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rick renteria padresAlthough the process continues largely behind the scenes, it was a relatively busy weekend in managerial tidbits, so let’s catch up …

  • Bob Nightengale caused quite a stir when he tweeted that, “The support for Rick Renteria is staggering and he has emerged as clear cut favorite to be Cubs manager.” That may well be true, and there were indications prior to Nightengale’s tweet that Renteria was the current favorite among the guys who’d been interviewed thus far. That said, given the ongoing process – including recent reports of interest in Torey Lovullo and Mike Maddux – it’s hard to square things like “staggering” and “clear cut favorite” with a continuing process. Renteria as the current favorite? Sure. I could buy that, and that’s as far as I’ll go. Keep in mind: there are a number of voices involved in this search, and some might be pulling more strongly for some candidates, and not for others. That’s why it’s a process of drilling down, and getting to the right candidate.
  • Red Sox manager John Farrell says his bench coach Torey Lovullo (in whom the Cubs reportedly have interest) is a “manager-in-waiting” and will eventually get a managerial job. Farrell praise of Lovullo was effusive, but he noted that he hopes any team interested in him will be sensitive to the Red Sox’s playoff run before reaching out to him.
  • … speaking of which, there are conflicting reports out there about how the Cubs have dealt with their interest in Lovullo so far. Peter Gammons reported that the Cubs have “talked to” Lovullo about the job, but that further discussions will wait until after the World Series. Some folks took that to be Gammons reporting that the Cubs have interviewed Lovullo, but to me, it reads more like the Cubs reaching out to Lovullo to confirm that he would be interested in an interview if the Cubs held the position open for another week or two (otherwise, maybe they go ahead and make a decision now). Whether that actually happened, I can’t say – though I’m sure whatever has been done has been above-board. The Cubs front office isn’t going to do anything shady, especially with respect to the Boston front office.
  • Indeed, at least one report out of Boston says the Cubs have not formally requested permission to talk to Lovullo about the job. They’ll wait until the World Series is over, if they want to wait on Lovullo, that is. To that point, Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs may act sooner (i.e., make a decision before the Red Sox are done).
  • Dave Martinez, who was interviewed last week, told the Tampa Bay Times that he thinks his interview went well. He described the interview a little bit in that article, which is fun to check out. Lineup construction, in-game questions, and a video simulation. Cool. I’d think a lot of the focus was about non-in-game stuff, too.
  • Dave Kaplan offers lengthy thoughts on many of the publicly-identified candidates, sounding a bit down on Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch, while sounding up on Rick Renteria and Dave Martinez. Kaplan then throws a curveball by suggesting that the guy the Cubs should actually hire is the guy that doesn’t appear to have ever emerged as a serious candidate: Brad Ausmus. The current San Diego executive has already been interviewed by the Nationals for their open spot, but has not been interviewed by the Cubs (who do reportedly like him, at least).
  • Sahadev Sharma hears that part of the reason new names have been popping up since the initial wave of interviews is because the Cubs didn’t feel like they got a perfect fit yet or didn’t feel like some of the interviews went well. That is not to say the initial candidates have been eliminated, it’s just a process of making sure.
  • Bruce Levine says the Cubs are considering Alex Cora as a possible coach.
  • As of this morning, Jim Leyland apparently is stepping down as manager of the Tigers (he’s 68). So that’s another job to be filled.
  • DarthHater

    “part of the reason new names have been popping up since the initial wave of interviews is because the Cubs didn’t feel like they got a perfect fit yet or didn’t feel like some of the interviews went well.”

    Hmmm. Perhaps the support for Renteria is “staggering” because it’s about to collapse and die.

  • macpete22

    I also heard speculation from Kap that he thinks Henry Blanco will/could be on the coaching staff

  • ssckelley

    Jeez, is appears the FO has quite a few leaks. I am laughing at all the rumors being swirled around and everyone is “hearing” something.

    Did anyone check the Starbucks out this morning?

  • pfk

    My guess is that they will wait to interview Lovullo and then make their decision. As for Peter Gammons…he’s a bright guy who does get good inside info. He is also a huge Boston guy and doesn’t like the Cubs, so I can see him trying to stir things up a bit.
    Did anybody read Tom Verducci’s piece about the Cardinals the other day? He said they have the best system in the game at breeding home grown talent and will be strong for at least another 10 years. He’s absolutely right and building that kind of system is exactly what Theo and Co. are doing. Yet, our writers like Telander, Morrissey and Wittenmyer just don’t see that or get that. Its like they know nothing about the game. As a long suffering Cubs fan, I love what Theo is doing because I know it will pay off. I can see the day when the Cubs v Cardinals rivalry is like the Boston v New York rivalry in that they will be fighting each other for the division championship year in and year out. We won’t be that competitive until 2015 but I’m willing to wait. Actually, I think we will start seeing the swing to being somewhat competitive in the second half of 2014.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      “Yet, our writers like Telander, Morrissey and Wittenmyer just don’t see that or get that. Its like they know nothing about the game.”

      Yep, I sure agree with this. Theo is putting together the right type of system for developing the talent for an affordable MLB team. I sure hope there will be some additional money to give us the advantage we have been lacking lately.

    • Noah_I

      I don’t know if Gammons doesn’t like the Cubs. One big thing I recall about Gammons: he was one of the few guys before the 2003 season calling the Cubs a sleeper team who could make the postseason (he rightfully loved the pitching). And I believe the thought the Cubs would make it to the Series in ’04. Pointing out that the Cubs haven’t been very good at the MLB over the past five seasons (and for most of those 5 years have been quite bad), isn’t exactly an overstatement and doesn’t show that he’s a “hater.”

  • JoyceDaddy

    Why hasn’t Theo picked up the phone and at least reached out to Leyland yet?!?!?!?! ; )

    • Brian Peters

      Um, if Leyland indicated it was time for a younger manager to take over for him in Detroit, what kind of message do you think that sends to prospective employers? When Charlie Manuel was let go, you didn’t hear him talking like an old man. He said he still had some years in the tank.

      • Noah_I

        I think JoyceDaddy is being sarcastic, and teasing a certain “Voice” on these boards who is very big on the idea of bringing in a manager with that sort of pedigree.

        • Brian Peters

          My apologies to Joyce.

          • JoyceDaddy

            I was definitely joking. I like the idea of bringing in a big name manager (who doesn’t?) but of the names out there I just don’t see a fit. LaRussa, Leyland, Manuel, all seem likes names of the past school of thought in baseball. I agree with the FO that connecting to latin american players + development are huge in the search and I commend them for looking at people like Acta, Renteria, etc. With that being said I am not particularly excited about any candidates we’ve expressed interest in except for Maddux and Alomar Jr. (expressed interest, not interviewed). Acta maybe. My personal choice would be Alomar Jr. but that’s just me.

            • Voice of Reason

              Being able to relate to latin american players is silly.

              Just find a coach who can win World Series. He will then be able to communicate with anyone!

              Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox… those men just won.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                And they also lost when they didn’t have good teams. (None of them ever won without one, either.)

                • jt

                  please explain the ‘O’s the past two years without using the word “luck”.

                  • Kyle

                    A baseball team won some games and lost some others?

                    • jt

                      ok, forget about the lucky 1 run wins of 2012.
                      O’s 2013 OPS+ 99…lg avg 100
                      O’s 2013 4.20 ERA….lg avg 3.99
                      This is not a good team.
                      O’s record 85W 77L in the AL East

                    • Kyle

                      OK. So your assertion is that they appear to have won more games than their superficial statistics would imply, and that that must be attributable to the manager?

                    • jt

                      I’m asking that it be explained.
                      I’m careful not to speak in absolutes.
                      I look at the IP of The A’s pitchers and think that success was not random ink spatting on the papers morning standings.

                    • Kyle

                      The only weird thing I see with the 2013 O’s that needs to be explained is why they had a 99 OPS+ when they were 4th in the league in OPS and 4th in runs scored. That’s some weird park factoring for a park that doesn’t seem to be *that* extreme.

                    • Jason P

                      A better (albeit far from perfect) way to evaluate a manager would be player performace vs. talent level. But talent level is hard to define.

                    • jt

                      hmmm?
                      O’s home OPS = 0.763….46W 35L
                      O’s away OPS = 0.725……39W 42L
                      not sure of the significance but seems to indicate something.
                      Nice call!

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    “please explain the ‘O’s the past two years without using the word “luck”.”

                    The O’s won 5 more games than expected given their net OPS this year. 3 of the other 3 teams did as well or better. Over the last 52 years, 16.4% of teams have done that well or better. So, no “luck” even needs to be in the picture: they were not particularly lucky this year.

                    The “lucky” team this year was the Yankees. They won 14 more games than expected. That is much, much more rarified company! As the Yanks have not done anything like that in years, it’s tough to credit that to Girardi, too.

                    And because my life is not complete without distributions, here are how the last 52 years look, and how unremarkable this year’s O’s are:
                    http://imageshack.com/a/img35/2676/m6p9.jpg

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      [img]http://imageshack.com/a/img35/2676/m6p9.jpg[/img]

                    • jt

                      I understand your point and find it informative. I look at as a really really good filter.
                      Still I compare the pedestrian O’s pitching to that of good but not great The Red Sox hurlers and wonder why the difference in pitching OPS is only 0.039 points?
                      Perhaps that is just the way things shake out. But I look at M. Gonzalez an see 30 starts and only 171 IP with an ERA of 3.78 and think this guy is short leashed managed. I see former starter Tommy Hunter with 86 IP out of the pen but the rest of the many relievers having 70 or fewer IP. It makes me wonder how Don Zimmer or Dusty Baker would have done with a similar staff?

  • Brian Peters

    Kaplan and Nightengale are baseball’s version of Cheech & Chong, except they smoke crack and make even less sense.

  • DarthHater

    “Kaplan then throws a curveball by suggesting that the guy the Cubs should actually hire is the guy that doesn’t appear to have ever emerged as a serious candidate: Brad Ausmus.”

    Cue countdown to comment from Jon about Kaplan and Ausmus both being Jewish…

    • Jon

      Don’t you have some articles to criticize today? About how the sentence structure confused you?

  • Cubbie Blues

    [img]https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/575902464/hE5CBED50/[/img]

    • hansman

      It’s not as special if you spam the board with these.

  • Louie

    Although I do like the moves the FO are making I’m tired of waiting on being a good team. Let’s make some moves sign a couple FA’s and give me something to want and go see

    • pfk

      Did anybody read Tom Verducci’s piece about the Cardinals the other day? He said they have the best system in the game at breeding home grown talent and will be strong for at least another 10 years. He’s absolutely right and building that kind of system is exactly what Theo and Co. are doing. Yet, our writers like Telander, Morrissey and Wittenmyer just don’t see that or get that. Its like they know nothing about the game. As a long suffering Cubs fan, I love what Theo is doing because I know it will pay off. I can see the day when the Cubs v Cardinals rivalry is like the Boston v New York rivalry in that they will be fighting each other for the division championship year in and year out. We won’t be that competitive until 2015 but I’m willing to wait. Actually, I think we will start seeing the swing to being somewhat competitive in the second half of 2014.

      • Kyle

        And, as always, I’ll point out that the Cardinals never needed to go to the extreme measures that this front office has to build their farm system. It’s concerning that they neither had the confidence in themselves to try to put a good team on the field or try to build a farm system without diverting massive resources to it. Is that same farm system going to fall apart when they don’t have flips and top-5 picks to depend on?

        • pfk

          The Cubs won’t be needing flips, etc. anymore because they not only did a good job of that to get good prospects but, more importantly, they have been drafting well and will continue to do so. Now they have a nucleus around which they can build and hold for a long time and keep stocking draft talent for the future. Many of the Cubs draft picks were 17-19 years old and we won’t see them for another 5-6 years, when they could use a fresh face or two. And, I’m confident that they will, if need, fill in with an FA or two. The Cubs are indeed investing heavily in their infrastructure, something pervious owners like the Tribune Co. never did. Got to build it from the ground up and the Cubs are doing great in that department. In the second half next year we’ll see Baez and Bryant and one or two others and we’ll see the the new direction start paying off. People have a tendency to focus on a team’s top draft pick and judge fro their. Many of the Cardinals’s good players were late round picks. THAT is where good scouting comes in and the Cubs have a great scouting department.

          • Kyle

            There’s a lot to question in that, but I’ll try to stick with one at a time.

            Why are you sure the Cubs have a great scouting department?

            • cubfanincardinalland

              I would think Theo would be given the benefit of the doubt, that he has assembled a scouting department that knows what they are doing. He has a proven track record with the Red Sox.

              • Kyle

                There’s a big difference between benefit of the doubt and having no doubt. I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, though he didn’t exactly build the Red Sox player development system from scratch.

                The whole “Theo is brilliant, we’ve got a farm system, so we’re going to be awesome in a couple years” is insanely oversimplistic and massively underestimates the challenges this organization faces in the coming years.

                • jt

                  “massively underestimates the challenges this organization faces in the coming years.”
                  –Kyle
                  such as?

                  • Kyle

                    Well, the talent deficit at the major league level between us and the top teams in our division is much larger than it was two years ago and is possibly as large as I can ever remember it being.

                    The ability to acquire significant talent from outside the organization looks to be dwindling significantly in the next few years. Small-market teams can afford their players more often and thus both trades and free agency are much narrower routes than they need to be.

                    Our division is more densely populated with good front offices than I’ve ever seen it. The only bad organization among our four rivals is the Brewers. The Pirates, Cardinals and Reds are all well-run by savvy baseball guys.

                    Our financial situation has clearly gotten much worse since Ricketts took over. The team now has massive debt to go along with lower attendance and lower revenue. We’re starting to see concerns surface that the TV deals won’t be what we hoped because of the team’s terribleness.

                    Although organizational pitching has improved in the last year, it’s still a pretty murky picture long-term. Assuming Jeff Samardzija sticks to his demands for a NTC, he’s going to be traded. Our long-term rotation outlook is basically Travis Wood and a host of long-shots to be anything more than mediocre.

                    And we still can’t be sure that when it’s time to add to the team via free agency that Epstein will be any good at that. He didn’t do it very well at the end in Boston, and he didn’t exactly set the world on fire with Edwin Jackson.

                    There’s some positives too, but you asked for the negatives and there they are.

                    • Kyle

                      Oh, and I forgot to mention that the division also features one farm system that is our equal (the Pirates) and one that is close and would be ahead of us if not for recent graduations (Cardinals).

                    • Boogens

                      “Our financial situation has clearly gotten much worse since Ricketts took over. The team now has massive debt…”

                      Hi Kyle, I’m not argiung this point but truly just asking to gain a better understanding of this situation. I understand why massive debt is a problem for businesses in general but I don’t fully understand why it’s so crippling to the Cubs in this instance. If the terms of the agreement with Zell required the Cubs to carry more debt to ease the tax burden on Zell, why don’t the Ricketts still have the original capital that wasn’t spent available to them to pay down the debt over time? To oversimplify, if I have the cash available to make a purchase but use my credit card instead to gain points, I would still have the original cash on hand that wasn’t spent. So if the funding agreement called for a greater percentage of debt than initially expected then what happened to the capital that was never used by the Ricketts? If they didn’t expect to have to carry massive debt then where did the initial captial go?

                    • ssckelley

                      Kyle, I think the 40 man roster look a lot better today than it did 2 years ago. You have a lot of upside on the roster today while 2 years ago it was full of veterans on the downside of their careers or players that were going to be gone anyway due to FA. Other than maybe Byrd (who was a nice comeback story) there are not many players on that 2011 roster I miss. Even Ramirez since the Cubs got pretty good offense out of whoever they had at 3rd base this year.

                    • Rizzo1684

                      @ Kyle. I agree with everything that you have written but I do see some hope. Maybe just maybe the front office is using the payroll constraints as an excuse to give fans so they don’t feel the pressure of signing long term deals when they needed to clear out some contracts and strengthen the farm. I think we will have a lot of our questions answered with free agency this year. Also if one more person talks about how weak this free agency is needs to seriously take a look at next year (besides a few players there is nothing on offense.) I will have a lot of hope if the Cubs walk out of this year with 1 major piece that could be part of a winning team for 2015 such as in no order: McCann, Choo, Ellsbury or if Morales could handle left field but I don’t see that happening.

                    • Kyle

                      It wasn’t *just* to protect Zell that the Ricketts bought the team with debt. The structure also makes sure that the Ricketts patriarch, who doesn’t care for baseball, isn’t exposed to any risk from his childrens’ purchase.

                      But more to the direct question you asked, the agreement between the Ricketts and Zell leaves Zell as a 5% owner, and the Ricketts can’t kick in any cash to the family trust that owns the Cubs unless Zell matches them at a percentage equal to his share of the team. And Zell’s not doing that.

                    • Kyle

                      “Kyle, I think the 40 man roster look a lot better today than it did 2 years ago.”

                      Eh, ish. Post-2011 Castro >>>> Post-2013 Castro. Post-2011 Soriano > Any outfielder we have on our roster. Post-2011 Garza > Any pitcher we have on the roster (Yes, Jeff, I’m not forgetting about you).

                      Post-2011 Marshall, Samardzija, Russell, Marmol looked better than we have now.

                      There’s more depth at the bottom of the roster now, but the top-end talent is really lacking.

                      Plus, the other teams in the division are much better, so the gap is even wider.

                    • Kyle

                      “I think we will have a lot of our questions answered with free agency this year.”

                      It’s certainly possible. Every year, I hope that maybe the Boston Theo will show up and start swashbuckling all over the place like he used to. But I doubt it.

                    • jt

                      “Well, the talent deficit at the major league level between us and the top teams”
                      –Kyle
                      *
                      at the ML level
                      Rizzo has the bat and glove to play 1st
                      Valbuena has the bat and glove to play *2nd*
                      Castro has the bat and glove to play C
                      Castro has the bat and glove to play SS
                      *
                      That leaves 4 spots to be filled: 3B and the 3 OF spots. Prospects are “iffy”. I’ll give you that. But they have at least 8 guys ( The 4 +Olt + Villanuevea + Alcantara + Volgelbomb ) who each lend themselves as a potential fit. That is only a 25% success rate needed to fill 2 of those holes. They don’t have resources to go outside the organization for one or two positions?
                      *
                      You mentioned Wood.
                      They have 2 years of control on Samadjiza. They either sign or trade him. If they trade him a valuable resource is returned. Nothing dire there.
                      Jackson is to The Cubs what Westbrook was to The Cards
                      That leaves 2 rotation spots: a TOR guy and a #4 or #5. They don’t have the resources to go outside the organization for that?
                      *
                      They now have 9 guys capable of pitching in the ML pen and 2 more who become available after the AS break.
                      *
                      Lake, Sweeney, Barney, Murphy, Bogusevic would make a good bench.
                      *
                      The Cubs have money to spend on training facilities and 16 y/o’s. They have money to absorb declining ticket sales. They had money to offer Sanchez $80M dollars. Don’t kid yourself. If there is a property that offers a decent ROI, there is money there for it.
                      *
                      Yeah, Littlefield is no longer around. The other teams are getting TV revenues. There is nothing easy about life. It is a struggle. But they now have the tools to fight the fight.

                    • Kyle

                      Simply saying “X has the bat and glove to play Y” doesn’t really address the problem that other teams in the division have *better* players to fill the same positions.

                      I don’t doubt that we can put together a somewhat credible team with some breaks in the coming year or two. But getting to .500 is the easy part. Going from .500 to 90+ wins is the hard part, and there are three teams in the division already there.

                    • ssckelley

                      Kyle, Garza would not be on this roster since he is a FA. Castro is still on the roster so that is a wash. I would take the Soriano from 2011 back although Soler and Lake have some nice upside.

                    • Kyle

                      You wanted to compare the post-2011 roster to the post-2013 roster. The fact that Garza would be an FA by now isn’t relevant to the state of the roster post-2011.

                      Castro is not a wash if he’s gotten worse, which he has.

                    • jt

                      using the 2013 rosters:
                      The Bucs: Martin, Morneau, Barmes, Walker
                      The Reds: Mesoraco, Votto, Phillips, Cozart
                      The Cards: Molina, Craig, Carpenter, Kozma
                      The Cubs: Castillo, Rizzo, Valbuena, Castro
                      *
                      I’d take each or The Cubs quartet over those of The Pirates
                      I’d take Castillo over Mesoraco and Castro over Cozart
                      I’d take Castro over Kozma
                      The Reds may not be able to afford Phillips going forward.
                      *
                      There is no projection here. The Cubs have a quartet in place who could battle during each PA. 2B and the OF spots are the easiest positions in which to find bats. That lends itself to a balanced lineup devoid of the “easy out”.
                      *
                      A’s have effectively used the Platoon. That decreases the justification for a linear mapping of player to position mapping of stats. Cubs tried the same with less stellar results but…
                      2013 Card’s catching OPS 0.751
                      2013 Cubs’ catching OPS 0.779
                      Molina was better than Beef. But….

                    • Andrew

                      This is kind of a minor point but comparing 2011 and 2013 rosters.

                      I’d rather have Wood than marshall at his current contract situation.

                      Id rather have Samardzija than the 2011 Samardzija that was looking like a reliever.

                      I’d rather have Rizzo than Pena

                      Welington Castillo is a clear cut better player than Soto.

                      I like our rotation now more than post 2011. The team is worse in some places, but others it is much better also

                    • Kyle

                      “using the 2013 rosters:
                      The Bucs: Martin, Morneau, Barmes, Walker
                      The Reds: Mesoraco, Votto, Phillips, Cozart
                      The Cards: Molina, Craig, Carpenter, Kozma
                      The Cubs: Castillo, Rizzo, Valbuena, Castro”

                      You’re kind of glossing over the fact that other teams have much better players than us at other positions, too.

                      But even then,

                      By 2013 fWAR for those groups:
                      Pirates: 7.3
                      Reds: 11.3
                      Cardinals: 15.2
                      Cubs:6.1

                      The talent deficit is huge even in the positions we feel good about, let alone the positions we don’t.

                    • Brains

                      THIS

                    • jt

                      using bWAR (just to get the point across)
                      Valbuena + Ransom + Murphy = 3.5 bWAR
                      Alverez = 3.4 bWAR
                      But I’ve moved Valbuena to 2nd. But this just points out how your math does not work.
                      Ransom and Murphy will probably not provide + bWAR next year and while Navarro may be resigned (or not) McKenry could readily be replaced
                      Not a good use of the metric
                      But using it anyway.
                      *
                      Castillo + Navarro = 6.6 bWAR
                      Martin + McKenry = 4.0 bWAR
                      *
                      Barmes + Murcer = 3.1 bWAR
                      Castro had a -0.6 bWAR.
                      Management either has confidence that Castro brings that up to around +3 where it was the previous 2 years of they replace him.
                      So ok, The Bucs get to feel better about SS than The Cubs. But which FO has the more confidence?
                      *
                      Valbuena + Barney = 1.1
                      Walker = 3.9
                      But the algebra changes when Barney is used in a platoon where his 2013 OPS vs LHP was 0.725
                      Estimate his dWAR falls from 1.5 to 0.5 and his oWAR increases from -1.7 to +0.5 and give him bWAR of about 1.0
                      Why is this a valid argument?
                      Because that is what The Pirates did at SS to get to the 3.1 bWAR
                      So 2B a Barney/Valbuena platoon of about 2.5 bWAR vs Walker about 4.0 bWAR
                      *
                      Rizzo 2.6 bWAR
                      Morneau 2.0 bWAR (both Twins and Bucs)
                      *
                      I feel good comparing The Cubs quartet of positions vs those same positions of The Pirates.
                      *
                      My original assumption is that the other 4 positions need serious upgrades. However, I don’t think it unrealistic that 2 of the 8 prospects I mentioned become as productive as Byrd and Alverez.
                      They would then only need (at most) 2 good players from outside the organization who were substantially above avg. That is not an impossible feat to accomplish and can be done in short order.
                      Again comparing need to Pitt.
                      Marte is a real good player in LF. He could improve upon his 5.4 bWAR. So The Cubs need at least a 5.0 bWAR in an OF spot or 3B.
                      McCutchen is a superstar. WAR is not need to describe him. They are not going to match him.
                      But they need very good player (more than 5.0 bWAR) who can put up some big numbers.
                      Why wait? Because they are still evaluation prospects and also Rizzo and Castro. That should change around the AS break. Hey, hitters always suck in the Spring anyway.

              • ssckelley

                I would not go that far, I am still using a wait and see approach to how good Theo’s staff really is at scouting. The reason is because some of these picks have been no brainors, any one of us could have drafted Bryant at #2 overall without hiring a single scout. Same is true with many of the prospects they have acquired via trade. Where the best scouts make their living is drafting at the back end and in the middle to late rounds.

                • MichaelD

                  I have yet to see the Cubs (under Theo/Jed) make a really good late round draft pick. Maybe one of those picks will break out this year. At least they have not whiffed on any top draft picks, yet. They should get some credit for that, but if you want to match up with the Cards, you have to do more than that.

                  • Kyle

                    It absolutely kills me that the Cardinals may have beaten us in the 2012 first round.

                    • jh03

                      It’s a little early for this – as you know.

                      Wacha is pitching out of his mind right now. He’s obviously not going to keep this up. And I think you’d agree. But, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be bad. The dude is a good pitcher, he’s just on another level right now.

                    • Kyle

                      That’s why I said “may.” But the fact that they’ve gotten MLB production out of him already puts him ahead of most of the players drafted at Almora’s spot.

                    • jh03

                      Right, I understand. That being said – I’d still take Buxton, Correa, Almora etc. over Wacha, at this point. Maybe that’s me being dumb, which is possible lol, but I’d take their upside over his floor with those picks.

                  • cubfanincardinalland

                    The Cardinals hit on some late draft picks from 2009 basically. The guy that gets the credit for that, Jeff Luhnow, is long gone to the Astros, with much of his scouts. Before he came, the Cardinals were ranked in the bottom five minor league systems in baseball, last in 2006.
                    The Cardinals minor league system currently has no player anywhere near considered a sure fire major league prospect, other than Taveras, who is proving to be a major head case.
                    As to Kyle, why do the Cardinals fear you so much. Freese, Kozma, Jay, Adams, Descalso, Lynn, Miller, Kelly. You think these guys are all that great?
                    There truly impact players are Molina, Holliday, Beltran(he is gone after this year), Wainwright, Craig. Other than Craig, all well into their early or late 30′s.

                    • ssckelley

                      ^ this, and when the Cubs do start winning that is where we will see just how good of a scouting department they have. Again, it is easy to be drafting every year at the top but the real scouting comes when you are drafting in the middle of the pack or at the bottom.

                    • jh03

                      Shelby Miller is pretty freaking special. Don’t even try to throw him in a list of names with Pete Kozma.

                    • Kyle

                      “The Cardinals minor league system currently has no player anywhere near considered a sure fire major league prospect, other than Taveras, who is proving to be a major head case.”

                      More or less of a head case than Soler?

                      “As to Kyle, why do the Cardinals fear you so much. Freese, Kozma, Jay, Adams, Descalso, Lynn, Miller, Kelly. You think these guys are all that great?

                      A few of them are, and you intentionally skipped over a lot of other pitchers. They have the best collection of young pitching in the game.

                    • hansman

                      Yes, the Cardinals are due for a fall, I can’t see them nailing the GM fill-in for a third time in a row and I’d be curious as to how many of those scouts have jumped ship with Luhnow and the Reds GM (god why can’t I think of his name)

                    • Kyle

                      Jocketty.

                    • mjhurdle

                      “More or less of a head case than Soler?”

                      I would say more. Soler lost his temper. Word on Tavarez is that he is a bit of a prima donna. He has the vague and dreaded “questionable” work-ethic. Apparently he took himself out of a game last year due to an injury that no one could find after the fact.

                      Not sure how true any of these rumors are, but i do know that the local STL media has cooled on their ‘Tavarez for HoF’ talk in the last year.

                      Again, not saying i know that Tavarez is a head-case, but there are definitely rumblings along that line here in STL.

                    • Kyle

                      Soler also had to be benched for multiple games due to lack of hustle.

                    • jh03

                      Wasn’t that believed to be a “Sit the big-name player to make a statement” sort of thing? Maybe I’m misremembering.

                    • cubfanincardinalland

                      Soler was benched for one game for not running out a ground ball. He was around the fifth player on Daytona to be benched, they were making a point of it in April. I might point out, he was playing with a stress fracture in his leg at the time.
                      Dave McKay raved about Soler, mentioning how he was impressed with his drive and determination to make the big leagues. Certainly not considered a head case or a selfish player.

                    • mjhurdle

                      I can only find records of him being benched once for “lack of hustle”. And there was debate about the reason. He was not going 100%, but there was a thought by some that it was more of a statement to everyone else than a call out of Soler.
                      Theo’s remarks on the matter were ““Many players have been benched for this reason already this year and have responded immediately with proper effort. Soler is not alone, and, in fact, he has shown a real interest in learning to play the game the right way.””

                      Either way, when were the other times? i can only find the record of the April 29th one.

                    • Kyle

                      Well of course management tried to shield the star. Maybe it was a “send a message to the whole team” thing, maybe it wasn’t. But there’s always going to be a team-friendly explanation for anything.

                    • mjhurdle

                      any word on the ‘multiple games’ part of the benching?
                      i agree that organizations try to shield high-profile players. But i would think that one benching at the beginning of the year would support the ‘making an example’, whereas if there were more benchings that i don’t know about, i would put more credence in the ‘team protecting Soler’.

                    • Kyle

                      “any word on the ‘multiple games’ part of the benching?”

                      I was going off of Baseball America’s write-up today that included ” and later benched for a few games by Daytona manager Dave Keller for not hustling down the line on ground balls. ”

                      But looking at the game logs, it looks like it was just the one game.

                  • Professor Snarks

                    I’m not a Theo backer, but you can’t really judge any player in the 2012 and 2013 draft. As a matter of fact, a few of the 2nd round, and compensation round, picks look to have promise. We will see.

        • Spriggs

          Logical or not, it is really never fair to compare ANY team with the cardinals. Only they can solve problems by bringing up guys like Bo Hart and see them set all kinds of records… or bring up young pitchers who throw no-hitters and 1 hitters, exceed all expectations for a year or 2 and then disappear. It doesn’t matter who they have in their system.
          I joke with people at the AFL games when I point to a cardinal player and say, “See that guy? He is going to be freaking awesome for a year or two if they decide to ever bring him up.”

          • cubfanincardinalland

            Carpenter is the one that cracks me up this year. Guy has a career minor league average of .299. Never had more than 130 hits or 29 doubles in a minor league season.
            So of course he hits .318, has an OPS 50 points higher than he ever did in the low minors, leads the league in hits and doubles, and breaks Stan Musial’s team record for doubles in a season.
            It actually screams performance enhancing, but the Cardinals always get a free pass from the media clowns.

        • ssckelley

          I am not sure any team has went to these extreme measures to rebuild a farm system. Had they went out and spent the money to make last year and this year more competitive I am convinced that the farm system would not be anywhere near as good as it is now. For one you can kiss Bryant goodbye as I am sure he would not have dropped very far. Not sure they would have spent as much on the international players either. All of the prospects they have acquired via trade would not he in the system either. So the farm system would probably be ~top 15 as it would still feature Almora and Baez (possibly Soler). They would not have been able to spend enough money to make the 2012 competitive and I like the approach of being sellers at the trade deadline if your not making the playoffs. I hate losing, but at the end of the day a 100 loss season does not bother me anymore than a 80 loss season. Neither team will make the playoffs anyway.

          • Kyle

            It’s self-perpetuating.

            When the team loses 100 games instead of 80, then you can go into the offseason and say “well, we lost 100 games, we’re not close enough to really go for it.” So then you lose 100 games again the next season. Attendance plummets, your media deals underwhelm, and now you can’t buy stuff even if you wanted to.

            • ssckelley

              For the Cubs that is not true, next spring a lot of the previous year is forgotten and tickets still get sold. Even after a crappy 100 loss season the Cubs still sold well over 2 million tickets for this years 96 loss season.

              • Kyle

                So you don’t think attendance has been plummeting?

                • ssckelley

                  Absolutely, but not to the extent where it keeps them from spending money on the payroll. If they keep losing it will have a negative impact on the media deals in future years, but other than radio they are not at that point anyway. There is a reason why a 100 loss Cubs team can out draw a WS Chicago White Sox and has only been under the NL average 1 time the past 25 years.

                  There is still excitement around the Chicago Cubs, most fans believe the organization is headed in the right direction. It is why there is still a waiting list for season tickets.

                  • Kyle

                    The fact that it is free to sign up for the list is why there is still a waiting list for season tickets. Most of those on the waiting list don’t buy when called.

                    • ssckelley

                      How long is the White Sox waiting list?

                    • Pat

                      I don’t think the Sox have ever had a waiting list, at least not anytime recently. But that doesn’t change the fact that a huge section of the Cubs waiting list is people who can’t or won’t spend the money right now. There are a ton of people on there that signed up in high school or college thinking that by the time they got called they would be able to afford it. But the calls are coming much sooner than expected.

        • Coop

          But Kyle, the Cards have never been in the situation where their both their major league roster and minor league system were bereft of impact talent. At least since I started following baseball in the 1980′s, the Cards have consistently had a solid major league roster and have regularly brought up young impact talent from the farm. You don’t have to pursue a two-phase rebuild when you never have to rebuild…

          I agree with you that I wish we could spend to have a more competitive team while rebuilding the farm system. But I don’t think this ended up being an option. My belief is that we have not had a dual front approach because the FO had fewer financial resources at its disposal than we thought/hoped. If you are short on funds, then building the minor league system first is the only cost effective approach for sustained long-term success.

          • Kyle

            The Cubs’ organizational talent levels post-2011 continue to be severely underestimated in order to further this narrative. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as is often cited.

            But that aside, it’s fine to note that the Cubs and Cardinals have been in different situations. So let’s stop citing them as an example of the success of what we’re trying to do.

            • Noah_I

              Kyle, if I could try to elucidate your point, not because you don’t make it well (you do), but just because I think some people react to seeing your name next to something and get in argument mode.

              Regarding organizational talent levels, the issue at the top levels isn’t that the Cubs haven’t gone out and gotten the “BIG NAME FREE AGENTS.” But the Cubs never really had an excuse for having pretty clear below replacement level guys in the organization that, at least briefly (and some much longer), got significant playing time: most of the starting rotation in the last month and a half of 2012, Brent Lillibridge, Joe Mather, etc.

              The Cubs have the ability to go out and get all the Nate Schierholtz’s and David DeJesus’s they need. They’re not stars, but they’re serviceable. They have the ability to get those guys all the way through the 25th man on the roster, and then have some spill over into Iowa. The Cubs have generally failed to do this. Yeah, we’ve done pretty well with a few of these guys, namely Valbuena, Sweeney and Bogusevic. But there has been much more reliance on guys like this, as opposed to guys like DeJesus and Schierholtz who must be signed to Major League deals, but don’t require big money, than the Cubs’ financial issues should have required.

              A narrative, however, has developed that the Cubs CAN’T build a competitive MLB team without causing severe harm to the future. I take Kyle’s point to be that the Cubs haven’t really tried to build a competitive MLB since Theo and Jed came aboard, and have used the narrative as an excuse for doing so.

              • Kyle

                ” think some people react to seeing your name next to something and get in argument mode.”

                That’s not an entirely unreasonable reaction.

                “Regarding organizational talent levels, the issue at the top levels isn’t that the Cubs haven’t gone out and gotten the “BIG NAME FREE AGENTS.” But the Cubs never really had an excuse for having pretty clear below replacement level guys in the organization that, at least briefly (and some much longer), got significant playing time: most of the starting rotation in the last month and a half of 2012, Brent Lillibridge, Joe Mather, etc.”

                Oddly enough, I think that situation reversed itself a bit last year. In 2012, our downfall was the awful players on the roster. In 2013, we actually did pretty well avoiding those, but our “star” players didn’t show up and star, and there weren’t enough of them.

                “A narrative, however, has developed that the Cubs CAN’T build a competitive MLB team without causing severe harm to the future. I take Kyle’s point to be that the Cubs haven’t really tried to build a competitive MLB since Theo and Jed came aboard, and have used the narrative as an excuse for doing so.”

                Well, I think they tried last year, but it was aiming for a very narrow window because of the state they left in the team in 2012.

                • Voice of Reason

                  “Oddly enough, I think that situation reversed itself a bit last year. In 2012, our downfall was the awful players on the roster. In 2013, we actually did pretty well avoiding those, but our “star” players didn’t show up and star, and there weren’t enough of them.”

                  I don’t know how you characterize a “star player”, but Soriano did well enough for us to move him. Schierholtz got out of the gate nicely, but slowly faded into his career numbers, less the surge in home runs. Garza did well enough that we traded him for a nice return.

                  We didn’t have enough star players, but the “stars” that we had didn’t play that poorly.

                  Rizzo and Castro certainly shouldn’t be lumped into a “star” category.

              • hansman

                If the payroll really is as limited as it seems ($110M range) then how feasible is it the Cubs would have been able to make up the 20 wins they needed after the 2011 season?

                • Noah_I

                  Oh, I think even IF the Cubs made those sorts of moves, it would have required all sorts of crazy luck for them to make it. I prefer the Theo/Jed plan, I’m just trying to describe what Kyle has been saying. Which I appear to have been somewhere between 50 and 70 percent successful at doing.

                  • hansman

                    Don’t worry, Kyle and I have gone 97 rounds before.

                    • Kyle

                      And will again. It’s a long offseason.

                • Kyle

                  Pretty unlikely, but a nice side effect is that we wouldn’t have had as far to go for 2013, and maybe had more money to spend as well.

                  • hansman

                    True, a stronger 2012 may have led us to landing Sanchez last offseason and may have made it easier to land Choo this year.

                    Our farm system would have looked drastically different though and I think the new CBA directed much of what the FO has done. Flipping high numbers of players from your MLB roster has, possibly, become the new “overslot later round draftees”.

                    As usual, I REALLY wish I could see the Cubs books and the purchase contract but something tells me that there was a degree of handcuffing of Theo’s plans.

            • Andrew

              You say the 2011 team wasnt bereft of talent but I’m trying to find where it was. There was Byrd coming off a nice season, but he ended up sucking. Soto seemed to still have talent, but he didnt. Soriano had 1.1 fWar in 2011 and negative bWAR. The only players that looked like they were any good were Castro and Garza and they were just a couple of 3 WAR players.

              Cubs players with more than 2 war in 2011:

              Castro 3.0
              Ramirez 2.7
              Pena 2.5
              Garza 2.8
              Marshall 2.5

              Those are 5 players that are above what is typically seen as the average baseline. 2 of which were free agents. What about the 2011 roster is being underrated. Who looked posed to make a big move? Samardzija certainly didn’t look like he would become a solid midrotation starter or better. Marshall was great, but only controlled for one more season. Castro looked like he could be a stud but there were obvious flaws in his game as well. I suppose Cashner had potential but he was made of glass. Where are any other potential impact players on this team that I am missing because looking back on it, the cupboard looks really bare outside of Castro and Garza and they looked like above average players, not superstars.

              • Kyle

                Before we go further with this, how many of those 2+ WAR players do you think a team needs to be competitive?

                • Andrew

                  I don’t know but I’ll take the 2013 royals as a reference they seem the definition of competitive but not great. I count 9 above 2.0 wins. That seems about what it takes to get an 85-90 win team. Their 2012 team had 7 of those players already in their system and traded for another (shields) and got another via FA (Santana).

                  • Kyle

                    The 2013 Cardinals had 9 as well (using fWAR).

                    Also using fWAR, the 2011 Cubs had 7, but that’s another story.

                    So it’d be impossible to try to get four more through outside sources or internal improvements?

                    • Andrew

                      Fair enough, fangraphs had Demp and Soto above 2 also. I’ll include dempster cuz he had a good year in 2012 so Fangraphs was more correct on him but since Soto bombed I’ll just say that baseball reference was more correct on him.

                      That leaves 6 players at or above 2 WAR, 2 of whom were Free agents. I don’t think it would be feasible or smart longterm to reach 9 above 2.0 players for 2012, and i doubt you do too. I think it probably would have been feasible to add 3 players after losing Ramirez and Pena to bring us at 7 average to above average. But that would have also been risky. They would have had to go big on Darvish, a big risk (albeit clearly one that would have been good in hindsight) and probably at the expense of signing Soler (smaller risk, with a later, probably smaller reward). Signing Maholm would have been another I suppose. And trading for Rizzo would be another (although I don’t think he was worth 2 wins for that season). I think this would have accelerated the rebuild, but it also comes with more risk. If the financial situation was better and the cubs could have a payroll of ~125 Mill, I think the cubs should have taken a riskier path, but since they have a lower payroll, the rebuild has to be less risky i.e. investing in cheaper prospects and saving draft picks.

                    • Brains

                      This is fine, as long as we remember that the payroll was artificially low so the Ricketts could literally pay themselves for taking out a loan from themselves. In other words, revenues as profits.

                  • Andrew

                    As an aside, I see 6 players currently on the cubs roster that i think its safe to assume *can* (with some luck) contribute at least 2wins next year:

                    Castillo
                    Castro
                    Rizzo
                    Wood
                    Samardzija
                    Jackson

                    Then assuming some more luck I think 3 more players could contribute 2 wins if things break right for them/ they come up soon enough:

                    Baez
                    Bryant
                    Lake

                    • Kyle

                      That looks pretty reasonable. If *everyone* we already have has a season on the upper end of their projections, we could be OK next year.

                    • Andrew

                      I think it is much more likely that we can get a good amount of 2 or better players this year than it was when the 2011 season ended.

                      I think we could be OK given some positive variation with the given team. Not a tremendous amount of luck either. Rizzo had great peripherals this past year. Castro is still young and has had multiple 3 win seasons already. Samardzija has been consistently around 3 fWAR the last two seasons. Jackson hasn’t had less than 2 fWAR in 5 years. Castillo and Wood were both very good last year. Lake was great last year so you can’t write him off completely this year, even if it isn’t very likely he is a 2 WAR player. I’d be amazed if you could find that many young, under contract players that had already had good years in 2011. I count 3, Garza, Castro, and Marshall. Meh we’ll say 4 with Soto.

                      I think the team should also spend on free agents or make some trades for talented players to ensure that our team will at least be ok. I don’t think the cubs should worry about losing a 2nd rounder this year, in fact i think it should be what gives them an edge on other teams when it comes to free agent offers.

              • hansman

                Unfortunately, we seem to be in about the same position we were at the end of 2011 just with a much better farm system.

                There are some question marks and a lack of impact talent. Now, we do have a much younger team but Theo and Jed really need to step on the accelerator pedal of getting impact talent onto the MLB roster.

                • Kyle

                  My suspicion is that there will be no accelerator pedal. We’ll just have to deal with a longer timeline since the major leagues have been pretty disappointing (even the so-called “core” pieces we thought we had) while the minors have looked pretty good.

                  • ssckelley

                    A good manager will fix those core pieces.

                  • jt

                    soulful violins play as the camera pans the mountains with tops clipped by the low lying rolling fog. The music marches into a dirge as mourning Cubs fans form a slow procession into the wilderness….

                • Brains

                  Jed has done a fire-able job. We won’t be ready within the next 4 years. They’ve been lying all along.

                • jt

                  Please, please, please;
                  look who started games in 2011 and how many games these guys started.

                • Brains

                  yes this is right on. except Kyle is right. we will continue to lose by design. because apparently losing is the new winning. now we know why boston won as soon as he left.

                  • Professor Snarks

                    Theo has come out an said it. There is no difference between losing 81 or losing 91. Until he sees a team that might compete, he’s not going to spend much. Maybe 2016? Maybe 2017?

                    • Brains

                      The irony is of course that if you’re trying to lose that you’ll lose. Theo is injecting a new type of losing culture that we’ve never seen here before. How about trying to win?

        • Chef Brian

          The Cardinals even in off years, never had as bad of a farm system as the Cubs did before Theo. If MLB hadn’t changed the draft slot rules, I don’t believe the Cubs would’ve had to bottom out as bad as they did in order to rebuild the farm. The Cards have seemingly always drafted well and benefitted from stability in the FO and dug out. Theo inherited a barren cupboard except for Hendry’s last 1 or 2 drafts.

          • Kyle

            Well, that’s just not true. Besides the fact that the Cubs’ system was not that bad, there have been times quite recently where the Cardinals’ system was considered one of the dead worst.

            • Edwin

              They might not have been ranked that bad, but the main reason the Cubs were ranked as good as they were was because of players like Baez, Maples, and Vogelbach, or other young players like Szczur and Wells. Those players obviously weren’t going to contribute much in 2012 or 2013. They might not even contribute much in 2014. Most of the players in AA and AAA at the time like Jackson, Vitters, McNutt, and Dolis haven’t done anything at the MLB level so far.

              • Kyle

                Welington Castillo says “hi”

                • Edwin

                  That’s one player. What else has theo gotten so far?

                  • Kyle

                    Well, he inherited Junior Lake and Darwin Barney and the guy he traded to get Anthony Rizzo, and the guy he traded to get Travis Wood, and Jeff Samardzija, and sheesh, how much more did he need from the system before it wasn’t nothing?

                    • mjhurdle

                      “and the guy he traded to get Travis Wood”

                      are 5 year MLB veterans now considered part of a minor league system?

                    • caryatid62

                      Arismendy Alcantara, Alberto Cabrera, Starlin Castro…

                    • Kyle

                      “are 5 year MLB veterans now considered part of a minor league system?

                      Sorry, bouncing back and forth between the ones about the minor leagues and the ones about the 2011 roster. Hard to keep track.

                    • Reality Check

                      I’m 46 and watched the Cubs since the early 1970s. Thankfully I was only 2 in 1969 so my 1st agony was the 1984 team. I think those of us that know Cubs history realize the Cubs have TRIED everything to win a championship and have 105 yrs of nothing to show for it.
                      Yes, that strung together a decade of winning; from 1929 to 1938, every 3 years that won the pennant and lost the series.
                      Yes, all the teams thru the 1969 were built on signing players and trades as free agency did not exist .
                      Yes, they spent money in 2007 and 2008 and after, but that is not enough of a sample when you see the Yankees having 18 of 19 yrs with winning records and 7 WS titles in 30 yrs of George owning the team; so spending does work.
                      An yes, the Cubs have tried building a team thru the draft. See the article below from the Tribune in 2000.
                      For those Theo lovers, read it.
                      Notice how the farm system was considered deft of talent.
                      Notice how the 1999 draft was deemed the best by Baseball America.
                      Notice the cubs had 4 players in the top 30(Patterson, Zambrano, Christensen, and Choi plus Juan Cruz at 90).
                      Notice how Zambrano and Choi were from foreign lands.
                      Notice how the team was ranked between 4th to 7th as a farm system after Jim Hendry took over (ranked near last prior to his 1999 draft).
                      Read this damn article Theo lovers, learn your Cubs history,and then tell us die hards like Kyle or myself how great Theo is because the cubs have never tried to develop their own talent.
                      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-09-29/sports/0010040440_1_jim-hendry-cubs-farm-system-cubs-president

                      What the Cubs have NOT ever done; is TANK 3 seasons in a row like they are about to do.

                      im not saying JH was great, i’m only saying the Cubs have tried everything in 105 yrs and nothing has worked. Yes, prospects like Patterson, Choi, etc did not work out (we did get DLee for Choi), but nothing says Soler-Almora-etc won’t have the same fate.
                      The 2003 team won because of Cubs draftees and signings of Prior-Wood-Big Z.

                      Tanking seasons does not guarantee anything in 2016. It should as Cubs fans like I deserve 1 title in our lifetime. I die with this team. I also know tanking won’t lead to winning.

                      so if Theo is so great; why can’t he try and draft well?
                      We’ve wasted 80 MIILLION on ejax, s hairston, ian stewart (twice), fujikawa, baker, and the kid concepcion.

                      what could he have done? sign guerrero like the dodgers did, puig, ryu, cespedes, anibal sanchez, tanaka(we won’t even be close), darvish to name 7.

                      or how about a rotation of cashner-smardz-garza-wood-sanchez….damn good and somehow 1b hitting .230 with 25 homers can be found anywhere adam laroche.

                      so STOP saying the cubs have never tried to win by developing, read the above article, it’s very similar to what is going on now, but we never tanked like NOW.

                      106 yrs and counting………..ricketts……….there is NO grace period.

                    • Brains

                      RealityCheck has posted the greatest post in the history of this posting board. Read it feet grubbers.

                    • ssckelley

                      Reality, I disagree that this FO tanked this season. With a better bullpen at the beginning of this season we might have had completely different results. They cashed their chips in (Garza and Feldman) at the trade deadline.

                      But I agree with you on Hendry, the demise was not his fault. At the end of his tenure his hands were tied from doing what he enjoyed most, going after young prospects.

          • ssckelley

            I disagree, the cupboard was not bare. Part of the reason why Theo came here was because of the assets he seen in this organization and he specifically mentioned the strong 2011 draft. Theo took advantage of his honeymoon “grace period” flipped almost every MLB asset into prospects (Dempster/Garza) or draft picks (Ramirez/Pena) and built the farm system.

            • YourResidentJag

              Yeah, I recall Theo being quite impressed with the shape of the organization and where he felt it could go via the 2011 draft.

              • Eternal Pessimist

                …but later talking about not realizing the minors were in such poor shape.

                • Kyle

                  Epstein’s really good at that preemptive blame deflection thing.

                  • Brains

                    I blame society, personally. And Jed Hoyer.

                  • jt

                    Theo has kept and put in place Rizzo, Castro, Castillo and Barney. If he chooses he can replace Barney with Valbuena or Alcantara or Baez.
                    He put in place Shark (moved from relief) and Wood (from trade) and Jackson (from FA market).
                    He has put in place members of the BP.
                    He is free to make his moves (or not) this winter.
                    This baby now belongs to Theo.
                    *
                    There is now enough foundation.
                    It is now time to implement structure, function and style.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    It could be a self-preservation comment he made, but he still made it and suggested the minors were actually in pretty poor shape. The Cubs minors hasn’t provided a whole lot IMO. Maybe it has been a management issue where the prospects faltered under a bad Theo system, but I tend to believe in his approach.

    • Voice of Reason

      That was what the Cubs always used to do. Sign a couple of FA’s and give us something that we want to go see.

      In the meantime, the Cubs have never won a World Series or built a team that sustained it’s competitiveness over a decade or so of time.

      That’s why we have to be patient and believe in the plan that the Cubs owners and front office has implemented. They are doing it the right way.

      Sure they could go out and sign Choo and a starter through free agency, but so what? This team will still stink next year even with Choo and a nice starting pitcher.

      So, instead of going the old route of signing a couple of FA’s, let’s wait another year or two and see what develops in the minors. Then, when we know who will make it and where they will play (for example, maybe Bryant is at 3b, LF or RF), sign some big time free agents to plug those holes that need filled.

      THAT’S how you build a team that will have sustained success and win World Series!

      • Rizzofanclub

        I disagree with your comment:” sure the Cubs can go out and sign a Choo and a starter through free agency but so what? this team will still stink” the problem with this theory is as Kyle pointed out elite free agents are not avail every year bc they are being signed to long term deals by their teams and you have to sign a Choo when avail. The Cubs need to sign players who’s skills won’t fade as quickly (obp) Choo will be a great signing if the Cubs could get him for 5/90.

  • DarthHater

    John Arguello at Cubs Den has a very different take than what some sources are reporting:

    “As for Renteria and Martinez, no source I spoke with considered them serious candidates. My sense based on my conversations were that they were fallbacks who needed to wow in their interviews.

    Apparently they didn’t.

    I also had a different source tell me that the Cubs didn’t initially plan to interview Martinez and did so only at the recommendation of the Rays front office. I don’t think he was ever their guy. One industry source told me from the start that Martinez wasn’t the right fit.”

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/10/cubs-expanding-search-what-does-it-mean/

    • jt

      Francona communicated well with both the players and the FO.
      I’m sure that both the players and the FO listened closely to what he had to say.
      I’m sure that he listened closely to what both the FO and the players had to say.
      All those being interviewed have baseball knowledge that would “WoW” us.
      Perhaps Theo/Jed is looking for the guy who add to that wealth of knowledge by being able to communicate in the way Francona did?

  • ssckelley

    I just hate the amount of time the FO is spending on this. Get a manager hired so they can focus on making the MLB team better. There is no manager out there that will magically turn the Cubs into a playoff team without a better roster.

    • Voice of Reason

      I’ll take the other route on the process of this managerial hire.

      This is a very important next step in moving forward and developing the foundation for a team that will be competitive for a number of years and win some World Series!!

      I think they need to take their time and explore all the options that are in front of them.

    • On The Farm

      After missing out on Girardi the talent of the managers available dropped dramatically. Based on Acta and Hinch have been available during the whole process, I would say that the odds of one them aren’t really high. If they really liked them you would think the Cubs would have already hired them right? This is one of those things that they do need to get right. I don’t think they can risk losing Rizzo and Castro to a bad manager. Too much of the future rests on their shoulders to become the players they were signed to be.

      • mjhurdle

        personally, i think it is on Rizzo and Castro to not lose themselves.
        There are too many examples of players performing under multiple types of managers for me to believe that somehow their struggles are related to anything more than themselves.
        A manager might play a small part in encouraging/motivating them, but it is on the players to perform at this level in my opinion.

      • ssckelley

        I agree, just after Girardi resigned with the Yankees it took a lot of the air out of my sails for this manager hire. There just does not seem to be anybody out there that looks like a sure winner and there are a lot of roll-the-dice types for candidates.

        I know, they gotta get this hire right. Just gets frustrating after a while.

    • 1060Ivy

      Now, the Cubs will have another excuse as to why they came in second for a free agent this season.

      I can see the comment in Vine Line, coming to you prior to Spring Training 2014, …

      ‘ The Cubs offered , (fill in the blank), the second highest compensation package but the Front Office didn’t feel comfortable increasing it’s offer without a new manager on board.’

      An alternative approach:

      ‘The Cubs would have been more competitive in the free agent market last offseason but due to the constraints associated with signing a new manager, the club made signing the right manager a priority over the free agent market.’

    • King Jeff

      Absolutely, let’s just get this over with. Forget about the fact that they can’t make any trades or FA acquisitions until after the season is over. I guess since the new manager will be a puppet anyways, there is no need for their input on what kind of roster to put together.

      • Voice of Reason

        There will be very minimal FA acquisitions this off season.

        Maybe a fourth outfielder will be signed for one year? Maybe to help out in all three outfield positions? Maybe that fourth outfielder has a solid year and can be flipped at the all star break, or maybe that fourth outfielder is young enough where he steps into a full time role with the club.

        There will be no big name free agents signed, yet.

        The next manager is important in the development of our kids. This is, I guess, why Sveum was shown the door. Otherwise they would have kept them since they are a year or two away from landing big name free agents and positioning the team to be in contention.

      • ssckelley

        KJ and VoR, I agree with both of you….I am venting frustration.

        There is a small part of me that wonders if the FO knew Girardi was resigning with the Yanks if Sveum would not have been given another year. Like I said….small.

  • North Side Irish

    Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 1m
    Heard more M. Maddux reports over weekend. Nothing’s changed. Not a candidate. Cubs ARE waiting for chance to interview R.Sox’s T.Lovullo.

  • ColoCubFan

    I’ll be curious to see which guys on the Cub’s list of possible managers gets an interview with these other open teams. I realize the circumstances are different, but a good manager is a good manager for the most part.

  • Spoda17

    I think we have to remember that the sad truth is the Cub’s finances are not going well, and we are more like the A’s than we are the Cardinals.

    We have to grow talent and fix Wrigley… The Cubs just don’t have the money to buy the big time free agents at the moment.

  • Dan

    It’s a long shot leyland retired from a great situation so I doubt he would come to manage our awful cubs but I atleast throw a big figure at him and see if the fish bites it’s worth a shot

    • Blackhawks1963

      Jim Leyland retired. What is so hard to comprehend about this? He had a great situation in Detroit and is electing to step down at age 68 and call it quits. Why on earth does anybody think he is interested in another job, let alone the Cub job?!?

  • Jon

    Like “The Kap Man” I’m also on the Ausmus train.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Kaplan is on the Ausmus train because as near I can tell he is a fellow Jew and Kaplan would like to see more Jewish managers, coaches and players in the game.

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        I doubt that’s why Kap wants Ausmus. I think he wants Ausmus for the same reason I’d want him. He was a former catcher that caught multiple HOFers. Catchers have a good history of making solid coaches. Ausmus was part of a few successful teams. Plus Ausmus seems like a guy you would definitely gravitate to as a manager. Good guy and a great baseball mind.

      • Jon

        Be careful Hawks. Darth is going to use that comment to deduce that you are an anti-semite.

        • DarthHater

          I don’t think it’s anti-semitic to post comments here about whether managerial candidates are Jewish, but I do think it’s asinine. And if I make jokes about it’s being asinine, that’s not accusing anybody of being anti-semitic, just of being an ass.

      • mjhurdle

        There are plenty of non-Jewish people that feel that Ausmus would be a good manager (maybe not specifically with the Cubs, but as a manager in general). By saying that Kaplan likes Ausmus because they are both Jewish, you are insinuating that he is simply judging the man on his religious faith and nothing more, which is a dangerous line to toe.

    • Andrew

      I respect Kaplan for often breaking news pretty early and reporting on things quickly, but I almost always disagree with him on how he thinks the roster should look. As for Ausmus I have no clue what to think of him or any other candidate really.

      • Voice of Reason

        Often breaking news?

        Tell me one, just one story that Kaplan broke.

  • Blackhawks1963

    What we know and that has been validated.

    Interview pool so far — Acta, Hinch, Martinez, Renteria
    NOT interviewing — Alomar Jr, Ausmus, Maddux, Pena
    Potential interview pool once the World Series is done — Lovullo

    This isn’t rocket science people. Why some of you make it more complicated than it is or speculate wildly about names that are not even under consideration is beyond me.

    • hansman

      I love your factual reports about the managerial search chiding everyone else for wild-assed speculation when you have no qualms speculating elsewhere in a wild-assed manner.

      • Blackhawks1963

        Whatever. Everything I speculate is opinion sharing. The manager search is built around factual data points we know about…4 absolute names in the mix so far, and maybe Lovullo gets added but we don’t know that for sure yet.

        Lighten up Francis. Take a dump and relieve whatever it is that might ail you.

        • jh03

          The managerial search is probably the most opinion based topic that can be discussed in baseball. It’s the one area where we have almost no information whatsoever, unlike player moves, strategic moves, etc. There’s no data to analyze when discussing managers – or at least no data that means anything.

          • Blackhawks1963

            Huh? The manager search is actually something we know a great deal about right now. So far, there have been 4 candidates granted interviews. That is factual data. So why therefore continue to wildly speculate about names that Theo and Jed have no interest in interviewing like Alomar, Ausmus, Maddux, etc.?!? What a colosssal waste of time when instead we should center the debate on the qualifications and skill set of Acta, Hinch, Martinez and Renteria. With a slight crack open for Lovullo because there is some evidence the Cubs want to interview him once the World Series is complete.

    • Andrew

      fair enough but that doesnt rule out them interviewing any of those other guys after either everyone else doesnt seem like a good fit or they dont want the job if they were the right fit.

  • Blackhawks1963

    The Cardinals and the Red Sox are the gold standard of baseball organizations. It is the model that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are here to replicate. But for crying out loud it isn’t a matter of flipping a switch, and PRESTO !. The Cardinals have built their success on the foundation of a great farm system, supported by selective forays into free agency to pick up complementary assets (e.g., Carlos Beltran). The Red Sox have built their success the same damned way, only they are a bit more aggressive in trading homegrown talent for complementary assets (e.g., the Hanley Ramirez trade to Florida a few years ago, trading Jose Iglesias to Detroit in the Jake Peavy deal this season) plsu selectively shopping in free agency.

    I’m 100% behind the Theo plan. But it’s going to take time. There are no short cuts Grasshopper.

    • Brains

      It’s not one or the other. This is the major fallacy you all have. We think we have to lose badly in order to be good. Name one organization that got worse as part of the road for getting better. You have to improve in incremental growth. It’s like you all watched Star Trek and believed in the transporters. You can’t transport the future into the present because you drafted someone. This whole logic is just totally weird and incompetent.

      • On The Farm

        “Name one organization that got worse as part of the road for getting better.”

        Tampa

        • caryatid62

          Nope. Never were good in the first place.

          • On The Farm

            That wasn’t what he asked. He said name an organization that got worse to get better. Tampa was terrible, never spent any money on big free agent spending and waited for their young prospects to create a perfect storm of a good team. But, yeah lets ignore the fact that because they were bad for years and all of those 1st round picks is the reason their team is so good right now….

            • caryatid62

              I’m fairly certain that for one to “get worse,” they have to have been good at one time.

              And as far as their first round picks, they did have two great ones: Price and Longoria. But they don’t have another first round pick on their current roster, so I’m fairly certain it doesn’t solely have to do with being bad for a long time.

              • Andrew

                to be fair if just about any team added both Evan Longoria and David Price, they would instantly be a pretty good team. Those players alone add about 10 wins to a team over the course of a season, so yes drafting has a lot to do with how they are successful

                • caryatid62

                  Longoria and Price have a lot to do with it. But so do Zobrist, Escobar, Myers, Jennings, Hellickson and Cobb, none of whom were drafted in the first round by the Rays. If you want to use WAR (as I assume you did to account for Longoria and Price’s value), the Rays’ success has more to do with what they did in rounds that weren’t a direct result of being terrible.

          • On The Farm

            Oh and by the way Washington did it too, but he only asked for one team.

            • ssckelley

              But did the get worse by design or because they just sucked? I think that what Brains was asking are teams that got worse as a plan to acquire draft picks and prospects, basically gutting a team. It took the teams you mentioned years and they were bad because they sucked to begin with and had no choice but to build through the draft.

              • On The Farm

                The same Washington Nationals team that Spent over 100 million in payroll this past season? No, the Nats are a team that can spend a good amount of money, maybe they will never be top 5, but they definitely have resources to be several spots above league average. The Nationals were an 81 win team in 2005, however they lacked talent in their system, never really spent big in Free agency, stocked up on some good draft picks in 2009 and 2010 drafts which were huge parts of their 2012 run.

                • ssckelley

                  But winning has allowed the Nats to spend more money on payroll.

                  • On The Farm

                    Opening day Payrolls: 2005 (23rd) 48.5M, 2006 63M, 2007 37M, 2008 54M, 2009 59M, 2010 61M.

                    Seems like they really dropped payroll after the 2006 season. Now in 2005 they were .500, so they went out and spent money increased it to 63 million, dropped to 71 wins. In 2007 with that low payroll still won 70+ games. Now >40M is a really low payroll to sustain and their team was already bad that they still could go out and spend money in 2008 and 2009. Seems to me they knew what they were doing because then in 2012 when they acquired some players through trade and their draft picks were ready (Strasburg and Harper) they increased payroll from 63 to 81M. Seems to me after a poor 2006 season they cut a lot of payroll and were content with being bad until they could require talent from within.

                    • ssckelley

                      They dropped payroll because the Cubs outbid the Nats for Soriano and they chose to not resign Livan Hernandez. The Nats really sucked back then and were not spending money on big name free agents.

                      I don’t think they were content with being bad, they did not have much choice. Unlike the Cubs if they do not win they do not sell tickets. They went from 1.7- 1.8 million to 2.6 million tickets sold last season. I am not familiar with the ownership structure the Nats have but I don’t think they have deep pockets to support large payrolls when the team is not winning and selling tickets.

                    • ssckelley

                      Oops, they traded Hernandez.

              • Brains

                Right, I am talking about getting worse by design as a plan for improvement. This is what I hate. There are a variety of reasons that they took this road, but none of the reasons are constructive or have to do with winning. The entire enterprise of the history of the Cubs is not on the shoulders of a reasonably good FO manager from the East Coast and a trust fund baby who wants to turn everything into a mall. It’s on the players from team history, and the generations of families who have cared about the team. This is where some of you have an identity crisis about what’s going on.

            • YourResidentJag

              Yeah, I’d agree here. The Nationals didn’t get worse by design. The Royals may have but I’ve yet to see their “vaunted” prospects develop enough to satisfaction either in the majors or minors.

              • SH

                The Royals comp is the real issue. I’m not unhappy that we’re prioritizing the minors, and I’m not unhappy that we’re making smart short-run signings and flipping players. I am unhappy that it’s *all* we’re doing — it’s a risky proposition to take just one approach, and we have a market that allows us to hedge our bets, lest our minors produce at a less-than-ideal clip.

                • YourResidentJag

                  I am not unhappy either about prioritizing the minors for say 2-3 yrs circa 2012. But if that’s all we’re doing it makes us much like the Royals. What do you mean by Royals comp?

                  • SH

                    *comparison. Though “reference” was prob the better word.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      I agree and I don’t with this statement because I just don’t know how much the Cubs will spend on FAs in the coming years. Or, for that matter, how wise it will be to spend money on FAs regardless if revenues are available. Also, I’m a big proponent of your division dictates your level of competitiveness. So, while the Royals may not be an equal comparison to the Cubs, they play in a division where the development of prospects may serve them well. Versus playing in a division where four out of five teams are doing the same thing with their team as the Cubs, and as Kyle feels, doing with a head start and better.

                    • SH

                      A reasonable conversation on the internet! Have I entered another dimension? ;)

                      All good points, fellow Cub fan. I only mean to point out that this isn’t a sure venture, as demonstrated by another team that has recently done it and not had great success. To avoid their fate, I would like to see us capitalize on advantages we have that they don’t.

                      You are certainly right that we may yet do that — but the media tea leaves don’t list us as active players on some of the better FA pickups out there, and the tone of many (strawman alert!) seems to be that we should avoid all FAs who aren’t flyers.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Yep. Agree totally with you.

              • On The Farm

                I think you are looking at the National’s situation wrong. They were a .500 team in 2005. No team is purposely bad unless they are trying to rebuild. Just like the Cubs weren’t trying to be bad when they went out and traded for Garza. Much late Devil Rays, we have no choice to be a bad team. Our minor league depth was non-existent. Now we have started to rectify that. Also, a majority of the Free agents who will be on the market this offseason are on the wrong side of 30. What purpose would it solve for our club if we sign a bunch of again veterans just to *try* (i.e. no guarantee, especially in the stacked NL Central) and win 80 games. Isn’t this the thing that frustrated us with Hendry? That we would throw a bunch of money at again veterans and within two-three years we had guys who weren’t playing up to their contracts, but we have the inability to move them.

                In the past with this regime we would have been able to exploit the market inefficiency and just pay over slot on our picks and keep spending on free agents to field a competitive team. Now the kids that don’t get drafted as high as they wanted can return to school because they have a pretty idea how much they will get paid by “X” team.

                We really don’t have much of a choice but to be bad this season, and get those high draft picks that have the highest probability of panning out in the big leagues. After we have a core of young cost controlled players, then the Cubs can go out and sign free agents as a compliment to the team, not as foundation.

                The teams that made the playoffs (aside from the Dodgers) are assembled by a collection of high draft picks by a club.

                • mjhurdle

                  well said.
                  I’ve always wondered if ‘the plan’ dictated a bad team, or if a bad team dictated ‘the plan”.

                  • Kyle

                    Whatever happens gets recast as “the plan.”

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Exactly.

                    • mjhurdle

                      true, but is that a result of someone just covering mistakes with a “it was all in the plan” excuse? Or is it that the people that made the plan were smart enough to build options into the plan?

                      If “the plan” is to get competitive as quickly as possible while building a foundation for continued success, then i would imagine that there are all sorts on contingencies built in. Maybe they evaluate the year before hand, and say if they cannot reach a 60% chance of finishing above .500 with projections, then they use the year to try to build minor league depth. If they find a 40% chance, but think that adding 2-3 FAs bumps them to 65%, then maybe they respond differently.
                      I think we as fans drastically simplify “the plan”.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Except for the Tigers of course. So, yes the Cubs have done great things with the minors and with said players coming up, it wouldn’t hurt to get value FA to stay around on short term deals (like possibly Granderson and Lackey). The problem isn’t signing overvalued, over 30 yrs of age players–the problem is signing those guys without having younger players that can play at the MLB level around them.
                  The problem with your statement about the Nats is that it fails to get at an essential element here. The Nationals in 2005 were run by a different ownership group than they are currently, just like the Cubs now vs the Cubs when the went out to get Garza. We really don’t what the intentions of the Nats were in 2005. We’re they under confused ownership group ( the likes of which you currently see in Seattle)? OR were the purposefully bad for the sake of rebuilding? To say that either of us really has the right perspective on what the Nats were doing since 2005 is really not accurate since who knows what their intentions were in 2005 vs up to a few years ago.

                  • On The Farm

                    Well the Tigers still traded 1st round picks Maybin and Miller for Cabrera, 1st round pick Turner for Sanchez. And they also traded guys who were high picks to get Scherzer. Also, lets not forget how bad that Lackey deal looked, this was one of the best years of him pitching during that contract. A point could be made that a large majority of the key players in this playoffs were first round picks, so how do you want the FO to acquire them? Go out and sign them when they are in the 30s and downhill slide of their career. Trade a couple to get one (i.e. a Price or Stanton). A total makeover the last few years was necessary.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      But were the Tigers really ever known for developing a farm system? They traded away marginal prospects that never really were developed. My point is not to disagree with the redevelopment of the Cubs for the first 2-3 yrs of this regime. My point is to say that at some point you can’t say “Oh well, we sucked…but we got that top draft pick next year.” At some point, probably 2015 (but it could be 2014 IMO), you can’t expect that top draft to be your compensation prize. You have to prepare ahead for the players coming up through the system.

                      If the are FAs to obtain this year, and I believe on conservative deals there are, then you go out and get them. Who knows, maybe that’s what will happen, but I’m not counting on it.

                      As far as the Lackey deal, he won’t be getting that type of future deal with the Cubs or anyone. So, while the Boston contract looked poor upon reflection, his current contract won’t be commensurate with that past one.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      top draft *picks

        • jt

          Giants and A’s.

      • Rich

        Nats
        Detroit

    • YourResidentJag

      The Tigers would have been more competitive barring the injury to Cabrera in the postseason. They also reached the WS last year. They didn’t get better because of their farm system. They got better because of smart trades.

      • SH

        And, dare I say it, an FA signing or two!

        • YourResidentJag

          But ppl forget they made savvy trades to get the likes of Cabrera, Jackson, and Scherzer. Yes, they had the money to resign Sanchez but they also traded for him with Infante as well.

  • jayrig5

    Buster Olney also called Renteria the favorite, and that was before anyone even interviewed.

    It seems to me like Renteria’s agent is doing a really good job. Not saying he won’t get the job, but still.

  • Die hard

    As I reported yesterday Cubs waiting to talk to Cards coach

    • davidalanu

      wait… did you say “as I reported”? that’s awesome.

      • Die hard

        You can too.. Just have to develop anonymous sources like everyone else

        • MichiganGoat

          Just to be clear die hard’s anonymous sources = listening to the voices in his head. And realizing those voices are wrong 99% of the time, but keep throwing darts hoping one if them stick.

  • Jon

    Well, Jay Cutler out at least 4 weeks with a groin tear, Chicago Bulls anyone?

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      I’m not giving up on the Bears yet. If they can pull off one win against one of Detroit, GB, or Baltimore they may still have a chance. Get Jay back in 4 weeks and your at 5-5. Then you get the Rams, Vikings, Cowboys, Browns, and the Eagles over then next 5. All very winnable games. I still think there’s a possibility this team wins 10 games and a wild card spot…

      Go Bulls regardless! I can’t wait for opening night in Miami!

      • Jon

        Briggs is out 6 weeks and have you seen the defense? RG3 has been terrible all year and carved them up. Think what Aaron Rodgers will do. They are done.

        • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

          I already have the Bears losing both games to GB but I think they have the weapons on offense to keep them in games. Jay or no Jay. 10 wins is still possible, just have to keep the faith!!

        • ssckelley

          Not having Briggs out there really hurts them. Any word on Tillman yet?

          • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

            They said they would re-evaluate him after the bye.

      • Spriggs

        How are they going to do that with that big, bad, Bear defense? They couldn’t stop ANYTHING all day. Go Bulls. Go Solar Sox.

        • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

          Hey, look at my pic… In always drinking the kool-aid!!!

          • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

            I’m*

  • Mike Stanger

    I’ll probably catch flak or scoffing for this, but why hasn’t anyone (as far as I can tell) suggested Eric Wedge? The only downside I could see is that he apparently got impatient with Zduriencik’s rebuilding; but Wedge was popular with players, has a track record of success with developing them (Ackley, Montero, Smoak notwithstanding), and makes his guys compete (see Ackley, Montero, Smoak demotions). I’d interview him at least.

    • Jon

      http://mlb.si.com/2013/05/28/dustin-ackley-eric-wedge-sabermetrics-mariners/

      ‘Mariners demote Dustin Ackley, Eric Wedge says sabermetric wizards are to blame”

      There ya go

      • ssckelley

        Oh jeez, you cannot poke fun of the nerds. They have taken over baseball and any negativity towards them is the kiss of death if you want to be a successful manager.

        • Jon

          I’d argue there hasn’t been a much worse team in terms of player development in recent years than the Mariners. Number of former top prospects flaming out. Top that off with him pooping on the foundation of what Thoyer believe in, I’d have to say Wedge isn’t in the discussion.

          • ssckelley

            Yeah that whole “sabermetric wizard” comment he made pretty much rules him out.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Well, yeah, if the FO is sabermetrically inclined, that would not be a prudent thing to do.

        • jh03

          Yeah, who wants a manger who uses facts to help make the best decisions possible? Let’s make fun of these people and calls them nerds.

          • jh03

            Maybe I shouldn’t have said fact.. Higher probabilities would be a better term.

          • ssckelley

            Nnnnnnnnerds!!!!!

      • Mike Stanger

        I remember that story, and thought the headline was misleading. Wedge isn’t crazy about sabremetrics, but his point was that when some players think too much about stats it interferes with focusing on fundamentals, team play, and winning.

        • Jon

          He double’s down on this stupidity in the article

          “People who haven’t played since they were 9 years old think they have it figured out. It gets in these kids’ heads.”

          • Mike Stanger

            Whatever; I don’t read him that way. I follow the Mariners here in Seattle, and there’s a lot more heat on Jack Z, both for his trades and for Wedge leaving.

    • hansman

      “Smoak demotions”

      I’m sure Smoak’s demotion had nothing to do with his playing atrocious ball at the big league level. He just wasn’t “competing” enough.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Don’t forget about Dustin Ackley who was hitting .251 AVG and .367 SLG.

      • Mike Stanger

        That’s what we mean in Seattle by competing–don’t play well enough, we’ll find someone who can. (Go Hawks.)

        • hansman

          [img]http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ica2idY%2BL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg[/img]

          • ssckelley

            I click it and nothing happens.

            • hansman

              Hence the genius of the picture.

              • ssckelley

                Damn you!

        • Cubbie Blues

          Wait a second, you just used Smoak as an example of someone competing and now you are trying to say see, he wasn’t competing and he got the boot?

          • Mike Stanger

            No. I said Smoak, Ackley, Montero all examples of guys sent down because they weren’t cutting it. (Or as Pete Carroll would say, they weren’t “competing” well enough.) Wedge probably deserves some blame for not getting the most out of these guys, but he also wasn’t going to sit around and wait for them to mature.

  • liper

    What about Bob Brenly? I think he should be in the discussion.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Facepalm. Do you live in a cave? Just curious.

      • Liper16

        What is wrong with the Brenly idea?

    • ssckelley

      Hmmmmm, I am shocked no one has brought his name up yet. Would he bring his son along? It appears the Cubs are in the market for organizational fillers.

  • jh03

    Sounds like Mattingly might be gone out of LA.

    Don’t do it. Don’t even say the Cubs should look at him. Just no.

    • Jim

      Maybe he, Girardi, and Leyland can all co manage!!!

  • Jon

    With the recent passing of Bud Adams, that takes another candidate of Die hard’s managerial pool. They better act fast.

  • John Snow

    I feel like Rick Renteria is just a tired/old managing canidate. No excitement, doesn’t have the young energentic precense that Ausmus, Luvullo, or a younger canidate would have. I’m not questioning Renteria’s baseball mind or ability to develop players but he seems like a better coach then a manager. I would love to have him as a steady bench coach presence rather then a manager.

    • John Snow

      I feel like the Cubs FO is putting to much emphasis on a bilingual manager. I feel like being bilingual is more important for coaches such as hitting/pitching coach rather then a manager.

      Also, Rick Renteria doesn’t strike me as the next Joe Maddon, Joe Girardi, or hot canidate manager. What makes Maddon so appealing is his ability to enfuses energy in the clubhouse and from what I’ve read and heard Renteria is not that type of guy. He’s more the slow/steady presence in the club house. Players still love the guy but just because you like a guy doesn’t mean he will still energy in the clubhouse

  • ssckelley

    Does Renteria have teeth or is he sticking his tongue out?

  • Die hard

    Is Jose Oquendo going to be invited into the house? That’s my breaking news a few days ago because he had just enough experience plus he knows what it takes to win which is a huge +

    • chrisfchi

      I’m pretty sure that should read “broken news”

  • Pat

    This is the first time I can think of that I honestly don’t care who is chosen as the next manager. I don’t think its strictly because the team is not likely to seriously content the next couple of years, because I figured the same thing when Svaim was hired and I definitely had an opinion on that one.

    I just don’t see anything with any of these guys that really jumps out at me. Whoever works best with the front office.

  • Brains

    As you all know I think we should be spending a lot more money for the team, but in truth 100m is enough to put something together. If Jed can’t put together something that resembles an MLB team after 3 offseasons, I think it’s clear who the weak link is.

    • ssckelley

      So which free agents should the Cubs get with this money?

      • Brains

        Absolutely ANYONE who fits the bill. Not no one. Not no one because it’s slightly inconvenient to spend slightly more than we wanted to. And not no one because jumbotrons are big. How about Cano?

        • ssckelley

          Ok, so the 31 year old Cano is your guy. How much money and term you willing to pay to get him? Never mind that he fills a position that is one of the strongest in the organization.

        • DarthHater

          For what he’s going to cost, Cano would be a mistake. Other than Tanaka, I don’t see many tempting choices in the alleged top group of free agents this year. Maybe Salty.

          • ssckelley

            Let’s see how he builds this team. He has been complaining non stop about this FO. I am interested to see what GM skills he has that builds this Cubs team into a consistent winner.

            • Brains

              I was just talking rhetorically. And most of my beef is with our far-sub Mark Cuban owners. But I also think that this “plan” wasn’t much of a plan at all and more of a PR initiative that most of you bought like lap dogs. The MLB team is in dire condition for a long time, and we need a pro like Cano. Maybe not Cano, I know his contract might go too long and for too much. But every option needs considering. Not no options followed by sanctimonious stories about how careful our owners are. The owners don’t care about you. They think you’re a fool ready to hand money over foot.

              • ssckelley

                But we cannot change the ownership of the Cubs so complaining about Rickets is a waste of time. Before you told us the problem was the FO, so what moves do Hoyer make? If Cano is to expensive, which your tight he is, who else do they spend money on that makes this team a winner.

                • Brains

                  well in the least we can drop this charade that pervades all cubs talk that the “plan” is working. there’s no plan. Theo simply isn’t being given money to improve the team.

                  and the money they do have has been largely misspent on waiver lines. the prospects look good but they’re a longshot and years from being stars. so what we have is a terrible team no where close to improvement, and much worse than before Theo got here. so i say sign Cano, cause the guy is a freakin winner.

                  • ssckelley

                    There is a plan, so far it has been to build the farm system. You fix whatever is wrong with Rizzo, get Castro back on track, sign a right handed slugger for the outfield, and 1 more starter I think this team would compete next year. The Cubs are not that far off from being competitive.

                • Castro to Barney to Chance

                  “But we cannot change the ownership of the Cubs so complaining about Rickets is a waste of time.”

                  To be fair, we cannot change *anything*…so this board is a waste of time. My wife agrees with that assessment XD

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    And one of the things that cannot be changed is the FA pool. Vague talk of “spending” means nothing: you cannot put out a pile of money and then expect a quality MLB 3Bman to spontaneously appear who will take it. The FA pool does not work by demand: just because a team needs a piece, there is zero guarantee that the piece will be available. The Cubs need pieces that either won’t be available as FA or which are going to be in extremely high demand.

                    What it will come down to is that some Cubs fans will hold the tacit belief that, somehow, someway, Jed & Theo should have convinced Cano, McCann and others to take a more “team friendly” contract to play with the Cubs than they are going to take to play with the Yanks, Sox, etc. Teams like those that are only one or two pieces away from where they want to be are going to be much more willing to “overspend” than are the Cubs, who need to fill many holes.

                    • cub2014

                      Doc I agree, but their are FA this
                      year that make sense (OBP, lefty,
                      5yr or less contract, 30 or younger,
                      for the rebuild) They did sign a long
                      term asset last year it would be
                      ridiculous not to sign 1 or 2
                      additional this year. If FO doesnt
                      I will be shocked and upset.

                      I believe they will go after these
                      guys, of course they may be out
                      bid.

      • Andrew

        Id say Sin Soon choo and Masahiro Tanaka would be my top choices. Maybe Ubaldo Jimenez or Bronson Arroyo.

        • Brains

          Here’s a thinking man who cares about the team!

        • ssckelley

          Ok, the Cubs are involved in Tanaka so we will see how that plays out. But how much and years you going to give Choo, who turns 32 next July?

          • caryatid62

            There’s talk that they MIGHT be involved in Tanaka. They need to be willing to go over 100 in posting+contract, and if they’re not, then that’s a problem.

            4/$60 would be fair for Choo. Boras is going to ask for $100, but he won’t get it.

            • ssckelley

              Ok, so we get yet another left handed outfielder and pay him 15 million per year until he is 36. His production is not overwhelming now, I can’t wait to see how productive he is in that 4th year.

              • Kyle

                It’s amazing how cost-efficient you can be when you don’t mind losing 95 games.

                • ssckelley

                  Not true, I want to see the Cubs win as much as anybody. Overpaying for veterans on the wrong side of 30 is not smart.

                  Instead of derailing this thread how about you answer the question. Who is your FA signing that will turn the Cubs into winners?

                  • Andrew

                    You’d be amazed how many veterans over 35 are very productive. He may eventually turn into more of a role player, but at that point, if we trust in the player development that Theo and Jed have brought, hopefully we will have cheap players that can take a good chunk of his playing time. Considering how much right handed hitting we have in the minors, that seems perfect.

                    • Andrew

                      I think Choo could be this years Jayson Werth actually. Werth was 2 months older than Choo was when he signed his contract and Werth just had a great season at 34. I don’t want the Cubs to pay Choo what the Nat’s paid Werth, but I also wouldn’t hate it if they overpaid Choo a little.

                    • ssckelley

                      He had a decent season last year but not worth 21 million, and the first 2 years of that 7/126m contract have been brutal. He is owed 83 million yet for the next 4 years, I am glad it is not the Cubs paying that contract.

                    • Andrew

                      The nationals won 80 games in 2011 and 98 games in 2012. If thats brutal, I don’t know what the cubs situation is. Who cares that you have an overpaid player when you are winning lots of games which the nationals are poised to do for year. If werth were on the cubs, he would have been the best player on the cubs by a country mile last year. If you don’t think that’s worth 21 million, you don’t understand what is worth what in baseball. I’m not saying the cubs should have signed werth, there talent level as a team was too low for it to be worth it. Now that there are some impact prospects close to the majors, it makes sense to start paying big money to get some good players to get this team swimming in talent.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      @ssckelley. Couldn’t sworn Lackey was a FA after this season. Ok. Could be wrong there. Yep I’m wrong.

                      I still would like Granderson, though. I’ll take a flyer on Josh Johnson as well on a 1 yr deal with incentives.

                  • Hawkeye

                    @ssckelley.. There probably isn’t just one player that turns the cubs into winners, as we’re very bad, however, Choo, would help us. We have to be MORE active in free agency if we want to get out of the cellar.

                    • ssckelley

                      Ok, then who? Is over spending to acquire veterans on the wrong side of 30 going to make the Cubs consistent playoff contenders?

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Who, ssckelley, Granderson to play CF this year and move to LF when Almora comes up next yr. And as I’ve already also stated, Lackey. Why? Lackey would be our #1 starter this yr and could fulfill a TOR role or middle of rotation role for next 3 yrs. And Granderson…it goes without saying, Cubs need LH power badly.

                    • ssckelley

                      But Lackey is under contract next season. Granderson would be an interesting pickup for the right price. But I think we need a right handed slugger more than a left handed one. Right now most of the power the Cubs have is left handed.

                    • Andrew

                      Overspending on some players over 30 in addition to the players like bryant and baez and all the other up and coming cheap young impact talent is what can make the cubs a contender. The amount of wins determines which teams make the playoffs, not the amount of wins per dollars paid.

                    • ssckelley

                      If the Cubs were operating on an unlimited budget then I would agree with you. But it is evident that the are so money need to be spent wisely.

              • caryatid62

                He’d actually only be 35. He turns 32 this July, so signing him for 4 years would get him to year 35.

                And if Soler is likely 2 years away and Almora is 2-3 years away, that seems like the perfect time to have him.

                But let’s worry about $15 million committed to a guy four years from now…

                • ssckelley

                  He would be 36 at the end of his contract. I doubt either Soler or Almora are 2-3 years away, but if they are that still means your paying the bulk of his contract in the last 1-2 years to go play for another team like the Yankees and get a low level prospect in return.

                  • caryatid62

                    No, he wouldn’t.

                    He’d turn 32 during year one.
                    33 during year two.
                    34 during year three
                    and 35 during year four.

                    If you don’t think Soler is two years and Almora 3 years away, I don’t know what to tell you.

                    If Soler and Almora are up and terrific IMMEDIATELY, then they might have to deal Choo. But that would only be IF Choo isn’t playing well, which necessarily likely at age 35. And at $15 mil/year, he wouldn’t even be an albatross on the payroll, as that amount per year would barely even put him in the top 50-75 earners in baseball right now, let alone four years from now.

                    Most, if not all, free agents are over 30. Most, if not all, are going to be overpaid at some point during their contract. Big market teams should know how to limit the years and understand the market costs. If you’re going to be scared of your own shadow (OH NOES! He might be overpaid five years from now!) for the next three years, this team is just going to continue to hemorrhage potential revenue, and when the talent does eventually get here, there will little money available to supplement it.

                    • hutch

                      well put. I like that low level yankee prospect too. I think he ll be a bullpen mainstay in the very near future.

                    • Andrew

                      Also, If Almora and Soler are both up, last I checked, you can play with 3 outfielders at the same time. Also, sadly, Almora and Soler are no sure things, neither has played above high A ball. If all of Bryant, Almora and Soler are starters in 3 years, Choo becomes an excellent, albeit overpaid pinch hitter who would step in when any of the above three inevitably gets injured. Theres no such thing as too many good players.

                    • ssckelley

                      Yep, my mind was thinking 5 years on Choo. But this roster really does not need another left handed outfielder. Choo’s speed is already declining (stole 20 out of 31 attempts), he is not a high average and he is not hit for enough home runs to be a middle of the order guy. He does get a lot of walks, but is that worth 15 million per year?

                    • ssckelley

                      Hutch, I like Black as well but I would rather have all 20 million back into the Cubs payroll budget.

                    • Andrew

                      First of all, a .285 batting average is very good, higher than any cub not named Dioner Navarro.

                      Secondly, his value doesnt come from his speed, he can attempt no steals next year for the cubs and I wouldn’t care.

                      He shouldnt be a middle of the order guy, he should be a top of the order guy. He had the 2nd highest obp in the NL last year. He is there to get on base and be driven in. Even still he consistently hits 15-20 homers a year with a good iso of .178. He’s worth more than 15 a year. And we need to stop thinking about everything in terms of value signings anyways. The easiest way to get good players is to pay good players large amounts of money. If we want our team to be among the best we have to hand out some of the big contracts. Choo is a good player to do that with.

                    • ssckelley

                      No, a .285 average is not “very good”. The only thing Choo is very good at is taking walks, which is not something I am willing to spend 15 million per year on.

                    • Andrew

                      Regardless of how good of a batting average .285 is(it is definitely above average), the larger point is that batting average is much less important than on base percentage to scoring runs and he is one of the very best in the game at getting on base.

                    • ssckelley

                      I agree with that but for 15 million I need a guy who can hit the ball. Choo takes a lot of walks and strikes out a ton, I would rather they spend the money on a starting pitcher and a right handed slugging outfielder.

                    • Andrew

                      You’re just plain wrong that he strikes out a lot. He struck out 18.7% of the time last year, which is below average. For reference, Castro last year struck out 18.3% of the time last year.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      Or, even better, only 87 qualifying players struck-out at a higher percentage and only 1 qualifying player walked at a higher percentage (Votto). Even Harper struck-out at a 15% clip and Votto was at 19%.

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