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masahiro tanakaThere may not be any more MLB games to go see until next year, but that’s not preventing me from taking in live action this morning. That’s right, it’s ‘Disney on Ice’! I tend to think Mickey’s problems with runners in scoring position are just a small sample fluke, but, at the same time, I’m pretty sure Jasmine’s WAR is inflated by some unsustainably positive defensive metrics. I mean, she’s a princess, not a shortstop. Not sure how that will all play out today, but I’m bringing my glove, just in case.

  • The posting system for bringing Japanese players to MLB was supposed to open up this week, after months of negotiations on a new agreement that would change that system slightly. So, is it open? Are teams lodging blind, private bids for stars like Masahiro Tanaka? Nope, reports Jeff Passan. MLB and NPB (the professional league in Japana) haven’t yet come to an agreement, and their previous posting agreement has thus expired. The sides are still negotiating, with MLB’s desire to reduce those massive posting prices (and Japanese players’ desire to have more of that money go to them) being the big hurdle. We’ve heard possible solutions before, including a scenario where three teams would win the post, but Passan presents an interesting new one: the team with the highest posting bid would win the post, but would be forced to pay only an amount about halfway between the top bid and the second bid. That could have the effect of dramatically increasing bids, but reducing the amount the winning team actually pays.
  • As for Tanaka, specifically, Passan hears estimates on the winning post for the stud righty ranging from $75 million to $100 million. You read that correctly: the amount it could take just to have the right to negotiate a contract (which you’d then have to pay) could be more than double what the amount was for Yu Darvish. I told you the price of poker was going to go up, and the total commitment for landing Tanaka will be significant. There is no bargain to be had here – only years of control in a player’s prime.
  • All in all, it’s unclear when the new posting system agreement will be in place, but it is expected to happen at some point this offseason, and Tanaka will be posted immediately thereafter.
  • The Fall Stars Game is tonight at 7pm CT on MLB Network. Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler are in the starting lineup, with Albert Almora also having made the team. Almora went 2-4 yesterday for the Solar Sox, with a double and a triple.
  • Summing up my fears for baseball long-term, the Wall Street Journal writes about the marked decline in interest in baseball among kids. I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them hit the ball.
  • Cubs minor league Elliot Soto was suspended 50 games for a drug of abuse.
  • conysdad

    Hoping the drug of abuse is just weed. Otherwise, it’s coke, acid, pain killers, ecstasy, date rape drug or PCP. 50 games for pot would be ridiculous when guys don’t get suspended for DUIs…which actually kill people.

  • Eric

    Brett, I read somewhere that Soto was banned because this was his 2nd offense and that only the White Sox player was suspended.

    • Eric

      Hmm, I guess I’m wrong on this one. I understood it to be a out and out ban. Nevermind. Carry on! :)

  • Kyle

    Since 2010, MLB and its teams have signed more than $30 billion in new TV deals. No wonder the price of players is shooting through the moon.

  • Kyle

    If the posting agreement has expired, doesn’t that mean that the leagues don’t have to honor each others’ contracts and we’re in old-school, Federal League territory?

    • CubChymyst

      That would be awesome, the Cubs could poach a player or two then.

  • Tony_S

    Show them all the beauti-(ful curveballs) they possess insiiiiiiiiiide

  • Bwa

    That posting fee would make tanaka worth about 150M for 6 years. That’s cc sabathia, Felix Hernandez, Greinke money. Hoe can that be worth it ?

    • Bwa

      To clarify, I still want him. I just don’t see how any team would be willing to go that high.

    • Kyle

      What you have to understand about baseball in America is that 99% of it is a massive, collectively-bargained collusion scheme to keep players from hitting the market at the peak of their value. They enter the system either as teenagers who haven’t had a chance to fully establish their value yet, or they enter it via the draft which strips them of their ability to leverage negotiations across multiple teams.

      Then, once they enter the system, they are tied up for anywhere from six to 12 years. I think maybe as long as 13 in some cases. This is intentionally designed to take the player right through their mid-20s prime years and spit them out on the other side. They hit the free and open market a few years too late to get top-dollar for their services.

      Can you imagine if Albert Pujols had hit the free-agent market at 23 or 24? The only player off the top of my head to get out of his control earlier enough to begin to approach his true value is Alex Rodriguez, who got a bank-breaking deal.

      So right now, Tanaka (or mostly Tanaka’s team, because they’ll be getting most of the money) are the beneficiaries of a perfect storm:

      1) The posting system is pretty much the only time MLB teams compete for prime-age, MLB-quality players on something approximating an open market (from their end, it’s not an open market for the player, of course).

      2) The trend of locking up players long-term long before they hit free agency is robbing the free-agent market of the high-quality 29-31 year olds that used to be the top names each year.

      3) Teams are just rolling in cash thanks to the $30 Billion (with a B, $30,000 million) in new TV deals signed in the last three years. All that money’s going to flow to the players eventually.

      4) The success of Darvish makes teams a bit less gunshy about the transition for elite talents from NPB to MLB

      • jt

        What you have to understand is that there are 50 States and well over 300,000,000 people in the U.S.A. and only 30 MLB teams.
        Each State and even each city could have its own team. Competition could have been allowed to dynamically evolve to be much like college football without the TV contracts. Instead, MLB was afforded anti-trust exemption, exclusive contracts for public stadium use and exclusive contracts for media coverage.
        *
        In the ’60′s pro hockey, basketball and formed outside of established leagues with enough success such that leagues were forced to assimilate quite a few teams.
        That assimilation allowed the exclusive TV contracts and exclusive use of stadiums, arenas and parks that has allowed the funding of professional sports unbridled by true market forces.

        • Kyle

          That’s all interesting, but I’m not sure what it has to do with why Japanese players cost so much.

          • jt

            “why Japanese players cost so much.”
            –Kyle
            Americans have been a pragmatic people. They will (or at least would at one time) accept exception if it makes sense. I mean, this goes back to Spalding in the late 1800′s. Folks saw the need for a central authority and allowed the exception. You are aware of the history. But the free enterprise thing?; never part of the equation and that may have been good thing.
            *
            You, in past posts, phrase baseball as being an enterprise of public interest (or some such thing). That in fact has more a ring of truth to it than “free enterprise”. We expect owners like Tom Yawkey but accept those like Comiskey and Finley. That is the cost of allowing centralized authority and that is the cost Americans have been willing to pay.
            Those who run baseball in the sovereign nation of Japan recognize this. The rest is pretty obvious.
            I don’t see kids playing baseball in the parks in pick up games as we used (the sand lot stuff). I’m not sure how long the “public interest” will last.
            I stream the games from the MLBTV thing when the game is half over. I jump to the part of the inning in which the team I’m rooting for (usually The Cubs or Red Sox) is at bat. Hey, I’ve seen all the fancy catches and double plays before. I don’t think I’m alone in that mentality?

        • hansman

          Most cities do have a professional baseball team. Heck, I bet you’d be hard pressed to find a city with 50,000 + inhabitants that doesn’t have a professional baseball team.

          • Tony_S

            Abilene TX, and that’s just off the top of my head because I used to live there.

            • hansman

              Abilene Prarie Dogs in the North American League.

              • Tony_S

                They’re relatively new then, they weren’t there or sure as hell weren’t publicized from 04-07, there were only whispers of a team that used to be.

                This is fun though, how about Dubuque IA (born there)

                • Tony_S

                  Or Lubbock TX? (There’s a team in Amarillo, but I don’t think LBB has one)

                  • cavemencubbie

                    Think you’re right about Lubbock. The cause maybe that the city was ‘dry’ at one time, maybe still. There is also a team or was in Midland/Odessa, not that far away, given how big Texas is.

              • TinLV

                The Abilene Prairie Dogs are an Independent team which did not play in 2013.. in 2012 they were playing in McMurry University’s stadium, but its way too small. My daughter is an alumni, she says that stadium is barely suitable for even college sports, it seats less than a 1000 people. The Prairie Dogs want Abilene or Taylor county to help build a stadium for them in which case they will return. If not, they will likely move elsewhere. FYI, Amarillo has two teams.. one is a Padres affiliate, the other is independent. I don’t know about Lubbock, I don’t think they have a pro team, but I can look it up.

          • jt

            “Most cities do have a professional baseball team. ”
            –hansman
            Judge Landis would have called then “semi-pro”. The distinction would be that MLB could sign players out of those leagues but the reverse could result in the player being black balled from “The Show”.
            I use The Mexican League as an example.

      • Tony_S

        Key words there are “collectively-bargained.” If the union doesn’t like it, they’re free to make those demands when they negotiate the agreement, or to strike if they don’t make enough other concessions to get the owners to go for earlier free agency.

        Furthermore, you’re either contradicting yourself, or at best splitting hairs, when in the same post you use “collusion scheme” and “All that money’s going to flow to the players eventually.”

        Now, to dig in a little to what is a semi-valid argument, one could posit that the reasons you lay out are also why teams tend to end up over-paying for past performance. “Well, Pujols is 32, but he’s also possibly the best pure hitter in our generation.” Now, the market would arguably normalize (ie, we wouldn’t pay Pujols based on past performance, but more based on his current age and expected decline) if Pujols had already gotten ARod money during his prime. As is, if I’m his agent, I can tell teams, “Look, StL is small-to-mid market, this guy’s arguably the best pure hitter of our generation, and he hasn’t gotten ‘PAID’ yet… Someone’s going to pay him.”

        As for reasons why the price point (ie the ‘entering free agency’ point) has settled where it has, if you think about it objectively, for every cheap Longoria there’d be 5 (or maybe more) CPats or Felix Pies making a $#^+ -load more than they’re worth. And here’s the thing–that’s bad for business on both sides, because the next Longoria doesn’t get paid since the team is gunshy because of Pie.

        The whole NPB posting ‘thing’ is a unique beast due to the somewhat artificialor forced constraints. The player wants to come to MLB to get paid and play on the larger stage. The NPB team owns the rights to that player. The MLB (and theoretically, all 30 teams, although, seriously?) want access to the talent. To be blunt, I think the ONLY winner in this whole process is the NPB team, and frankly my thought on all of this has always been, how exactly has the NPB bent it’s own players and MLB (an American, $6B industry) over so far so easily? The obvious short answer is NPB isn’t the same as a Dominican sandlot, and we want to play nicey-nice with Japan.

        But if I were king for a day, I’d tell NPB to go screw, and I’d let it be a free for all, and let the market stabilize itself; I think MLB’s already done its part with international spending limits, so if, say, the Dodgers want to throw their entire international cap at one Japanese pitcher (including whatever they have to send him to help him escape the country, since he’s under contract…), so be it. I see NO good reason whatsoever that as an MLB team I should give two $#^+s whether or not a prospective employee is already under contract with a Japanese team. (Of course, this is where the posting comes in… As that MLB team, I’ve got to pay the NPB team off). Now, I’ll assume there’s some international laws or agreements that make what I just said illegal and completely moot, but it’s still how I’d like it to be in fantasyland, where I live…

        One thought on a better system would be this: MLB and NPB have to agree to this process, but I would propose a cap (not unlike capping international spending as a whole) of, for argument’s sake, $50m. Then, any MLB team who is willing to meet the cap gets to negotiate with the player, with the team who signs the player paying the whole fee, and any team who put their name in the hat but didn’t sign him paying a small percentage, say 1.5-2%. Now, any team can negotiate with Tanaka for $1m, the NPB team still gets theirs (bloodthirsty bastards), and there’s more competition in the market (as opposed to only one team). If nobody wants to meet the cap, the highest bidder under the cap is the only one to get rights, as it is now.

        • Kyle

          You are mistaking explanation for complaint. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with what MLB has done with regards to their collectively-bargained collusion schemes. I’m just explaining that’s why player contracts that are signed outside of it seem out of whack.

          I’m not contradicting myself. Most of that money will flow to the players. Just not quite as much of it as would if it were the Wild West in player contracts.

          Yes, the history of the Japanese-American player agreement is basically that we have way more respect for Japan than we do the D.R.

      • CubChymyst

        Nothing to do with your conversation, but I can’t wait for Harper or Trout to sign an extension or hit the market. Trout should have a record breaking deal.

  • Tony_S

    Complete tangent, but I didn’t know where else to share this brainstorm I just had:

    I’m certain I’m not the first person to think of this, but:

    Not only do we need a mascot…..

    Make the mascot…

    A GOAT.

    • Brains

      or a brains

      • Tony_S

        Heh

    • Cyranojoe

      I think it could work. Problem is, by the seventh-inning stretch in a blowout game, the guy in the suit would have to run for his life from drunken sots looking to take revenge on the cause of our world series drought…

  • pfk

    Well, it will be interesting to see how the Sun-Times story this morning about Todd Ricketts raising a super pac to defeat Obama impacts the Wrigley renovation negotiations with City Hall.

  • Brian Peters

    On Tanaka: no way we get him

    On the state of baseball: the biggest foil to the sport is the length of games and the actual season. I gotta tell ya, if a game goes over 2 1/2 to 3 hours, I’m changing the channel. And seasons used to be over by the middle of October, not the end. Now, my complaints don’t mean I dislike the game. I’m already jonesing for 2014. It’s just that it drags on and on for the casual fan, so the sport loses them.

  • Brains

    Totally legitimate fears about baseball and kids. How are they supposed to root for a team that has told them that they don’t plan to try to win until they’ve finished high school? Who wants to spend $50 a ticket to watch a business experiment? All of those formative years wasted by a plan that isn’t going to work, until they change the plan.

    • Mrs. Howell

      Pure love of the game. Appreciating all the talent on the field, not just your team. The chance to see a star play or pitch in person, be it your team or the opposing team.

    • Mrs. Howell

      I saw Randy Johnson pitch as a rookie against a bad Cubs team. Was that a waste of time/money?

    • Mrs. Howell

      Spending time at the park with your father watching and learning the game. Memories to last a lifetime. Was that a waste of time and money?

    • Mrs. Howell

      Brains, while I agree the ultimate goal is to win, there is much to enjoy about this great game until you get there.

      • cub2014

        i am with you mrs. howell, i have been a cubs
        fan since 65′. I have enjoyed many days at
        wrigley with family and friends. I have seen the
        hall of fame players over the years the beauty
        of wrigley, as an adult the great neighborhood fun.

        Because of prices and so many more things to
        occupy kids time the number of people that go
        to the games for just the love of the game has
        greatly diminished. We live in a “now” society and
        this rebuild doesnt fit today’s philosophy for many.

        • Mrs. Howell

          Agree on kids. Baseball is a game where if you understand it, there are dozens of thoughts going through your head as you watch or coach. Certainly not boring! But today kids have access to constant stimulus which baseball doesn’t provide unless you understand the game-chicken/egg issue.

          • cub2014

            yep, my wife 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters
            dont understand how i can watch baseball. I have
            explained the game to them they just dont get it.
            They do love Wrigley though.

            • Mrs. Howell

              My wife loves Wrigley thankfully!

        • Mrs. Howell

          My dad would tell me soccer is boring. Agreed, but I presume that’s because I don’t have the deep appreciation for the game like I do baseball.

          • JC

            That’s because there is no deep appreciation for soccer. It’s kicking a ball back and forth, running and flopping. Nothing exciting ever happens.

        • Mrs. Howell

          So I told dad that baseball is boring. He was outraged. I told him that objectively, baseball is slow. It’s just that we have our hearts and brains engaged due to that deeper attachment. Think he agreed. BTW, soccer IS boring.

          • JC

            The people that see baseball as being boring just don’t understand the deeper elements of the game. It has nothing to do with deeper attachment.

            • Kyle

              I think I understand the deeper elements of the game pretty darn well, but if I don’t have an emotional rooting interest in the game, I find baseball games to be excruciating.

              Honestly, I think the people who find it fascinating are the ones who know the deeper elements well but not *too* well. If you don’t know them, then you don’t understand all the little strategies. If you know them too well, you know how nearly meaningless those little strategies are.

      • Brains

        I disagree on *principle*. The point of sports isn’t to win, it’s *trying* to win. If we aren’t trying, then it’s not sportsmanlike. I just hate that they sabotaged the roster to get draft picks, and that they don’t intend on improving the MLB squad until it’s convenient for other non-baseball-field interests.

    • Voice of Reason

      People have paid big bucks over the past 100 years to mostly watch the cubs play bad baseball.

      The experiment puts a new spin on what is affectionately known as bad baseball.

      In other words, there’s no difference.

  • Brains

    Any “plan” that doesn’t involve even trying to win within a 6 year period isn’t actually a plan. It’s a PR strategy.

    • Tony_S

      Wow. This was terribly painful to read, and possibly the single truest thing I’ve read since the inception of The Plan.

      Very well said.

    • Kyle

      wildapplause.gif

    • cub2014

      Brains did I miss something who said the “plan”
      is to lose for the 1st 6 years? You love to state
      these wild and usually negative comments.

      • Cyranojoe

        It’s close to the only thing he does.

        Wow. It makes me miss Diehard.

        • Brains

          just sticking to the message, like Theo. except the message isn’t the illusion of winning, it’s asking why we aren’t winning, without excuses. basically, my message is “don’t be so gullible”.

      • Professor Snarks

        Cub2014, let’s put what Brains said in historical perspective. Do you remember this really bad team a while back. They had a great shortstop,(future HoF, actually) just traded for a 24 year old TOR starter, but that was it. The rest of their talent was in the minor leagues.
        This is what the minor leagues produced.
        Yr #1
        HoF 3rd baseman
        HoF outfielder
        Yr #2
        RoY 2nd baseman
        Yr#3
        HoF outfielder
        6 time allstar shortstop
        Yr#4
        4 time allstar 2nd baseman
        yr #5
        traded for HoF pitcher
        promoted LHP (most wins of any Jewish LHP, all time).

        It took this team 7 years to have a winning record (okay, they were a game over .500 in year #3) and didn’t really compete for a title until year 10. Year 10!

        i know with free agency and the fact more teams can make the playoffs, things have changed, but my point it, is takes time for young players to become productive and meld into a winning team.

        (BTW, odds are our current minor league system doesn’t have 2 future HoFers, and unlikely our current ss is).

        • Brains

          yeah i keep saying stuff like this to deaf ears. it’s easier to talk the talk than continuously framing logistics. i’ll leave that to your and Kyle’s expert pens.

          basically, i want the cubs to win. sooner AND later. but i don’t see anything at all that shows us primed to win within many, many years. we’re further away than before Theo got here. so it’ll be 5-6 years since he got here, or if his gambles don’t pan out, much, much longer, and maybe never. that’s it yo!

          • Professor Snarks

            This whole plan really is contingent on Bryant AND Baez becoming stars (superstars?), Rizzo and Castro becoming, at a minimum, above avg major leaguers. If Baez and Bryant wash out, we’ll be drafting in the top 5 for at least five more years.

            That being said, after the 1983 season, I never would have guessed the first Cubs playoff game I would see would be in 1984. So there is always hope. Hey, Baez and Bryant can come up and be GREAT immediately, Castro and Rizzo click, and the baseball Gods rain down TOR starters. We could start winning in 2015/2016, but not extremely likely. Not impossible, but not likely.

            On the bright side, if most of our young players and prospects become what they could, we could have an extended, like 8-10 years, run at the playoffs.

            • cub2014

              what do the cubs need to be perennial
              contenders?
              1. 3B (Baez,Olt,Bryant,Villanueva)
              2. 2B (Olt,Alcantera,Baez or FA)
              3. 2 OF’ers (Bryant,Almora,Soler,
              or a couple FA)
              4. TOR (from where I dont know)
              5. closer (many options available)

              They need Rizzo and Castro to recover
              from 2013 and 2 of the prospects to hit.
              So to say they are so far away is simply
              not accurate.

              • Kyle

                You listed 8 things they needed. That’s pretty far.

                • cub2014

                  Kyle,
                  Actually of all the things I mentioned
                  if Rizzo and Castro struggle again we
                  are in a deep hole. If they dont we need
                  2 of our 6 prospects to make it. We will
                  need 2-3 FA or trades to complete the
                  rebuilld that can and does happen
                  within one season quite often.

              • jt

                “what do the cubs need to be perennial contenders?”
                –cub2014
                Sweeney couldn’t play CF in Fenway but I think he would be fine at Wrigley. Some road games he may be a little iffy. The guy is a 0.750 OPS career vs RHP and is a platoon only solution. But there are guys like Rajai Davis with a career 0.769 OPS vs LHP. I’d rather have Ellsbury but an All Star is not needed at each position.
                *
                Pretty much the same with Schierholz in RF. There is a need for another RHH platoon guy there and perhaps neither Lake nor Vitters are adequate. But a RHH outfielder who can platoon? I don’t think that is a big deal.
                *
                As bad with the bat as Barney was in 2013 he did have a 0.725 OPS vs LHP. Valbuena spent a couple seasons at 2B with Cleveland and I understand he had a pretty good glove there. Again, I’d rather have Cano but there there is an adequate solution available.
                *
                OK, I’ll give you that 3B is prospect dependent. LF looks bleak. There is a need for a top of the rotation guy or at the very least a decent 4th guy like Arroyo.
                But I don’t foresee either Camp or Lillybridge breaking ST with the Big Club in 2014 and the hotstove has yet to begin.
                *
                Perennial?
                They need to keep promoting good prospects who become good rookies who become good vets.
                The train started with Starlin, then Shark, then Wood and Rizzo and then Castillo. They need to keep that train moving.

        • cub2014

          Snarks,
          i keep saying this, you cant count on your
          prospects to make you a contender. they
          are inventory.

          this team is 4 stars away from being a
          perennial contender. 1 outfielder, 1 infielder,
          1 starter and 1 closer. Everything else is in
          place. Teams go from last to 1st quite often
          so this 10 year BS is just that.

          I too am tired of waiting but it has only
          been 2 years.

          • Professor Snarks

            Unfortunately, I think we are farther away than the four positions you mentioned. I hope you are right and I am wrong. I would be happy to apologize to you during a Grant Park celebration. Very happy.

            I understand what you are saying about prospects being inventory, but the way this team is being built seems to indicate they are relying heavily on the prospects being the core, either themselves, or the guys they trade them for.

    • Joe

      6 years? Wow you guys are losing it. Go find another team dipshit.

      • Brains

        tell me with a straight face that we have even a chance to be better than marginally over 500 by 2016. there’s no way that a bunch of rookies come up and turn us into a winner. we have ZERO established veterans, ZERO #1 or #2 pitchers, and a lot of question marks even about our minor league investments. either you aren’t paying attention, or you’re just extremely uninformed about what logistics are necessary to put a professional team on the field at an MLB level.

        • Joe

          Thats right, because established veterans grow on trees and don’t start out young and develop.

          No chance by 2016 to reach .500?? What the fuck are you on man? How in the hell is there NO chance?

          • Brains

            you’re backtracking already. keep your scatology to a conversation that you’re prepared to have.

            • Joe

              No backtracking here, Im really curious what makes you think the cubs will not sign ANY veteran players (since they’ve already proven they do that every year). Also, Im curious to know why you think none of the players currently on the roster will develop at all.

              You seem to think they arent attempting to do anything but lose, which is just false.

            • Joe

              On top of that, If this is really how you feel, maybe you should start looking for other options. I’m sure you could find another team out there that isn’t owned by an evil rich asshole.

              You seem miserable. I feel sorry actually.

              • Kyle

                This argument is so weird to me. The person is basically saying “I’m not a loyal fan, I would bail on the team if they made me that mad.”

                Basically they are admitting that they would bail on the team and using that to question your fandom.

                • Joe

                  I’m saying if a team really makes you that angry and upset, maybe it’s not the best choice. That’s it.

                  This is only entertainment. Why not find a way to enjoy it instead of shitting all over everyone else.

                  • Brains

                    you sound like a fair weather fan to me. i don’t like it because i care if the team is actually invested in its own well being. i have no allegiance to a front office. i have allegiance to the team. this is a big change the past 15 years – people who care about owners more than the players.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      I’m still not sure I understand what you think the “Cubs” are.

                    • Brains

                      i’d like to find any statistically notable number of fans who know the names of the front office from the 1960s and 1970s. almost no one, except for a few baseball scholars, but we all remember the players. now people don’t remember the players, but they remember the “team manipulators”. this is a huge epistemological shift in allegiance. the players and coaches are expendable, as long as the team is engineers to maximize statistical maximization.

                      well, what if the social engineering experiment isn’t to make the team better but to engineer an even more FO/ownership infrastructure? then we all start trying to think like them. our focus is on instrumentalizing players for the sake of manipulation, instead of simply having a good team with guys who stick around for a long time.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      If the predicate for how you’re viewing everything is that fandom was better in the 60s and 70s, so much of what you say has become clear to me.

                    • Brains

                      …then we are forced to simply accept everything they say, in spite of what actually happens on the field. losing becomes a new kind of winning. players are fodder for more fodder. value is more important than impact. and it kind of ends there.

                    • Brains

                      that’s an interesting way to frame it. but yes i am a player centric fan, and not a front office centric fan. i like the front office as long as they’re set on winning within what i consider to be a reasonable span considering the means, finances, and availability that they have. i

                    • cub2014

                      i would hope most people on this sight
                      are chicago cubs fans first and foremost.
                      players,managers,owners & FO come
                      and go we get excited or upset by how
                      the above mentioned affect the Cubs

                    • Brains

                      yes of course. in the past we would have blamed a bad player for messing up…buckner anybody?

                      but now that players are instruments of the FO, Theo has made it so that 100% of the team image is his. everything about the team is Theo now. we have no hometown heroes anymore. we just have a FO. so if it’s going badly, and Theo wants 100% of the glory for what the team does, he also gets 100% of the blame for his decisions if the team is badly constructed, no?

                    • Brains

                      and PS, these arguments pretty much encapsulate my position on everything, for real, without facetiousness

                    • Hansman

                      Ya man, I have no clue who any of the players were of the last 15 years but I can name all 97 front office members every year.

                      Seriously, what fans can’t name the top players of the cubs for the last 40 years but can name front office execs.

                      Nice straw man named dumbass argument

          • YourResidentJag

            You REALLY don’t get it and the tone of your language is the mere proof. Isn’t it, Joe?

            • Joe

              Don’t get what exactly? That Ricketts and Theo are terrible and only in it to steal money from the poor cubbie fans?

              Give me a break.

              • YourResidentJag

                Um…nice exaggeration try. Marks for hyperbole. The lack of nuance in your argument is exactly what makes it a horrible one.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Run away, Joe. You may think you are in a thoughtful conversation, but you are not.

                • Brains

                  i respect that you have to keep things moving but that you leave me room to ruminate, btw. you’ll find that i emulate the same tone of many posters here but with the opposite spin. it works to pull the conversation one way – it took me a couple months to learn.

                • YourResidentJag

                  I see that Brett doesn’t understand the meaning of balanced argument here, either. He shoots. He scores. :)

                • Joe

                  Oh I know it’s pointless.

        • cub2014

          brains, your world must suck. you must believe
          everyone is dishonest, people are only out for
          themselves. The rich are evil, heck they are barely
          human. I am so sick of your bullshit you go on and
          on it never ends.

          • Brains

            well i’m pessimistic. you’re right. but my world is good because i can sleep at night knowing that i don’t buy nonsense or gamble with my personal investments. once i see a great team on the field i’m going to say, “Theo has done a terrific job, no matter how the season turns out”. you can’t plan to win, but you can plan to try your best. that’s what gets my goat (michigangoat).

            • cub2014

              brains, yet most successful entrepenuers
              know all about the gamble. giving everything
              you have when people doubt you. your assets
              your time and yes many times they fail. many
              times though there is great success. i am
              willing to give them more than 2 years before
              i judge this regime. besides to this point they
              have done exactly what they said they were
              going to do.

              • Brains

                yes but the gamble is the unusual approach of *not trying*, not trying and failing. until that new team tradition changes, i’ll be against it. once i think they’ve put effort into putting a team on the field that can win, i’ll say “this is good work”. sometimes you end up like toronto and get a spate of injuries, but they went for it in the offseason and that’s what it’s about. sure, build the minors, but don’t feed us a pile of crap about how poor the poor billionaire owners are, or how theo’s plan is on the rails and this was all planned. this has been a complete disaster area. i hate people who grin and stare at car accidents.

                • cub2014

                  brains,
                  you and i agree on something. when the FO
                  says its too poor to sign top FA i laugh at that.
                  what they are really saying is they dont want
                  to until they are close to contending.

                  i think that is coming this and next off season.
                  Theo only has a 5 year contract, there is no
                  way he came to chicago w/o the ability to
                  spend some money.

        • Brian Myers

          By 2016?

          C: Castillo
          1B: Rizzo or Dan Vogelbach
          SS: Alcantara (or Castro… one or the other will likely be gone).
          2B Baez (He has to play somewhere)
          3B Bryant
          OF Solar
          OF Almora
          OF Lake

          That’s a lot of power and speed… and should be a fun team to watch. Better yet, they will have good bench depth with guys that would be starting today that won’t be able to crack that lineup.

          Add a couple of free agent starting pitchers (they will have the cash by then) and keep the pitchers coming up through the pipe line (Kyle Hendricks and perhaps C.J. Edwards) . At that point, they might have more talent than the 1989 or 1998 clubs which made the playoffs.

  • waffle

    In the time the brain trust has been here our farm system has gone from bottom quarter to top 5? Right? We have fewer albatross contracts? We have some YOUNG pieces on the big league team to develop? This all looks like significant, long term, progress to me. Theo has said it over and over, they are looking to be a consistently competitive team long term. If that’s the goal I think the way they are going about it makes sense

    I want them to be good NOW, but I cannot really argue that Theo has done what he said he was going to do quite well. And I agree with his strategy.

    this team was a mess in all facets very very recently. There was an aweful lot of housekeeping required.

    • Kyle

      “In the time the brain trust has been here our farm system has gone from bottom quarter to top 5? Right?”

      Not really. That’s one of those myths Epstein likes to perpetuate. Baseball America ranked our farm system No. 16 in 2011 and No. 14 in 2012.

      But yes, the farm system *has* improved greatly. All they needed to do that was three straight top-10 draft picks, two MLB FAs allowed to leave for compensation picks, a dozen major leageurs traded for prospects, and something like $60m-$70m committed to international free agents.

      Every conceivable resource has been devoted to acquiring prospects. Now we have a lot of prospects. Hooray, I guess.

      “We have fewer albatross contracts?”

      That literally required no effort on their part at all. All they had to do was sit there and let them expire

      ” We have some YOUNG pieces on the big league team to develop?”

      Eh, have we really added young big-league pieces?

      Castro and Castillo were already here. Lake was already in the system and isn’t exactly something to crow about yet. The only young piece we’ve added was Rizzo, whom I’m happy to have, but that’s not exactly a net gain in young pieces because we gave up a good young piece to get him.

      • When the Music’s Over

        Yep, you’d have me impressed if the Cubs pulled off the minor league improvement while fielding a competitive major league team. Getting a good farm system under the route they chose should be the baseline expectation.

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        So, what would your plan have been? Please explain how Lake isn’t something to crow about yet! Lastly, why do you appear on one side of the fence one moment regarding Theo & Jed, and then the complete opposite side the next?

        Please know that I enjoy your insights/posts! Just had to ask.

        • Kyle

          “So, what would your plan have been?”

          To use the scant window of the 2011-12 to use our financial resources to add some key MLB-quality talent while simultaneously laying the groundwork for improved scouting and development to begin to improve the farm system in a slower but still-permanent way.

          ” Please explain how Lake isn’t something to crow about yet! ”

          As of right now, he projects to *maybe* be a fringe starter. He’s got a long way to go to prove that his bat can play in the majors and that he can make contact consistently enough to be a long-term producer.

          “Lastly, why do you appear on one side of the fence one moment regarding Theo & Jed, and then the complete opposite side the next?”

          My general opinion is that they completely botched the 2011-12 offseason and put the team in a major hole that it didn’t need to be in. Since then, they’ve done a reasonably good job for what state the team has been in. Our long-term future looks middling, with some reasons for hope and some reasons for pessimism.

          So depending on what specifically we’re discussing, it can seem like I’m either strongly on their side or strongly against, but it’s mostly in between.

          • Adventurecizin’ Justin

            Good stuff, thanks!

            As for Lake, didn’t he exceed your expectations? Maybe the flops by Vitters & BJax the year before has me overly optimistic about Lake, but you can’t teach the skill sets that Lake has. If he can be refined, he will be a beast.

            Last year, he started the season off with an injury. Then, proceeded to hit decently at a new level (if memory is correct). THEN, he comes up to the Bigs, plays new positions, and definitely didn’t suck at the plate!! Yes, I’m bullish on Lake!

            • When the Music’s Over

              It’s also very hard to teach the skill sets that Lake doesn’t possess, and those missing skill sets are arguably more of a negative than the positives from the skill sets he does have. He remains a complete wildcard.

            • Kyle

              The fly in the Lake ointment is that the skill that he lacks, the ability to consistently put bat to ball, is pretty much the most important one going forward in deciding what kind of career he has.

              That said, I don’t hate having him around or anything. There’s enough there that I’m willing to give him a big chunk of playing time in 2013 to see if he can maybe break out in a huge way or at least stablize into a 2-win, “I don’t hate starting him while he’s cheap” player. Those are nice to have.

            • Mrs. Howell

              Agreed Adventure. Lake has skill sets that CANNOT be taught. A physical specimen with speed and a quick bat. Will he make enough contact? We’ll see but for goodness sake, at least you have something to work with and Lake is relatively young. I swear you saber metrics guys are cheering for Lake to fail so you can smugly claim your system is right. Please admit that saber metrics is not 100% accurate and baseball has a history of late bloomers.

              • Kyle

                Almost nothing in that post that you attribute to others in any way represents the opinions of anyone I’ve seen on this site.

          • ClevelandCubsFan

            “To use the scant window of the 2011-12 to use our financial resources to add some key MLB-quality talent while simultaneously laying the groundwork for improved scouting and development to begin to improve the farm system in a slower but still-permanent way.”

            While I understand the sentiment, I can’t help but wonder if it’s just the frustration of fans who didn’t just commit nearly $1,000,000,000.

            Generally there are two business growing strategies. First, you can go slow and steady and invest in new resources as you gain influxes of capital that allow you yo maintain overhead and keep capital on hand for insurance. Second, you can try to maximally leverage the resources at your disposal, betting that influxes of capital will greatly offset the costs of leveraging those resources and not cause you to go into (or go further into) debt.

            Obviously, most strategies fall somewhere between these extremes. The Ricketts already have a debt obligation. I suspect this makes them a bit risk adverse right now and tends their thinking toward the first strategy. It sucks as a fan but it is what it is.

            I juat hope the long term goal is to truly be the Second City of baseball.

          • TS

            I’m sympathetic to this POV, as I too was of a mind that the new brain trust could walk and chew gum at the same time, i.e. build a competitive team in the short term that could keep us all occupied (and maybe steal a championship) while the farm system got back into shape at a more deliberate pace.

            Looking back now though, I’m not so sure breaking the bank for that one offseason to build this short-term competitive team would have yielded the results we would have wanted, and there’s an excellent chance we would now be looking at an aging roster with only a marginally improved farm system, stuck in a situation similar to what the team was in from 2009-2011. In other words, same results as we’ve seen the last two seasons–no championship, and possibly no playoffs even–but with continuing serious payroll issues and a roster not altogether different in talent from the one fielded in the years pre-Theo. Treading water.

            And taking into account how many of the free agents of that class have performed (not to mention the likelihood of the Cubs being able to get enough of them in the first place), in my mind the best case scenario the last two years was fringe contention. And if that’s the case, then I’m fine with where we are and with what’s on tap. Yes, I’m well aware the path Theo and Jed have chosen is as risky–if not more so–than the above scenario. It could very well be that ten years from now we look back on the Theo Era much like we look at the MacPhail Era, that is as mostly wasted time. I’m just not so sure there was a way to truly avoid what’s happened the last few years outside of clairvoyance. Much of why the team is in its current predicament is because of moves made (and not made) long before Theo ever got here. In many ways, we’re still paying the piper for the mistakes and misfortunes of as far back as ten years ago.

            So, all things being equal, I’ve learned to be okay with a low payroll and all the eggs in the youth movement basket for the time being. I’m okay with letting Theo and Jed see this through. If nothing else, a big fail here should shut up the Let the Kids Play Crowd for a little while. And after enduring their bitching and moaning for so many years, to me anyway, that’s not nothing.

            • cub2014

              the cubs have sucked these last 2 years,
              no doubt! the FO made sure of it by flipping
              assets. But I have to ask what good would
              a 80 win season and a 4th place finish in
              the NL central have been worth?

            • Mrs. Howell

              Great, thoughtful, rational, unemotional, adult analysis TS. Well said!

            • Kyle

              “Looking back now though, I’m not so sure breaking the bank for that one offseason to build this short-term competitive team would have yielded the results we would have wanted, and there’s an excellent chance we would now be looking at an aging roster with only a marginally improved farm system, stuck in a situation similar to what the team was in from 2009-2011. In other words, same results as we’ve seen the last two seasons–no championship, and possibly no playoffs even–but with continuing serious payroll issues and a roster not altogether different in talent from the one fielded in the years pre-Theo. Treading water.”

              I agree that it’s very possible that we wouldn’t be much better off at the MLB level than we were in, say, 2009. But the odds are always against winning the World Series, and you can’t run away from slim chances because those are the only chances you get.

              But if the farm system doesn’t improve in that scenario, then Epstein and Co. quite simply wouldn’t be the guys they were sold to be. You still have the 2011 class that includes Baez. You still have Almora. You still have some sort of first-round pick in 2013, although probably not Bryant. If that’s not the beginnings of long-term success from the system, then how are we going to sustain success when we’re drafting late in the 20s if the plan goes well? If they can’t build a consistent farm system without flips and top-5 picks, then they’re just the reverse Jim Hendry. Instead of a couple of good years followed by a couple of bad, you’ll get a couple of bad followed by a couple of good. But you’ll never get the long-term success that’s been promised.

              “And taking into account how many of the free agents of that class have performed (not to mention the likelihood of the Cubs being able to get enough of them in the first place), in my mind the best case scenario the last two years was fringe contention. And if that’s the case, then I’m fine with where we are and with what’s on tap.”

              See, that’s where we’ll just disagree (and that’s OK). I like fringe contention. If teams weren’t willing to play for fringe contention, the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox wouldn’t have added so many key free agents last offseason.

              “I’m just not so sure there was a way to truly avoid what’s happened the last few years outside of clairvoyance. Much of why the team is in its current predicament is because of moves made (and not made) long before Theo ever got here. In many ways, we’re still paying the piper for the mistakes and misfortunes of as far back as ten years ago.”

              At the very least, I agree that there’s no way out of it now. I believe that an ambitious 2011-12 offseason represented one last shot to pull out of the nosedive and have a few good years, but that window is gone.

              Like you said, nothing to do now but see it through.

              • Brains

                This is right. Theo has built the entire future of his reputation on poor 20 year olds, Bryant and Almora. Ruh roh!!!

              • TS

                Agreed on much of this. There’s a part of me that will always be up for fringe contention if that’s all there is, but I see that as a benefit of being a fan, of having no real skin in the game. My reputation, my career, my livelihood do not depend on the success of the Cubs. I’m not out there spending other people’s money to build a team that will make other people happy. It’s different (and it should be) when you’re running the show. And again, while I’m sympathetic to the idea of aggression and ambition when it comes to team building–I’d gladly sacrifice 10 years of bad baseball to see 1 Cubs championship (and hey, that may still happen)–I do see wisdom in the idea of building a team that can contend 7 out of every 10 years. And seeing how that’s the goal, Theo’s way is probably the better of the two paths discussed.

                And, as you’ve said (and I’ve said), nothing for it now, it’s where we are, got to see it through. And by god, I hope with all my heart Theo is right and we’re toasting his genius for years to come.

                • Kyle

                  I think you are pretty off base on this part, though.

                  Pretty much every serious academic study of baseball economics will tell you the same thing: Being good at baseball is *really* good for your finances if you are an owner. And take a look at Ricketts’ statements circa 2009-the middle of 2011: He didn’t seem to want any part of a rebuild. We’re already seeing it in lost attendance in revenue and tepid interest in media deals. I don’t think there’s much chance the team being bad is an economic decision.

                  As far as building to be a 7/10 contender, it remains to be seen that’s what we’re doing. Heck, we’re already 0/2, so it’d have to be 7/8 just to get there. And almost nobody contends 7/8.

                  • TS

                    Hm. I’m not sure I follow what you’re disagreeing with. I was simply saying that as a fan without any real say in what goes on and therefore exempt from any real consequences for any bad decision-making, it’s easy for me to get behind various ideas for contention, especially ones that focus on instant gratification. Nowhere did I mean to say that the Cubs being bad the last two years was a good idea economically speaking. Obviously, being good year to year is the best thing for the bottom line (unless you run a team in south Florida).

                    • Kyle

                      I misread it as “it’s easy to say try to win when you aren’t the one who has to pay for it,” as if trying to win meant operating at a loss or ruining the team’s finances.

                      The ability to not risk his professional reputation sometimes seems like exactly why Epstein wanted out of Boston and onto a team that would allow him to do a complete, total rebuild with no short- or even medium-term expectations.

      • Jason Powers

        Sacrifice of present to build said future. How active 2014 hot stove will point to whether a ricketts cracked open the vault for talent purchase. If not expect less than 2.3 mil at games until we are at .500 or above.

    • When the Music’s Over

      It’s nice and all to point out that the farm system has seen a remarkable improvement since the 2011 draft, but it’s also convenient to dismiss the purposefully miserable seasons that have occurred in order to do so (and maybe 1-2 more).

      • Tony_S

        And it’s the 1-2 more that burns.

        I’ll grant that by intentionally sucking for 2 years, we got better draft picks. Okay.

        But the reason they did it on the cheap, and with no hope, is that it saved money, which is what most of Cub Nation can’t (or doesn’t want to) grasp. If I’m a season ticket holder or regular customer, my prices didn’t go down, so why did the product on the field? (Disclosure: I am neither, actually made it back to Wrigley this year for the first time in about 6 yrs) As a paying consumer, I absolutely want ownership to spend internationally and in the draft, and I can even swallow fire-selling the vets for prospects at the deadline if the team sucks on July 1.

        But to not spend the money even in the off-season to attempt to make the big club look competitive on 1 April, while still raking it in from the fans, is kinda $#^++%, at best. And to expect the fans to hang on for more of this is silly; attendance is dropping, and rightfully so. They’ve done this for two years now; it’s time to execute, or at a bare minimum, act like you’re trying. That’s the only way to keep the consumer base you still have.

        Figure it this way: Theo says we gotta rebuild if we’re ever gonna be truly good (like Evil Empire of the Midwest good, perennially good). It’s going to increase baseball operations costs by X, and it would be best if the big team sucks for a few years so we can get higher draft picks to boot. I (Theo) plan to start each year competitive, and unless we’re running away handily with the division and favored to win the NL pennant, we’re flipping them all for young assets at the trade deadline.

        Ricketts replies that X is about all he can afford to spend for the next few years TOTAL, so let’s do the rebuild thing and the big team will just have to suck right outta the gate, is that do-able?

        And here we are.

        Also, what they’ve done is somewhat akin to what the Florida Marlins have done for years, but I think Ricketts’ fandom combined with some common sense and knowing your consumer base (this is Chicago, not Miami, there’d be riots in the streets if they disregarded the fan base THAT much) has kept them from going completely off the grid.

        • Adventurecizin’ Justin

          Yo Tony… I have been a Cubs fan for 30+ years. We have dealt with many bad teams within those years. At the same time, previous management NEVER had a sustainable plan. With this regime, I finally see sustainability about to happen. I’ve been very patient with bad management for 30 years… So, now I will be patient as I believe there is finally a vision.

          • Tony_S

            That’s awesome, I’ve probably technically been a fan almost as long, although I’m only 36!

            The issue I think is that there are far more “casual” fans to spend money than “hardcore” fans like you.

            Another way, you’re part of the baseline, like the 40 wins and losses every team is going to get every year regardless.

            But I hope you’re right as to the bright outlook!!

        • cub2014

          lets see what the cubs do in the next 6-8 weeks
          before we write off the next 2 years.

          what i think they will TRY to do:
          1. sign choo (he fits the plan)
          2. sign tanaka (he fits the plan? maybe.)
          3. sign a starter (baker, arroyo,
          capuano etc)
          4. trade Samardijza
          5. if they dont get choo, sign or
          trade for a big league hitter (hart,
          cargo,ethier)
          6. sign a closer (veres,wilson,benoit)
          and of course a back up catcher.

          what I think they will not do
          1. trade castro
          2. sign mccann,cano,granderson
          3. trade barney (will try in june)

          i think the FO has followed the plan:
          1. get rid of bad contracts
          2. tank the season (to get top draft picks)
          3. flip assets for prospects
          4. revamp staff (scouting etc)
          5. upgrade facilities
          6. sign international guys (they wont this
          year, all used up)

          So the first 2 years they have spent a ton of
          money just not at the big league level. I would
          think that would start to change this offseason
          but we will know in the next 8 weeks.

        • Kyle

          “But to not spend the money even in the off-season to attempt to make the big club look competitive on 1 April, while still raking it in from the fans, is kinda $#^++%, at best.”

          The Cubs spent a decent chunk of money last offseason.

      • Tony_S

        Furthermore, and I know I didn’t invent this theory, but I’m starting to think it’s more and more accurate, I’m not convinced that Dale Sveum wasn’t always, like from square one, a placeholder or patsy of sorts, to get the team (really the whole organization via daily media contact) through the two “we know we’re going to suck” years.

        Poor guy, I hope they were at least semi-upfront with him when they hired him (which, actually, I’d bet they were).

        Next ray of hope? (Cuz we’re Cub fans, we live on hope) They fired Sveum less because they think he sucks, and more because say, Baez’ rockstar year combined with Bryant’s quick onset means they actually believe The Plan is ahead of schedule.

        Now, the manager search is more serious because we’re closer to respectability and we’ll all look like @$$holes if we fire a guy again next year, so this has to at least possibly be THE GUY we want to join us in the history books. We’ll have one (so help me, Theo, it better not be more than ONE) more year of phoning it in before we get serious about this thing at the big level.

        Of course, if it takes more than one year before they start to invest in the big club, now it’s the mayor’s fault, the rooftops’ fault, everybody else’s fault…

        • Kyle

          It’s pretty hard to look at the seasons of Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Jeff Samardzija and say that the Plan is ahead of schedule, unless the plan never included being good in 2014.

          • Tony_S

            Basing it on my theoretical Sveum placeholder argument, it didn’t, and that’s why they signed him to a 3 yr deal.

            Not saying it’s fact, but it’s possible.

          • Professor Snarks

            Realistically speaking, I doubt they thought the ‘Plan’ would get them competitive until 2016, at the earliest.

            • cub2014

              the “plan” makes sense and I think it
              goes like this: (remember theo has a 5
              year contract)

              1st 2 years unload,unload,unload, flip,
              flip, flip and build, build, build! this they
              have done.

              year 3: add a few long term pieces be
              respectable maybe catch lightning in
              a bottle

              year 4: see which prospects are panning
              out and make adjustments accordingly.
              Add 1-2 more long term assets, be a
              perennial playoff contender.

              year 5: theo to negotiate extension.

              • YourResidentJag

                So in year 5, when the Theo doesn’t make the playoffs after 5 yrs and a cost of $20 mil plus for he and his regime, he gets extension???

                • cub2014

                  jag, that is my point if we are not in the
                  playoffs in year 5. Theo has fired himself.
                  If we lose for 5 years out of 5 he will be
                  gone so you really think that is his plan
                  to build for year 6?

                  • YourResidentJag

                    No, that’s the indication I got from your post.

                    • cub2014

                      lets all agree on a few things can we:

                      *choo batting leadoff would be great for 2014
                      *theo is not incompetent
                      *we have no idea when the cubs will start
                      contending but we agree it is the goal

                      On a good note Bryant and Soler will be
                      on MLB network at 7pm for the Fall Stars
                      game! Go Cubs!

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Sorry, just can’t on all points there. Enjoy the game.

            • Kyle

              That’s not what most people were saying back in 2012. The Plan seems to be constantly readjusting to account for what happens, because few want to admit that things that happen weren’t according to plan.

              • Brains

                THIS.

                we have to admit at some point that the “plan” wasn’t much more than wait for contracts to expire and put slightly more attention into the minors, just like other teams. what have we done that would separate us from other teams? they all use metrics, they all have minor league systems… what separates us right now is the owners’ bad relationship with the fan community and our unwillingness to sign impact free agents.

                • Kyle

                  I wish I had made a list of everyone who said “If we’re not going for it by 2014, I’ll be right there with you” two years ago.

                  • Joe

                    Things change. Certain parts of the plan have worked and some haven’t, but it is still going the direction we have wanted it to. This org is in a much better place than when they got here in just about every area except the MLB team.

                    Now, if the minors sucked, no new coaches were hired, no money spent in Intl free agents, AND a shitty MLB team. Most would be jumping ship.

                    It’s too early(ONLY two years in) and not enough has gone wrong to switch sides now.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      But i don’t think that’s his point. His point actually agrees with your argument that few things actually go according to plan.

                  • Mike F

                    Yeah, but people get too caught up in all these projected details. First, I think they took longer to dump Garza who I wouldn’t have traded to start with and Soriano who was a huge priority. So that phase probably took a little longer, the base building I think went according to plan or philosophy and the biggest setback frankly was Castro and to a lesser extent Rizzo.

                    I think Theo thought he could teach Castro and intelligent approach and he rebelled. Pure and simple that is a big problem, but putting him on the block is a big step in the right direction. And people run from it but while Theo is a BS factory, he has said clearly now the base is built. For those who are big believers in “the Plan”, that is very important and many seem to miss it.

                    I don’t understand it, I don’t agree with it, and I don’t know how it makes any sense, but I get the feeling that they may actually be one of the teams that pursues Cano…..There’s a set of tea leaves that if you read hard enough you could probably see that in….

  • X The Cubs Fan

    I heard Tanaka got his first loss yesterday & threw 160 pitches.

  • Matt

    I agree about Lake. I’m skeptical about his ability to overcome his approach issues but considering they won’t be bringing in any “good” players, why not see if he can make adjustments.

    What drives me crazy is when , over at the Den, there is a serious discussion about the merits of Chris Young & Franklin G. Both players have established themselves as bad; they’re both older, and neither one would bring back anything in a ” flip”. The whole flipping phenomenon has run its course. We have all the minor-league depth we need. We do need elite SP but good luck with that. Either wait for the premium prospects to come up & hopefully live up to expectations or go strategically sign some FAs who might actually help the club. I feel fans are becoming hoodwinked by terms like “flip”, ” value”, and the “plan”. I’m done now….

    • Mrs. Howell

      Much rather have us play a Lake with potential than sign marginal guys like Young. Let’s not block positions where we have prospects coming at almost every position.

  • cub2014

    thats why I keep saying choo makes so
    much sense. left handed bat, can play all 3
    OF positions. Our OF prospects (Almora,
    Bryant,Soler,Lake) all bat righthanded. So if
    2 of the 4 make it that would give us our OF
    for the next 5-6 years. Because lets be honest
    if we are very lucky only a couple of these guys
    are going to be stars.

    • Mrs. Howell

      Agree completely. 3 OF positions so surplus there caused by a FA doesn’t hurt the long-range plan, even if we make a mistake. Just don’t want a mediocre signing blocking or taking away needed playing time. Leave the infield alone. We have surplus coming.

      • cub2014

        blocking rookies to play mediocre or
        bad veterans is a horrible strategy.

        so is making changes to young players
        that have already had success.

        i think these are some of the reasons
        svuem is unemployed.

        • N.J. Riv

          Svuem is employed by the Royals.

    • Tony_S

      Choo’s age doesn’t fit The Plan.

      • cub2014

        choo is 30 in 5 years he will be 35

      • YourResidentJag

        It’s not his age. For the last time, he can’t play the position he played last season and his stats against LHP are pedestrian to say the least.

        • cub2014

          choo played CF for a playoff team and
          can play corner OF as well. He is a high
          OBP guy he fits the plan!

          • YourResidentJag

            Choo can’t play CF and once again is pedestrian against LH pitching. Confused about you wanting what could amount to a platoon player….me too.

            • cub2014

              Jag, come on really. When Choo has gotten
              over 500 AB (which is 4 of last 5 years) he has
              hit .290 with .400 OBP yes that total includes
              against lefties. Choo would be our best
              centerfielder today (sweeney maybe slighlty
              better). Quit saying he is a platoon player
              HE IS NOT!

              • YourResidentJag

                Look at his stats solely against LHP…it’s not .290 BA with .400 OBP. Nice try, though.

                • cub2014

                  jag, those are his combined stats.
                  against lefties he had 188 PA with OBP
                  of .347 thats way better than Rizzo’s
                  thats 30 points higher than david ortiz
                  last i checked he wasnt a platoon
                  player.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    So there ya go…combined stats.

                    • cub2014

                      jag what are you talking about. choo
                      has a .347OBP against lefties he is
                      not a platoon player

                  • YourResidentJag

                    And a .290 BA???

                    • cub2014

                      rizzo .185 choo .217 ortiz .235
                      against lefties still not a platoon
                      player. OBP is the key if you
                      are the leadoff hitter

  • Jon

    I would have no problem with that fee for Tanaka. Some of you seem awfully concerned about saving daddy Ricketts money

  • ottoCub

    An important thing to consider is that, along with the farm system, there are many other parts of this organization that have been suffering from 20 years of neglect. The Cubs (Ricketts, Theo, et al) have had to invest in much more than players to re-build the infrastructure of this team. In the last 2+ years, they built a player development facility in the Dominican Rep., they are building a new Spring Training facility, they are investing in a more robust coaching and scouting staff, they moved a minor league club closer to Chicago, they are updating a woefully old and out-of-date clubhouse at Wrigley, they are investing in business ventures in the neighborhood, they are investing in new advertising opportunities at Wrigley… and more.

    These were all very important investments, and had to be done to bring this team into the 21st century. This also made it much more difficult to go out and spend on free-agents in the last couple years. These investments are more “invisible” than the player investments we all know very well. But all of these improvements will do more to contribute to a successful team in the future than any short-term investment in players.

    • Brains

      i accept that i don’t really know how much money went into these operations. but i bet it’s not so much that the 5th most profitable team in baseball – in a bad year – couldn’t afford a standard MLB big market contract. Maybe not the Dodgers, but how about at the level of, say, the Cubs?

    • Kyle

      ” In the last 2+ years, they built a player development facility in the Dominican Rep.,”

      Price tag: Around $8m, IIRC

      ” they are building a new Spring Training facility,”

      Paid for almost entirely by an $81m land sale by the taxpayers of Mesa, Ariz. The Cubs might have to kick in a little if it overruns.

      ” they are investing in a more robust coaching and scouting staff,”

      MLB teams pay for coaches and scouts out of the couch cushions. Those guys make almost nothing. I could hire almost 1000 scouts and coaches for the price of Eloy Jimenez’s signing bonus.

      “they moved a minor league club closer to Chicago,”

      That doesn’t cost them anything. They didn’t move a team, they changed affiliation agreements.

      ” they are updating a woefully old and out-of-date clubhouse at Wrigley,

      They haven’t actually done that yet, in part because they don’t want to spend out of pocket for it. If the Cubs could afford to simply do the renovations that Wrigley requires, they’d be done by now. But instead, they have to tie them to a controversial advertising expansion that they are struggling to get approved, so Wrigley continues to crumble.

      “they are investing in business ventures in the neighborhood,”

      I don’t know why anyone should be happy or even care that Ricketts is expanding his real estate portfolio.

      • mjhurdle

        Eloy Jimenez’s signing bonus was 2.8 million.

        if you were to “hire almost 1000 scouts and coaches for the price of Eloy Jimenez’s signing bonus.” you would be paying those scouts/coaches $2,800 dollars a year, and that is giving the benefit of the doubt that you meant to spend it all in one year, and not in the same amount of time that the Cubs will have Jimenez’s services for.

        Obvious exaggerations to attempt to strengthen a point are…obvious. :)

    • Kyle

      And honestly, I’m not remotely certain that these sorts of investments *will* pay off in success more than players would. A $100m spring training facility, or whatever it ends up being, is a vanity plate for a team, not something meaningful.

      • ottoCub

        Kyle, you can pick apart numbers, and minimize the cost estimates for all of the business investments that the Cubs are making. And yes, it is true that the end result of all of this investment is unknown. But, the point I was making is that it is very expensive (in funds and in resources) to rebuild and turn-around a business that has been neglected and has not re-invested in its future for so long. The Cubs ownership and management have been investing actively in an intensive and comprehensive rebuilding process, both on the field, and off. This is undeniable.

        • TOOT

          “The Cubs ownership and management have been investing actively in an intensive and comprehensive rebuilding process, both on the field, and off. This is undeniable.”

          While this may or not be true, there are very troubling signs with the FO. Castro was touted as a center piece and impact player, and now they are putting on the trading block. Rizzo was touted as an impact player and big piece and that has been a bust. These are facts that can’t be ignored.

          • Joe

            It’s not a fact that Castro is on the block, only rumor.

            Rizzo a bust? not even close.

            Try again.

            • Brains

              Neither are “busts”. The lineup was a bust last year. With a better lineup we’ll see better production from these guys. With the lineup as it is, we’ll see about what we’ve seen the past 12 months. It’s up to Theo if he wants to let the kids flounder.

              • Turn Two

                This is why i always say we can’t tank seasons for draft picks. Theoretically it sounds good. if your not winning a championship that year, then at the deadline finish last. No reason to finish.500. People who say this aren’t taking into account the affects a losing culture has on the team.

                • Brains

                  In two years we’ve developed the saddest losing-ist culture in baseball. People on this blog don’t even want to compete, they want to wait until we have five Jerome Waltons and three Albert Pujols’. But we all know that won’t happen. So why the self-deception about how bad things really are for the MLB squad? We don’t have a single proven veteran. Not one.

                  • Turn Two

                    I actually agree with Theos plan: patience, investing most funds into minor leagues, losing for a while to reconstruct. Everything except the tanking entire second halves of seasons to add one draft pick. Kris Bryant looks great, but we had to actually detract from the growth of our current players to add him. Same thing with whoever we get next year. Castro samardjiza and Rizzo did not develop as well as expected to add whoever it, is we get.
                    At some point when is it taking one step forward and three steps back.its time to additions our young major leaguers, which a soon as this year could include 2 or 3 kids long term guys, with some talent. I don’t mean superstars, but decent experienced players that will not just be trade bait, so we can rebuild a culture that is destroying our young major leaguers.

                    • Brains

                      Agreed with everything here.

                  • Jon

                    Seems a lot of people would be just as content with a ” most efficient team” award, as they would a World Series trophy.

                    • Brains

                      Or “cheapest payroll for the owners”. For some reason spending 150m for a winner would taint the whole thing for some.

                    • Jon

                      I love how when the possibility of aquiring a quality player comes up, they all turn into daddy Ricketts personal bankers. “Nope too expensive” “doesn’t seem prudent”

                    • Turn Two

                      Those players are too expensive. You only have so much payroll, if you waste it all on flavor of the months there will be no room left when we need it.

                  • Voice of Reason

                    Over just the past two years?

                    You do understand that the cubs are called the lovable losers and the nickname comes from losing for longer than the past two years.

                    • Brains

                      i’d make a distinction about this again, between hapless losers who tried, and socially engineered losers who were stopped by their own FO when they began to improve by trading away those who were trying.

                    • Brains

                      that’s just not “lovable” to me. it’s not about a community showing up to watch their team, who might not be so great. it’s heartless business. we don’t even have any name-recognition players anymore. who do we go to see at the game anymore? so different than my childhood.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      You do understand what a rebuild is?

                      Do you understand what a rebuild entails?

                    • Brains

                      i understand better than you guys might think what it takes to get new logistics in order, but i’m not convinced that’s what’s actually happening here. evidence: tje approach of every other team in the history of baseball with medium or big market.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      What size market do you consider Houston?

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Man talk about a tiresome conversation… WE GET IT! Now say something else, this routine was over used six weeks ago but you continue to bait and troll. WE GET IT! There are many other sites where you could try this material out, but it’s beyond tiresome now.

                      ***cue goat on tree link or other pathetic troll attack***

                    • Brains

                      houston is full of self inflicted wounds, not the least being a grotesquely enormous outfield that at one point injured players. they’re an example of mismanagement that is undergoing a significant fix. are they really the same model as the cubs, or anyone else?

                      as much as theo likes to paint the past 10 years as an awful era in which nothing was in order, in fact that really just refers to about a 3 year period that was more mediocre than houston-like. i personally don’t appreciate his attempt to change our perspective of a recent history that had a lot of exciting high points and enjoyable teams. you don’t need to drag your own team through the mud to make it look all shiny.

                    • Brains

                      and goat, you are troller numero uno for this site. you only comment on other people’s posts, not on the team.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Way to keep trolling along Brains… I’m going away it’s all yours.

            • TOOT

              “It’s not a fact that Castro is on the block, only rumor”

              Sorry to rain on your parade, but it is a fact Castro is up for adoption.

            • TOOT

              Dude, Rizzo’s numbers and why I say he is a bust.

              RISP—.191,.306, .309
              RISP/2 outs—-.182, .308, .303

              Yes IMO he is a bust.

      • Scotti

        “A $100m spring training facility…is a vanity plate for a team, not something meaningful.”

        Uh, no. The facility has the potential to be an incredible revenue generator for the Cubs (keeping much of the money that Cub fans already spend in Arizona by creating a “Wrigleyville West” w/ restaurants, hotels, retail, etc. partners). That is very meaningful.

        • TOOT

          Beam me up Scotti! Do you really see a revenue generator there? Seems like all smoke and mirrors to me.

          • Scotti

            Yes, I do. Cub fans spend many, many millions all over Arizona each spring. Hotels, restaurants, retail stores, etc. rake in those millions and the Cubs get squat for bringing them there. And not only does the area attract Cub fan tourists but it also attracts Cub fan retirees (all-season Cub attractions). Members of my family have gone down to Mesa to retire and that’s where I’m likely headed when my time comes.

            Kerry Wood’s Texas Bar and Grill? Ryno’s whatever (when he is no longer with another organization). Mark Prior’s Rehabilitation Facilities. Slammin’ Sammy Sosa’s Imax. Ernie Banks’ Retirement Home (Let’s Play Two Games Of Shuffleboard). The Santo Family Hospice (Where Cub Dreams Come To Die).

            All kinds of possibilities.

            • YourResidentJag

              But is it surrounding the ballpark and associated with the ballpark or do ppl have to travel farther away and those areas benefit instead? Curious?

              • Scotti

                There is some space in the 142 acres and there is a retail mall literally across the street (0.0 miles–it is literally across the street).

                In 2008:

                49% of fans stayed in the southeast Valley for the duration of their stay; 31% stayed in Mesa.
                The typical fan from out-of-town spent 5.7 nights in metropolitan Phoenix during their visit; for those who stayed in Mesa the figure was 7.3 nights.
                The typical out-of-town fan’s party spent $305 per day during their visit with 33% of the parties surveyed spending over $400 per day.

                • Scotti

                  Take a look at those numbers and ask yourself if Mesa wouldn’t pee their pants to have the Cubs “trap” some more of that taxable revenue in Mesa. One decent hotel, a couple other Cub related reasons to stay in Mesa instead of climbing Camelback for the umteenth time… And it means more local (Mesa) jobs as well.

                  • Reality Check

                    yes, but the cubs are not buidling the “wrigleyville west” entertainment area, they are waiting due to the bad economy; whenever that may end, who knows. ricketts welched on his part of the deal, mesa spent 99M for him; he spent zero for them.

                    so fans will be back to tempe, scottsdale, and old town/scottsdale; not mesa.

                    kinda like the city of chicago approved his renovations; he is chosing not to do them; for however long that may be.
                    (your kidding yourself if you think they start in oct 2014; the rooftops have rights, thanks to kenny crane, so not sure how you go around those, but ricketts won’t spend to make a winner, so we can all wait; 106 yrs just isn’t long enough for some people).

                    not only is the team a bunch of “ifs”; so if the owner’s willingness to spend money for a winner.

                    • Brains

                      i tend to pick on the owner to create a counterpoint to the wave of gullible goofballs who regurgitate official press releases by the PR division of the team…

                      but i will give them one more winter until i genuinely turn on the FO/ownership, which by my take has done an A- job with the minors, and an F- job with the majors. the whole point of baseball is the majors, people. no team equals big fail.

        • YourResidentJag

          So, it’s a full go with all of these things because that’s not what I remember hearing.

          • TOOT

            Because it’s not true?

            • YourResidentJag

              Don’t know and don’t have all the time in the world to sift through the comments to find out.

          • Scotti

            The space is there (both onsite and VERY nearby retail). The opportunity for the Cubs, partners (such as Starwood, Budweiser, etc.) and former players to bank is there. The Cub brand is a tad tarnished at the moment. Once that is cleared up there is nothing preventing further development (Mesa LOVES the Cubs–both the people of Mesa and the Mesa gov’t). This ain’t Chicago we’re talking about.

        • http://odu greenroom

          I think the most important part of the new spring training is a “home base” for the Cubs and their farm system, outside of Wrigley. With up-to-date facilities, the Cubs have a great place to send players to re-hab, get some “work in” during the season and off-season. If the “plan” is the goal, you need to do what you can to build up from within. The new training facilities to me, show the depth to which we are trying to truly commit to a ground up better organization. peace~

          Go Cubs~

          • Scotti

            Having better facilities–the best facilities–is important. Having those facilities not only pay for themselves, but also improvements in other areas, is just as, if not more, important. What could have been a resource hog can be a source of revenue for player acquisition.

  • Scotti

    “5th most profitable team in baseball…”

    The Bloomberg piece called the Cubs the 5th most VALUABLE team, not profitable. There is a HUGE difference.

    • Brains

      i will cede this point as long as you cede that these two things aren’t mutually exclusive. otherwise it’s like the rich crying that they need more tax breaks, so we better cut more social programs.

      • Scotti

        One would think that you would cede this because it’s FACT and not try to suggest that you will only cede to a fact if I cede to some other stipulation. That doesn’t help your credibility.

        In theory, are valuation and profits “necessarily” mutually exclusive? No. But we aren’t dealing with theory here. We know that the Cubs have over-sized debt payments to pay AND they are looking at funding half a BILLION in projects out of their own pocket on top of that. We also know that, per the structured deal, they cannot go into debt to run the club (i.e. to sign players). Value here does not equate profits.

        And, FWIW, the Cubs valuation grew, in large part, because of their deal with Mesa which won’t even open until next year and won’t be fully online (creating maximum revenue) until they get partners with which to build hotels and restaurants in, and around, the new complex there. So, while valuation and profits are not “necessarily” mutually exclusive, there is NO credible link to the Cubs increase in valuation since the Ricketts’ purchase and any meaningful increase in profits.

        Re. the rich, tax breaks and social programs… That shit just doesn’t belong here.

        • MichiganGoat

          You realizing who you are trying to have a logical discussion with right now? Remember all that he writes is bait.

    • cub2014

      I believe the cubs had income of
      32 million last year on 279 million
      in revenues. So 12% profit percentage
      pretty standard for a well run company.
      Cash flow could have been much lower
      with loan payments (principle not
      interest) income taxes (could be
      upwards of 15 million).

      Their players expense was 137 mil
      with gate receipts of 132mil. This
      year and next players exp will be coming
      down and so will gate receipts if they
      keep losing. So I think they will now
      pursue winning, they cant afford not to
      for many reasons.

      • Brains

        Kyle, you’re the only one here who can convince me of anything. everyone else just keeps angrily regurgitating advertisements. if they don’t make a push this offseason, in spite of how it will adversely affect public perception, receipts, etc., then even my purposefully hyperbolic statements will have proven to be true.

        • Kyle

          I really don’t see how they can make a push this offseason.

          It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you’re not good enough to try to be good at the major leagues, pretty soon you won’t be.

      • Scotti

        Cub2014 were are the sources for your numbers?

        • cub2014

          Forbes did an article on all baseball
          franchises.

  • Sean

    I really don’t think the cubs have the financial means to land Tanaka? Possibly a $75M-$100M posting fee? No thanks. Due to the Ricketts likely financial problems with the debt issue of the purchase of the team, I don’t expect us to be landing any big time FA’s in the next couple years.

    • Sean

      With the quickly excelerating contracts to players, I think the ricketts debt financing issues could be a sizable problem.

      • Mike F

        This is the kind of mythically stuff people continue to suck up like a kitten with cream. They can easily afford either Cano or Tanaka. I am not advocating either, but very few of you that spread the gospel of destitution know what you are talking about.

        Budgetary artificial constraints and this whole debt thing are strictly matters of accounting. The fact is if Tom wants to tomorrow he can sell the Cubs and will be paying massive, I mean massive taxes to the IRS for his gains. His equity from an astute investment is profound. So let’s not start passing the cup.

        And great factual truth analysis to the drivel about all the investment. The only thing Kyle is I am actually very pleases with some of what we hearing and some of the rumbles out of St. Louis. There are whispers of a Castro to StL for Martinez and Miller. And the Cubs seem to be on the tail of both meaningful fa’s and trades, so I wouldn’t give up just yet.

        • Kyle

          Martinez *and* Miller would be the steal of the century for Castro. I’d be surprised if the Cardinals would do Miller alone.

          • Mike F

            They will would definitely do Miller alone for Castro, don’t be surprised by that. Miller is on the block as Castro. There are other names involved, but it would likely take both to get the Cubs to do it, or at least the other big arm in their system, I can’t remember the big guy. It makes sense from both teams standpoint.

            The Cardinals get a guy to put in the back third of their order and put under the tutorship of Molina and the cubs get bug time prospect arms. The Cardinals are desperate for a young SS. There’s gamble on both teams part. Miller could have arm issues and Martinez is probably a year away from being whatever he is. By no means is Martinez a sure thing or refined product. Sure he throws 99-100, but he’s all arm and not great movement on the fastball. And let’s be blunt part of the problem with Castro is Chicago and the organization, there’s not gray fit that couple change in StL,

            Makes a lot of sense.

            • Kyle

              Miller could net them a better young shortstop than Castro. Miller for Profar was rumored to be very close to a done deal at one point, right?

              • Kyle

                I’m not saying Miller for Castro is impossible, though. It’s close enough that I could see it, but I’d be surprised.

                • Mike F

                  Two things we know for certain, Theo always try extract maximum value. And more importantly for him to trade to the Cardinals it has to be sweetened.

                  Personally, just personally, I think the Texas system is the most over-valued in baseball. Profar isn’t Olt, I all grant you, the bloom on that rose has been somewhat diminished. We know how we project people and we know what Castro is, but I can understand how in the right system their might be a considerable preference taking away my questions about Profar for Castro over Profar. Just my two cents, but it’ is out their in terms of rumors.

            • YourResidentJag

              So, what about the Blue Jays? If we inquired about Aaron Sanchez for Castro would they do it? I know it’s not been mentioned, but I hardly believe the only trade for Castro is with the Cards.

  • arta

    will be over 500 in 2015.

  • Brian Peters

    Tanaka’s 30-0 record was ruined after he threw a 160 pitch CG.

  • Jono

    It makes sense that kids these days are less interested in baseball due to their lack of attention spans. I feel like my attention span has been completely destroyed since getting the very cellphone that I type on now

  • Werner

    Curious to know what people think has to happen between now and start of Spring Training for Cubs to be competitive in 2014. Signing of TOR pitcher and one major bat? More? Or do you think it’s already written that 2014 is .500 or significantly less.

    • Jono

      Already written for .500 or less. But I don’t mind, Im patient and have a long term outlook

    • Kyle

      To be competitive, we’d probably need:

      4 or 5 major (3+ win) new players and a lot of good luck
      or

      3 major acquisitions and a normal amount of luck.

      • jt

        Pirates SP’ing avg 5.71 IP/start as the BP pitched 545 IP. A good BP hides an inferior rotation. They have to evaluate what they have there and go out and get what they need. They have some good relief arms already so I don’t think that would be a big deal.
        If the right now potential 2014 Cubs could trade a Bogusevic value for a McCutchen value they would be as good as the 2013 Pirates.

        • Kyle

          The problem with that approach is that having a Pirates-level bullpen (easily the best in baseball this year) is a really tricky thing to do intentionally. Bullpens are fickle and hard to predict.

          The Cubs’ pen should be better next year, but getting it to Pirates 2013 levels is probably too much to ask.

  • Matt

    The level of sympathy that Ricketts receives is almost laughable. After years of buying the BS that the Trib spun about Cubs-related finances, we’re back to buying a different brand of crap being sold by Ricketts & Co.

    • cub2014

      matt, what?

  • YourResidentJag

    If they can’t build a consistent farm system without flips and top-5 picks, then they’re just the reverse Jim Hendry. Instead of a couple of good years followed by a couple of bad, you’ll get a couple of bad followed by a couple of good. But you’ll never get the long-term success that’s been promised.

    Kyle, you’ve pretty much summed up my sentiments about this whole rebuild thing for the past two years. And to me, the reason why the Cubs continue to be a disappointing franchise, they keep shifting identities to polar extremes once to twice a decade. That includes the Hendry regime as well.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    all ok for the plan. When does the plan say that we win?

  • Matt

    The two biggest problems with the “plan” – as I suspects it’s constructed , if indeed one exists- are that it relies almost entirely on 4 top/elite prospects reaching their ceiling(pretty unlikely) and it has yet to reveal its hand, as to how to develop/acquire frontline SP. No, Pierce Johnson, Vizcaino, Paniagua et al aren’t solutions to the latter problem, either.

    • Rizzovoir Dog

      Stockpiling prospcts allows you to trade for that frontline SP when the team is ready to take that next step.

      • YourResidentJag

        As long as the TOR is available and that team wants to give it up at the exact moment you need it, that is.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I fully expect a .500 style club in 2014 and great things for 2015 and beyond. Theo has this this chugging in the right direction. Now we need the Wrigley renovation and a new TV contract to provide the enhanced revenues that can support paying all this grea young talent coming up and to allow for the smart and selective use of free agency to fill in the gaps.

    • Caryatid62

      Prepare to be disappointed.

  • Rizzovoir Dog

    Doesn’t seem too far-fetched to me. This year’s team was 48-55 at the deadline and could’ve been .500 if not for Marmol/Camp’s early season struggles.

  • Matt

    “Smart & selective approach to FA” is another great one. It assumes that the other 29 GMs are going to take a stupid reckless approach to FA. There’s not too many bad GMs left, save maybe Dayton Moore. Wasn’t Tanaka supposed to be part of “smart & selective”? We’re gonna get our doors blown off there. Do you think the other teams are gonna sit idly by and let us sign Trout to a below-mkt deal? The arrogance that goes along with some of the “plan” assumptions is just mind-boggling.

    • cub2014

      matt,
      no one knows the workings or details of their
      plan except the FO and like all good managers
      hopefully the plan changes over time.

      you seem to be misunderstanding what people
      are saying. by selective FA that means length
      of contract and amount of money (seems pretty
      easy to me to understand). Many FO do over
      spend and over extend look at the Dodgers,
      Rangers,Angels,Marlins,Mets and Yankees.
      They consistantly over spend but for them at
      that time it does or might make sense.

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