The End of Bleacher Nation and Other Bullets

otter pumpkinFor as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Halloween. The pumpkins, the costumes, the candy … and the scares and the pranks. That there headline would be the prank of the day. Happy Halloween, chums. Boo.

  • Baseball America has kinda-sorta ranked the Cubs’ farm system as the fifth best in baseball. If that sounds a little low, and if you’re wondering why I say kinda-sorta, it’s because I can’t quite tell if this is their true organizational ranking, or if it’s a particularized one focused solely on near-term impact (I’m pretty sure it’s just the latter). They’ve employed a system whereby players closer to the bigs – by minor league level – provide more points for their farm system, so that’s why the Cubs are getting dinged (for example, Arismendy Alcantara is considerably more valuable in this system than Kris Bryant, even though the latter is arguably closer to reaching the big leagues, and is a much higher impact prospect). The Cubs are tied with the Royals for 5th, falling behind the Rangers, Padres, Astros, and Red Sox, in ascending order. In some ways, the ranking might be encouraging: even when weighted heavily toward AAA and AA, where the Cubs’ talent is not concentrated, the Cubs still land in the top five.
  • For his part, by the way, Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus says the Cubs’ system will be top three, at a minimum, and might be the top in baseball.
  • He’d never acknowledge it himself, so Jon Heyman does it for him: Theo Epstein played a huge part in this year’s Boston championship.
  • In AFL action yesterday, the Mesa Solar Sox won again, and Dallas Beeler chipped in with four scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked none, and struck out one. Wes Darvill represented the positional contingent in the game, going 1-5.
  • Unless I’ve missed it, Armando Rivero hasn’t appeared in an AFL game in about a week. He wasn’t pitching all that well of late.
  • The complex relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic could soon have an impact on international free agency, as well as young prospects from the DR who’ve already been signed. That impact is a little unclear (the issue relates to children of Haitian immigrants into the DR who might have trouble getting proper documentation to travel into the United States), but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

132 responses to “The End of Bleacher Nation and Other Bullets”

  1. Brian Peters

    You are SICK!

  2. Diamondrock

    Whew, you had me scared for a second there, Brett. Real scared. A highly effective Halloween trick.

  3. CubChymyst

    Nice prank

  4. beerhelps

    OK, I’m confused by the headline.

    1. beerhelps

      Maybe it’s because I’m sober. At least thats what I’m going with.

    2. millhah

      prank yo.

  5. Aaron

    Boston at the top of that Baseball America ranking means good things for the Cubs future, as if that really needs to be stated… I’m hopeful at least.

    1. On The Farm

      It would be pretty freaking awesome if the Cubs core was an MVP 2B, a speedy CF, and a dominate LH ace. I am so jealous of what Boston has and their future.

  6. Spriggs

    Rivero pitched on Monday. Didn’t do well.

  7. DReese

    You got me Brett. Also that was not funny!

  8. Spoda17

    I didn’t “pull” for Boston to win, but I did “pull” for St. Louis to lose… Girl friend is a huge Yankees fan…

    But, I will say this… say what you want, the farm system, largely built by Theo is why the Red Sox have three championships in the last ten years. It’s not about systems, or luck, or money (although those are factors), it is more about being smart and diligent and maximizing what you have to work with.

    I am more confident now than ever that the Cubs are going to be just fine, and it will be because of Theo and Jed.

  9. On The Farm

    I thought you were considering renaming the site. Figured you really like the Bears writer you found.

  10. miggy80

    Geesh, I started to read very slowly, as to take in BN for the last time, as to delay the inevitable, like the silence before the crash, I draw in the final breath of BN and…………. wheew it was all a joke. Trick or treat to you fine Sir, Trick or treat to you.

    1. Coop

      Let’s egg the site!!!

      1. DarthHater

        eggs.jpg

  11. Kramden

    Hat’s off to Theo…. That’s some impressive article written about him.

    His vision worked out for the Red Sox and it’ll also work out for the Cubs.

  12. South&Wave

    The worst prank you could possibly pull.

  13. Thom

    Not funny Brett! Glad it was just a prank. I am celebrating my 40th birthday today so now that I am an old-timer stuff like that could have given me a grabber ;)

    1. Fishin Phil

      Congrats on reaching an advanced age. Now repeat after me: “Hey you damn kids, get off my lawn!”

      1. Spriggs

        All this time, I was saying: “Hey you kids, get off my damn lawn!” I had it all wrong. Nothing wrong with my lawn… It’s the damn kids. Thanks, Phil!

        1. Fishin Phil

          It’s all about nuance and inflection. ;)

      2. beerhelps

        I like to say, “I’m not over the hill, I AM THE HILL!” People will look at you strange when you say stuff like that.

        1. YourResidentJag

          Since I see that you’re a Hendrix fan, remember to watch the Hendrix special on American Masters on PBS next Tuesday, November 5. Should be good.

    2. Spoda17

      Welcome to a protected class, you are now able to sue your employer for age discrimination.

  14. MightyBear

    That’s not funny. What would we do without BN? We would be scrambling for Cubs info. We wouldn’t be able to argue with Kyle. We wouldn’t get Docs physics professor like analysis. We wouldn’t get to laugh at the MichiganGoat. Oh the humanity.

    1. ssckelley

      I would have to spend more time actually working.

  15. Chris

    I’m still lost… this was a Halloween prank, I hope/presume?

    1. On The Farm

      From the opening paragraph “…That there headline would be the prank of the day. Happy Halloween, chums. Boo.”

  16. josh ruiter

    I have a question regarding the THEOlogy of the new Cubs way as it pertains to the BoSox current standing. It has been 10 years since Theo took the gig in Boston, and then just as now proposed continuous consistent success if they followed the plan.
    Granted this, Boston has for the most part enjoyed continuous success, but the moves he made near the end of his Boston tenure scare me. It seems like he became addicted to winning as opposed to the “plan”, and even now looking at the BoSox they are an aging team with not a ton coming soon through the pipeline. Boegarts, yes, he is a stud in the making and soon to come. But their roster this postseason does not scream built from within. Nava, Pedroia, Middlebrooks, Ellsbury, Lester, Bucholz, Doubront, Tazawa, and thats it out of 25 guys. Nava is not a regular, two guys are bullpen guys, two starters, three everyday players. Next year could be four if they bring back Ellsbury.
    That to me says before long we need to start adding pieces. We currently sport 5 in house everyday players as well as potentially a 6th at 3b if Olt wins the job there. 6/8 positions from in house doesn’t happen all that often, but more to the point the theo way doesn’t project itself as well as say, the cardinal way. 6/8 regulars from the farm, only Holiday and Beltran coming from outside the club. Same goes with their rotation and bullpen. Wacha, Miller, Kelly, Garcia, wainwright, martinez, rosenthal, etc.
    Is it just coincidence, is it a sign of where we will be in 10 years. Granted 3 WS in 10 years would be awesome, but then we will just hunger for more. or is it Cherington changing the guard?

    1. On The Farm

      You do realize Boston has a ton of talent in the minor right? They have a top catching prospect, Blake Swihart, a 3B a lot of people seem to love, Garrett Cecchini, Jackie Bradley Junior, Bryce Brentz, along with that they have an emerging prospect Mookie Betts. For Pitching they have Matt Barnes, Allen Webster, Brandon Workman (considered a back end rotation guy, but was in the bullpen for the post season), Henry Ownes (LHP really exploded up the ranks this season), Anthony Renaudo, and just drafted top 10 this summer Lefty Trey Ball.

      As for their on the field pieces. Pedrioa is a stud second baseman who they have locked up, Xander looks like he could be a star. Lester looks to be a good #1, and Bucholtz is pretty darn good #3.

      A lot of this team was built by Theo (not to say Cherington didn’t need to tweak a few things), and their is a ton of talent in the minor leagues. Also, when it comes to roster construction, there should always be a good balance of home grown, trade acquired, and free agent acquisitions on you team. That’s how I want the Cubs to be built. Especially if the homegrown talent players on your team are as good as Boston’s were. Pedrioa played phenomenal D, hit some big hits. Ellsbury had a .400 OBP coming into the WS, Lester was dominate in the post season, and turned it up a notch in in the WS. Buchholtz wasn’t even fully health and he still did a really good job at St. Louis game.

      1. MightyBear

        Buckholz is a 1 if he stays healthy.

        1. On The Farm

          He is pretty awesome when he is healthy. I mean I would feel much more comfortable with him on the mound for game 1 than Shark.

      2. mjhurdle

        Dont forget the World Series MVP, who was picked up on a 1 year 1.25 million contract in 2003 by Theo and Co after being cut by the Twins.
        Sometimes those waiver flyers work out….

        1. YourResidentJag

          I still worry about questions with him and PEDs, though. Sorry.

          1. mjhurdle

            worry away my friend, but that doesn’t really change facts.

            1. On The Farm

              Or take away any of his three rings.

            2. YourResidentJag

              The fact that baseball fans selective choose who to support when questions arise with PEDs and who to vilify as a player that just as questionable? I’ll agree with you….it’s hard to reverse history.

        2. On The Farm

          Yeah, I wasn’t sure how to include him because he wasn’t much with the Twins and was a cheap buy off the market, but at the same time he gets linked to PEDs. Either way he has been there since ’03 so he is pretty much a Boston player through and through.

          1. mjhurdle

            i like it because it supports the idea of picking up low risk guys that might have some upside. Probably won’t work out, but if we keep trying out Hairston-type players, and get one Ortiz out of it, that would be awesome.

      3. YourResidentJag

        I’d say Cherington did more than just “tweak” things. You don’t just tweak things when you fire an irrelevant manager and send off a large, expensive group of FAs to a team in a miracle trade. That’s not just mere tweaking, sorry.

        1. mjhurdle

          well, he did hire that manager, so not sure he gets extra props beyond recognizing that he royally messed up and firing the guy.
          He did do good work on that trade with the Dodgers, but On The Farm was talking about this year’s team, and beyond addition by subtraction, that trade was more beneficial to the Red Sox going forward than it was to this particular team.

          1. YourResidentJag

            This year’s team was made available because of the freeing of money through that trade. It allowed for the extension of the WS hero, Ortiz, and the additions of other FAs which further impacted the direction of this year’s team.

            As for the manager move, sounds like what you’re saying applies to Theo and Svuem as well, right? Sure does to me. And I’m sure you’ll be the first to say if Luvollo’s the second coming of Francona, that Theo also admitted to his big blunder of hiring and staying with Svuem. That was more than just a simple “tweak.”

            1. On The Farm

              Joe Girardi, Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre could have managed this Cubs team and the results would have been similar. The management situation for the Cubs is a tweak. Much like I don’t think John Farrell would have made the 2012 Boston Red Sox a WS team.

              1. YourResidentJag

                But in statements below…you’re comparing management hires with FA decision making of Theo. So which argument do you want here? The argument that a manager doesn’t make a difference or the one where you’re ascribing managerial decisions to Theo getting flak for FA moves/non-moves. Much more a value statement with respect to a managerial hire.

        2. Chad

          You can’t give him credit for getting rid of the flop manager if you don’t give him credit for the hire of the flop manager as well. All the credit in the world for them shipping those contracts though.

          1. YourResidentJag

            He didn’t tweek things though. On the Farm, admits as much.

          2. YourResidentJag

            Also, I guess if Svuem is considered a “flop manager” and the next manager Theo gets for the Cubs turns out be much improved, that wouldn’t be a tweak
            either, right?

            1. On The Farm

              I classify management as tweaking. Because it’s hard to measure how much they impact the game. Basically the only thing you can really measure is the negative impact. So firing a guy who is terrible in place of another manager is just tweaking. Now if you hire name Brand (Girardi) that’s another thing. At the time Farrell wasn’t considered getting a a top tier manager.

              1. YourResidentJag

                Neither at this time is, say, Luvollo. How Farrell looking now? More than a tweak??

                1. On The Farm

                  Yeah its a tweak. Farrell was the pitching coach which helped turn around Lester and Buchholz’s struggles. Luvollo will be just a tweak, unless Luvollo is some kind of genius with defensive shifts and becomes the next Maddon. The main thing that effects wins and losses is the on field talent. If you have a good team (like Mattingly does) you just need a manager that isn’t as “bad” as Valentine. People still argue whether Mattingly is actually as good as a manager as some say because his team is so good and he just doesn’t make stupid decisions. He could be just average for all we know.

                  1. YourResidentJag

                    I agree to disagree. Farrell would like to have a word with you. ;) The mere pitching coach, eh.

        3. On The Farm

          Firing an incompetent is hardly something that should be cheered. If that were the case Theo deserves a ton of credit just for firing Sveum after all the fans were outraged by the decisions Dale made in game.

          Now the blockbuster he made was big, as was that Peavy trade. But, Cherington was not directly responsible for bringing in the guy who hit .700 in the WS, the guy who pitched lights out in Games 1 & 5, the guy who pitched out of his mind 2 and close out game 6, or acquire Pedroia and Ellsbury. The core of this team is all Theo (sans Ortiz).

          I may have understated by saying tweak with Cherington, but Theo did a lot for this 2013 team.

          1. YourResidentJag

            I’m cheering this? Who knows, maybe Theo will get and in some baseball circles is getting credit, for correcting the Svuem mistake. My take is that he is. Also, that core, correctly identified by Cherington, regardless of its Theo creation, was brought to baseball consciousness as the WS champs, largely because Cherington moved out that other core of players to LA.

            1. Funn Dave

              Let’s not forget the other perspective–that the Sveum hire was just a placeholder until the team could get competetive, and for him to have worked out would have been a pleasant surprise, but not working out was the likely outcome all along. If you follow this train of thought, neither the Sveum hire nor fire was a particularly reprehensible/admirable move; they’re both more like “tweaks.” Then, continuing with this line of logic, the next manager hire would be were Theo has a chance to maybe do a bit more than tweaking.

        4. Norm

          I’m pretty sure ownership hired Bobby V, NOT Cherington.

          1. On The Farm

            Sure, but its setting up a double standard. Theo still gets criticized for not signing free agents because ownership says there are budget constraints.

            1. YourResidentJag

              So you agree then?

              1. On The Farm

                No I am saying if Theo catches crap for not signing free agents, Cherington deserves to catch crap for the Valentine signing. It is part of being in that position. If Valentine would have worked out Ben would have shared the credit in hiring him, so he gets the credit for him being awful.

                1. YourResidentJag

                  Bad analogy. We still don’t the impact of management in hiring Valentine in Boston. We know Svuem was TOTALLY Theo’s hire. Ricketts stayed out of that decision completely. Also, comparing the relative value of signing FAs vs hiring a manager is really weak. We still as a baseball community can’t decide as a consensus of overall value (especially in terms of WAR) of a manager.

                  1. On The Farm

                    Well now I am not sure because it’s like you arguing my orginial point that the manager effects the game very little (or at least its hard to measure) so the hiring is in essence a tweak. As for my analogy I think it still applies. If you are going to take credit for something working out, which you know Ben would have done if Bobby would have been a great manager for them, he still gets the credit when he fails. Regardless of what ownership tells you to do, it is still the responsibility of the GM to hire the manager.

                    Theo does deserve all the flak he is catching for hiring Sveum.

                    1. YourResidentJag

                      But you’re not arguing more value for the manager that you care to admit by saying that both GMs deserve to take crap or praise for these decisions? That ascribes a lot more value in the managerial hire that you’re trying to say was your original point.

          2. YourResidentJag

            Interesting thought? I’d agree. So Cherington tweaking the manager argument and Farrell not be considered a top tier hire really doesn’t apply here.

  17. Chris

    Also, I’ve been meaning to ask this for a long time… How do I add a profile pic next to my name like some of you have done?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Go to gravatar.com and set up a profile using the same e-mail address you use here. Within 15 minutes your new profile pic should be showing up.

      1. Chris

        Thanks, Cubbie Blues!

      2. ssckelley

        You sure this works? I had to sign up for an account here to get mine to work.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          Yes, there is no “signing up” on this side, only on the message boards, which is completely separate.

          1. ssckelley

            Maybe I did not wait long enough, but my pic did not show up until I signed up for the forum.

          2. hansman

            shouldn’t that be:

            “message boards, which *are* completely separate.”

            1. Cubbie Blues

              Why, thank you. Yes, you are, obviously, correct.

              Actually, I’m not sure. I’m speaking of one entity, but the different boards make up the message board as a whole.

              1. Funn Dave

                If you had said “message board” instead of “message boards,” then you’d have a point there. But since you said “message boards,” then they are separate entities and “are” is correct.

                -BN Grammar Douche

            2. Cubbie Blues

              My error was probably calling it Message Boards instead of Message Board.

              This has been today’s episode of “Your English Teacher”

              *I am in no way an English Teacher*

              1. Jono

                Haha, it’s a two part episode….

              2. Funn Dave

                Whups, ignore my comment above; you figured it out.

        2. Chris

          Worked for me!

          1. ssckelley

            Wonderful, now I am signed up for something I will probably never use.

  18. JulioZuleta

    I only read the headline, too busy to read the rest. Sad to hear you’re shutting down shop, Brett. Speak to you never. Just unfollowed you on Twitter…

  19. AP

    You kinda suck right now, Brett. It’s not just about you anymore and you need to think about how your actions affect those around you. Now go to your room and think about what you’ve one!

    1. AP

      *done*

  20. Funn Dave

    Haha, that prank got me. Especially after the posters over at cubs.com were bashing Bleacher Nation so bad last night.

    1. MightyBear

      Why were they bashing BN?

    2. YourResidentJag

      Yes, please, do tell. Other than the proverbial…they’re just idiots.

      1. Funn Dave

        Let’s see if I can find it….Something about how one could spend three weeks going over a week’s worth of BN mistakes….

        1. Funn Dave

          “I don’t care what the idiots at BN posted. They’ve been proven as one of the most inaccurate sources of information you can go to.”

        2. Funn Dave

          Also, “Yet all you can do is regurgitate ignorance from a widely discredited web site? I could spend 3 weeks pointing out the inaccuracies of Bleacher Nation over just the past week.”

          1. DarthHater

            “I could spend 3 weeks pointing out the inaccuracies of Bleacher Nation over just the past week.”

            Well, if you’re going to read Die hard’s comments, then sure…

        3. Funn Dave

          “Don’t post garbage from websites run by people who don’t have a clue about statistical analysis (and openly admit to not having such understanding).”

          1. Funn Dave

            Probably not worth putting too much stock in–he was probably just whiny because he couldn’t think of an actual argument to make, so he just attacked BN.

            1. mjhurdle

              the only time i have ever heard negative talk about Bleacher Nation is from people that confuse it with Bleacher Report.

        4. Brains

          if you’re going to fight with someone, take me on because i’m slippery, or michigangoat, because he’s obstinate. but leave our gentle medium alone.

  21. Kevin

    I don’t even like that notion being brought into this conscious universe.

  22. Patrick G

    I had to read every bullet 5 times and was confused, until of course I read the first paragraph

    1. Funn Dave

      Haha yeah same here.

  23. mjhurdle

    On other notes, apparently the Cardinals lost because they didn’t play the same type of ball as they were supposed to. This is due to injuries to basically everyone, even the ones that say they are healthy. Apparently we will be hearing about injuries to Matt Adams (because he didn’t look right at the plate), Molina (no clutch HRs), and Wainwright (because he doesn’t lose twice unless he is injured) among others.
    I have heard more than once on the radio here in STL that the Cardinals were the better team, but they just weren’t healthy enough in the series.

    1. Fishin Phil

      That, and I’m sure the Red Sox must have cheated. It’s the only logical explanation.

    2. Jono

      Best fans in base….hahaha, couldn’t even write that with a straight face

    3. pete

      I listened to StL sports talk radio today for the first time in goodness knows how long and it is all about the Cardinals did not do this or that guy was hurt or that the “clutch hitting” failed to come through. Nada about the Red Sox simply outpitching and outplaying them over a 6 game period. Words cannot do justice to state how happy I am that I do not have to deal with an effing parade going past my office or watch the celebrating Jethro Bodine-esque mulleted multitude who comprise Redbird fandom.

  24. Ron

    I sat down.

  25. Big Daddy

    Damn, Brett. You got me. You are in timeout the rest of the day.

  26. Jono

    My first reaction was that he meant the site was going downhill, and he was going to tell idiots like me to stick to baseball topics. I’m sure this website does VERY well for Brett

  27. Evan

    That was a cruel, sick prank.

  28. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Trick or Treat, Trick ….

  29. FFP

    People in Grover’s Mill, NJ are reporting they can no longer access BN.

    1. Fishin Phil

      LOL, do you think the kids will get it?

      1. hansman

        I’m just glad you survived through the initial scare…

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      Well, Martians should have a lot of Cards and Reds fans, wouldn’t they?

      (Seriously, Martians love winners. paSlogh ghoS!)

  30. MXB

    Nice trick. I am bringing over a 36 pack of toilet paper to your house later today for a display project, Brett…anyone want to help?

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