Supplementing Yesterday’s Concerns About 2014 and 2015 – I Didn’t Say What Some of You Think

relax cat sunglassesIt’s funny. People tend to observe things from the perspective by which they entered into the observation. The eye sees what it wants to see, and all that.

To wit, yesterday’s post about my concern that the Cubs were already raising the possibility of being non-competitive in 2015 (in addition to 2014) is being held up by some as an attack on the front office or Cubs ownership. A kind of rallying point for the folks who are angry that the Cubs aren’t spending indiscriminately in free agency.

That was never the intention, and it’s not actually what I wrote. The point, stated simply, was that I don’t think it’s necessary just yet to punt on 2015 in service of the greater long-term plan. I want there to be an open mind about the possibility of needing to spend as soon as next offseason to supplement the farm system and to kick-start an increasingly hostile fan base (because, whether the fans’ opinion matters, their dollars and their eyeballs certainly do). Maybe spending big won’t be in the cards, but let’s leave that decision until next offseason. In my mind, it’s just too early to say whether it will be worth making big moves for 2015 or not. I doubt the expectation in the Cubs’ front office is to punt on 2015 (there’s a lot of baseball to be played between now and then), and there’s certainly a measure of expectation setting going on.

To be clear: I don’t want the front office to short circuit The Plan in service of a few more wins in 2014 or 2015. There is no glory in finishing with 76 wins instead of 72 wins, and you can do more harm than good that way. We all agree on this, and I still “get it.”

Nothing I wrote yesterday supports splurging on Jacoby Ellsbury or Robinson Cano just for the hell of it. Candidly, I have a hard time seeing how I would support either move unless (1) they came at such an obvious value rate that they couldn’t be turned down; and/or (2) they were made in tandem with several other moves that significantly upgrade the team for 2014.

But, with two years to spare before 2016 (when the waves of prospects start making a real impact), it doesn’t seem an unreasonable focus for a large market – even one restricted by revenue externalities – to seek to improve itself to a competitive level by way of outside moves. This is a market that is screaming for short-term deals, and the Cubs could pick up some nice pieces on two-year contracts. Those are not inhibiting in the long-term, and, done with care over the next two offseasons, could put the Cubs in a very nice position to be competitive come 2015. (And, as always, if the right offer comes along with young talent in return for one of those signees … well, then maybe you do some more flipping.)

The point is, even if punting on 2014 now seems like an appropriate strategy (and it does*), there are moves that can be made with an eye toward 2015. For long-term organizational health, winning in 2015 is certainly better than winning in 2016. And if doing so doesn’t harm that 2016 prospect-driven breakout (the trickle of which could actually start as soon as 2015)? That’s the ticket for me, and an approach that ignores this possible avenue would make me nervous.

*Because of the unexpected regression of key big league pieces, the overheated and undermanned free agent market, the delays in revenue expansion, and the (ironic) impressive development of the Cubs’ top impact prospects (meaning that it makes more sense to wait). The caveat here is that, if the Cubs somehow surprise in the first half of 2014, I would like to see them try to stay competitive the rest of the year, if they can do so without depleting the highest impact talent in the system.

Something I should have emphasized yesterday is that, despite the signals that 2014 and 2015 might be down years, focused on continuing the build, this front office is flexible and smart. And, even if you (mistakenly) believe this ownership group is all about the bottom line, they’re smart enough to know that winning is more profitable than losing. If things take a step forward in 2014, then I have no doubt – regardless of recent signals – they’ll kick things back up, complete with funds suddenly available for spending, in time for 2015.

But, considering recent messages, our expectations for 2015 are likely being managed a bit, and that strikes me as premature. That’s the crux of the conversation I wanted to have.

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

292 responses to “Supplementing Yesterday’s Concerns About 2014 and 2015 – I Didn’t Say What Some of You Think”

  1. Kyle

    No takebacks

    1. SH

      You got strung right along, buddy.

    2. Eric

      Face it, you were premature.

      1. Kyle

        What are you, my ex-wife?

        1. Eric

          Don’t wallow.

  2. hansman

    I wonder if sitting out this and next year’s FA market might be a bit of a exploitable area for a team like the Cubs (expected future revenue to explode in a year or two).

    With FA contracts exploding and the talent not exploding, some of the guys who are in line to sign contracts through age 30 are going to want to hit FA at 27-28 to cash in. That could mean that guys who are entering arbitration this year will be less likely to want to be tied down and give up their first year or two of FA.

    With that said, I still want Choo. He is a guy you could plunk at the #1 slot for the next 3 years and get great production out of him. I want him !ALMOST! as much as I want a hamburger right now.

    1. Chris

      early for a hamburger, no?

      1. Chad

        Never to early for a hamburger, but I would suggest a pork burger.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      THis is an aspect of the new CBA that I bet that the owners did not anticipate. By reducing the pool of good FA talent, simple supply and demand has made those guys that do become FAs much more expensive than people initially expected them to be.

      This in turn will start affecting arbitration cases down the road, as these high salaries will contribute to the benchmarking of performances, and also cause more young players to gamble that they’ll get to FA while still in peak form.

      That in turn will bring FA prices down again. So, the new CBA could create a prolonged cycle of limited & very expensive FAs -> many & less expensive FAs -> few & very expensive FAs.

      And, of course, a team trying to rebuild quickly will do much better in the “even” part of that cycle for two reasons: one, there will be more players available during the “even” part than on the “odd” part, and two, during the “odd” part of the cycle, the teams that view themselves as one player away from greatness will be more willing to spend big(ger) $$$ on the one available guy who can really help them.

    3. YourResidentJag

      So are you still interested in getting Porcello via a trade?

      1. Norm

        I am.

  3. bbmoney

    I agree with this sentiment.

    I’ll add, Shark, Castro, Rizzo. Pending what happens with those three guys in 2014, 2015 could be another dismal looking year or a year of legitimately trying to contend. If 2013 was an anomaly (for Castro especially), there’s no reason to panic about 2015 when we’ve got two whole off-seasons to go and prospects who could offer a lot of help on the way.

    1. ari gold

      Couldn’t agree more. Those 3 along with the development of Castillo will go a long way in our competitiveness in 2015.

      1. bbmoney

        It was probably a “no shit Sherlock” kind of a statement by me. But I feel like it’s something that got lost yesterday in all the discussion and posting.

    2. jt

      It is good that somebody stated that it depends upon Shark, Rizzo and Castro.
      I don’t believe anyone has the foggiest as to what to expect from these guys.

  4. toby taylr

    lets for arguments sake that the cubs in 2014 are actually a better team than 2013 at the halfway point( ie with adding a few decent pieces but not overspending like everyone wants) the bullpen cant be as bad as last years and lets say the pieces that the fo picks up can be people that can actually get on base and don’t cost us a fortune, for the sake of lets say a .500 record at the break- do they go for it this year or lay off?(hypothetical but real possible of course) 2014 gets buried and roll into 2015 on a promise?

    1. SH

      “not overspending like everyone wants”

      What is this I don’t even

  5. terencemann

    My dream of them signing Verlander and Felix after this season in free agency is dead so free agency is dead to me.

  6. Chris

    I’m very much anticipating a Samardzija trade this winter.

    As KGallo puts it over in Cubs Den, there’s just way too much interest in him right now, which will create competition for his services, which will drive up his return.

    Plus, the things that Hoyer is saying about Samardzija (e.g., “he’s a guy he want to build around”) is awfully similar to the “we want more Matt Garzas; not less Matt Garzas” refrain that we heard last offseason.

    1. terencemann

      Never trust an executive to tell the truth until he has to.

      1. Chris

        Exactly one of the reasons why I think Samardzija is more likely to be traded than not

      2. jt

        “Never trust an executive to tell the truth until he has to.”
        –terencemann
        Seems we are going to have to remind ourselves of that all winter

    2. Kyle

      I’m too lazy to look it up now, but I feel like there was a Theo or Jed interview talking up Zambrano being given another chance mere hours before he was traded.

      1. Chris

        I think I vaguely recall that, too

      2. Chad

        That’s what I’ve been thinking, just because they tell us all these things, that doesn’t mean that is actually the exact thing they plan to do, and circumstances change every day, let alone 2 years from now. hard to project what will happen and what things will look like by next off-season. Lots of great/good/bad things can happen between now and then.

  7. Kyle

    We’re pretty much on the same page with regards to what should happen next. It’s too late to change directions now. I’m just enjoying a little schadenfreude over fans who are *just now* realizing that their interpretations of The Plan from two years ago were optimistic and the seeds of doubt are just starting to creep in that maybe The Plan isn’t the greatest thing since Branch Rickey invented the farm system.

    1. terencemann

      I am just surprised more people didn’t figure out what was going on the first time Albert Almora made a BA prospect list and his expected rookie season was 2016.

    2. JB88

      To me, the thorn in the side of the FO was always the change in the CBA. Gone were the days of being able to restock the ML system AND acquire elite talent at any spot in the draft, if you were willing to spend enough.

      I’d be curious to see when Theo gave all the interviews that sort of spawned this notion that the team expected to rebuild the farm and be competitive by 2014 and looking for a playoff birth in 2015. I suspect it was before the ratification of the new CBA.

      What I don’t think any of us knew and is starting to be clear is that the Ricketts weren’t willing (or weren’t able) to spend money on the big league club during these offseasons. And if it is the later; i.e., they aren’t able to spend money, I sincerely wonder what that means for this FO sticking around long-term with the Cubs. When the Cubs start shipping out David DeJesus rather than picking up his option or not, then you have to start wondering what the Cubs’ financial situation is. And, based on their actions, it looks pretty dim.

      1. fang2415

        I agree that the CBA is one big reason that the rebuild has been slow.

        But I disagree with your point about the Ricketts’ willingness to spend. The other big change since Thoyer were hired is the MLB-wide trend toward long-term extensions for elite players. This means that most elite players never hit the free agent market at all, so spending big on FAs is a much less effective way to build a team.

        The combination of the CBA and the contract-extension craze effectively neutralized the Cubs’ ability to use their financial advantage as a short-cut to success, just when they began to try to do that. The only obvious way that remains for an MLB team to rebuild is to spend a long time selecting and developing home-grown players.

        As Brett says, that’s not Thoyer’s fault and that doesn’t mean their plan isn’t the best one available. That’s just baseball.

        1. SH

          But they certainly underspent on international FAs, an area where we could use our financial advantage as a short-cut to success. We got 1/6 (tea leaves say 1/7) marquee int’l FAs since the FO came to town. That IFA was the lowest cost/year of all of them, and also the only one not to produce at a professional level quickly. We’ll see how Abreu and Tanaka turn out, but the other four — Cespedes, Darvish, Puig, and Ryu — have all been great investments.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Cespedes had a league average bat last year and we will see if Puig go the same route. Darvish & Ryu seem legit (they weren’t international FA).

            1. SH

              I’m playing fast and loose with “IFA” — the only difference between Darvish/Ryu and the others is that that they came with a posting fee. (And in fact none of them were proper “IFAs” like Jimenez et al.) I’m referring to the rare early-to-mid-twenties “prospects” that we can buy and which, due to the CBA, only come from international markets.

              Whether Cespedes had a “league average bat” he’s on track to provide more wins than he cost at the market rate. Puig will have to generate just a hair over *one* more bWAR over the next six years to do the same. Ryu will have to generate 6 more bWAR over the next five years to cover contract and posting fee. (He topped 3 WAR in his rookie year.) And Darvish will have to provide 8 more bWAR over the next four years to cover contract and posting fee. (He hit 10 in his first two years.)

              Someone the other day said “Puig could have been a colossal mistake.” But when you have financial advantage to leverage, this is the exact type of risk you should be taking — at worst it costs you money that you’re not spending anyway; at best you have a 22-yo providing 5 bWAR in half a season.

              We want prospects, we have cash. Would we buy Oscar Taveras if we could?

              1. Cubbie Blues

                “I’m playing fast and loose with “IFA””
                In the fact that they the two pitchers weren’t international free agents, I agree.

                “Whether Cespedes had a “league average bat” he’s on track to provide more wins than he cost at the market rate. Puig will have to generate just a hair over *one* more bWAR over the next six years to do the same. Ryu will have to generate 6 more bWAR over the next five years to cover contract and posting fee. (He topped 3 WAR in his rookie year.)”
                You are also leaving off the fact that by most accounts the Cubs were in heavy on Puig & Cespedes anyway. The Dodgers ended up blowing everyone out of the water with their bid and at the time everyone thought the A’s were crazy for the deal they gave Cespedes.

                “And Darvish will have to provide 8 more bWAR over the next four years to cover contract and posting fee. (He hit 10 in his first two years.)”
                Once again, he isn’t an IFA and the Rangers out bid everyone else by double with the posting fee.

                1. SH

                  I’m curious what definition you’re using of “international free agent.” Because it’s not the MLB term of art for Jimenez et al, and it’s not what it means plainly (i.e. acquired by signing, from an international place and thus younger than domestic free agents — what I was going for). You’re right that they weren’t “free agents” as in able to negotiate freely, but that’s *really* nitpicky and kind of beside the point with respect to what I’m saying.

                  And to your other points: sure, yes, we reportedly came close. But we didn’t get them, so we’re 1/7 at using our financial leverage to bolster our rebuilding process.

                  1. Cubbie Blues

                    Whatever your definition might be, it sure does not include players that have to go through a bid posting process.

                    1. SH

                      This is one of the most bizarre disagreements I’ve had on BN. Am I being trolled?

                    2. Cubbie Blues

                      Really? You think I’m the new one on the block trolling?

                    3. MichiganGoat

                      Well when all else fails and no one is joining Spartacus then deflection is your only option.

                    4. SH

                      It’s 2013 — trolling doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

                      Anyway, I think with respect to this issue you’re either trolling me or being purposefully obtuse. I’m inclined to assume you’re having fun rather than being malicious or bad at reading comprehension.

                    5. SH

                      Good to see you Goat! Your positive contributions have been missed over the past 24 hours.

                    6. Cubbie Blues

                      My reading comprehension is just fine thank you. You asked a question and I replied where you were wrong. Japan players under contract are not IFA. F in this case stands for Free. Since they are under contract in Japan, they are not Free.

                    7. MichiganGoat

                      Glad to see your tears and anger over stupid bullshit is still strong SH keep trying grasshopper your skills are rather lacking… enjoy working on a retort. I’ve got better things to work on that your asshatery.

                    8. MichiganGoat

                      Oh Cubbie just let him be and continue to believe what he wants, in time he’ll find the other pitchforks to join him on his hostility because the Cubs didn’t sign all the international players.

                    9. SH

                      Dude do you want me to quote where I presented three definitions of IFA — the MLB term of art, what it means on its face (and which I helpfully elucidated for you), and the one where we rely on the minutiae of its etymology — and told you which one I was using? And then pointed out how regardless of whether you were using my definition or yours the point was still the same?

                      And somehow the court jester says I’m the one “deflecting”…

                    10. SH

                      24 hours pass and the Goat hasn’t forgotten how to troll. Old habits die hard (pun intentional).

                    11. MichiganGoat

                      Okay SH you have fun just continue to remember that is anyone disagrees with you and nobody backs your claims just deflect, move the goalposts, and throw out the troll card. You are right we are all trolling you.

                      I swear there should be an age requirement to post on here, too many kids posting from basements.

                    12. Eric

                      Yesterday, SH was Kyle’s fluffer. Today, he cries about trolling. Tomorrow, the sky’s the limit.

                    13. MichiganGoat

                      +1 Eric take a bow you have perfectly described the situation.

                    14. SH

                      I say it with love, buddy. You’re great at what ya do.

                2. DocPeterWimsey

                  I didn’t read that the Cubs or anybody else was ever “in heavy” on Puig. That was part of what made the signing so surprising to everyone: teams were just starting to evaluate the guy when the Dodgers up and signed him for a big contract. Unlike Cespedes and Soler (and a few others), there were not protracted rumors about the scouting and the teams interested, and there does not seem to have been any sort of “bidding” war: the Dodgers just swooped in and bid high based well before anybody else was willing to do so.

                  1. Cubbie Blues

                    You are correct Doc.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Ah facts how I miss them

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              Also, those four guys were signed by 3 different teams. This is the “Us vs. Them” fallacy: the Cubs needed to basically sign ALL of the players, and not even the Dodgers came close to doing that.

              1. SH

                Not making us v. them fallacy. A point with respect to rate, which is likely to be 1/7 after Tanaka. I don’t expect us to have landed all of them and I never got close to saying that.

                But we’re the only major market team engaging in a rebuild right now. That is, we have the *most* interest in getting these sorts of players — players who maybe can’t contribute to a playoff contender right away (always a risk with a player who hasn’t played a day of MLB ball), but come at a cost not affordable to teams who are financially handcuffed into a farm-focused strategy. So our rate should be high, given how much this strategy makes sense for us under the new CBA.

                1. Cubbie Blues

                  The Astros would like to differ with yo on that one.

                  1. SH

                    Eh, if you go to their mid-2000s peak in performance they still never hit the top-5 in percent attendance. And their highest-ranked payroll this century was 8th. Certainly not a “big market” team, even if they have more leverage than your average tank-to-win types.

                    1. Cubbie Blues

                      Dude, you said large market. I gave you the 4th largest city in the US.

                    2. SH

                      Miami is the fourth-largest DMA in America; hard to say the Marlins are a large market team. Similarly, we’re larger-market than our half-share of the Chicago DMA would imply (which is actually a smaller number than the Miami DMA, if you can believe it!).

                    3. SH

                      (All to say: there’s more than local population data influencing a baseball market.)

                    4. Cubbie Blues

                      Market refers to media market. Maybe I am too literal. I’ll go ahead and call myself the bad one by being too literal and meaning what I type rather than almost typing what I mean.

                    5. SH

                      Jesus Christ, dude.

                2. BT

                  What sorts of players? There are reasons these players were not signed, but no one wants to hear them, and when presented, the presenter is tarred as a Theo butt kisser drinking the kool aid.

                  Cespedes was not signed because he wanted a 4 year contract, not a 6 year contract, which makes no sense to a rebuilding team.

                  Puig was not signed because there was not enough information on him when the Dodgers threw a barrel of money at him.

                  Abreu was not signed because there are questions about his hit tool and whether he can play in the NL

                  Ryu was not signed because he cost 60 million, and while he has been terrific, his OWN agent, Scott Boras described him at the time as a #3, which means most viewed him as less than that.

                  Darvish was not signed because the Rangers doubled everyone else’s (including the Cubs) bid, meaning if the Cubs are “cheap” so are the Yankees, because no one was close to them.

                  Tanaka hasn’t signed yet.

                  Those are reasons, they are not after the fact excuses, and they are all valid.

                  1. SH

                    No one said anyone was “cheap”; no one is calling anyone a “Theo butt kisser.” I said that we missed out by not buying more prospects when we had the chance. Buying prospects is a way we can leverage our financial advantage to make the “plan” work more robustly. Are they sure things, no — none of our prospects are. But they *are* prospects that we can acquire in a way many similarly-rebuilding teams cannot.

                3. DocPeterWimsey

                  There is a distinction. Yes, the Cubs have the most interest in getting lots of these players. No, the Cubs (probably) do not have the most interest in any one of these players. That distinction will go to the team for whom that guy will be the one who views him as “the” piece that they need.

                  For example, Jacoby Elsbury would be a huge upgrade for the Cubs. Just get him, at least one more OFer, good hitting 2B and 3Bmen, and one or two good starting pitchers, and the Cubs are in playoff contention. The Cubs should want him a lot.

                  Now, compare that to any good team that really just needs one more good OFer to feel like they are in good shape to make post-season. They are going to want Elsbury more: for them, Elsbury = what they want, whereas for the Cubs (or the Astros or the Mets or the Rockies), Elsbury = part way to what they want.

                  1. SH

                    You make a fair point, though I’m not sold that “immediate impact” concerns fall the same w/r/t a 29-yo MLB outfielder as they do w/r/t a 22-yo prospect.

          2. Norm

            You’re holding the lack of signing a 1B/DH IFA to a $65M+ contract against the Cubs?
            Seems fair.

            1. SH

              Er, not at all. In fact the other day I made clear that he wouldn’t have been a wise pickup — he’s the oldest of the bunch and not a good positional fit. (Though I’m not expecting you to follow my posts, hah :) )

              I *am* holding against whatever force is stopping us from buying prospects — baseball side strategy, owner profit concerns, external revenue forces — that we are 1/7 on using our financial leverage to buy the next Oscar Taveras or Tyler Skaggs. And that the only 1 we hit on was the cheapest per annum and so far least productive player.

              1. Norm

                Well, you’re saying they are 1/7 to make them look as negative as possible. When 1 of those 7 hasn’t even been made available yet and 1 is a player you agree isn’t a fit. At least say they are 1/5.

      2. Cubbie in NC

        Bottom line is that talent wins. By cutting yourself off from all streams of acquiring it is a mistake. I understand that using the most productive streams to get talent. But making the MLB team this bad is a mistake.

        Either the team can’t spend, won’t spend, or this is turning into an intellectual exercise that is going to end badly.

        The Cubs can build a farm system and not make the MLB team as bad as humanly possible in the process.

      3. Kyle

        That’s a big indicator to me. You can try to hem and haw that maybe the Cubs aren’t really broke, but it’s *really* hard to come up with a coherent explanation for why DeJesus was allowed to go for nothing but salary relief when he surely could have brought back a useful prospect.

        1. terencemann

          It’s hard to believe he could have brought much back but the Nationals did kind of make the Cubs look a little silly on that one.

        2. cubfanincardinalland

          What is amazing is the Rays thinking he is going to be a 5 million dollar a year player the next two years. Pretty expensive platoon player, who is a liability in center field at this point. They basically paid for two years of Sweeney by letting him go.

          1. bbmoney

            I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t ‘earn’ that contract. At least in terms of the usual value per WAR calculation.

    3. roz

      To be frank, anybody who thought the plan was 1) suck in 2012, 2) .500 in 2013, and 3) compete for playoffs in 2014, probably didn’t understand how this stuff works in the first place.

    4. Eric

      I don’t know anyone who has celebrated the Cubs losing more than you, Kyle.

      1. Kyle

        Unsurprisingly, you’ve got it mixed up. I’m the one saying losing is a *bad* thing.

  8. Doug

    I’m on board with the approach as well. I just think it’s going to take two or three years longer than we hoped and perhaps were led to believe.

    Rebuilding a broken franchise is not an exact science though so I’ll continue to wait…Patiently.

    I do like the direction we’re headed. Having a top 5 minor league system from which to grow IS a great start.

    1. D-Rock

      Right on. Now, that’s the optimism we all need to have right now. We are, after all, Cubs fans, so we know how to be patient. What’s a couple more years, right?

      1. terencemann

        I am very optimistic that there will be 1 if not 2 more star caliber players on the 25 man roster at the end of the season. They’ve added a major league caliber player with decent potential to improve and with some team control to the major league roster every season since Hendry left:

        2012: Rizzo, Wood, Vizcaino
        2013: Jackson, Schierholtz, Strop, Lim?
        2014: Olt?, Baez?, Bryant?, etc

  9. Cheryl

    Many, me included, hoped for a 500 team in 2014, a competitive team in 2015, and a playoff team in 2016. My problem with the cubs now is that the FO doesn’t seem to want to try to improve the major league team to even be somewhat competitive. An attempt to reach 500 in 2014 seems a modest goal.

    1. On The Farm

      “An attempt to reach 500 in 2014 seems a modest goal.”

      Really an attempt to reach 73 wins seems to be the “ceiling” of the 2014 if they don’t anyone of impact in the FA market.

      1. Jason Powers

        Probably a good reason to just trade Jackson.

        Given a 38/39 yr old Hudson’s recent signing, you could plausibly see teams saying, ” well Jackson is younger, throws a lot harder, had some 2013 bad luck – LOB% – etc.” and doesn’t cost aside from the prospects…which 2-3 more top arms to fill in that minor league dearth of top-end pitching talent sounds like a Theo/Jed dream come true.

        If Ricketts wants to save 33M for his renovation, he sells off the highest paid player left on the Cubs. With the 25M from additional revenues in 2014 onward, that’s more money he doesn’t have to borrow…MLB can finance the renovation for him.

        Meanwhile, at least 2M fans will come to get drunk….

        No need to win 73 games in 2014. Or 82-85 in 2015. And who says Jackson holds up even. He’s 31 in Sept 2014. He’ll be too old to contribute to THE PLAN in 2016. We don’t like guys over 30 anyways. Might as well save the money for the prospects to come salaries…

        Though being non-competitive will tend to scare off FAs acquisitions aside from the bum-arms or lackluster performers wanting just a 1-year deals anywhere in the MLB. But we can flip them to contenders, and get more potential in that minor leagues…as long as the remaining teams want to oblige in this plan.

        Then in 2016, will bust out the Benjamins $$$$ and for 4-6 seasons (depending on salaries) rule the MLB!

        It can work. Patience is a virtue.

        I am being a bit sarcastic here… But that was the plan.

        1. On The Farm

          “No need to win 73 games in 2014″

          Yeah I am not saying they should win 73 games, I am just saying with the current MLB talent that is about their maximum potential.

          “We don’t like guys over 30 anyways. ”

          Might as well trade Shark and Sheirholtz too. I mean if they traded Jackson at that point there isn’t much reason to hold on to Shark, waving the white flag is waving the white flag. If the return is there, why not?

          1. hansman

            No, given the current state of the franchise, you should build a team that maximizes the wins in 2014 while allowing the flexibility to completely crap all over the season if you aren’t in contention.

          2. Jason Powers

            I know you aren’t, OTF. I wasn’t criticizing you at all. I think you stated it pretty well.

            That might happen; Shark and Schierholtz.

            Total REBUILD. Go Houston or go home!

            1. YourResidentJag

              Yes, total rebuild indeed.

        2. Brains

          optimism aside, the team stinks and except under extremely auspicious conditions, we’ll probably still stink in 2018. is it possible that we’ll improve and be solid many many years after new ownership took over? yes. is it likely? i have no idea, and i’m inclined to say no at this moment.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Thank you, Mighty Kreskin.

            1. Brains

              you’re dating yourself with that reference. :)

              1. Cubbie Blues

                I never said I was young. In fact, I feel older every year.

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        I would question whether this FA market even has the impact that the Cubs need. The Cubs need big bats at 3rd and 2nd: and after Cano, there isn’t much. (And Cano can play only one of the two positions on any given day.)

        The Cubs need at least 2 impact bats in the OF. That *might* be doable: but Cubs fans won’t like the deals that it will take to bring them here.

        And, of course, the Cubs need at least one (and probably 2) very good starters. That could happen: but it will be a case where they take a chance on a guy and he rebounds strongly from a down season (or 2 or 3).

        1. Edwin

          The Cubs need good players in the OF. They are two or more years away from filling those needs throught the farm system. There are two FA in Choo and Ellsbury that would easily fill that OF need, and would probably be productive players over the next 3-4 years or longer.

          It’s not just about finding “impact” players to try and win in 2014, it’s about finding players that can be part of a competative team in 2015 and 2016 as well.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            I’m sorry, I was not clear. Yes, the FA market has the parts to make the Cubs *better*. It does not have all the parts needed to make the Cubs *good.* We’d need another FA class (or rapid development of prospects) for that.

            And that in turn makes the Cubs less attractive for FAs. Guys want to join teams that they see as playoff contenders. Mike Trout couldn’t turn this team into a playoff contender: and that means that every FA knows (if he has more than 3 functioning neurons) that he’s not the difference between playing baseball or golf in October.

        2. JB88

          The problem with this logic, as I see it, though, is that this effectively gives the Cubs a pass from ANY FA acquisition strategy. It’s almost like certain fans are saying: “Well, we need a ton and the minor league players are a few years away, so let’s sit out FA altogether.”

          That’s a flawed mindset IMO. You can only get the players when they are available. It is the reason that they should be looking to acquire long-term pieces when they are available. They should be looking to acquire Tanaka at all costs (if they think he is a TOR starter). They should be looking to acquire an outfielder.

          But sitting out an entire offseason to add spare parts again is pretty much unacceptable. The Cubs have jettisoned all dead weight, bad contracts they have. Not adding useful pieces to the puzzle is not the way to eventually be a contending team. And it really has me concerned that there is a disconnect between ownership and the FO.

          1. Norm

            It’s this “at all costs” stuff that is bogus.
            Should they Cubs bid $200M just on the posting fee to get him?
            No? So it’s not “at all costs”.

            1. JB88

              You may be correct that use of phrases like “at all costs” creates a false paradigm. But it is also at the heart of a fundamental question for teams: Is a TOR starter a near necessity to win a World Series?

              If the answer to that is “yes” and available TOR starters is becoming a scarcer commodity (due to teams locking that sort of talent up earlier), then acquiring one in his prime for nothing more than cash should present a fairly easy answer to whether it is worth that sort of “at all costs” investment.

              1. Norm

                Well, the answer to that is ‘no, a TOR pitcher is not a requirement’.
                But again, “at all costs” is complete BS.

                1. JB88

                  And is a term of art. I don’t think anyone is truly advocating at all costs.

                  That said, if you told me the posting fee and contract for Tanaka would approach $200M, I think I would be okay with that, if the ultimate contract were seven years in length, for example with no no-trade clause. If you told me it were approaching $300M, I would pass. So, even in my own mind “at all costs” doesn’t exist. No player is worth a blank check.

                  But, if the Cubs make a $.50 on the dollar sort of post offer, then I will be disappointed, because it means that they are truly not competing for the best available talent. What I don’t want to see is them win a posting battle going away. I would very happily take them winning the post by $1 and go from there.

                  1. Fishin Phil

                    “I would very happily take them winning the post by $1 and go from there.”

                    That would be a whole lot easier if you knew what all the other teams were bidding.

                    1. JB88

                      Of course it would be. But there is winning and then there is WINNING. I like WINNING more, where you look like the luckiest person in the room and the smartest :)

                  2. Norm

                    Well I’m glad you’re ok with spending $150M+ dollars. Not even $150M over a period of years, but just one shot of $150M, due immediately.

                    1. JB88

                      Actually, that is not what I said. I said I would be okay if the Cubs paid close to $200M for posting fee and contract. Not that I would be okay with them paying $150M in one fell swoop.

                      For a guy that jumped at a term of art use of “at all costs”, I would have thought you would be a little more precise in your reading.

                    2. BT

                      Just to be clear, you are advocating 200 million for a guy who has never faced a major league batter in his life. And if the Cubs DON’T do this, it means they aren’t committed to winning.

                      Because all Japanese pitchers are now Yu Darvish, and none of them are Dice K or Hideki Irabu.

                    3. Norm

                      Yes, the posting fee is paid in ‘one fell swoop’. Unless you think Tanaka is getting more than Darvish (which he may, even though he isn’t considered to be in Darvish’s class), that means you’re advocating about $150M in posting fee…which is paid in one fell swoop.

                      If you prefer, $130M, assuming Tanaka gets a $70M contract, I can make it $130M.

                    4. JB88

                      @ Norm, you do understand that a MLB contract isn’t paid at the front end of the deal, right or that Darvish’s posting fee was $51MM, right??

                      I’m trying to reconcile anything I posted with what you posted suggesting that I am advocating paying $150MM at the front end for Tanaka by saying something along the lines of I’d be ok with that number approaching $200MM for a seven year contract and posting fee.

                    5. Norm

                      Yes, I understand.
                      Darvish’s posting fee was $51M. That was paid to the Japanese team immediately, in one fell swoop.
                      Then TEX had to give Yu a 6 year, $56M contract.

                      You are advocating paying $200M total for Tanaka.
                      Even if you think Tanaka gets the same contract as Yu, 6 years $56M, that means the Cubs would be paying $144M for the posting fee. Which is due in one fell swoop.

                      So yeah, I understand that you are OK with spending Ricketts $144M and if they don’t, they’re not trying to win “at all costs”.

                    6. JB88

                      I strongly believe that Tanaka is getting a much richer contract than Darvish. I expect his contract to be closer to $80MM to $100MM. I would be okay with the Cubs paying close to $100MM for a posting fee. I would prefer the Cubs pay less than that, though.

                      And let’s stop with your self-promoted delusion that I want to win this at all costs. In response to your initial reply I stated that I did not want to win this at all costs and that no player is worth a blank check. So you can stop trying to beat an imaginary drum.

    2. anonymous-ly

      Theo and Co. are going to tank the season “Houston and Miami Style” which I mean duh. They should have done that last year instead of going half assed at it. At least we would have been able to get Rodon or Hoffman. If you are not intentionally trying to not contend you should be going for the first draft pick.

      But Why oh Why does a team that charges the third highest ticket prices in baseball, in one of the largest markets, with the third highest stadium revenues, double stadium revenues by $100 Million than the White Sox or Reds, EVER EVER EVER have to rebuild for six-seven years. Never mind the Cable revenues, the Cubs don’t even need that.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        “But Why oh Why does a team that charges the third highest ticket prices in baseball”
        They charge what the market will bare.

        1. terencemann

          The better question is: Why do people pay that high of a ticket price to see the Cubs?

          1. Cubbie Blues

            I can only speak for myself and I usually take my family to a few games a year (we are not from Chicago) and pay a rather hefty price for it because I am a huge fan of the team. Win or loss I always have a great time. Is winning funner? of course, but I’m not going to lie and say I don’t have a good time when they lose as well. To me it’s a treat to actually go to a game rather than watching on TV.

            1. anonymous-ly

              That’s great if you like to order a steak and get a hamburger. The Ricketts are giving us a hamburger and laughing all the way to the bank.

              I’m fine with the Ricketts serving us a hamburger instead of steak, but charge us hamburger prices dammit.

              1. Edwin

                What if the hamburger is made from steak, though?

                1. anonymous-ly

                  Didn’t your mom tell you not to believe everything you read on the labels? Marketing spin at it’s finest.

              2. Cubbie Blues

                They will charge whatever the market will bare. If enough people don’t purchase tickets, at that point they will make a market correction. Until then, they aren’t going to be moving prices.

                1. anonymous-ly

                  That’s fine, but please stop trying to claim they are poor and don’t have enough funds for a higher payroll and every dollar in the door is going back into baseball operations.

                  Just let everyone know the truth. The Ricketts are paying down their debt and profiting handsomely by increased equity. By year six they could potentially have paid a large portion of their purchase debt, This small market building plan is done by choice and anything else is pure marketing spin to divert the fans from the truth.

                  The truth will set you free.

                  1. Cubbie Blues

                    I don’t think anyone claims they aren’t servicing the debt from profits. I have thought that from day one. That issue can be looked at from both sides as being put back into the system. The angle you are looking at it from will skew how you perceive it. If you generally don’t trust the ownership and FO you will think they are deceiving and if you think they are allowing short term pain for long term gain then you are going to understand it better.

              3. BT

                Did you take any Econ courses in school?

              4. wilbur

                A good hamburger in New York is 28 bucks, what’s your point again?

          2. TSB

            Sometimes, for the same reason that fatcats will go to the Super Bowl and not watch the game; but so they can say they were there, and thus are cool.

  10. anonymous-ly

    Top Ten Worst Scenario Future Predictions

    1/ Castro ends up an avg defefensive, no power, low obp, decent avg infielder.
    2/ Rizzo ends up being a mediocre first baseman and proves unworthy of contract.
    3/ Samardzia ends up getting hurt mid-season, TJS and loses all trade value.
    4/ Baez strikes out Brett Jackson style in the major leagues.
    5/ Bryant becomes a three outcome hitter with a high strikeout rate.
    6/ Soler just flames out but still collects his entire salary.
    7/ Almora becomes an excellent defensive CF with decent avg and no power.
    8/ In 2016 our top two pitchers get injured and need TJS.
    9/ Ricketts and FO get flamed by fans and media Theo leaves.
    10/ We are told to be patient and 2019 will be the year for more TV revenues and better prospects.

    1. Joycedaddy

      Given that we’re Cubs fans…..I’d say that at least 3 of those actually happen. The Cubs phenomena or “Cubs Way” tends to do this to us….Anyways I think that the team will win a WS in 2020. I don’t think a team of up and coming prospects with a few veterans peppered in will be able to win a WS in 2015-16-17 and yeah we’re all sick and tired of watching poor baseball but I think the Theo plan was more of a 10 year plan than 5 year plan, given just how mangled the Cubs system was when Theo got to Chicago. When was the last true rebuild of the team before Theo’s plan? Dallas Green in the 1980′s? I think when you couple 100+ years of no WS wins and 20+ years of no complete rebuild that it comes out to a painful 10 year plan.

      1. Joycedaddy

        …..but yes I still agree with Brett that whether it’s in 2015, 2016, 2018, or 2020 I will be satisfied with the overall plan. It’ll just make it that much sweeter, and who knows maybe my salary will be a little bit higher by then!

        1. Bob

          That’s such bull**** though. We damn well could of/should of won the WS in 2003 and had the team to do so in 2008, and I don’t think that building those teams took 10 years. If this nonsense drags out until 2020 then god rest the souls of late Cubs fans, because they will be far and away the majority of the people enjoying it.

      2. Frank

        Sounds more like the Pirates plan. I can’t wait to see the stands filled like it was in Pittsburgh.

    2. SH

      As much as it’s unlikely that each of our Big 4 become high-quality pro contributors and those making up our current major league “core” become perennial All-Stars, it’s pretty unlikely all of these things happen in conjunction.

      Let’s not sink too deep, now.

    3. cooter

      1,2 and 10 will probably happen.

  11. Funn Dave

    If there were people that thought Brett was no longer in favor of the Cubs’ approach yesterday, they were only reading what the wanted to read. He acknowledged that it may take a couple extra seasons, but never said it wasn’t worth it.

    1. anonymous-ly

      It’s okay for the Cubs to go for a longer rebuild and it may eventually be worth it. But WHY does he have to charge the highest tickets prices in baseball with possibly one of the lowest payrolls this year. That’s a big middle finger to the fans.

      In Year 2013, the Cubs are comparable in payroll and attendance with the Cincinnati Reds. Cubs attendance 2,642,600 vs Reds 2,534,369.
      Cubs Payroll $104,150,726 vs Reds Payroll $110,415,277.
      If you include the season ending sell-off by the Cubs (-$13,650,000) the payroll difference is decisively more advantageous for the Cubs.
      Cubs Payroll $90,500,726 vs Reds Payroll of $110,415,277. Using the Fan Cost Index provided by “Team Marketing Report,”the difference in projected total stadium revenue is startling.
      Cubs $197,005,830 vs Reds $104,789,822.
      Almost double the revenue of the Reds at $92,216,008.
      The difference in total payroll spent in 2013 plus projected stadium revenues culminates into a mind-blowing difference of $112,130,559.
       
      In Year 2013, the Cubs had a decisive advantage against the White Sox in both starting payroll and in attendance. However, both clubs dumped significant payroll at the end of the year.
      Cubs Payroll $104,150,726 vs White Sox Payroll $125,065,277.
      Cubs attendance 2,642,600 vs White Sox attendance 1,768,413.
      Using the Fan Cost Index provided by “Team Marketing Report,” once again the difference in projected stadium revenue is startling.
      Cubs $197,005,830 vs White Sox $102,205,429.
      The difference in starting payroll plus projected stadium revenue adds up to a whopping difference of $124,119,980.

      Chicago Cubs
      Payroll 2010 $146, 859,000 Rank #3 Attendance 3,062,973 Rank #7 Ticket $52.56 $329.74 #2
      Payroll 2011 $125,480, 664 Rank #6 Attendance 3,017,966 Rank #9 Ticket $46.90 $$305.60 #3
      Payroll 2012 $88,197,033 Rank #15 Attendance 2,882, 700 Rank #10 Ticket $46.30 $300.29 #3
      Payroll 2013 $104,150,726 Rank #14 Attendance 2,642,600 Rank# 12 Ticket $44.55 $298.20 #3  

      Chicago White Sox
      Payroll 2010 $108,273,197 Rank #7 Attendance 2,194,378 Rank#17 Ticket $38.65 $249.60 #4
      Payroll 2011 $129,285,539 Rank #5 Attendance 2,001,117 Rank#21 Ticket $40.67 $258.68 #4
      Payroll 2012 $96,919,500 Rank #11 Attendance 1,965,955 Rank#24 Ticket $29.00 $ 222.98 #12
      Rayroll 2013 $124,065,277 Rank #9 Attendance 1,768,413 Rank#24 Ticket $26.05 $231,18 #8
       
      Cincinatti Reds
      Payroll 2010 $72,386,644 Rank #19 Attendance 2,060,550 Rank #20 Ticket $19.19 $151.26 #24
      Payroll 2011 $76,181,365 Rank #19 Attendance 2,213,498 Rank#16 Ticket $20.56 $162.24 #20
      Payroll 2012 $82,203,616 Rank#17 Attendance 2,347,251 Rank#16 Ticket $20.49 $165.94 #25
      Rayroll 2013 $110,565,728 Rank#13 Attendance 2,534,369 Rank#15 Ticket $21.35 $165.39 #27

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        Your figures are for start of the year contracts. The Cubs payroll last season, in terms of actual contract money paid out to players, was around 90 million, due to trading off several players(Feldman, Soriano, Dejesus, Garza, etc.)

      2. BT

        because that is what the market will bear. It’s not that difficult a concept.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Obviously it’s very hard to comprehend when all you want to do is search for anything to complain about.

        2. anonymous-ly

          All Chicagoland fans will see their cable prices increase by $4-6 a month when Ricketts renegotiates the new Cable and media deal in 2019, He has turned the Cubs into the most profitable franchise in MLB by charging Cub fans the third highest ticket prices in baseball, while lowering payroll into the bottom third.

          Yet he refuses to invest into Major League talent until he can charge us cable subscribers more money to finance a respectable payroll.

          Yet he has the balls to continue to “Sell” us on a small market strategy for six and possibly seven years, Disgusting. Kids will go from grade school to College in that time. How much profit is enough?

          Greed is good. For the Ricketts.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            It’s not the cable deal they are waiting on. It is the renovation and the ad revenue. the TV deal will be a bonus (albeit a huge bonus).

            Also, if all they were worried about was profits, why would they be investing into parts of the team that don’t bring profit short term?

            1. anonymous-ly

              TV deal will be a bonus only for the Ricketts. It will cost the average Chicago household an extra $50-60 a year. You post as if it will be beneficial to the average fan. He is refusing to spend any of his profits on payroll and will only contemplate a normal payroll until he makes more profits.

              1. Cubbie Blues

                I’ll just end the argument here because you will never convince me of that and I won’t convince you either. I will simply say that I disagree with everything except the 2nd sentence in that comment.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Well that was obvious after the first comment.

                2. anonymous-ly

                  Contrary to popular opinion, a new Cable deal will not be beneficial to the average fan, The Ricketts will profit while the average household will see their cable bills rise $50-60 annually to fund the Ricketts war chest.

                  That would not be so bad if we are led to believe that every dollar of that cable bill increase goes back into baseball operations and the Ricketts are good stewards of our money. But, I think he has clearly shown us by his actions. a large portion of that cable bill increase will be going back into the Ricketts fund and his Dad’s pockets.

                  1. hansman

                    GET OUT THE TORCHFORKS AND PITCHES!!!!

            2. anonymous-ly

              This talk about Ricketts investing in the ballclub is 100% marketing spin.

              The only investments they made out side of the normal payroll was $7M into Dominican Academy. A paltry one-time investment that averages $1.4M over five years,

              $99 Million Mesa facility was funded entirely by taxpayers of Arizona, The Ricketts are only responsible for a profit-making business venture.

              One-time investment into upgraded computer and video system partially offset by leasing a fleet of cars and reducing per diems.

              $3 Million dollar bonus to Geraldo Conception.

              All probably averages out to less than $3 Million a year. Considering the Cubs have stadium revenues that exceed the White Sox and Reds by $100 Million annually, a $3Million investment a year into the club is absolutely nothing and pure marketing spin.

              1. MichiganGoat

                Alright man we get it please make one list and post that instead of every single day posting the same complaints. No amount of thought, logic, or discussion will matter so say your peace and be done with it. WE UNDERSTAND YOU THINK RICKETTS IS CHEAP!

                1. Brains

                  st. louis beer

              2. mjhurdle

                i think if you say this 5,492 more times, it might finally make it true.

              3. hansman

                “$99 Million Mesa facility was funded entirely by taxpayers of Arizona, The Ricketts are only responsible for a profit-making business venture.”

                Well, that’s not right.

                Keep trying though, kid. Your anti-rich folks ranting is bound to get something right at some point. Maybe.

                1. Kyle

                  It’s close to right. In the general vicinity. It might actually be right, but it’s hard to tell.

                  The city of Mesa put up $85m to fund the project and passed a non-binding resolution that said the Cubs would pay the rest if the project overran that, which the Cubs aren’t bound to.

                  Since then, the project has been expanded to include several things beyond the facility itself, so it’s really hard to get an exact tally on how much the project cost and if the Cubs ended up paying for any of it themselves.

                2. anonymous-ly

                  On the ballot is a measure required by the Mesa city charter, which says that any time the city spends more than $1.5 million on a sports facility, it has to be approved by the voters.
                  Funding for the proposal will come from the sale of some land that Mesa owns in Pinal County and the increasing of hotel bed taxes (on the ballot as a separate vote) to match what are already being charged in — the land is 11,000 acres of non revenue producing land that will be sold over the next 20 years to finance the new facility.

                  If the measure is approved, the city of Mesa will build and own the stadium. The costs for the stadium are capped at $84 million and the city would provide infrastructure costs at $15 million, so the maximum expenditure would be $99 million, and possibly less. In return, the Cubs will build the “Wrigleyville West” complex that you see in these photos; the Cubs are going to call it their “Western Baseball Headquarters,”

                  <http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2010/10/4/1730167/cubs-mesa-new-spring-training-complex-renderings-photos/in/4009701

                  1. hansman

                    And you are missing the part that the Cubs are paying the $15M infrastructure cost plus any overages.

                    But hey, who am I to stop a good rant that only posts that which will support the argument and completely hides the part that doesn’t.

                    1. anonymous-ly

                      Hansman, please re-read, You are in such a hurry to apologize for the Ricketts that you are subconsciously willing to misread and misrepresent the truth,

                      “If the measure is approved, the city of Mesa will build and own the stadium. The costs for the stadium are capped at $84 million and the city would provide infrastructure costs at $15 million, so the maximum expenditure would be $99 million, and possibly less.”

                    2. hansman

                      I read your post just fine, doesn’t mean it is correct.

                    3. anonymous-ly

                      Don’t let a little thing like “facts” get in the way of defending Ricketts.

                    4. bbmoney

                      Anonymous-ly

                      A lot of the stuff you’re posting isn’t what I would call “facts”. More like your interpretation of general information you have. Most of it lacks anything really factual or at the very least is incomplete and lacks the specifics you need to make a strong case.

                      I really don’t care to argue about it. It’s your opinion and that’s fine you are entitled to it. Just don’t claim that yours is the only opinion supported by facts.

                    5. anoymous-ly

                      I agree, we are all entitled to our own opinions. If you disagree about anything I’ve posted, post your response supported by a source, I have been trying to post with actual “reported” numbers and can support my claims and try to refrain from name-calling jus because I disagree with another poster.

                    6. bbmoney

                      I’m not going to disagree with any of the specific numbers you’ve posted. I frankly don’t care if they’re accurate or not because we don’t have access to all the information we’d need to prove or disprove the point you’re trying to make.

                      I do disagree, generally, with your opinion about what the numbers you’ve posted mean. I have no source for that, because it’s my interpretation of the information we have at our disposal. I don’t think Ricketts is in this to make a quick buck or just for the profits (certainly he doesn’t want to lose money…who would). There are a lot of ways for him to make money with less public scrutiny than owning an MLB team.

                      If he wants to make a quick buck buying and selling the team, it’s my opinion he’s doing it all wrong. If he wanted to do that, he should have spent as much as he needed to keep the team competitive now which would keep attendence up and boost TV ratings. The Dodger’s sold for so much because of that monster TV deal that was in the works guaranteeing a huge revenue stream. I don’t think the Cubs can cash in like that right now on the portion of the TV contract that is about to expire which really limits what he can sell the team for (at least until 2020…when I’m guessing by that time the TV bubble we’re seeing right now will be long gone…similar to the new stadium bubble we saw much of the last decade).

                      But those are just my opinions. Like I said, feel free to disagree. I just don’t think your “facts” that are getting in the way of others disagreeing with you are actually facts, or at least not a complete enough set of “facts” to not allow for other interpretations of them.

                    7. anonymous-ly

                      I see your point and everybody is entitled to their own conclusions. All I was trying to point out supported by publicly available “reported” numbers that the Cubs don’t need extra money to have a large market payroll.

                      They are in the same market as the White Sox in terms of revenue sharing. Same media deals or similar. But the Cubs charge double the ticket prices and vending than the White Sox with a million more in attendance than the White sox in 2013. That comes out to about $100M more in stadium revenues,

                      Meanwhile the White Sox have had a higher payroll than the Cubs almost every year. I’m just posting public information regarding attendance and ticket prices and projecting total numbers, Not going to re-post source and exact because people are complaining they don’t want to see the truth, again.

                      Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but where’s the beef? The Cubs have the ability right now to be in the top five in payroll if they wanted to. I can post numbers about Boston and Texas Rangers that would in comparison make the Ricketts look even worse, but that would be overkill.

                3. Sandberg

                  Yeah, when I realized the plan has changed due to monetary concerns, that’s when I started to sour. I am taking a wait and see approach to the offseason, but it sure doesn’t sound good.

              4. oswego chris

                I am sure that there are people on this board who know a great deal more than I do…but people that I have talked to that either know Ricketts, or are familar with what the team is doing would say they are the furthest thing from greedy…

                Sam Zell was greedy…

                I appreciate that you have researched some of the material and I understand Cubs’ fans frustrations…but for us old folk who saw “cheap” regimes…this is not one of them…they are actually constrained in what they can do…and are being measured in their approach

                in the last 2 off seasons what could they have done to prove they were not cheap?

                sign Pujols?…wouldn’t have been smart
                sign Fielder?….not quite as bust-y as Albert but not a good move
                sign Hamilton?…yeah I wanna give a 7 year deal to a guy who isn’t allowed to have cash or credit on him

                if they had missed out on a number of 25-27 year old free-agents, that may add some validity to the case…but there is no such thing anymore….

                1. JB88

                  Those are examples behind which I can get. I have a harder time when they didn’t go harder after Darvish or Ryu or Sanchez (if the real difference was $5M more).

                  I don’t have a huge issue with their signings or lack of signings of players on the offensive market, but I have a hard time reconciling a desire to be a more OB-centric team and starting Barney, Lake, Castro, and just about any of the options at 3B. The failure or lack of desire to upgrade at those positions are difficult for me to wrap my head around.

                  The Ricketts may be measured in their approach and may desire not to spend big until presented with greater funds, but there are certainly areas in which you could criticize them for their decisions or lack of gusto to bring in the type of talent that they are frequently wanting to bring in. Hell, even their decision not to sign Cepedes could be viewed through that lens. Why not give him FA after 4 years, knowing that you’ll have the right of first negotiation when you get to that point.

                  The point is, this ownership regime isn’t infalliable and, now that we see that certain of their decisions are truly being driven by financial reasons, it is harder to justify their claims that the timing wasn’t right, etc.

                  1. hansman

                    “Those are examples behind which I can get. I have a harder time when they didn’t go harder after Darvish or Ryu or Sanchez (if the real difference was $5M more).”

                    With a blind-posting it’s a crap-shoot if you are the highest bidder, unless you go nuts. Sanchez clearly didn’t want to be a Cub.

                    1. Norm

                      Wait, you mean the players that the Cubs should get actually have a say in this?

                    2. JB88

                      You don’t know that Sanchez didn’t want to be a Cub. That is speculation. If the Cubs had made Sanchez a $85M offer and he returned to Detroit at $80 or $82.5, then that would be a fair statement.

                      As for the blind bidding, offering $20MM (roughly) to the Rangers $51MM isn’t so much about a crap shoot as it is about completely misreading the marketplace or not really trying to win.

                    3. hansman

                      You are right, I have no clue that Sanchez didn’t want to be a Cub just that he used the Cubs to get more money from Detroit. Based on how it went down, I think it’s safe to say he wanted Detroit more than Chicago.

                      http://www.bleachernation.com/2012/12/14/instant-post-mortem-on-anibal-sanchez-and-the-chicago-cubs/

                      Regarding Darvish, the information is that Rangers overshot everyone else by $20M (at least). The Rangers were the ones who misread the market.

                    4. bbmoney

                      I was so pissed when that reported deal for Sanchez wasn’t really a deal.

                      Not at you Brett….just at life.

                    5. mjhurdle

                      Brett, don’t sell yourself short. You sounded smart even in the moment, no hindsight needed.

                      Now as for some of the comments, hindsight has not been so kind:
                      BluBlud
                      December 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink | Reply
                      I would much rather work out a deal with Texas for Julio Borbon. If we could grad him and Olt for Garza and something else, I would be extremely happy.

                      :)

                    6. Sandberg

                      Brett: “I figured they were going to be fielding a competitive team in 2014 anyway, so this doesn’t prove much to me that I didn’t already believe about this front office. They’ve got a plan, and it doesn’t involve being terrible for another three years.”

                      :(

                    7. hansman

                      Almond-Joy Boy:

                      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                      Good one Blub.

                    8. hansman

                      Man, it’s awesome looking back through that post and seeing all the fail.

                      And what in the hell happened to cats in pajamas?

                    9. Blublud

                      We did end up with both Borbon and Olt, and according to DieHard, the Borbon claim was the precursor to the rest of the Garza deal, so at least I was somewhat right. So take that. :-D

                    10. hansman

                      Blub, if you have to use a diehard post to justify your statements, you really should rethink your thought process.

                    11. mjhurdle

                      Further proof that Almond Joys > Twix

                    12. mjhurdle

                      oooohhhhh, i should find some random facts about Almond Joys, then repeat them about 5492 times while claiming that they prove to anyone capable of understanding that Almond Joys are better than Twix.
                      Bazinga!

                    13. hansman

                      Since he came out as a twix supporter I have rethought my position. I am now a kit kat

                  2. On The Farm

                    “Those are examples behind which I can get. I have a harder time when they didn’t go harder after Darvish or Ryu or Sanchez (if the real difference was $5M more). ”

                    As hansman addressed, it was a blind bidding process, and the whole point is that no one else knows how much another team bid.

                    “OB-centric team and starting Barney, Lake, Castro”

                    You have a problem with the FO starting a two time all star and a SS who posted OBP of .347, .341, .323 his first three years. Yeah, what were they thinking? I suppose you are right, there were much better SS and 3B options they should have went out and got, they are such easy positions to fill after all.

                    1. JB88

                      Castro is an outlier, for sure, compared to Lake or Barney, but it isn’t like Castro really blows anyone’s socks off from an OBP-perspective. You can more than live with Castro if he isn’t tops on your team in OBP (or in the top 5), but that’s what he is and what he projects to be in 2014.

                      The broader point is that any Cubs fan can tell that the construction and lack of talent on the ML-roster is glaring, particularly given the type of team that this FO wishes to field. What I don’t know is whether that is a deliberate decision by the FO (which I have a hard time supporting in year 3 of the rebuild) or a lack of funds from the ownership (which I have a hard time imagining is what the FO would want).

                    2. JB88

                      But even with respect to Castro, ask yourself the question: Where do you see him fitting in the lineup if the Cubs are a perennial contender?

                      To be honest, at best, I see him as a number 7 hitter. He doesn’t have the type of power you’d want to see out of your 3-6 hitters and his on base skills aren’t the type you’d want out of your 1st or 2nd hitter.

                      If Castro—based on admittedly my own premise—is your No. 7 hitter of the future, what does that say about the parts of your roster when, at best, you might have your Nos. 3, 7, and 8 hitters of the future on it currently?

                    3. On The Farm

                      “If Castro—based on admittedly my own premise—is your No. 7 hitter of the future, what does that say about the parts of your roster when, at best, you might have your Nos. 3, 7, and 8 hitters of the future on it currently?”

                      Well I suppose it means you have over 33% of our lineup constructed. You are also forgetting that while Castro isn’t the best hitter on the Cubs, when he is putting up his previous three season’s numbers he is a top 5 SS among those good enough to play the position for at least 400 games over that three year span. Who cares if he isn’t the best guy on your team if you have an above average SS that’s a win. Add in that your 8 hitter is your catcher (pretty common on most teams) is one of the best defensive catchers in the NL, I would say you have a pretty good start. Another note Castillo was 7th in Catchers OBP among catchers with at least 300 PAs. Kind of looks like they have three good pieces considering these guys still haven’t reached their peak.

                    4. JB88

                      Three good pieces for an 8-man field is not a particularly good start. If that satisfies you, that’s fantastic.

                      I am concerned that the FO is effectively signaling that they are punting on FA this year, this after trading DeJesus for salary relief. The year after they refused to add $5M over the life of Sanchez’s contract to continue bidding for him. You add all those pieces together and it starts to tell a story of an ownership group that is lacking funds to field a competitive team.

                      Add that to the tongue-in-cheek comments that Epstein and Hoyer have both made that the FO couldn’t make certain moves due to a lack of funds and you tell the story of a rebuild that isn’t being run the way that the FO wishes.

                      That has removed some of the luster to this “project” for me and makes me concerned about the long-term success of the rebuild. Because history is pretty consistent that building internally, only, isn’t usually enough to get teams over the hump.

                  3. oswego chris

                    the lack of MLB talent that they have put on the field the last 2 years is a valid criticism…

                    I think the Cubs would have had to significanlty outspend the Tigers to land Sanchez…

                    the Darvish one…I can see the criticism to a point, but it’s a lot easier to say after Darvish has been successful….Dice-K wasn’t has much of a splashing success, so what seems like a mis-read now was a gamble back then

          2. wilbur

            Sounds like the leveling off of attendance is really starting to pinch someone. As a cubs fan it doesn’t really bother me, I’ll go to the usual number of games, got to spring training and check out the new facility and I’d like to visit the Dominican cubs facility too, but I don’t know if it is open to the public. The ones who are having a really hard time with the rebuilding team and lower attendance is the rooftop owners. They may be the ones complaining the loudest and pretending to be cubs fans. While the cubs rebuild the team and rennovate the ballpark, the rooftops business plans have a big crater in the center. In two or three years how many of them will still be in business? I can see why they would be screaming about the low payrolls and lower ballpark attendance, no one is going to sit eight stories up with their fanny hanging out in the breeze and risk vertigo to watch a triple aaa team. 4 or 5 years of declining revenues with no relief on the horiizon might put some of them out of business. The cubs and cubs fans will still be there though.

          3. Bob

            You see, I really had no choice in becoming a Cubs fan, as my whole family is. It’s the way I was raised. And yet I’ve always enjoyed it because my feeling has been, when the Cubs win it it’ll be special because of all the great things surrounding them. Somehow I feel like by the time they win, it won’t be that way anymore. Wrigley will be a haven for cheap advertising, the ticket prices will be even more outrageous, they won’t be on WGN anymore, the neighborhood will have changed. It’ll be like watching a really cheap version of the Yankees win, and that just makes me sad, and honestly makes me care less.

  12. Frank

    Lets all stop questioning the FO, They know exactly what their doing and should never be doubted. But then again, I missed my flight to Jonestown for the cool aid festival.

    1. mjhurdle

      yep, because that is definitely what everyone is advocating.

      1. hansman

        I wonder if Godwin’s Law can be amended to include references to Jonestown.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          I think that is fair.

        2. Eric

          What about sheep? Sheep get dragged through the mud a lot too.

          1. hansman

            It’s amended, Jonestown and sheeple have been added.

            1. Eric

              So let it be written! So let it be done!

  13. Brian

    I am starting to think this FO is getting its talking points from the Obama administration – promising one thing and then delivering (or not delivering) another. When Theo took over, we were told we would start to see things change in two years. Well its been two years and it looks like more of the same. I hope I am wrong but as fan, last year was not fun watching players regress. If one of the big four makes it as a legitimate major leaguer we should all celebrate.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Whether I agree or disagree with your first sentence, lets leave politics out of this.

    2. Cubbie Blues

      To be clear, only one player regressed, Castro. Rizzo’s numbers were the same except for his singles rate (read BABIP). Barney, did what he does at the plate and that is never good. Castillo had a nice breakout year and Valbuena showed that he can be serviceable at 3B and might be a nice bat at 2B for the short term. Lake showed what raw skills look like in a small sample size and the rest is a merry-go-round. So, who exactly regressed besides Castro (and that can be explained and hopefully will be shown to be coaches messing with his approach).

      1. Brian

        So based on your reply, it appears that you feel the 2013 Cubs made progress.

        I respectfully disagree. And I think the FO would disagree with you as well – hence the firing of Dale Sveum.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          So, I’ll take your non-answer as you couldn’t name anyone other than Castro that regressed.

          1. MichiganGoat

            Obviously but did you expect anything less?

          2. cub2014

            Rizzo didnt regress? He lost 50 points
            on BA and 25 points on OBP. (SLG,OPS
            all went down)

            Who regressed? Barney,Jackson,
            Samardijza Castro.

            Who regressed in their first season
            in Chicago as the season went on?
            Lake,Schierholtz,Sweeney.

            Who improved? Castillo,Navarro,Strop,
            Rondon, Wood,Parker,(Russell would
            have been even better if he wasnt over
            worked)

            Overall pitchers improved but almost
            all of the hitters got worse.

            1. BT

              Schierholtz regressed in Chicago as the season went on? Because he had a bad September? That can’t really be your argument. I’ve got to be misreading it, right?

              1. cub2014

                Ya it was a stretched point, but I was
                responding to the point that only Castro
                regressed in 2013. In case you missed I
                gave examples of others that regressed.

                And yes I pointed out that the 3 hitters that
                were here in their first year got worse the
                more time they spent in Chicago. So only
                Castillo & Navarro actually got better.

                There could be several reasons those 3
                could have regressed over the course of
                the season (fatigue, bad coaching, pitching
                acumen) but they did get worse the more
                time they spent in Chicago you cant argue
                that.

                1. BT

                  of course I can argue that. By that definition, Castro got better. His September OPS+ was 40 points higher than his August OPS+. If your argument is that Schierholtz got worse using that criteria, then you’ve ruined your Castro argument.

                  1. cub2014

                    BT, you are nit-picking one part of my
                    overall argument. but if we want to go
                    that way then here we go…..we know
                    for a fact that castro quit listening to the
                    coaches and went back to his way of
                    hitting and look what happened.

                    1. BT

                      I’m not nit picking anything. I have no idea how good or bad the rest of your argument is. I just know that the second I saw you categorizing Schierholtz’s 2013 as a year of “regression” I had to figure out what in God’s name you were talking about. Put simply, you can’t use one month of data to back up your claims. And if you ARE going to use one month of data (which you can’t) to categorize a player, you can’t apply it to one player and not apply to another so they fit your arguments.

                      In short, NONE of the guys you cited as regressing as the season went on, regressed. Sweeney had a career year, Schierholtz was as good or better than the year before, and Lake actually had a higher OPS+ in September than August.

          3. Brian

            I will take Cubs2014 as my reply Cubbie Blues. Glad you are happy with the 2013 Cubs and upcoming season. Enjoy the sunshine and beer and Wrigley!

  14. Adam Pro

    Our current projected payroll (with arbitration estimates) for 2014 is around $74M according to Baseball Reference. I think it is reasonable to think the team’s payroll will return to the same level as last season ($107M), which was just below league average ($108M). I could see the Cubs adding the following and returning to a similar payroll as last year:

    SP $8M (Kazmir, Hughes, Vargas, Maholm)
    C $3M (Suzuki)
    RP (lefty) $3-5M (O’Flaherty, Howell)
    OF $15-18M (Choo, Granderson, Ellsbury)

    The only deal that would likely be for more than 2 years would be to the OF bat added (Granderson 3Y, Choo 5-6Y, Ellsbury 5-7Y)

    If the Cubs do make all of these moves, key players rebound back to more expected numbers (Castro, Rizzo, Jackson, Samardzija, even Barney), and a breakthrough year from a prospect (Olt, Lake, Gamel), then I think the team would be well on its way to preparing for a much better outlook for 2015 when they begin welcoming our top prospects on to the team.

    1. Frank

      Why would anyone even think they’re going to sign Choo, Granderson or Ellsbury when 2014 and possibly 2015 is going to suck? All the talk of trying to sign any of those three is blowing smoke by the FO. The biggest joke is the FO talking about Tanaka.

      1. Adam Pro

        I think it is far more likely that the team will add a RH hitting platoon OF like Chris Young instead, however, I would not be shocked to see the team add one of those 3, especially if they were to trade Schierholtz. If the market is such that they are able to land Choo or Ellsbury in the $15-18M range, I think they would definitely be interested in them. Whether or not they actually give a deal of 5 or more years to either one I am not so sure would happen. Since the Rickett’s took over there have only been 2 contracts for more than 3 years, Dempster in 2009 and Jackson last year for 4 years. The longest position player contracts have been to Milton Bradley in 2009 and Marlon Byrd in 2010, both for 3 years.

  15. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I think this front office is smart enough to know that adding talent when talent is available is still a competitive strategy, no matter how they go about acquiring it. Trading Shark, Schierholtz, Valbuena, and Barney frees up enough payroll to add a respectable bullpen arm, a LOOGY, and at least one year of a bounce back starter / flip candidate, not to mention the prospects that come along in the deals that should be near-MLB ready.

    The money freed up in 2015 with Soriano and Hairston off the books (Villanueva’s $5M… and I’m assuming it’s also the year Edwin Jackson is traded) can be allotted to sign a top of the rotation starter through free agency (the only bright spot in a horrible free agent class, along with some bullpen arms). Anderson, Bailey, Beckett, Billingsley, Chen, Cueto, Iwakuma, Kendrick, Kershaw, Masterson, McCarthy, Morton, Scherzer could all be great additions to the Cubs 2015 roster (although, some have options and others are seen as bullpen guys in the future).

    1. Brian

      While I like your thought process Mike, who in their right mind would trade for Edwin Jackson? His signing is reason enough to lose faith in Theo and the boys.

  16. jmc

    whatever happened to the theo sacred duty of winning? I just don’t see it. He did say that though didn’t he?

  17. mark

    Let’s forget about Rizzo and Castro for a moment. With the exception of maybe Castillo what other players on the Cubs roster would be starting on a Major League contender? Please don’t say Barney. Maybe for a club loaded with offensive bats and looking for defense. So my point is that two thirds of the Cubs lineup from day to day is composed of guys that have been platoon players at best and in many instances are career minor leaguers. I think a lot of Rio’s problem was that he had no protection in the batting order. He took a lot of walks, but also wasn’t shown a lot of good pitches. If Bryant and Baez aren’t with the big club by the trade deadline you will see the attendance plummet. Yeah it is a business after all. Nobody wants to watch a pathetic lineup of retreads lose day in and day out. And for two more years you say? Ouch!

    1. Blackhawks1963

      Definitionally speaking?

      “Core” players (or we would like to HOPE) – Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija, Wood

      Decent quality “they are what they are” players – Schierholtz, Castillo (I’m not sold on him), Strop, Russell

      “Question mark” players – Jackson, Arrieta, Parker, Lake

      “Filler” players (or “we have too many of these” types !) – Sweeney, Bogusevic, Barney, Valbuena, Gregg (if he comes back), the rest of the bullpen amalgamation

      ====

      …and therein lies the problem for the 2014 Chicago Cubs.

    2. cubfanincardinalland

      Even the top major league “contenders” as you call them, employ platoons with several of their positions. The following players would have no problem securing spots on the top teams. Castro, Rizzo, Castillo, Schierholtz, Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Strop, Villanueva, Russell. Also, Grimm, Rondon and Parker, and Sweeney flashed a lot of ability last season, any team would find a spot for them with their upside.
      For next season, the Cubs need to find some power in the outfield, add a potential closer, and one or two more starters. Doing this, they could be a very competitive club.

  18. Blackhawks1963

    I’m on record for being an unabashed supporter of Theo Epstein and the building strategy underway.

    But in terms of 2014?!? Well, the old adage is likely to apply…”if you keep on doing the same things then don’t expect much different results.” Lets face it…the 2013 Cubs sucked because the 25 man roster sucked. And if the offseason “game plan” is to only make marginal adjustments while we patiently await for the best prospects to wash on shore, then we can expect 2014 to be another ugly season.

    The 2013 Cubs struggled mightily to score runs on a consistent base. Even if Castro rebounds and Rizzo takes the next step we will still be looking at an offensively challenged club in 2014 unless a quality bat or two are added.

    The 2013 Cubs starting pitching performed remarkably decent thru the July trade deadline. Even if Jackson rebounds to his career normative and Samardzija takes the next step, the starting pitching is going to be shaky at best in 2014 without the addition of a quality starter or two. A rotation that includes Arrieta AND Rusin AND Jackson is going to have question marks no matter how you slice it.

    The 2013 Cubs bullpen was generally rotten. Yes it did improve somewhat when Kevin Gregg was plunked from the dumpster to perform admirably and when Pedro Strop become a revelation. But where are the bullpen improvements coming from in 2014? I’m actually worried about REGRESSION from the existing cast, sans Strop who I like.

  19. Cedlandrum

    here is the problem that the Cubs have on their hands. I live in Iowa as do a ton of other Cubs fans. A lot of other fans live outside of Chicago as well, Cubs fans are everywhere and travel great lengths to see the team. We love the Cubs. I live and breathe them during the season as well as the minor leaguers, but I am almost* perfectly content sitting on my couch and watching them on T.V. as opposed to shelling out a ton of cash to travel to Wrigley.

    * In truth my TV viewership was at an all time low last year. Once the trade deadline came and the Cubs rightfully started shipping of the good bits, I knew they were heading for the shitter, so I watched a lot less and only glanced at the box scores each night. The problem here that I see is that I am a die hard fan. I have spent lots of money every year to see the Cubs in Wrigley, I have spent way too much time working my “part-time” job as I call it, watching them on TV and frankly I am bored by watching them get their brains beat in. If that is happening to me then how is the casual fan doing? Probably not good.

    I know the arguments of being restricted because of revenue streams and that makes sense, but I also know that money isn’t walking in the door every day too because attendance is down, concessions are down and will continue to go down as this string plays out. I think the Cubs are taking a monumental risk if they think they will still draw well in 2015 if they have another dreadful year. I think Wrigley will look like a graveyard in 2015 if the Cubs blow in 2014. Sure die hards will come out to watch the likes of Baez, Bryant and the rest, but the average “fan” will find something else to do. That is who marketing folks should and do target, the fringe.

    Winning does cure things and when the Cubs get good the fans will come back out, but at what cost? Baseball viewership amongst the young is dwindling and young fans have way more options now then they did when WGN was one of the few superstations. They will find other teams to root for if the Cubs continue this trend of awfulness. If the cubs suck 6 years in a row kids will have already tuned into a different team because kids don’t generally pick the crappiest team unless their parents are die hards. Will it be too late to really grow the Cubs name and product to achieve what ownership wants? I think that is the risk they are taking at this point. Hopefully the fandom of the Cubs isn’t too apathetic by then to help them achieve their goal.

  20. Randy

    So every season is sacred is just kind of bullshit. I bet Theo wishes he had never taken this gig. Ricketts has fucked him from day one. It’s great to build your organization but you can spend money to be competitive. Quit using all the bullshit TV and other excuses.

  21. Trigo

    If you like your 2015 Cubs, you can keep your 2015 Cubs. Period.

  22. James Smith

    The cubs need a legit lead-off hitter now sense they lost David Dejesus. Who is a potential player they could bring in? Not Elsbury which would be nice but unealistic. Heres how i see the lineup next year. And the pitching
    1. FA aquisition CF
    2. Starlin Castro SS
    3. Nate Schierholtz RF
    4. Anthony Rizzo 1B
    5. Mike Olt 3B
    6. Junior Lake LF
    7. Luis Valbuena 2B
    8.Wellington Castillo C
    9. Pitcher

    1. T. Wood
    2. Shark
    3. Ejack
    4. J. Arrieta
    5.Phil Hughes (I like him alot if Chris could work with him on keeping the ball down could be an all star)
    SU Pedro Strop
    CP Brian Wilson (can still be a core player or give hima one year deal to prove he can close)

  23. jt

    I don’t see why The Cubs should not be good by the 2nd half of 2014.

    1. hansman

      By your premise there, the Cubs aren’t good in the first half of 2014 at which point, being good in the 2nd half has no purpose other than to placate the 17 fans that are swayed only by the year end W/L record.

      1. jt

        The prospect sponge is about saturated. They need a couple of top of the line rotation guys at the AAA level but they are not going to get those guys by flipping short term FA’s. Appraisals will sift themselves out. There is a lot of talent in place and it will show itself. There will also be some pretenders. They will show themselves. By the AS break they should be able to see what they got. At that time they can start emphasizing that which is good and address the needs of The Big Club.

        1. hansman

          “The prospect sponge is about saturated.”

          The only way this sentence would be correct is if Baez was presently blocked by studs in AAA at 2B, SS and 3B.

          1. mjhurdle

            How dare you imply that Wes Darvill, Edwin Maysonet, and Brad Nelson are not studs!

            1. hansman

              I might be able to understand what you are saying if a disusting log of crummy, repulsive, awful, patheticness wasn’t blocking my view.

            2. jt

              Do you believe Nelson will be taking AB’s away from Bour or Maysonet will be playing SS for the ICubs while Baez sits?

              1. mjhurdle

                not in the slightest. :)

                1. jt

                  btw
                  diabetic diet for the last four year
                  At this point any candy bar would be a good candy bar.

          2. On The Farm

            Yeah considering only two of our top 8 prospects have played above A+ (Baez and Alcantara) and the fact that a majority of our guys are getting their fist taste of real pro ball challenge (i.e. making the big jump to AA where a lot of guys bite the dust -Johnson, Edwards, Soler, Bryant). And the other two are going to be playing in A+ (Almora and Vogelbach) the Cubs are no where near saturated with prospects. They are a David Price or Max Scherzer trade away from dropping out of a top 5 system because they don’t have the impact/close to the big prospects in the system.

            1. Kyle

              It’s kind of hard to believe that after all that money we spent and all those MLB players we flipped for prospects, we don’t have more advanced ones.

              1. On The Farm

                The Cubs got decent prospects at or above the AAA level. I guess it depends where C. Villanueva is ranked, but he is a top-ish in AAA. Hendricks isn’t a bad SP (mid-rotation) in AAA. Grimm and Olt are MLB guys, with Olt probably needing a bit of AAA work. Neil Ramirez is another guy in that AAA range, but isn’t a top prospect. The other guy they traded for is Vizcanio, who is a top ten guy, but what’s the point if he never pitches. Olt and Grimm are too old for MLB experience, but could be good pieces.

              2. MichaelD

                Well, teams are more inclined to trade lower-level pitching prospects. If a team has a pitching prospect at AAA and in the race, they usually bring him up.

                Also if the Cubs plan is 2016-2017 then they probably would be looking more at A-ball players.

            2. Kyle

              Who isn’t a major trade away from dropping out of the top 5?

              1. On The Farm

                True, maybe a major trade was over selling it, but I was more or less trying to say a big trade would cost us most of our MLB ready talent which would make our farm system pretty weak. A majority of our top prospects aren’t AA tested and that is a little disheartening.

                1. jt

                  1B: Bour,Vitters, Volgelbach, Gieger
                  2B: Alcanare, Amaya
                  SS: Baez,
                  3B: Olt, Bryant, Villanueva, Candelario
                  OF: Almora, Soler, Andreoli, Szczur, DeVoss, Vitters, Jackson, .
                  Who is going to give up better prospects for a cheap FA flip?

            3. jt

              “Yeah considering only two of our top 8 prospects have played above A+ (Baez and Alcantara)”
              OTF
              is red herring eatable?

  24. cavemencubbie

    I wonder if the revenue stats include the Chicago entertainment tax? How much money do they spend each year on Wrigley to keep the place from falling down? I personally believe Rickets and Co never thought they would be screwed around by the city fathers and made a bad financial deal with the Tribune. I don’t think the Cubs will ever win a WS while Wrigley Field is the venue. As for high priced free agents, all the majority do is take their money and run, while their bodies fall apart from old age.

  25. Greenroom

    W.I. Thomas…”If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”

  26. jmc

    they won’t be good in 2014 unless they add some major league Talent.is this rocket science?

    1. Patrick W.

      Preeeeeeeetty sure this rocket science.

      1. Patrick W.

        Is.. this IS rocket science. Pretty sure. Like 95%.

        1. hansman

          I thought this was Russia. Or China…

          1. Fishin Phil

            Da!

  27. jj

    How winning and attendance can impact anyone – see Yankees, who drew 3,279,589 this season, down from 3,542,406 (2012), 3,653,680 (2011), and 3,765,807 (2010). That’s a 7.4% decline in one year and 12.9% since 2010.

  28. Frank

    I would like the FO to stop blowing smoke up everyones butt and quit talking about being interested in Choo, Granderson, Ellsbury and Tanaka. It’s apparent they can only one thing at a time. They can’t build the farm system and sign FA’s at the same time. (Jackson, tapping their head and rubbing their stomach, walking and drinking a can of coke) So lets all sit back for a couple of decades until the Cubs have the greatest farm system in the history of baseball and then talk about FA’s.

    1. Funn Dave

      They did say not to expect multiple impact free agents this offseason, so at least they’re upfront about that.

      1. Funn Dave

        I wonder how much of the smoke blowing is really from FO personell, and how much is just from Twitter specualtion by well-known scouts and analysts.

  29. Sacko

    The more I think about it isn’t it a waste of time for us going after Tanaka. Why would he want to play on a horse shit team that doesn’t plan on doing much except wait for prospects. While watching a home grown Shark wants out for the same reason. I want both of them but this loosing trend is going on for awhile yet. I don’t think we will get or keep. Unless some drastic events happen soon.

  30. cubsfan08

    1 Advantage to the lack of expectations going forward – better environment for the prospects to break into. Let the expectations be low for the season and let them go through the typical struggles without the added pressure of trying to contend. I’m was certainly tired of the “old” way and at least get joy from watching young guys with possible potential play without having to look over their shoulder. I guess the sucky part is the lack of young guys we are currently stuck watching. The thought of homegrown talent growing up in front of us and possibly flourishing is just waaaaay too enticing for me to give up/doubt the current plan just yet.

    From a business stand point – I’m glad I’m not the Cubs. Tough position to be in when running an entertainment business. I know everyone who is reading this blog will watch regardless if they agree or disagree with the current “plan.” But the casual fans who outnumber us…not so much

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