Cubs Prospects Help Mesa Win the Division and Other Bullets

jorge soler cubsWe think The Little Girl might’ve popped a tube out of her ear yesterday, so she’s headed to the doctor’s office with me this morning. They’re designed to come out eventually, but she’s been under the weather anyway, so we might as well give her a tune-up.

  • The Mesa Solar Sox won again yesterday, clinching the East Division in the Arizona Fall League. They’ll play in a championship game on Saturday (on MLBN! at 2pm CT), and then that’s all she wrote for the league. Kris Bryant was 1-3 with two walks and Jorge Soler was 2-5.
  • Albert Almora was pulled early from the Solar Sox’s game yesterday, but no one’s yet quite sure why. Bernie Pleskoff was in attendance and said he did see Almora talking to the trainer, but that it didn’t look like anything serious.
  • Speaking of Almora, the Smokies Radio Network interviewed him about his AFL experience and about the lengths he’d go to get to the big leagues.
  • Theo Epstein told the Boston Herald that he had mixed emotions about the Red Sox’s World Series title this year. How could there not be? There will always be a portion of Epstein’s heart that resides in Boston, and he played a huge part in that team’s success, even if he’d been gone for two years. I imagine he was also happy to see Boston rebound after the disastrous 2012, which many folks laid at Epstein’s feet.
  • Brian Cashman spoke with Patrick Mooney about the Joe Girardi process, saying that he never really thought Girardi would leave. And it sounds like things played out exactly like we thought they did: Cashman wasn’t going to allow Girardi to talk to other teams until either his contract expired or he told the Yankees definitively that he wanted out. That was the right approach for the Yankees to take, and Girardi ultimately got to stay where he wanted to stay.
  • Jesse Rogers ably takes down Scott Boras’s comments ripping Cubs ownership the other day for failing to spend big.
  • A beautiful picture of Wrigley Field at night … and day, over at the BN Facebook page.

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

122 responses to “Cubs Prospects Help Mesa Win the Division and Other Bullets”

  1. HCS

    Tubes in the ears, the bane of my childhood… Best of luck, Brett.

    1. On The Farm

      ” the bane of my childhood”

      Woah, I saw the new Batman movie. If you ear tubes were as big as Bane I feel for you.

    2. TheRiot2

      The best solution for a child’s ear infections.It did wonders for two of my grand children’s,no more trips to the doctors for that problem.

  2. mdavis

    say what you want about Jesse Rodgers, but every once in awhile he’ll pops out a solid article. He seems to really get it when it comes to the rebuild. Read that article yesterday, its a good read.

  3. oswego chris

    Great points by Jesse…I am a big believer in following the laws of supply and demand, but sometimes when a shortage exists…quality free-agents….you get teams that will overpay for over market value…by a lot…Boras is just pissed because there will only be a few(very few) teams with the resources to overpay…

    I know he is “doing his job”, but in this case I think he may be out of bounds a bit…

    1. CubsFaninMS

      Chris:

      I’m on the same page with you on this one. One thing that impresses me about our front office is that they DO understand the supply/demand and business aspects of MLB, and they do that without de-personalizing it too much. Epstein and Hoyer’s job IS to see the Chicaco Cubs as a business and make sure that each and every decision they make is to build a very profitable (aka successful) team. “Investing” in professional baseball players (aka human beings) will always be an imperfect process. Case in point: Albert Pujols. One of the most consistent players of our age had a significant drop in production once the Angels contracted his services. No front office will get them all right, but how they recover from a bad investment is key.

      On the Boras subject: Boras is the car salesman who wants us to buy the car at full value. As of now, we’re the team that leaves the car dealership and goes to other dealerships looking for the best deal. Of course he doesn’t like that! Instead of whining, he can always negotiate the price downward. Problem solved.

      1. Funn Dave

        Profitable =/= successful.

  4. Jim

    Albert Almora looked really uncomfortable in that interview.

  5. CubFan Paul

    “ably”

    I couldn’t finish the article.

  6. Sandberg

    The Rogers article takes the worst case scenario and paints it as the most likely outcome. This front office isn’t giving out a no trade clause, for one. Two, they’d find room for Almora *and* Ellsbury. The Cubs shouldn’t sign one of these players at all costs, but they should be willing to make a small overpay. They need MLB offensive talent.

    1. oswego chris

      totally agree that they need MLB talent….and as sucky as it is, we may have to wait out the market to look for a Bourn like deal….

      I would over pay for Tanaka if the posting thingy ever gets fixed…

    2. Edwin

      I think it would be wrong for the Cubs to hold a spot in the OF for Almora when Almora is still so far away.

      I think there are some good reasons why the Cubs should not pursue Ellsbury as hard as some other teams, but the “Blocking of Albert Almora” reason isn’t one of them.

      1. Napercal

        Realistically Almora is three years away. Signing an MLB quality center fielder for the interim makes tons of sense.

        1. Blublud

          As much as I think Almora is overrated, he should be in the league by mid 2016. That’s less then 3 years. But I get your point.

  7. cubfanincardinalland

    I thought the comments by Boras were kind of bizarre. I used to be a salesmen, selling to major corporations. It would be like me telling the board of directors of the company they don’t know that they are doing, but buy some of my product from me anyway. Talk about burning bridges.
    That said, I agree with him when he says people don’t come out to see cement. There is way to much emphasis put on Wrigley Field. Win 95 games, the Cubs would draw 3.2 million in Dubuque, Iowa.
    And his comments also bring light on a legit question. Are the Cubs not spending more on payroll, because they are waiting for it to make more sense? Or is it because they are maxed out on payroll at the 90 million they spent last season?
    The Cubs would serve themselves better by being much more transparent on this question.

    1. bob

      The Cubs could definitely draw that well in Dubuque! I live there, and they’d probably get to the million mark with just my family and in-laws!

      1. On The Farm

        The Cubs could partner with the Field of Dreams if they played in Dubuque.

    2. Hookers or Cake

      But Boras isn’t selling aluminum siding. He represents 175 baseball players.
      Also the Cubs may draw 3.2 in Dubuque with 95 wins, but whats the number when they lose 95? Two years in a row? Still top third in attendance?
      Wrigley is still a huge draw and always will be. Again its supply and demand. There are only two 100 year baseball parks in the world. 3rd oldest is Dodger stadium at 50. Wrigley is still a bucket list item for every baseball fan and even non fans.

      1. cavemencubbie

        I doubt Wrigley as a ‘historical landmark’ would draw 10,000 fans a year. Wrigley is a monument of futility covering 100 years of losing. I am all in favor of historical landmarks where something monumental happened, Mt. Vernon, Gettysburg for example, but Wrigley? It does not even qualify as a unique architectural structure except for the ivy brick wall which maybe a hazard for our ball players. They tore down ballparks in which WS pennants fly, where something significant happened. Is 100+ years of losing significant?

    3. Funn Dave

      “It would be like me telling the board of directors of the company they don’t know that they are doing, but buy some of my product from me anyway. Talk about burning bridges.”

      I really don’t think he’s burning any bridges here. If the Cubs have interest in one of his clients, they aren’t going to hold off because Boras gave them some bad press.

      1. SH

        Yeah the difference here is that Boras represents — and represents well — many of the most desirable inputs the “board of directors” could want. Most salespeople aren’t working in such narrow markets.

  8. Brains

    Congrats to Andrew McCutchen – he might be on a rival team but he was exciting to watch all year long and he plays baseball the right way. Evidence of how a single player leader can impact an otherwise average team so strongly.

    1. bob

      I agree a lot. When McCutcheon came up he was really raw, and sometimes looked like he was lazy, and going to cruise through on minimum effort, wasting his talent. The last couple of years he has really turned it around and become a leader, a role model, and an example of the benefits of hard work. It seems like he always hits the ball hard (even his foul balls), runs out his ground balls, and always hustles in the field. Hopefully some of the Cubs’ young talent can develop in a similar fashion. We know the raw talent is there.

  9. Jon

    Funny how Jessie Rodgers is lauded as a source now, yet when Rebuilding was trying to defend his argument the other day(on the CUbs desire for a Latin Manager) Rodgers wasn’t good enough in that case.

    1. bbmoney

      Couple problems here:

      1. No one is lauding Rodgers as a source. They’re saying he wrote a nice article which amounted to an opinion piece, if you can’t understand the difference, I’m sorry.

      2. I don’t think anyone disputed Rebuilding’s quotes he found and quoted. We were all disputing Rebuilding’s wacky interpretation of those quotes which generally took pieces of full quotes out of context to try to make a point.

      1. Jon

        There was nothing to mis-interpret. Jessie Rodgers directly quoted sources that said the Cubs were leaning towards a manager with latin descent.

        I personally don’t care if that is the case, and it might be a good idea. Rebuilding and others were just pointing that out and were chastised by the lemmings here for “making something out of the blue”.

    2. On The Farm

      It is funny how Rodgers as a source can only work to support some peoples opinions, but can never be used against them. I wouldn’t say it was just limited to rebuilding’s case, it happens often.

      1. Jason Powers

        See below. Not that impressed.

        And saw your tango with VOR. And appreciated your reasoned comments.

  10. Die hard

    Is that gnawing feeling in Cub fans guts realization that kids coming up may not live up to expectations thereby making the need to enter FA mkt more pressing than the FO let’s on?

    1. roz

      No.

  11. Edwin

    Random question: Are tall pitcher’s able to throw better curveball’s than short pitcher’s?

    1. Die hard

      Juan Marichal wasn’t that tall

      1. Edwin

        Adam Wainwright is. Chris Carpenter is. AJ Burnett, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister. Maybe there are just more “tall” pitcher’s in general, but I’m just wondering if being taller gives a natural advantage to throwing a curveball, since a higher release point would allow for more drop on the curveball.

        I’m just curious about curveballs, I guess. It’s my favorite pitch.

        1. cubfanincardinalland

          It’s not just about the curve balls Edwin. Tall pitchers are able to get a downward plane on the ball, making it much more difficult to hit. Teams had a hard time adjusting to the Cardinals rookie Wacha, who is six five, and came right over the top with a sharp downward angle.
          This is why most starters are tall.

  12. Jono

    Great article by Rogers. While they’re only hypothetical situations, it’s a manager’s (not “manager” as in coach (Renteria), but someone who manages a business, like the President of Baseball Operations) job to manage risk and weigh the risk / reward. The reward of winning 80 games instead of 75 is not worth the risks that he described. When the reward is winning 90 or 95 games and being a legit championship contender, then the risk will be worth it.

    1. Edwin

      Sure, but that’s just looking at one year. It’s not like Ells (or any FA signed to a multi year deal) would just disappear the next year. I think the amount of wins a FA adds in 2015, 2016, and 2017 should also be considered along with the amount of wins a FA might add in 2014.

      1. Jono

        Those years come when that player’s production is declining. He won’t produce as many wins, but you’re still paying for the wins you expect in the begining. But yeah, there might be one year that his prime overlaps with a legit championship contender. Maybe 2. So are those 1 or 2 years worth the risk? I say no. I’d rather they take that risk when they get 3 or 4 years of the prime production during legit contender years.

        The risk / reward is more favorable

        1. Edwin

          That’s a fair risk assessment. But signing a FA isn’t always about getting the best $/WAR, especially not for a team like the Cubs who should be able to afford to overpay for some wins on the FA market.

          I also think you might be discounting the risk of waiting to add FA. There’s a decent chance that the Cubs don’t get to that “homegrown” 85-90 win level for another 3-4 years.

          1. SH

            There’s a decent chance we *never* achieve 85-90 wins homegrown.

  13. Soda Popinski

    Brett, 4th bullet: “I imagine he was also ‘t’ see…”

    1. Soda Popinski

      *happy* ‘t’ see. (There’s a typo in the typo correction)

  14. anonymous-ly

    Jesse Rogers with a homer article. Ably points out one ridiculous scenario to justify the Cubs not spending. Cubs are a large market team and Theo has been on record that the optimal way to build a team is by adding selective free agents and building up the farm, but he is constrained by payroll limits.

    Cubs are a large market team and choose to act with small market principles by Ricketts choice.

    1. Fishin Phil

      ” adding selective free agents”

      I think this may be the key.

    2. Brains

      glad that the obvious is finally winning out over a PR campaign to conceal the owners’ business negligence

    3. Jono

      “selective”

      exactly. They signed a free agent last off season to a fairly large deal. They seem to be following that “selective” model

      1. Brains

        they signed one mediocre free agent to an inflated deal under criticism and a failed bid to sign better free agents. otherwise we’ve given away the farm in return for some seeds. let’s hope this isn’t a jack and the beanstalk situation.

        1. Jono

          exactly, they’re being selective. They wouldn’t overpay too much for a free agent. Selective. So they signed the next best guy who they thought fit their needs. Selective. Given away the farm?

        2. roz

          “we’ve given away the farm”

          What are you on about now?

          1. Fishin Phil

            Do not attempt to make sense out of his posts, they can cause severe headaches and nausea.

            1. Jono

              oops, I try not to feed the trolls. Sometimes it’s hard not responding

              1. Brains

                hmm maybe i had a mixed metaphor there. we gave away the barn and the silo in exchange for the farm. and now we’re outside in the winter in a tent, and the tent has some baked beans but no hot plate. something like that…

                1. Jono

                  (urge to respond rising….rising…..)

                  1. Brains

                    the more one attempts to contain ones pleasures, such as responding with indignity to my pithy but prescient observations, the more containment erupts in unhealthy ways.

                    1. Jono

                      or in sexy ways

                2. Edwin

                  But why should we buy the milk when we can sell the farm for free?!?

          2. SH

            Ignore the ill-selected metaphor; it’s a good post.

            1. roz

              It’s really not.

              1. SH

                It combines a cliche *and* a fairy tale reference. Rare to see such whimsy imo

                1. Brains

                  gotta be creative when explaining the situation, since so much of the interpretation about what’s going on is just mere fantasy and speculation

                  1. Patrick W.

                    As opposed to your interpretation, which is based on incontrafutable evidence and first hand knowledge of every decision made.

                    1. Brains

                      don’t pretend that you guys have any freakin idea what’s going on in their internal economics. all we see are press releases and results. i focus on the actual team, many focus on the press releases. well, let me tell you, press releases are advertising. do you really believe that you can be “zestfully clean”? don’t buy tag lines as though they’re reality. the team stinks and is worse than before they got here. and it’s not due to rebuilding.

                    2. Sandberg

                      I normally don’t like your posting style, but this response was well done. (and accurate)

                    3. Patrick W.

                      OK, I won’t pretend that I have any freakin idea what’s going on in their internal economics. If that’s a standard you choose to hold yourself and everybody who agrees with you to, I’m all for it.

        3. Edwin

          When Jack bought those beans, they totally worked. So, maybe we should hope that this is a Jack/Beanstalk situation, and that CJ Edwards will be the goose that throws the golden egg up on the scoreboard each inning?

          1. Brains

            or maybe that golden egg will be picked up off of the waiver line, if we’re lucky?

        4. hansman

          I hate to tell you this, but FA signings generally involve mediocre results from said signing.

          1. Edwin

            So do draft picks.

            1. Jono

              not the same risks

              1. Edwin

                not the same rewards either.

                1. Jono

                  which makes the comparison pointless

                  1. Edwin

                    Agreed.

                    1. Cubbie Blues

                      So, why did you make it then?

  15. anonymous

    I think Theo is one of the best GM’s around but he made multiple leadership errors since coming on board. He was trying to capitalize on market inefficiencies by signing multiple post injured or post rehab pitchers while the watched the true market inefficiency pass him by. International free agents. Now that ship has sailed and there should be no expectation of discount deals in that market anymore.

    Theo Epstein together with Hoyer and Mcleod are probably together the highest paid FO in the history of baseball. Therefore , we should expect them to perform to higher standards. Instead of investing in the MLB team and acting like a large market team, they adhered to small market principles. If they invested in Darvish and Puig and Ryu and got ahead of the curve with the International signings, we would be looking to add free agents and contend now with a young core. Yes, we signed Soler, but there has been no returns on that yet, with no International signings that would have helped the MLB team.

    An argument could be made that there was no way that Theo and Co could have known that Puig, Ryu and Darvish would have turned out the way they did. Then why the heck are we paying him to be the highest paid executive in baseball for? Apparently, the Rangers and Dodgers executives were able to figure it out.

    Then again, maybe it’s the Ricketts. With all the hampering of payroll and revenues, Theo had no choice. The largest investment the Ricketts have made so far in cash is the Dominican Academy. A mere 7M dollars or 1.5M a year since the purchase. The Arizona facility $99M project is being paid entirely by the taxpayers of Arizona. Oh and $3M bonus in cash to Geraldo Conception. Nice investment.

    1. Brains

      THIS. see, Brains uses some hyperbole to get your attention, but this is what i’ve been saying all along. our being bad was not a calculated decision to improve, but an unexpected curveball for Theo, but moreso Jed, that they haven’t handled too well.

    2. Chad

      Lots of other teams (29 of them actually) and if you noticed all three of them are not on the same team. To get those 3 on board it would have cost the cubs a lot of money with no guarantee of it working at all. And I ask you this, would it have made them a playoff contender. I would say no, but you say they would just add more FAs to make it work. Well how much would that have cost? It likely would have stunted the cub’s farm development. Yes they could have competed for a few years like they did in 2007-2008, but if the system didn’t develop it would crash again as it did. I don’t agree with every move Theo makes, but I like it a lot better than signing all the players like the dodgers did. I would love to have Darvish, but would that limit what the team will do in 3 or 5 years? maybe. You give such a simple answer as though it would work flawlessly, but there are not guarantees in anything, not even the current plan, but the cubs have a plan and I know they have a better of idea of how to accomplish it than you do. Yes it may take a while and suck in the immediate time frame, but it is what it is. When the farm system is up and the rennovations are rolling the money I will be interested to see how this team operates and then I will evaluate the results.

      1. When the Music's Over

        Since you can so easily call people’s comments stupid (really it’s just one opinion vs. another), I would like for you to explain how signing Yu Darvish was perhaps going to stunt the Cubs rebuild.

        1. Chad

          I said all 3 could’ve stunted them if they didn’t work out and also signing a lot more FAs to fill the void. The Darvish signing alone wouldn’t have made them playoff contenders either. Signing all three would have made the cubs win more games, yes, so then there is no Bryant signing which we would all agree is a good thing. But then the cubs are still waiting on the young guys as years of Darvish, Ryu, and Puig and other FAs get older etc. they still cost money and then you are back to the same boat. This plan is about long term contention, not simply competing for a few years of FA’s prime and then having horrible contracts for declining players.

          1. When the Music's Over

            “I would love to have Darvish, but would that limit what the team will do in 3 or 5 years? maybe.”

            I didn’t read your comment to mean all of those guys in total could stunt a rebuild. You had Darvish and limit in the same sentence/thought.

            Anyway.

            Current Ages:
            Puig = 22
            Darvish = 27
            Ryu = 26

            Even two years from now, Darvish and Ryu are squarely in their primes and Puig will not have even entered his. The only way those guys stunt a rebuild is by blocking high draft picks. It’s sad that the Cubs, a supposed large market team, have resorted to tanking seasons in order to get high draft picks. It’s the least creative way to rebuild and 100% the path of least resistance.

            This was a huge part of the Anonymous’s post. What he’s saying is most any GM could have somewhat successfully taken this approach, and that given the Cubs have a very expensive, and supposedly extremely talented front office, he expects more.

            I don’t see anything wrong with holding that belief.

    3. Chad

      I forgot to comment on your last comment on Concepcion. You wanted them to invest in Puig but not Concepcion? That comment shows how stupid your whole rant was. There’s not a guarantee on them and at the time Puig was a real flyer of a bet. Just stupid.

      1. Kyle

        The whole “at the time, Puig wasn’t known to be good” is just fans rationalizing the mediocre reporting done on international prospects. The Dodgers scouted him well.

        1. cms0101

          The Dodgers didn’t have some magic scouting report on Puig better than everyone else. The team sale was completed shortly before Puig hit the market and they were anxious to spend and make a splash. There were plenty of teams that were interested in Puig, but hesistant to throw $40+ million at him. I wish the Cubs had the stones to outbid the Dodgers and get Puig, but there is just no truth to the thought that the Dodgers scouted him significantly more than all the other teams. Their ownership was simply more interested and willing to throw money at a shiny new toy for the team.

        2. gocatsgo2003

          Really? Did you read the ESPN the Mag article about his signing with the Dodgers? I don’t have it in front of me, but the moral of the story is that they saw him maybe three times and then spent a boatload of money on him. It turned out well for them and hindsight is always 20/20, but it could have just as easily been a colossal mistake.

          1. SH

            It really wouldn’t have been a “colossal mistake.” It would have cost them relatively little and a roster spot.

            1. gocatsgo2003

              OK, sorry. In Dodger-land, a 7-year $42MM contract isn’t really a big deal, but it could have very easily become an albatross for most other teams if he didn’t pan out (especially because it’s back-loaded to the tune of $7MM, $8MM, and $9MM in the last three years of the deal).

              1. SH

                $9M in 2019 is going to be peanuts. This was an opportunity to buy a prospect, and we didn’t do it. Kind of a bummer, really, and hard to justify.

                1. hansman

                  Well, if this isn’t revisionist history, I don’t know what is.

                  At the time, Puig was thought to be a decent prospect but not worthy of the single largest IFA contract in history.

                  The Dodgers had the money to take a big gamble and, so far, it has paid off. He earned a large chunk of his $42M last year but there are parts of his game that are still pretty iffy. He could easily go the way of Cespedes and in a year noone is talking about him.

                  1. SH

                    What part is revisionist history?

                    And you’re going to use Cespedes — who will almost certainly earn his contract and then some — as an example of someone who *doesn’t* work out?

                    1. hansman

                      The idea that Puig was thought of as some super-stud that the Cubs decided wasn’t worth their time.

                      Cespedes will, most likely, earn his contract. I am not debating that, just that in a year noone will bring up Puig because he didn’t put up video game stats again.

                    2. SH

                      Er, I said “This was an opportunity to buy a prospect, and we didn’t do it.” Maybe you’re not responding to me?

                      And if getting young players who provide us more value than they cost is somehow suboptimal because “noone will bring [them] up” I don’t know what you want from a baseball team.

                    3. hansman

                      I agree, the Cubs should have signed him, just like they should have gotten Darvish and Cespedes. Missed the boat on all of them, just like they missed the boat on Sanchez last year.

                      However, it really isn’t hard to justify (unless you are revising history) why they didn’t go bonkers on him.

                    4. SH

                      It’s hard to justify in that these moments are opportunities to bring in high quality young talent — what we’re trying to do at this stage of our rebuild — outside of the constricted mechanism through which such talent is normally acquired. It’s a great way for a team with a smart front office and a larger budget to rebuild using its competitive advantages. So yes, it is hard to justify not better capitalizing on these opportunities than we have.

                    5. Norm

                      Just wondering, SH, where do you draw the line? Do you sign him for $50M?
                      What if the bidding is $75M?
                      $100M?

                      You have YOUR value on him, the Cubs had their value on him. They didn’t value him at $40+ million.

                      Doesn’t the Soler signing or E. Jackson signing at least show they are willing to spend on players they think are worthy?

                      It’s not ALWAYS about the money. Scouting reports on amateur/IFA players are even more hit or miss than on KNOWN players that end up as busts. It could be that the teams scouts just missed on Puig. And that would be a common occurrence.

                    6. SH

                      I don’t access to enough financials and scouting reports to put a Cubs bid on Puig ca. his signing. And you’re 100% right that there are many unknowns for even those with scouting reports. I certainly can’t claim to have known more than the Cubs FO at that time.

                      What I am positing is simply that we have gotten only one highly-touted young int’l FA since the rebuild. This is, more or less, a market for the players we otherwise get in the draft. Given that we want such players, it is difficult to justify how few we have gotten. I don’t know *why* we’ve gotten so few, and I don’t mean to claim anything about the FO spending or not spending. Simply that we — as a well-heeled team in a rebuild unique for such a market — should be getting more young high-impact players in this way.

                  2. DocPeterWimsey

                    I think that it was more complicated than that. Puig was very unknown, and there was rumor that he was awesome, and rumor that he wasn’t.

                    ESPN, at least, was convinced that the Dodgers way overspent on Puig, or at least that they offered too much too soon: they didn’t think that Puig was well-enough known to get comparable offers from other teams. In other words, even if Puig was as good as some rumors suggested, other then teams still were not going to offer anywhere near that much money without more scouting: so the Dodgers should have signed him for a lot less, at least in ESPN’s opinion.

                    1. SH

                      What’s interesting about these kinds of signings is that we don’t have a comparable market to speak of. High quality young players on the open market are sui generis, and it doesn’t help that scouting reports can be all over the place. But if our goal is to improve our stable of young baseball players, buying them outside of the constricted system for acquiring such talent is a great way to do so.

                    2. anonymous-ly

                      “ESPN’s opinion?” How much is ESPN’s opinion or one writer’s opinion worth? About as much as Jesses Rogers recent article.

                      Whatever you want to say about Puig. The Dodgers scouting and FO got it right. They got it right with Ryu too. So if you want to give Theo credit when they hit. You have to give them credit for the misses too. And these were particularly damning because the players in question were exactly the type of guys the FO have been talking about. Young, on the right side of thirty with impact potential.

                    3. DocPeterWimsey

                      ESPN’s opinion was based on the reactions of other teams and scouts. They could not find evidence that anybody else was willing to offer Puig so much at that early point.

                      As for “Theo Missing,” that’s the old “Two Teams: Cubs and the Other Team” fallacy. 29 other teams missed out on Puig. This was nothing like Cespedes or even Soler where it was clear that multiple teams were heavily scouting the player and even negotiating with his agent. Either the Dodgers had inside information (Puig had not been seen legally by US scouts in many months at that point) OR they just got lucky. I’m not sure which I consider to be more probable.

                2. Chad

                  It’s funny, you say it is hard to justify, but we have someone complaining about a $3 million investment in Concepcion. So, is that hard to justify, investing in a prospect? Seems with the lack of info the cubs made their choice on Puig. Now, like I said earlier, they weren’t the only team to not jump on the Puig band wagon. Same can be said for Abreu, but if he turns out to be a bust then nobody will say, man the cubs blew it by not signing him.

                  1. SH

                    Hard to compare re: Abreu — we didn’t really have a fit for him given his profile as a 1B only and Rizzo staking that out for our long term future. And obviously I’m not complaining about what we payed Concepcion, so can’t really retrofit my points onto that.

        3. Hookers or Cake

          From Baseball America June 2012
          “The Dodgers appear to have made a statement with an expensive Cuban signing, but the message they sent across baseball has mostly elicited the same response:

          What are the Dodgers thinking?

          A source confirmed that the Dodgers have signed Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, and according to multiple stories, first reported by ESPN Deportes, they gave him a seven-year, $42 million major league contract.

          The question around baseball is how the Dodgers could justify awarding such a lavish contract to a player who scouts considered more of a solid than a spectacular prospect. Puig hasn’t played in a year, and aside from a light series of workouts last weekend that were more notable for a circus atmosphere than anything else, he hasn’t been seen (legally) by American scouts since June 2011.”

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            And that was what was so odd about the signing. Usually, you get a spectrum of informed (or at least supposedly informed) statements from the usual unnamed sources talking about what a good signing this is, what well-known players the prospect seems like, or the “he doesn’t have the frame to be a starter” / “he’s got a hole in his swing” / “I don’t like his makeup” comments on the other end.

            This time we got a lot of “we don’t know anything about him yet” comments. People were simply confused as to why this signing had already happened.

      2. anonymous

        I get not signing free agents for 9 figures that are on the wrong side of 30. I don’t get why we didn’t go all in on players in their early twenties that projected to be impact players. Why didn’t we over-bid on those type of players? Why didn’t we invest the any amount of Capital to make sure we signed them?

        The investment in Conception is not that bad until you view it in context. They over-bid and won on a very marginal International free agent, hooray. Then they underbid and lost on the truly impact International free agents.

        The Ricketts did not give Theo the money and therefore ability to truly grab the best players that fit their model. Young and cheap on the right side of thirty. Theo bid on these players so he knew they valuable, But was not able to win the bid as he did with the Red Sox, because he did not have the money to over-bid and win.

        1. SH

          We batted this idea around yesterday — what would we pay prospects if there wasn’t collusion to keep their prices down? Would we all be hemming and hawing about paying a lot for “unproven” players if we had the opportunity to spend our money to get Bogaerts, Taveras, etc. rather than miss them in the draft?

          Obviously the landscape is so different that it’s hard to fathom, but when there’s so much love for “prospects” it seems odd to me to think that getting *more* of them is somehow unpopular because it costs Tom Ricketts money.

  16. Jason Powers

    Jesse Rogers uses a straw man argument then knocks it down.

    Rogers: “Here’s one example of getting in the way of your own plan: Say the Cubs sign Ellsbury for seven years and well more than $100 million — possibly with a no-trade clause — then they’re locked into him. Maybe you’re OK with that because he goes out and has two fantastic seasons, which means when Almora is ready to play, you have to make a decision. But Ellsbury is 33 or 34 by that point, and with that no-trade clause, he doesn’t want to go anywhere, or, even if he does, you don’t have many, if any, suitors for a player that age.

    So, instead, the Cubs decide to trade Almora, and maybe they get back some talent. But now Ellsbury predictably starts to decline, and they’re right back where they started. And even in those first two great Ellsbury seasons, the Cubs do have a better record, and nearing the trade deadline they wouldn’t be that bad off, so the team chooses to make one less trade for a prospect than they would have. But, in fact, the team isn’t getting to the playoffs, and now, they’ve lost out on the ability to acquire more talent and will probably get a lower draft pick. For what? A near-.500 finish? Who cares?”

    1) 7 years with a no trade from a FO that hasn’t given out more than 4 years, and no trades are forbidden.
    ***Distortion of position*** Most reasoned people would give 6 years max without a trade clause of any sort. If Ells chooses not to sign, then the discussion is MOOT.

    2) Assumes Almora – “the golden child” – will not fit anywhere other than just Ellsbury’s position (who can play LF too); and is predicated on Almora’s arrival in 2016 ready to play full time without any letdowns or regressions at all.
    ***Exaggerates the problem”””Oh no, no place for Almora. VET will steal ABs. Must trade…must trade…can’t find any other solutions!!!

    3) Because Ellsbury is 33 or 34, he’s no longer useful to the Cubs. Because you are bent on “trading him away”
    ****Exaggerates problem””””First: you have to corner yourself with a no-trade clause, then Ellsbury is so useless that New York, Philadelphia, Detroit or even Boston, won’t consider any negotiations. YOU NEED ONLY ONE team to want a trade….any while it may not maximize value, it’s an option.

    4) The TRADE Deadline fallacy. ” so the team chooses to make one less trade for a prospect than they would have…” GOD this so annoying. So we are not sellers at the trade deadline. ISN’T that what we should be striving to get AWAY from? FIRE SALES?

    ****Distorts and exaggerates and misrepresents”””It presumes you won’t or can’t make any other LOGICAL moves that normal rational people do when, OR IF, such a situations arise. That can equally fit with THE PLAN. It presumes that ALL prospects that succeed solely come from just trading the Garzas or Dempsters or Ellsburies of the world.

    As if no other trades, that suddenly can’t happen because you are winning more, can ever result in a betterment of the team. Naive, and distorts the reality of FO’s choices.

    ****The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. Then attacks its.****

    This misrepresents on so many levels. It coyly disguises itself as anticipation of a dire conflict between talented players. Seeing the older player as the villainy to THE PLAN. Unable to adapt or make other decisions about playing time or trades.

    Seems Boston just showed us an adaptation plan with their riddance of Gonzalez and Crawford et. al. How was that possible? Could not the Cubs do such a thing in the still ‘unwritten future’ to adapt to the catastrophe envisioned years hence by signing ONE Jacoby Ellsbury?

    **2014 Playoffs and WS: Who were among the outstanding performers of the playoffs? Was David Ortiz or Carlos Beltran the downfall of their teams with their 36-37 year old legs and bodies? 2 years older than Ellsbury’s projected downward spiral to MUST be traded…

    ****Ellsbury may/may not lose his speed component. I seem to recall one Davey Lopes doing an adequate job stealing well past his 35th year. Not all players lose their speed component, equally. This may be tied to other factors I will not discuss in this forum.

    ***So, we might love our REBUILDING PLAN, and Jacoby may not fit into it (for contractual desires), but projecting and overstating the consequences of said acquisition of ONE, one guy, is not the type of piece I call good writing.

    It speculates more than elucidates.

    1. On The Farm

      Very in depth breakdown you got there. I will just say this about Rodgers, when it comes to his actual reporting, he doesn’t do that bad of a job. This was not reporting as much as it was an opinion piece. I haven’t had time to read it this morning (though after reading your comment I won’t have to so thanks for saving me a click). Remember he wrote a piece not that long ago that said Bryant should be the 2014 starting 3B. So sometimes he does try and reach with these pieces.

      1. Jason Powers

        I don’t know much about the dude. I’ve heard him, and seen his pieces. But too much credence should not be given when I can find holes in it.

        But we must follow “THE PLAN.”
        ;)

        1. jt

          Boston dumped some bad contracts to The LAD. Does that mean The Cubs could dump multiple years at $25M/yr? Were The Cubs able to easily unload Soriano’s contract?
          Age 36 Beltran had a substantially lower WAR in 2013 than he has ever had sans injury plagued seasons. There is a reason St L. is not trying to resign him.
          Ortiz is a dedicated DH who has been limited to 227 regular season games over the past 2 years.
          Do you expect Ellsbury or Choo to be as productive as these guys?
          *
          I had posted that the avg age of the best players has recently and substantially dropped. You responded by showing the avg age of players has dropped only by a half of a yr in age and that in the duration of baseball history it travels in cycles. First of all, the concept of a cycle is an observation, not an explanation. A metric can return to a value for varied reasons. But I didn’t post to aging bench players or RP’ers. I posted as to impact players. The impact players are getting younger. That the ML teams are building year round training facilities is a response to that not a cause. There is less power because there are fewer PEDs and power is what sustained the value of the older players. Older players have more problems with consistency of play throughout the season because they have a greater need for rest. They no longer have the greenie to jolt them into action. The older FA is not of the same value as in the years of the not too distant past.

          1. Jason Powers

            “First of all, the concept of a cycle is an observation, not an explanation.”

            That players get older in the MLB sometimes faster than their replacements comes as both an “observation and explanation”….you’d have to look year by year at all the players to see what transpired. So, you don’t know anymore about it than I do…ELSE email me your work: jtpowers_01@yahoo.com

            You posted a cyclical occurring thing. That the game changes.

            In fact you have to post the St. Deviation of the age to be able to surmise more from the avg. Age factor. Reflect the normal distribution of this one factor: AGE. Test that. Then come back to me with your rant.

            I think it is plausibly linked to a number of factors, better facilities, international prospects (which sometimes are OLDER than reported – those instances have happen), more ball-playing in advance leagues, and so on… do a multiple linear regression, give me your significant values, and make a model of what occurs. Test this model in several time periods, going back 50-60 years. Explore the subject, you may find all sorts of interesting things…

            PEDs absence is not solely driving down SLG.

            Baseball modifications have done this more effectively, than any forbidding of a drug has. Baseball modifications have been behind numerous offensive surges/spikes and declines. It happened in the 1990s through 2000. 1919, 1942, 1976/7, 1987 also.

            That steroids gets the blame for it is because it is much easier to trumpet something the ownerships themselves took zero steps to rid the game of, the known usage of a steroids/PEDs, but instead only did so when most beneficial to their cause to make players the bad dudes.

            They had monetary incentives not to go after players post 1994, when over $500M in losses where reported (again who really knows?) by owners. If they were moral and ethical, they would have came out forthwith against the steroid usage. Bob Nightengale wrote many pieces in the mid 1990s against what was scene as a culture than extended to weight rooms and other tangential parts of using PEDs.

            (And the Ownerships have been losing battles with the MLBPA since the 1960s, many ownerships, have(had) a taste for getting revenge via Selig and all the FOs that know their product (the players) better than you do. They get their money back, then went on the attack against players – and their high prices for acquisition, post A-Rod – to get fans on their side even more so.)

            Baseball behind the numbers did an early study on PEDs. It was not definitive as the smoking gun you propose: http://www.amazon.com/Baseball-Between-Numbers-Everything-About/dp/0465005470

            So your upset for what? I didn’t go along with your premise?

            ****to your first point:

            I DON’T expect anything. I made the logical counterclaim that this Strawman argument is bogus. That Rogers is wrong in predicting a dire consequence of the addition of ONE, just ONE, high salary FA. Forecasting doom to Almora’s playing time – supposing we’d trade him first, or that we can’t trade Ellsbury (again envisioning a NO-trade clause scenario that would not exist IF we assume the FO sticks to their modus operandi) to sell the idea the PLAN can no longer work right if we sign JUST this particular guy. (Some here want to sign 2 high price FAs. And so, I’m the bad guy…for this sign and various other FA acquisitions that are much lower cost.)

            To surmise a catastrophe to the PLAN by this one particular signing is what people do to win over guys like yourself. Sorry. A jibe. You can email me if you got that time….

            Then, you want me to justify everything others did – AND SUCCEEDED, mind you – in keeping David Ortiz, WS 2013 MVP.

            It would be nice to have that problem..to be in a World Series with a 37 year old that was injured, but showed up with leadership and enormous batting skills when you wanted to win a title. But, will wait until 2016, or 2017, or 2020, to get somewhere near the World Series. It’s cool.

            Time matters not to goal post movers.

            1. jt

              The study I posted was limited to impact players.
              Below is a list of players that Baseball Ref lists as regular position players or regular parts of the rotation or the 5 most significant RP’ers on the 10 2013 playoff teams who were more than the age of 32.
              I used 32 because that was the avg age or the batters with the highest oWAR in 2002 as listed by the article I posted.
              DH 4
              Ortiz 37
              Scott 35 (253 PA)
              V.Martinez 34
              Giambi 42 (216 PA)
              Berkman 37 (256 PA)

              C 2
              Jose Molina 38
              Pierzynski 36

              3B 2
              Beltre 34
              Uribe 33 (420 PA)

              2B 2
              Ellis 36 (480 PA)
              Uggla 33

              SS 1
              Barnes 34 (330 PA’s)

              OF 4
              Hunter 37
              Crisp 33
              Holliday 33
              Beltran 36

              P 8
              Dempster 36
              Colon 40
              Hudson 37 (21 GS)
              Westbrook 35 (19 GS)
              Arroyo 36
              Capuano 34 (20 GS)
              Burnett 36
              W. Rodriguez 34 (12 GS)

              CL 6
              Uehara 38
              Rodney 36
              Benoit 35
              Balfour 35
              Nathan 38
              Grilli 36

              RP 3
              Choate 37 (35 IP)
              Cotts 33
              Hill 33 (38 IP)

              “you’d have to look year by year at all the players to see what transpired.”
              I’m old an I forget a lot of my stats.
              But I do remember the significance of standard deviation and fitting a slope using least squares etc. from quantitative analysis and instrumentation analysis. I also remember the significance of multivariate systems and the role Maxwell plays in solving them.
              But what I really took away from all that was how to define a what need be tested and how to define the sample needed.
              You can throw your data into whatever meat grinder you believe to be fancy. If the sample doesn’t meet the needs of the test, it is useless.
              I don’t want to send you an e-mail because I want to keep my addie private. Brett has it. That is enough.
              Now, Theo has guys doing the multivariate thing. He sees the results of models a bit more complex than those that you describe.
              But he really doesn’t need to see more than that presented above.
              *
              If your tv stops working, I suggest you first look to see if it is plugged in before you do a stat analysis to figure out what is wrong.

              1. Jason Powers

                Well its great to know “you know” that.

                I was only giving you a way to dialogue, without the “one upmanship” prevalent on BN. But I am glad you will not be having further conversation…so let’s not have one after this.

                I would hope Theo has “models a bit more complex than that you describe.”

                Well he’s running a 1/2 billion dollar entity with around 70 guys in his baseball operations. And I am one person with other things to do in my life. Seems a bit slanted to his favor?
                (Still hasn’t proven he can right the Cubs ship.)

                And you didn’t do a stat analysis either. So maybe your tv is equally broken…

                Outliers exist in all populations. Some are important enough to discuss and understand. Others, are best muted for optimal viewing pleasure.

                1. jt

                  I like the work that you are doing. Like Kyle you probably have much more talent in this area than I. But you should read Kyle carefully when he is serious ( he did recently describe himself as comedic relief). He is very careful to define that which he talking about and just as careful in choosing the tool he uses to apply the study. Luke and Brett are the same. There are a lot of very smart and very talented folk who post here. However, you don’t always get that standard.

                  1. Jason Powers

                    I am long past the “meeting a standard” or “living up” to others expectations, especially some anonymous internet person.

                    As far Brett or Luke, or Kyle, what they decide to say is their lot. If they take a position more clearly than I, I am secure enough in myself to know I’ve faced down far worse episodes than being called less talented or being less than up to BN’s elite standards, such as you have internally defined them.

                    As an ex-con, a guy that threw papers on porches for a decade, why would it matter to me if BN has more talented posters than I? I’d suppose they should be more talented…kudos to them. Employ their talents elsewhere. They might even make a real difference.

                    But we all have a role to play, whether comical, inspirational, or informational, or just exchanging oxygen. Some days, I might meagerly touch all four. But the last is my fall back option.

                    Don’t respond to my postings. And I’ll do you the same courtesy henceforth.
                    EOD

                    1. mjhurdle

                      this is a very bizarre ending to what was a pretty interesting and respectful discussion.

                2. Brains

                  Jason Powers strikes again. He and Kyle should build a spin-off blog with Brett. I’d read both, and make crazy yet persuasive comments at both.

                  1. Brains

                    These guys are just at another level of seriousness and analysis.

    2. Sandberg

      +25 internets to you, sir.

  17. Norm

    Let’s say the Cubs had that bottomless budget that some of you think they should have, since they are in a large market.
    What position players should Theo have signed the last couple years to make this offense better?

  18. papabear

    I could see the cubs signing a Ellsburry or another top outfielder for 3 or 4 years( depending on age of player). But a 7 year contract at this point – I don’t see it

  19. Blublud

    Jesse Rodgers article made zero sense. I don’t have a problem with sticking with the rebuild, though I do think the Cubs will spend this offseason, but Rodgers point was just absolutely uninformed and way off base. He never mentioned that you could move Ellbury to the Corner. Or that if you trade Almora that you could pick up another player at another position that has equal value to Almora.

    He basicly said Ellsbury is stuck to playing CF forever and that the Cubs will be forced to trade Almora for another teams low rate trash. That is simply not the case and not an excuse to not sign a good player if he is worth the money.

    If the Cubs want to rebuild, fine. They need to come out and just say that and stop crying broke, because everybody in baseball knows that that is a bald face lie. Even Jesse never said the Cubs didn’t have the money, just they shouldn’t spend it.

    1. Jason Powers

      Very good.

      Jesse could have quoted FA statistics, WAR/$ or some other analysis that at least supports the verbal argument he poorly made.

      But he has to be quick; maybe those pot shots are Boras hindered the focal point of the piece: the deconstruction of said potential addition of ONE Jacoby Ellsbury versus A-baller Albert Almora and his fantastic rise without setbacks through the Chicago Cubs organization.

    2. jt

      “He basicly said Ellsbury is stuck to playing CF forever and that the Cubs will be forced to trade Almora for another teams low rate trash”
      –BluBlud
      Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense.
      Rizzo has yet to show himself to be the 0.870 OPS 1B they hoped for.
      Castro has yet to show himself to be the 0.770 OPS SS they hoped for.
      Shark has yet to show himself to be the 200+ IP 3.00 ERA SP they hoped for.
      so
      They want to wait to see how the above mentioned respond this year and they want to wait to see what they have in Baez, Bryant, Alcantara, C. Villanueva, Olt, Hendricks and Cabrera before they go forward.
      I’m sure if they see value in an offer or a FA becomes available to the weed lurkers they will pounce.
      $150,000,000 at $1 a second is 4.75 years. That is a pretty big number.
      a $30M profit on a $1B investment would be about 3%. Does that seem like a lot?

    3. Professor Snarks

      Disagree, then agree.

      I disagree with you on the FO not calling it a rebuild. They have never wavered from that stance.

      I do agree with the money thing. Even though I contend Theo has actually never come out said they don’t have money (he talks around the edges of that narrative), he has insinuated it. That is doing nothing to help his cause.

      Whether or not we agree with Theo on the execution of the rebuild, it is what it is. He is doing what he said he would do. I, for one, am impressed that’s been two years and he hasn’t wavered.

      BTW. Jesse is getting better.

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