • Joe

      The problem is he’s 32 and the Reds are on the hook for $50 mil the next 4 years. Either they would need to eat a whole lot of money or take a very minimal return in prospects.

    • macpete22

      Especially if Baez is expected to man 2B for years to come

    • Blackout

      This the perfect example of why the Cubs haven’t won since 2008. We go after Phillips instead of Cano because he is cheaper, but still fills the seats.

      I only use Phillips and Cano as an example. Not saying now is the time to make a big move.

      • Joe

        What exactly are you saying? You seem to say the Cubs need to spend more to win now and get a guy like Cano over a lesser player like Phillips, then in the next sentence you say now is not the time for a big move…..which is it?

        • Blackout

          Now is not the time to spend big. The Cubs are not ready to compete.

          My point being, when the time does come to sign a top FA, as the final piece, do they do it or do they simply go after and sign a cheaper player being happy to fill the seats.

          • YourResidentJag

            3-4 yrs for Granderson and/or Lackey would be solid acquisitions.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Seeing the Red Sox succeed should give Cub fans a measure of belief in the people running the team. Because Theo still has his fingerprints all over that roster. Of course teams change and they have made some shrewd additions since he left. But many of their core players and the winning attitude they have was because of the doings of Mr. Theo Epstein.

  • Patrick G

    As a Cubs/Yankees fan, this World Series is going to be tough to watch. Sadly, I think I have to root for St. Louis

    • Eternal Pessimist

      I don’t like anything you just said!!!

  • jeff1969

    You gotta love the Reds implosion. I wonder how sunny the Brenneman family brunch is this morning. Eat up gentlemen.

  • JayPaul

    Boston is a totally different animal than Chicago…Boston had their established core from within in place while greatly underperforming last year. Comparing the Cubs situation to Boston is lazy, with homegrown stars like Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, Buchholz and fixtures like Ortiz it only stands to reason that a few smart additions would make them contenders again.
    When the Cubs have players like Rizzo, Castro, Samardzija and prospects like Baez, Bryant, Alcantara hopefully established in the majors as core players the signings and trades for/of the Jacksons’, Schierholtzs’, Strops’, Woods’ and Fujikawas’ will look just as fantastic in terms of results as the value signings and trades that put Boston over the top this season.

    All in all I think Boston is the best way to look at a Cubs future.

  • Die hard

    Phillies need 2 OF in a bad way and Cubs can package Sweeney Lake Barney Shark and Jackson for draft choices and not feel any loss

  • The Logos

    I could care less about who the teams are (don’t count me as a token Cardinal-hater, or even a root-for-the-team-who-does-it-the-right-way kind of guy), I want an exciting World Series. Unfortunately, there is not much about these two teams that excites me. I was hoping for Tigers-Dodgers.

    I am still going to watch, though. I always do. Even though I think it is going to be pretty boring.

    • YourResidentJag

      I’ll be avoiding this year’s series. Yep. Boring.

  • Bill

    I would like to see the cubs move Geiger to catcher he is young enough and athletic enough to be able to handle the position and it would give the cubs a premium prospect at catcher potentially.

    • Professor Snarks

      The knock on Geiger has always been sub par defensive. His bat would play great at catcher, not so sure about his glove/arm.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    The last two years were a tear down or purge. No matter how painful it was,it was needed. In my opinion this off season is key. We need to start building the major league roster while continuing to build in the minors. 2-3 smart trades to add offense,most likely outfielders. 1-2 mid level(flipable) pitchers and if all goes well Baez and Bryant get called up. If we are in the playoff race at the deadline we think about adding. If not we flip the flipable players. We also trade our international slots for prospects since we can’t sign anyone for more than 500 thou.

  • Eric

    How many significant contributors on the Red Sox were acquired by the Epstein regime? Cherington did a nice job but for those complaining lets not pretend what Epstein took over here was comparable to the talent base already in place in Boston.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Another thing the Red Sox should have shown, anybody who thinks a manager of a baseball team only can make a 1 or 2 game difference in winning or losing is dreaming. It makes a huge difference.

    • Canadian Cubs Fan

      I agree 100%. I hope Bobby Valentine was watching last night, and realized just how much he fucked up that team last year. I’m pretty sure he had lost the clubhouse before the first pitch of the season was thrown.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The problem was not Boston’s clubhouse (either in 2012 or 2011). The problem was the training room: when your three best starting pitchers are there rather than on the mound, then your team is hosed. And that is what it was like the last month of 2011 and all year in 2012.

        This year’s clubhouse looks like it has dancing around fires with banging drums and loincloths.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Oh, I still think that Valentine is a lousy manager, by the way. There just isn’t a manager alive (or dead) who could have turned last year’s Sox team into a winner.

          • jt

            The 2012 Red Sox were pretty bad. But Valentine was just terrible and folks around here were saying that as early as April 2012.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    I don’t think you can put an actual number of wins on a managers. There are so many things that we don’t see and so many things that can’t be measured. A manager is a leader. He helps set the tone of the team and maintain unity. In today’s game a manager is definitely under valued by many so called experts.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      You can look at the deviations between what a team with such players should do and what they actually do. What you’ll see is basically a bell curve.

  • jt

    How many good 3B prospects can a club carry?
    I realize that many don’t have to be on the roster of 50. However, it is no a good allocation of resources. Somebody has to be traded and traded for piece that is both good an fits the future needs of the club. When that happens the dynamics of our thinking will change.

    • Kyle

      Don’t worry, the herd will thin. Vitters dropped off this year. Villanueva is starting to get to the point where he looks pretty iffy.

      • TOOT

        Speaking of Vitters, isn’t it safe to say, sadly, the guy is toast?

        • Joe

          Probably not yet, the injuries really held him back last year. Aside from that, he was hitting pretty well when he was playing.

          I think he should still get a good look this spring.

          • TOOT

            Isn’t he going to 25 years old? Already had his cup of coffee. Hit a nightmarish .150ish in the bigs and Bryant has 3rd locked up. You still feel he will be around? Not knocking Vitters, just playing out the scenario.

            • Joe

              Next year he will be 24, the move to left field seemed to help him at the plate and I would expect he will get a shot at a bench role next year.

              My guess is his ceiling at this point is a bench corner outfielder with decent power. I hope he does well.

              • Joe

                I’m thinking a Jeff Baker type of player

                • TOOT

                  Yikes!

                  • Joe

                    Haha, agreed. Not ideal, but can be very useful with the right team.

                    • TOOT

                      So your saying trade bait? I’ll go along with that, for sure. But who would want him?

          • AB

            I have a hard time believing a player has a future in the major leagues when he’s constantly getting hurt in his early 20s.

        • Kyle

          Pretty close. They’ve given up on him as a 3b. The bat is going to have to reach the wildest expectations now to play in LF.

      • jt

        “Villanueva is starting to get to the point where he looks pretty iffy.”
        –Kyle
        62 xbasehits in 542 PA’s. OBP is low because BB rate is low (he did have 9 the HBP).
        Before 2013 the iffy was if he could hit with power. Now it is can he take 10 more BB. 10 more BB would have raised his OBP to a respectable 0.334. There is still work to be done and skill to be proved. But I believe a lot of the “iffy” is no longer weighting his shoulders.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      3B can always be turned into LF or RF or 2B (literally). And if there really is no room at the inn, then you turn one into a starting pitcher (figuratively).

      • Blackout

        Not a fan of the shuffling.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          But it always happens. A big chunk of the guys who played 3B in the minors wind up playing somewhere else in MLB. (Indeed, a big chunk of the guys who play 3B early in MLB wind up moved to LF, RF, 2B or [especially] 1B shortly thereafter.)

      • jt

        “a big chunk of the guys who play 3B early in MLB wind up moved to LF, RF, 2B or [especially] 1B shortly thereafter.”
        –Doc
        But there is dearth of 3B’s. If some of Olt, Bryant, Baez, Villaneuva and Candelario were to establish value with both bat and glove at 3B they may, and probably would, become more valuable in terms of what a they could return in trade.
        Don’t forget Alcantara is also competing for 2B.

    • cub2014

      how many good 3B prospects do we need?
      we will know a ton after this year. here is
      what i predict:
      1. junior lake; OF’er? or future utility
      guy.
      2. donnie murphy; he’ll be gone in 14′
      3. luis valbuena; left-handed utility
      4. josh vitters; 4th or 5th OF
      5. mike olt(if he hits): starting 3B then
      traded or utility guy.
      (if he cant hit; bye,bye)
      6. javier baez; future 3b by end of 14′
      7. kris bryant; your soon to be RF’er
      8. christian villanueva; traded or possible
      utility guy.
      9. jemier candelario; several years before FO
      has to decide.
      10. ben carhart; becoming a catcher
      So it will thin out, but it is nice to have options.

      • jt

        “here is what i predict:”
        –cub2014
        so you predict that Olt, Villanueva and Valbuena are to become utility or traded and Lake will become a utility OF’er.
        What if these guys establish too much trade value to be used as utility? In other words they bring back a really good SP’er or LF’er.
        What if Alcantera continues to improve as a 2B and they get a really good LF’er in a trade? What do you then do with Bryant of Baez?
        Sure there are a lot of ifs. But that is because there is a lot of shaking of the tree of potential to be done.
        Sure it could all blow up. But there are a lot of paths to explore. It does not depend upon just 5 things going perfectly correctly.

        • cub2014

          jt, i was responding to you when u said we
          have too many guys at 3rd. I was talking
          about on how things will thin out.

          Thats why I said by end of 2014 many things
          will be known. If Olt hits he could be traded,
          utility guy or starting 2nd base. Villanueva
          you could say the same about in 2015′. I think
          based on what I have read Baez probably at
          3rd and Bryant probably in RF. If they make it
          of course.

          • jt

            cub2014
            ok
            Seems I like Villanueva’s chances better than most here.
            It also seems that I’m a bigger champion of a major trade or two than most here.
            Like you say, things are going to have to shake themselves out.

            • cub2014

              JT, I am in the minority on this site. I too
              believe a trade or 2 is coming. Probably
              a FA outfielder as well. As far as trades
              go, guys like Villanueva, Rusin, Raley these
              guys are eating up 40 man spots. That
              could be PART of a trade for a bigger piece.

              Our run scoring must improve drastically.
              Some of these (OBP) guys will have to come
              from out of the organization!

              • jt

                –cub2014
                That is about how I see it also. The 40 man spots are valuable but so is the playing time in the minors.
                The way in which they handle these moves may say a lot as to the direction of the final stages of the rebuild will take.
                A couple of dramatic exchanges would warm the winter.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

    Comparing the Cubs and Red Sox situation is a false arguement. The Red Sox were coming off of a 90 win season, and had one of the top farm systems in baseball. The Cubs on the other hand, had a farm system that was devoid of any impact talent, and marginal on talent in general, on top of that we had just had a 90+ loss season. We had ownership in the Tribune that expressly refused to spend money for several years on the draft, Ricketts started that trend. To compare what Theo had to do with the Red Sox, when he took over to turn them into prenninal contenders, as opposed to what the body of work looked like here, just to get to .500 is crazy. The speed this is being conducted with is just awe inspiring, and to compare the two timelines is living in denial about where we were as an organization when they took over.

    • Kyle

      “The Cubs on the other hand, had a farm system that was devoid of any impact talent, ”

      False.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

        I was speaking of the farm system prior to Theo and Jed’s arrival. If you believe that to be false Kyle, I guess you got me there, I forgot about Josh Vitters, and Brett Jackson, those two were going to be stars and impact players for years, thanks for setting me straight (insert sarcastic look here).

        • Kyle

          Well, Jackson was a top-50 prospect (and so was Trey McNutt), but sarcasm aside, have you heard of Javier Baez?

          • Eternal Pessimist

            So Kyle, you talk about Jackson and Trey McNutt as if they were part of the strength of the minors without acknowledging that their regression shows that they really weren’t that good. At the same time you are giving the prior management team credit for Baez as a part of the strength of the minors, even though he is far outperforming expectations. You are very selectively using the data to give extra credit to the former FO.

            • Kyle

              No, I’m simply answering the question that was presented. While Baez has exceeded expectations, he was most certainly always an impact talent and he was in the system when the current FO gets here.

              Some of the current “impact talent” we think we have will also go the way of McNutt and Jackson.

              • MichiganGoat

                The hope now is that the Theo FO has drafted talent that will succeed in the MLB vs drafting talent that can’t transfer those skills into the MLB.

                • Kyle

                  I hope that too, but it’s still wrong to say the system was devoid of impact talent when they arrived.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    So we agree…the minors weren’t completely devoid of talent because they had…..let’s see…..hmmmm…………..Baez.

                    If I look at salesguys comment it appears that he is just making note of the obvious (if slightly overstated by using the word “devoid”). The Cubs minor league prospects on whole sucked and now they don’t

                    • Kyle

                      They really didn’t suck, though. If you want to use the hindsight of knowing that Jackson and McNutt fell apart, then we can’t ignore that Castillo and Lake have graduated from the system to success in the majors. And Andrew Cashner, who had technically just barely graduated from prospect status but had less than 70 MLB innings.

                      The farm system could have been better, but it wasn’t bad. That’s a myth that even the organization itself has been putting out there to help along the narrative they want to sell and that many fans want to buy.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      I guess you could consider any player that makes it to MLB a success, and Castillo certainly seems to have decent value. Neither is likely to have a high impact IMO, though Castillo still has a chance, and I’m not sure that any of the minor leaguers from that Era are likely to be high impact guys, other than possibly Baez.

                      I would consider a minor league system that generated few impact guys and no star or superstar guys to have been weak. Most other teams graduate at least a star or two from their minors.

                    • Kyle

                      How often do these other teams graduate the stars? Because when Epstein got here, it hadn’t been *that* long since the farm system spit out Starlin Castro, who was on a HOF career path before the front office tinkered with him.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      That’s true…he is, technically, an all star. And Barney is definitely a gold glover.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Agreed we have had talent for years but we have had horrible luck (bad drafting) in selecting players that can succeed in the MLB and even worse we had the tendency to hold into prospects vs trading them for established talent. I’m really wondering if now is time to move Baez because if he busts then we squandered an opportunity. This is what the Cardinals and Braves have fine so well for so long- keeping the right prospects and trading away the busts before they bust.

                • ClevelandCubsFan

                  Is it a question of drafting the right talent or developing it? The more I think about the Hendry era the more suapect the problem wasn’t finding and acquiring talent. It was developing talent.

                  In the 16 drafts of the MacPhail-Hendry era only 3 or 4 #1 picks have shown any flashes of being very good MLB players–Wood, Prior, Garland, Cashner (?). There’s very little to speak of positionaly. yet many of those names were guys that everyone seemed sure we’re going to be stars. It’s easy to say they picked the wrong guys. But I think that’s a big part of this rebuild: it isn’t the raw talent but the system that is a problem.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    That is a big question but I suspect it’s a little bit of both. First you got to find players that have the skills that can be developed into MLB success vs drafting players with great minor league skills but can’t develop beyond that. Obviously it’s not easy since most teams struggle with it.

                  • Kyle

                    Corey Patterson and Josh Donaldson would like some words with you. And Cashner and Baez still have a chance.

                    But the general point is true: The Cubs had some horror-show draft in the mid-2000s and have paid for it.

                    • http://It'searly Mike F

                      Interesting conversation. I agree with a lot of it, but will just add this. Wood and Prior were not your ordinary prospects. They were the very rare and special guys. The talent level was off the charts. Both were sure fire HOF and can’t miss. What occurred was luck or injury. Call it what you will, but they had rare rare talent.

                      I get where you are all coming from, but would remind you the guy we seem to enrich came up in the 2010 season and is a product of the very system we seem to complain about. And in fact he had no AAA and was and remains flawed. I understand trading Baez if they are convinced he doesn’t fit, but his fit is better than Castro. Castro has never hit for power at any level and doesn’t offer rare anything. If they do trade people I sure hope it is not because they continue the ridiculousness that Castro is the face of the Cub’s.

                      To me, the biggest thing they have to do is be honest about the core at the ML level and frankly that means admitting there isn’t much of one. If Castro and Rizzo run to catch up great, but I don’t see trading people or switching positions because of either.

  • Matt

    Per talk of competitiveness in ’14-16, I can envision a scenario where the lineup -between rapid prospect development & some strategic FA signings, is worthy of a competitive team. However, I keep asking the question without a satisfactory answer: where’s the SP going to come from? The pipeline is stuffed with back-end guys or younger guys who won’t be ready til roughly ’17-’18. How viable is FA- not really IMO. People act as if the FA mkt will patiently wait for us , as if no other teams will bid on someone like Scherzer and that he’s dying to come here. The one guy on our team with front-end, not ace , stuff/potential may very well be traded this offseason. Somehow, this talk is met by bloggers as a sign of Epstoyer extracting “value”, preemptively. Given the state of SP in our org, we should be holding on to Shark for dear life. Most bloggers/board participants seem to blindly assume that Epstoyer has an answer for this problem , while trumpeting the likes of P Johnson- who is probably a #3-4 if THINGS BREAK RIGHT.

    • http://It'searly Mike F

      I don’t see sp as the problem. They don’t have the big sure bat in the middle line-up and lead-off guy. Said differently, no Manny Ramirez and no Johnny Damon is on this team.

  • Jono

    So, everyone has accepted that the cardinals will win the WS, right?

    • Brains

      says the cardinals fan who wants to tear down wrigley field

      • Jono

        I hate the cardinals and I love Wrigley. So you’re an idiot

  • Die hard

    Good weather report for WS —– for football …. Season too long as reward for attending fans is to freeze to death

  • The Dude Abides

    So how close are the Cubs to the Series??? How many position players, starting pitchers, etc. would the Bosox or Cards rather have than there own such player?

    Maybe the Cards take Castro other than that???

    • Jono

      the red sox and cardinals were the two best teams in baseball this year. The cubs were the 4th worst. Id be surprised if there were more than 1 or 2 players that the cubs had the advantage over the red sox and cardinals

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I am not 100% positive that is the case. Yes, the NL did a lot better in interleague play this year (0.487, I think), but I’m not convinced that the NL has caught the AL in overall caliber of talent. Thus, there are a handful of AL teams (Detroit, Oakland, Texas, TB) that I suspect would routinely put up better records in 162 games than would the Cardinals if the Cards were magically transported to the AL.

        • Jono

          It’s too hard to say who would be better if there was more interleague play. That would be too subjective. The best objective way is silly by going by winning %. Even going by opinion, id still say that those were the best two teams

          • Jono

            “Silly” meant to be “simply”

          • DocPeterWimsey

            I’m not talking about what would happen with more interleague play: I mean that if the Cards were transplanted to the AL, then they probably are not the 2nd best team in the AL. The interleague play is relevant because it provides a benchmark for what we expect the typical AL team to do against the typical NL team. Basically, a 0.500 AL team should be about a 0.513 NL team. (Actually, it might be higher: the AL did not do as well this year as in past years.)

            • jono

              My point applies to both arguments, whether it’s the cards going to the AL or getting more interleague games. It’s just too subjective. We don’t know what would happen. It’s speculation and opinion. But if you want to use opinion, then I would still think the cards would be one of the two best teams in baseball if they played in the AL. Even if they’d be the 3rd best team behind Boston and Detroit, my argument is still valid. It shouldn’t be surprising that the 3rd best team in baseball has the advantage over the 4th worst team in every position but one or two. So even if you’re right, that they wouldn’t be the second best team, doesn’t really change my point either way. But whether or not you’re right is pure opinion and estimation. I’d rather go by what we know than what we think

        • Jono

          The only other team that might challenge the cardinals for “two best teams” were the tigers. But I think the card’s bullpen outs them ahead.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Accorsing to that piece, Phillips claims that they promised to extend him before Votto? I’m sorry. I call BS. What front office would EVER make that kind of promise? suppose Votto approached them the next day about a possible extension and laid out a framework that was very amenable to the front office. are they supposed to say “Well that sounds great Joey but I’m sorry we promised Brandon we’d iron out his situation before yours. Not sure how long it’ll take but hey do yourself a favor and don’t get yourself injured or nothing in the meantime.” I don’t know if BP heard what he wanted to hear or just makes stuff up. Maybe the report is inaccurate but there’s no way it went down like this.

  • Indy57

    Honestly, there’s a good chance 2014 is a fairly decent year. I agree that Bryant and Baez after the All-Star break seem reasonable as long as they continue on the same path. The depth in bullpen arms looks very promising. Again, if Bard makes a return to prior form, the bullpen has the chance be a plus. As we’ve seen in the past two years, lots of excellent starting pitching was wasted in April and May. This put the Cubs behind early in the season.

    A return to form of Mike Olt is a key in this plan. It provides us with a solid defensive infield and some decent pop at the corners. It allows Bryant to move to the outfield when he is ready for MLB.

    A couple of key additions in free agency can also help upgrade the team significantly and might fit the monetary profile of the Cubs. Tanaka should be the prime target and the Cubs should be willing to spend what it takes to get him. A potential TOR guy gives us strong starting pitching with real depth in Iowa (we have real talent there and more making its way from Tennessee). It also allows us to keep our development plan in place without sacrificing minor league talent in trades (think David Price).

    Last, I like Cory Hart as a FA acquisition. Should not cost and arm and a leg and he’s only 31 years old (think 2-4 year prove it contract post injury). He could platoon well in right and left, plus occasionally spell Rizzo at first. He has the potential to be a value player like Shierholtz.

    Hart, Shierholtz, Lake, Sweeny and Bogusevic to start the season out.gives us solid defense and power. When Bryant and Baez are ready in July/August, we have some trade pieces (Barney, outfield depth/surplus, pitching depth/surplus) if we are in a position for a wild card. If we are not, stand pat or pick up some pieces for 2015 or more minor league depth. No need to make the kind of veteran dumps we made in 2012 and 2013 plus we should be much more competitive in the second half building toward 2015.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      “Honestly, there’s a good chance 2014 is a fairly decent year.”

      I think it could go down like this. First half–a roughly .480-.490 type team (that hopefully catches the breaks this time around). Second-half–the team actually IMPROVES in 2014 (Rather than fall apart because of trades) due to an influx of MLB-ready talent.

      There’s some IFs in that. I wouldn’t be horribly surprised if the talent isn’t ready to contribute in a meaningful way and a big sell-off causes us to stink again. Though I’d expect incremental improvement at the minimum. But I don’t think this scenario is very far fetched either. Under this scenario, I don’t think 83-85 wins is unthinkable-except that we do have a very difficult schedule next year.

      • Indy57

        Agreed. Your .480-.490 is not an unreasonable expectation for this team and should be in a position to improve in the second half. A couple of choice FA’s with internal talent making its way to Wrigley in 2014 are the keys.

      • Professor Snarks

        I think a .480/.490 early season record would be tough.
        I think we have exhausted most of our valuable trade prospects. (Shark?).
        I think, if we are terrible in late June/early July, we hold back the promotion of Baez or Bryant to ensure a top 10 pick.

        Alcantara/Baez/Bryant might see some Sept time.

        I hope I’m wrong.

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          I want to clarify that I think they could be a .480 team in the FIRST HALF. Keep in mind that this year’s team played .458 ball before the trade deadline, largely without Garza and entirely without Baker. And their Pythagorean was much better yet (.478). I’m thinking that a similarly constructed that doesn’t have the breaks go against them as the Cubs ahd early in 2013 would fare about the same and hopefully be about .480, possibly a little better. So let’s say they are 39-42 around the All-Star Break. And some young guys start filling in on the club and we finish respectably and get over .500.

          Again, a lot of IFs. But it’s not unthinkable.

          • Professor Snarks

            Don’t forget, we had a bunch of things go well in the first half of 2013.

            -Valbuena was better than his norm.
            -Schierholtz was significantly better than his norm.
            -We had Soriano.
            -We didn’t lose a start to injury (among those who began the year as starters).
            -Rizzo start was significanlly better than the rest of his year.
            -Ransom was unbelievable early.

            Those things alone could have been worth 7-9 wins over what we can expect to be the norm in 2014.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Anyone else see this story on SI that Renteria is supposedly the favorite? Thoughts?

    http://tracking.si.com/2013/10/19/rick-renteria-favorite-chicago-cubs-manager/?sct=mlb_t2_a3

    • Christian

      “A Mexican American, Renteria fits the bill as a manager who could work well with the large group of young Latino players on the Cubs and in their minor league system, which is reportedly one of the main qualities the organization is looking for in candidates.”

      I don’t know what the interviews for Manager are based on, although I bet the FO know what they are doing. But thinking that because Renteria is the best option because he is latin and there for could be of benefit for guys like Baez, Soler and Castro is a little over rated. Those guys would definitely benefit more and feel a lot more comfortable with a guy from the islands (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, etc.) like Tony Pena, Sandy Alomar or so. Really different cultures, and probably different approach to baseball.

      • TOOT

        Why Mexican/American manager? Couldn’t he be a coach and have the Cubs pick the manager of their liking? Just asking.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        I didn’t take it quite that way, though I understand your point. I think the author was simply saying that a Latin background is one thing that the Cubs are looking for, and Renteria fits that bill. While, yes, cultures are very different between Mexico and Puerto Rico, but language is an enormous part of culture, and in that sense Renteria has an enormous leg up on, say, Sveum. Being able to talk to someone in their “heart language,” as they say, can go a long way.

        Anyhow, that’s all I took from that. I don’t think the writer was trying to dismiss cultural differences or insist that this was the main thing the Cubs were looking for.

        In the realm of Spanish-speaking managers with a proven track record of success…. I hear Lou Piniella is available….

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