Quantcast

contractIf Tuesday was Trade Day around MLB, yesterday was Signing Day. Among the deals we’ve already discussed – Robinson Cano to the Mariners, Carlos Beltran to the Yankees, Hiroki Kuroda back to the Yankees, and Curtis Granderson to the Mets – there were also several more deals, which don’t have as much of an impact on/connection to the Cubs, but which definitely merit a mention:

  • Nate McLouth was briefly mentioned as a possible outfield addition for the Cubs, but he’s headed to the Nationals on a two-year, $10.75 million deal with a club option for 2016. On the Nationals, McLouth will be a very good version of what he’s supposed to be at this point: a fourth outfielder. On the Cubs, he would have started, and I’m a bit leery of his .236/.323/.368 over the last four years. He also hasn’t played center field regularly in three years, which is just about the only place his expected production would play as a starter. On the balance, I’d rather the Cubs just gave their young options a shot. (Which is not to say I wouldn’t have always preferred a solid, regular bat were added in left field. Or maybe even a shot at someone like Corey Hart or Michael Morse.)
  • The Astros signed former Cub Scott Feldman to a three-year, $30 million deal. It’s a fairly reasonable deal for Feldman, who was a decent middle-of-the-rotation starter last year. What makes the deal interesting is that, because it’s not necessarily just a sign-and-flip deal, and because the Astros just added Dexter Fowler, it appears that the Astros are actually trying to add some wins in 2014. Their painful TV situation might have something to do with it, as well as a nudge from MLB to try to win a few more games this year. With a payroll that was in the $30 million range last year, it was time to do something. Ripping it down to the studs is complete.
  • Mike Napoli is returning to the Red Sox for two years and $16 million. The Red Sox needed the bat back having already lost Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, so it’s not surprising that they made it happen. The Rangers were believed to be in on Napoli, and the Mariners probably were, too. Each is still in the market for a big bat, which doesn’t really impact the Cubs, save for the tiny chance that either views Nate Schierholtz as a “big bat.”
  • The Yankees didn’t just sign huge contracts this week – they also added infielder Kelly Johnson on a one-year, $3 million deal (prior to, but probably with reasonable knowledge of, the Cano signing). Johnson provides the Yankees cover if Alex Rodriguez is suspended, and/or if they can’t find a solid replacement for Cano at second. Not that Johnson makes the difference, but it’s becoming pretty clear that, if Rodriguez’s suspension is upheld, the Yankees can go all out on Masahiro Tanaka. Otherwise, they probably can’t.

With all of the signings yesterday, and earlier in the week, I’m reminded – well, I guess I have to remind myself – of something I wrote at the outset of the offseason back in October:

You know what might be the savviest long-term move for the Cubs this offseason? Grab a couple mid/lower-tier free agents early in the offseason (the guys the Cubs really want as complementary pieces), jumping them with an aggressive, short-term offer (think $1.5 million for Dioner Navarro last year or $6 million for Scott Feldman). From there, you wait. Do nothing. Sit out the market (which is relatively thin anyway), and let the enormous chips fall where they may. Come late January, the big spenders will be spent out, and the few remaining upper tier free agents – there are always at least a couple – will be left with fewer and fewer options (especially guys who are tied to draft pick compensation). Then, perhaps, the Cubs can pounce and find actual value in a market that will have very little of it for the foreseeable future.

The time line is obviously much more accelerated (at this pace, even the last signers will be all wrapped up by early January), but that all still pretty much holds true. The Cubs got a couple complementary pieces early (George Kottaras, Wesley Wright), but they now await an opportunity to snag some value later in the offseason. They also will have the opportunity to use unspent dollars on Masahiro Tanaka, if he’s posted. With a roster that would have required unreasonable sums in free agent to bring to a competitive level (and a division that looks to be a beast in 2014), wisely guarding the chips still seems like the right move. And just because little has been spent so far doesn’t mean that a savvy more or two isn’t coming later in the winter.

  • macpete22

    5 million a year seems like too much for a 4th OF, no?

    • Kyle

      For a really good 4th outfielder who can be a fringey starter if need be? That’s about the going rate.

      • Rebuilding

        I guess that would apply if McLouth was a “really good 4th outfielder”. His OPS+ since 2010: 69, 87, 89, 96 and he plays awful defense. I would rather have Ryan Sweeney for $1.75 million

  • Kyle

    How brilliant of them to not bother seriously upgrading a terrible team.

    I mean, it’s probably the right play considering we have no money to spend and we’re awful, but I’m not inclined to praise them for it.

    • Jay

      Upgrade to what exactly? A team that might approach .500? We all knew what this year was going to look like. The question now is, what’s 2015 going to look like? I know many Cub fans (myself included) had that year circled on the calendar but the longer this bullshit with the city and the rooftops goes on, the longer Rickett’s is going to drag his feet on the renovations and gets to cry poor.

      • CubFan Paul

        “Upgrade to what exactly?”

        How dense.

        • Eric

          You didn’t answer his question.

          • Kyle

            Upgrade to a team that has a chance to make the playoffs, and thus win the World Series, with the side effect of not significant revenue to losing hundreds of thousands of tickets sold and untold numbers of no-shows.

            • Eric

              Get more specific. What moves would you have made for the Cubs that instead were made by other teams?

              • When the Music’s Over

                Impossible to win this question. Name guys that suck, told you so retort occurs. Name free agents that did well, hindsight bias finger gets pointed.

                • Eric

                  It’s pretty lazy to just sit back and claim that the FO is doing it wrong when you’re unwilling or unable to explain how you would do it differently aside for a few vague statements about “building a winner” or “making improvements.”

                  • Edwin

                    It’s also lazy to insist that what the Cubs are currently doing is The Right Way and The Only Way to rebuild the team, and just assume that every single thing that happens is all according to the plan, and was the only course of action.

                    Ricketts (and Theo, to an extent) have chosen a course of action that they seem to think is best. It wasn’t forced on them.

                    • Eric

                      Strawman. No one is insisting it’s the right way. IMO the roster needed blowing up and a concentration be made on the farm. That’s happened/happening. From there, we don’t have a lot of choice other than to wait out the prospects and make strategic choices on who to sign/trade for.

                    • Rebuilding

                      The main problem with those grousing is that the 2011-12 offseason was the time to be having these arguments. And those arguments were had and they went a different way. If they had started signing guys then and then signed 1-2 each offseason we would indeed be in a different place (prob talking about how crappy our farm system is and how we can’t catch the Cardinals anyway). Having those discussion 2013-14 makes no sense. Signing Curtis Granderson now makes no sense. They went a different way, but now some of our prospects are almost ready. Once they are up and we know what we have we can blow money on Curtis Granderson

                    • Kyle

                      We *did* have these conversations back then. Heck, we were having them during the season before it even came up.

              • Edwin

                Puig. Cespedes. Darvish. Liriano. Beltran. Coco Crisp. Aaron Hill. Bartolo Colon. Joe Nathan. Anibal Sanchez. Edwin Jackson a year earlier than the Cubs did. Russell Martin. Stephen Drew. Koji Uehara.

                • Eric

                  Assuming you’ve done your homework and not just rattled off a bunch of names, what would our payroll look like had we made all of these acquisitions?

                • Rebuilding

                  Puig – Dodgers would have outbid us no matter what
                  Cespedes – Hasn’t been very good
                  Darvish – Texas doubles all other bids because they lost Wilson
                  Liriano – Well done Pirates
                  Beltran – unbelievable at 36 made no sense for the Cubs
                  Coco – no one saw that coming. Not even BB
                  A.Hill – I advocated signing. Took huge discount to stay AZ
                  B Colon – Come on now
                  Nathan – CL wouldn’t have mattered really
                  A. Sanchez – We made good offer should have gone higher
                  E. Jackson – Come on now
                  S Drew – would rather have Castro
                  Uehara – Well done Boston
                  R Martin – would rather have Castillo

                  By my calculations our payroll would be $237 million not counting signing bonuses or posting fees

                  • Eric

                    Well done.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    The one point where I disagree is why Texas doubled everyone else’s bids for Darvish. I really think that (in their minds) they were paying for one more WS out.

                    Also, Sanchez seemed to have an agreement with the Tigers: get your best offer, and maybe we’ll top it. He’d just pitched in the WS with the Tigers that season, so it’s not difficult to accept his claim that he wanted to return there, too.

                    I didn’t want the Cubs to sign Liriano, as I don’t think he’s very good: and he’ll probably show some major regression next year. Ditto that for Nathan. Crisp actually has had a couple of good seasons: but I still don’t consider him to be good.

                    • Edwin

                      Sure. Obviously not all of these moves might have made sense for the Cubs, and some of them might have been impossible.

                    • Edwin

                      The point isn’t to say “Here’s exactly what the Cubs should have done”.

                      The point is that there were moves made over the past couple years that Cubs may have had a chance at doing that could have really paid off.

                      For whatever reason, the Cubs have missed on some moves. Maybe there are good reasons the Cubs missed on them, but the fact remains that they did miss.

                  • Edwin

                    Obviously, the Cubs wouldn’t do every single move. But Eric asked “What moves would you have made for the Cubs that instead were made by other teams?”

                    Those were all moves that were made by other teams that worked out quite favorably.

                    • cubmig

                      Soooo…….will Choo’s name be added to a missed opportunity signing when this kind of looking back comes up again?

                    • spearman

                      We’re stocking up on participation trophy’s

                • Edwin

                  Puig: $2MM
                  Cespedes: $6.5MM
                  Darvish: $13MM
                  Liriano: $8MM (I know it was originally higher than he got, so a guess)
                  Beltran: $13MM
                  Coco Crisp: $6MM
                  Hill: $5.5MM
                  Colon: $2MM
                  Joe Nathan: $7MM
                  Sanchez: $17MM maybe?
                  Jackson: Probably < $11MM, if they would have given him a 3-5 years deal back before the 2012 season.
                  Martin: $7.5MM
                  Drew: $7.75MM
                  Uehara: $4MM.

                  The Cubs don't need to do all of those moves. Even a couple could work out.

                  • Rebuilding

                    And we would have an 80 win team on paper

                    • Edwin

                      And that’s a bad thing?

                    • Rebuilding

                      Right now? Yes

                    • Rebuilding

                      If you subtract Bryant, Almora, Edwards, likely Soler, Olt, Ramirez, Black and a host of others

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    What are those numbers? They seem to have no bearing on anything.

                    • Edwin

                      Average annual salaries.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Right, but those have no bearing on how much the Cubs would have had to spend to get several of them. The number for Darvish is $30M: that’s how much more they needed to bid to beat Texas.

                      The number for Puig is not in money, but weeks: the Cubs (and 28 other teams) wanted to see a lot more of Puig before offering him anything, never mind what the Dodgers offered. Even then, the number is $42+M/7 years: the Dodgers up and offered him $42M and a 7 year MLB contract.

                      The number for Cespedes is 151%: that is how much more they needed to increase their offer to top the A’s last minute offer.

                      The number of Sanchez is uncertain: the Tigers were willing to top the Cubs final offer. They probably would have been willing to top the offer that finally signed him, too. Moreover, Sanchez wanted to go back to Detroit.

                      As for the others, well, in the yawning chasm of Cubs problems, they are small fillers.

                    • Edwin

                      That’s fine. I don’t have the time to go back and estimate exactly how every situation would play out.

                  • Cheese Chad

                    Puig and Cespedes don’t really count. The Cubs easily would have made those moves but didn’t (probably couldn’t) match the posting bids.

                    • matty ice

                      No posting bids for those two, straight free agent negotiations. Its good to see exactly how much knowledge you lack though

                    • Edwin

                      Why don’t they count? They were moves made by other teams.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      There were no posting bids on Puig or Cespedes. According to Cespedes, the Cubs negotiated extensively with Cespedes, and they almost had a deal. The A’s then swooped in late (they were not one of the teams heavily “in” on Cespedes) and basically offered 150% more than the Cubs did. My guess is that probably ended negotiations: even if the Cubs believed that the A’s offer existed (and they might not have), you don’t negotiate for some period of time, and just admit that you were willing to pay much more all along!

                      The Dodgers just up and signed Puig before anybody had a chance to evaluate him. Nobody was prepared to make offers yet: Puig was still very much an unknown, as nobody had seen him play in over a year, and our scouting of Cuban players always has a lot more anecdotes than data. There are a LOT of other teams that now wish that they had done with the Dodgers did: but at the time, the move was considered reckless.

                    • Edwin

                      Matty,

                      Do the work yourself, if you’re so interested. I just looked up all the rest.

                  • Cheese Chad

                    That was my mistake I thought at least one of them had posting bids. Thanks for acknowledging my mistake and attacking my lack of intelligence.

                    [img]http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=idiocracy+pictures&qpvt=idiocracy+pictures&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=111D9A0405DFC8AB59D3ED0D8AACCCF12422353D&selectedIndex=142[/img]

                  • Brains

                    if poor Brett wasn’t making a real living reading our dumb comments about our substandard bad faith team we’d have to nominate him for the nobel peace prize.

              • Edwin

                Eric,

                Now that I’ve done my post, could you please be more specific about when exactly the Cubs will next win 90+ games?

                • Rebuilding

                  I think it’s more fair to ask if the Cubs had done 1/2 of your moves (since no one could fairly assume any team could do them all) would they win 90 games

                  • Edwin

                    So, to defend the current FO’s plan, it’s fair to ask me to list and then defend every single possible transaction the Cubs could have done, but then when I point on transactions that would have helped, those transactions don’t count, because since the Cubs never did them, we don’t know how much they would have cost, or it would have worked.

                    But it’s unfair for me to ask for details about how well the current plan is working, and when we can actually expect the Cubs to be ready because…something.

              • Kyle

                Feel free to look through the BN archives. Alternatives at the time were laid out daily.

                • Eric

                  Which means you don’t know. Like I’ve said before, you have no idea what you’re talking about 90% of the time. You say enough to impress those who don’t follow baseball all that closely so as long as they stroke you’re ego with an occasional “I agree with Kyle” you’re fine.

                  • Rebuilding

                    I agree with you. I think he’ll get half a year in AAAlike I said. We’ll have one of the best, young, exciting lineups in baseball in 2015 and Kyle will be lamenting the failed attempt to grab the wildcard in 2013

                  • Kyle

                    Which means I’m not willing to play your lame “argument by bureaucracy” games. When you can’t out-argue them, try to bury them in paperwork. Demand bit-by-bit verification of everything, in triplicate, and notarized.

                    • Rebuilding

                      No, it means you can’t build a scenario where the organization is as healthy as it is going forward by retroactively signing free agents and missing the talent we’ve accumulated

                    • Kyle

                      I’ve built that scenario many times. Not my fault a few people are too lazy to go back and look, but expect me to do the work for them.

                    • Kyle

                      The organization *isn’t* healthy going forward. That’s the problem that you can’t see.

                      Yes, we have some nice MiLB talent. But we have little young MLB talent, we have a serious revenue problem, and we have little competitive edge over our division.

                    • Eric

                      No, you’re just lazy. You cannot come up with a single player that another team signed that we should have. Why? Because you know that one signing isn’t enough, so you would have to come up with enough to make this team competitive.

                      Face it, you just don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. It’s been obvious for awhile. You’re just an armchair GM with no clue and no solutions.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Nonsense. You’ve built a scenario where the Cubs hit the right place, right time, right contract over and over. And I still don’t think you’ve built a team better than the Cardinals with 20/20 hindsight. You never account for what we would have lost. And you never account for the organization would be if you didn’t hit the wild card one of those seasons

                    • Kyle

                      “Nonsense. You’ve built a scenario where the Cubs hit the right place, right time, right contract over and over. And I still don’t think you’ve built a team better than the Cardinals with 20/20 hindsight. You never account for what we would have lost. And you never account for the organization would be if you didn’t hit the wild card one of those seasons”

                      And that’s why I stopped giving in to the demands for case-by-case alternatives. Because if you use players that we know did well, then you get accused of using hindsight. If you use players that were projected to do well, it’s pointed out that some of those players fail. If you take away even one prospect from the current organization, then all is lost forever in the future because no team can ever have a shred of long-term success without going all-out to acquire every single prospect imaginable.

                      We can argue over the specifics or we can argue over the generalities. The former is four times as much work with the exact same results.

                    • Kyle

                      “Why? Because you know that one signing isn’t enough, so you would have to come up with enough to make this team competitive.”

                      That’s surprisingly accurate.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Kyle, you conveniently forget that we made the same arguments in 2012 and 2013. That’s water under the bridge. I agree, they could have tried to win 85 games both years. They didnt. They are going for it. They’ve bet it all on black. It’s risky as shit. If Baez and Bryant don’t develop they’re screwed. But if they do, and they bring everything together like they might – they are building the Red Sox only better

                    • Kyle

                      “Kyle, you conveniently forget that we made the same arguments in 2012 and 2013. That’s water under the bridge. I agree, they could have tried to win 85 games both years. They didnt. They are going for it. They’ve bet it all on black. It’s risky as shit. If Baez and Bryant don’t develop they’re screwed. But if they do, and they bring everything together like they might – they are building the Red Sox only better”

                      Well, don’t forget, I thought they *did* do a decent job of trying to fix their previous mistakes heading into 2013.

                      Sure, if it works, it works.

                  • Pat

                    You know what they could have done? They could have tried to put a winning team on the field. But they didn’t even try. You can argue specific moves all day, if you’re saying there were no moves that could have been made to the the major league team a chance, then what the hell are we paying these guys for? I’m pretty sure you can find people to sit on their hands and spout platitudes for considerably less than these guys are getting paid.

                    • Rebuilding

                      This is true. They’ve tried to be bad. Actually they’ve tried really hard. We’ll see if that pays off in 2015 and going forward

                    • Roland

                      Like Jim Hendry or not he made some very shrewd trades. All this management team seems to spend time on is cutting payroll and sitting on its hands. I did not expect not to see some improvement at the major league level by now. This team is going nowhere fast and that is a sad statement.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      That’s why I wish Ricketts actually would have cut bait with Hendry after 2010 and courted Cherington to come here before 2011. I think Theo doing this gets lots more criticism in light of his previous WS caliber teams.

                    • Eric

                      I would rather them tank now and win it all later than put up with the frustration of winning 70 here, 80 there and never make it to the World Series.

                      Some of you are missing the lovable losers. Now they’re just losers. I’m hoping that they end up winners.

                    • JeffR

                      I’ve come to realize that a lot of people are totally fine with being an average team and every once in a while sneaking into the playoffs. I personally would rather be a consistent contender and I think it’s becoming increasingly difficult to build a team through free agency.

                    • Kyle

                      I certainly hope the same thing, but “lose now and win later” or “win a little now and lose later” is a false choice.

                      I wanted them to follow the “parallel fronts” approach that Epstein described but never followed up on.

                    • Kyle

                      “I’ve come to realize that a lot of people are totally fine with being an average team and every once in a while sneaking into the playoffs. I personally would rather be a consistent contender and I think it’s becoming increasingly difficult to build a team through free agency.”

                      I’d love a consistent contender. I don’t consider years and years of losing for the vague promises of future success to quality as “consistent contention.”

                    • Rebuilding

                      Nope. Anyone who is supporting the FO now is in it to win it. It’s all or nothing. Either Baez and Bryant become All-Star caliber players (I think they will) or we’re bad for a really long time

            • Adventurecizin’ Justin

              What upgrades would give the Cubs a chance to compete with the Cards, Pirates, and Reds? We aren’t even close to any of them, so it would require doing what the Yanks are doing. You want that?

              • Rebuilding

                The only upgrades this offseason/season that would get us closer to the Cardinals/Reds/Pirates are signing Tanaka, if we would have signed Abreu and/or signing Choo. That maybe gets us to 80 wins…maybe

                But mainly just Baez and Bryant developing and coming up as impact bats at positions that have a scarcity of them.

                • YourResidentJag

                  The thing is though. Do you expect 80-85 wins in 2016? That’s a ways off but certainly debatable.

                  • Rebuilding

                    I’m expecting 85 wins in 2015 if we sign Tanaka

                    • Rebuilding

                      Baez and Bryant add 5-8 wins on their own given the people they are replacing. Tanaka is another 4

                    • YourResidentJag

                      We’ll see. Tanaka would be great…I’m not so sure.

      • Crazyhorse

        “the longer this bullshit with the city and the rooftops goes on, the longer Rickett’s is going to drag his feet on the renovations and gets to cry poor.”

        Really ? One has nothing to do with the other. Ricketts is not dragging his feet, I would venture to say that he is taking the initiative by placing the blame on the rooftops. One thing is certain when the roof tops contracts are up – he has position himself brilliantly with the city and broker a deal that will eventually make Wrigley fields and entertainment / sports venue year round. The rooftops can only struggle for immediate revenue I would invest in any of the rooftops . Ricketts has accomplished what he set out to do.

        • Crazyhorse

          (sorry ) wrong place ……..

          • Crazyhorse

            (would not invest ….) done gonna get coffee – putting up Comments that misdirected is frustrating .

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Assuming that we get the big two up from the minors in 2014 (Baez, Bryant).That’s a lot of thump in the line up. Add Alcantara to that mix and I don’t see any reason why the Cubs can’t compete in 2015. But trading away Samardzija just about kills any chance to be competitive in 2015. Insert those three players in the lineup for 2015 and upgrade the pitching and I see no reason we can’t compete. And this crap about not being able to compete before the renovations are done is complete bull shit. What happens one the field between the lines is the only thing that determines winning or losing. Get those guys feet wet this year and get some pitching and turn them loose. so RENOVATIONS do not equal SUCCESS period. I say again; baseball is played between the lines. Beer gardens and jumbotrons and fancy locker rooms don’t dictate what happens on the field.

      • http://bleachernation.com d biddle

        What would we (Cubs fan) rather do? Stay at Wrigley Field with less revenues coming in and a lower payroll or move to a different location (away from the political BS) with higher revenues and higher payroll. A higher payroll will give more opportunities to win. I don’t think the people who live around Wrigley Field want the Cubs there. Why keep fighting them?

      • Moe C

        The Thing about it that cubs fans are making a huge mistake is that we know 2012 was gonna be bad, 2013 same 2014 everyone assumed in 2012 that we would have the prospects set(which we do) and that the cubs will slowly add some pieces in place to help us win or at least compete by 2015. And lets say Cubs trade the shark for prospects we lose a good pitcher for future pitchers we dont know a thing about. The shark is proven sure he isnt an Ace and his stats arent that great but we forget he pitched against other teams aces and did a pretty good job. He def is a number 3 guy in our rotation.

        • Moe C

          If the cubs lose the shark and add tanaka we are still left with an Ace and mediocre pitchers. So if the prospects are ready to come up which im not saying all will be the Cubs would still have to add at least 2-3 pitchers to try to contend maybe an outfielder a second basemen relief pitchers and a power bat. And the way things are going they def arent adding 5-6 guys next year. So then wait for 2016 and if they make no moves and are once again in this situation next year then guess what we arent gonna be going to the playoffs then either and then Theo & company will be out the door going somewhere else and this failed experiment will be over. Im just waiting for Cub fans to run Ricketts out of town as well

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m not praising them.

      I’m praising *me.*

      • Kyle

        I stand corrected. Carry on.

    • Isaac

      Patience and discipline should always be praised. Caving in to impatient and ignorant fans just to get to 75 wins would have been incredibly damaging long term.

      • Kyle

        The line between patience/discipline and passivity is entirely in the eye of the beholder and how slavishly fanboish they are.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Entirely? No, not entirely.

        • Isaac

          To suggest that this FO is “passive” is downright foolish. Think about that statement.

          I readily admit that I am guilty of being an over the top fan. I desperately want a title. I also realize the difference between spending for spending’s sake, and building something sustainable.

          • Kyle

            Of the six teams who finished at the bottom of the league last year, five have spent at least $24m or more this offseason in contract commitments. The sixth has spent $2.5m.

            The Cubs have been completely passive at the MLB level since the current front office took over. The team was in desperate need of an aggressive infusion of MLB talent, and they punted. They did a little better last offseason, but they seem to be indicating they regretted it and want to punt again this offseason.

            • Isaac

              I don’t refute we haven’t spent, I refute that it’s because of passivity. We are trying to win a championship, not win 78 games every year.

              • Kyle

                We’re trying to win a championship by sitting around waiting for young players to mature over a span that may take most of a decade.

                That’s the very definition of passivity.

                “Trying to win a champsionship, not 78 games” is one of those meaningless platitudes that Epstein is capable of generating that really resonates when you don’t think too hard about it.

                • Rebuilding

                  The only “championship” player any of those teams has picked up is Jose Abreu by the Sox. The rest are just fill-ins. If we get Tanaka we will get the best FA this year and a “championship” level player. The Astros getting Scott Feldman doesn’t mean a thing

                  • Rebuilding

                    Actually I’ll add Salty to that although he would have made no sense for us

                    • Cheese Chad

                      I’d even add that he is just a complimentary player on a great team with his best year ever last year. Castillo will put up close to the same WAR the next couple years. Not a fact, but a damn good guess.

                  • Kyle

                    It means they might stem the tide of their revenue losses a bit more. Something the Cubs might have considered a few years ago before going on this path.

                    • Jason P

                      70 wins aren’t going to sell more tickets than 65. Especially in a market like Florida where the fan base is nonexistant.

                    • Isaac

                      You know, I’ll step back from this argument, because on some level we agree with each other.

                      I definitely WANT the FO to spend available money, but simply when the time is right. The old mantra of “it’s time in, not timing” is so incredibly wrong and damaging. Most of life is ALL about timing.

                      I find a lot of satisfaction in watching players grow in the minor league system and then contribute at the Major League level. This explains a lot of why I want a mostly homegrown championship. I do completely understand that no team is totally homegrown (even if St Louis and Boston were close this year). We will need to augment at some point, the time just is not now, no matter how much I’d like it to be.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    I mostly agree with this, and Abreu doesn’t fit on this team as constructed (we already have Volgelbach to find a first base spot for). I think the Cubs would have been in on Abreu otherwise. The available pieces just didn’t fit the Cubs time-frame our positional needs as well this year.

                    I still take issue with the amount of money the Cubs are “able” to spend, but hopefully that will work itself out in the next 1-2 years.

                • Jason P

                  Just because we haven’t landed someone big this offseason doesn’t mean “We’re trying to win a championship by sitting around waiting for young players to mature over a span that may take most of a decade.”

                  It means were sitting around waiting for *some* young players to develop so that the free agents we sign take us from “decent to good” or “good to great” rather than just “bad to mediocre”

                • Mike F

                  Absolutely Kyle, but you are wasting your time. I like Theo and wanted the Theo Boston vintage. Honestly, I was always intrigued about Beane and what he could do with 100M, but never considered this is what might show up. I remain concerned his attitude about the time he could lose in Chicago and being in a place where wining didn’t matter was of concern.

                  I also remain concerned about all the hate for the roof top owners. I am no a Democrat nor a machine politician, but understand it completely. For those who continue to rail away at the poor organization they are sorely misplaced and ignorant. The Mayor has kept his word. Kenney is the author of the rooftop agreements. The whole damn thing is nothing new, Chicago politics is unchanging. There is one change, the length to organization is going to place blame. If they were to fire Kenney, get someone who is not a pedigreed rat and seriously put a move on the table the roof top owners would be more amenable. Instead they are simply talking about doing things the right way, holding the fans hostage as leverage of starving out the roof top owners and making fun of winning at the major league level.

                  • Rebuilding

                    I simply do not understand defending the rooftop owners in any way, shape or form. Why the Trib signed an agreement with these people is baffling to me. Their business equates to your neighbor selling tickets to watch your TV through your window – and then bitching if you close the shades

                    • Rebuilding

                      Or suing you if you upgrade your cable package

                    • aaronb

                      People defend them because they have a signed agreement with the team. The Ricketts KNEW of this agreement when they negotiated the purchase of the team.

                    • Rebuilding

                      I actually think the agreement might be a breach of fair use of property, but that’s a different discussion. Do I think Ricketts thought they would threaten a lawsuit over blocking a partial view of 1 rooftop? Unlikely. Their business model is a joke

                  • Chicago4Life

                    The rooftop owners paid substantial money for those rooftops, some more than $20 million on the promise of that contract. They deserve the right to see in for that timeframe, because of this, I would fight too as a rooftop owner. The Rickett’s should just work with the city to take eminent domain of the rooftops impacted and pay the owner’s there fair value of the ones they are intending to block or the value they are taking. That is the fairest way to get the deal done.

                    • Rebuilding

                      There is 1 rooftop that may be blocked…partially

            • wilbur

              And if they had done as you wish and finished closer to 500, they would have missed out on Amora and Bryant and been left right where the tribune left them, a mediocre team with no farm system prospects and no flexiblity to get any. It is so short sighted it is laughable, especially given the success of the team as big spenders in the last days of the tribune ownership, and the decades before that as the stumblebum team chasing 500. How can anyone want more of that?

              • Kyle

                You must have very little faith in Epstein and McLeod if you think they couldn’t have strengthened the farm system without picking at the very top of the draft each year.

                That’s before we even get into the silliness of believing that the Tribune left the Cubs with “no farm system.”

                Ricketts took over at the end of the 2009 season. That spring, BA ranked the Cubs system no. 14. *gasp* A million jaws drop that didn’t really pay attention to the farm system back then but have bought into the narrative that it was terrible.

                • Rebuilding

                  It’s assured we wouldn’t have our #2, 3, 4 and 10 prospects and likely 3 of the next 5 – Olt, Ramirez, Black. We also would have prob used the money from Soler to bolster the bullpen or 3b. It is also very possible we would have traded Baez and/or Vogelbach/Alcantara/Johnson at one deadline to get pitching. All for a team still not as good as the Cardinals.

                  in alternate timelines that you like to construct we could have a team that’s 90 wins on paper (possibly putting us 4th in the division) and not have 13 of our Top-15 prospects

                  • Turn Two

                    Well said

                  • Kyle

                    We’d have other prospects to replace those guys. Not quite as good, but quite the empty slots that just removing them would leave.

                    And there’s no reason to assume we would have traded Baez whatsoever.

                    The alternate timeline *you* constructed lost 13 prospects.

                    • Eternal pessemist

                      “we’d have other prospects to replace those prospects”

                      True…they just wouldn’t be as good, or as likely to really help achieve the ultimate goal

                • BobA

                  How was the farm system rated after the Garza trade and when Theo took over before the 2012 season?

          • aaronb

            We are aggressively standing pat.

            • Kyle

              Unless we can get a good deal for Samardzija. Then we’re aggressively punting.

              • aaronb

                I don’t care who we get for him…So long as it saves money and nets us 18 years of club control.

                • Kyle

                  Aim bigger. We might be able to get 24 or 30 years of control.

            • wilbur

              The best deal is very often no deal.

              • Kyle

                That’s a passive front office’s mantra, sure.

                • wilbur

                  I dont think they are passive, i think they are preparing to win.

                  • Edwin

                    They’re preparing to win. Just not in 2014 or 2015. And maybe not in 2016 and 2017, depending on how long it takes the core to develop.

                  • aaronb

                    So long as we can win without spending any money.

                  • Kyle

                    Preparing in perpetuity.

                • Edwin

                  Maybe the Cubs are using the computer from WarGames. Baseball can be a strange game, the only winning move is not to play?

                • Roland

                  Kyle I agree. The other thing that is not talked about enough is you have to get the free agents when they are available. Next years free agent class looks even bleaker then this years class. So if Solar/Almora have another injury plagued season we will regret not getting in on one the better outfield free agents. At this rate of engagement from the cubs we will be celebrating 200 years of futility.

      • spearman

        Like the last 100 years haven’t been damaging.

        • Isaac

          Right, and let’s not repeat them by making the same mistakes and going at it the same way. We have the enormous blessing of a FO that can build like a small-market team, and a large enough market that the money will be there when it makes sense to spend it.

          • Kyle

            What “way” would be the same “way?”

            The Cubs of the past were built a lot of different ways. Some of those ways were strongly resemblant of what they are doing now (If that’s not a word, it should be). Some weren’t. But there was no single way.

            • Tommy

              It’s always easy to talk about the money that should be spent and the moves that should be made when it’s not your money, and it’s not you that will be held accountable for the poor decisions. This front office has dumped a TON of money into the organization that wasn’t there in the past, including the FO and the development systems.

              If you read Brett’s articles, you’re aware that the old ownership set up anyone buying the Cub’s with an uphill battle by signing heavily back laden contracts with not just the ML players, but minor leaguers, as well. This was a system that was set up for failure by the previous regime, and getting it righted is not something that can be done overnight.

              I think we have seen them slowly rebuilding this ship from the bottom up, and I have no reason to believe that soon, they will be spending big on the ML team. If you have a house that is falling apart, you fix the foundation first, not the peripherals. That’s what I see is happening.

              • Kyle

                I’d love for *anybody* to be held accountable for the poor decisions.

                I read Brett’s articles. I do more than read Brett’s articles. I was actually paying attention back when the previous regime was in charge (something I swear many fans weren’t, judging by their opinions on what happened then).

              • Kyle

                Secondary note:

                Backloading is a good thing. It lowers the true cost of what you are buying. It’s simply good business practice.

                Epstein is masterful at little spinny facts that sound so meaningful if you don’t really think them through, and the little leaks about how the old regime backloaded contracts is one of them.

                • JulioZuleta

                  Yes, backloading, generally speaking is a good thing. But you’re telling half the story here. A backloaded contract can be a great thing at the time it is signed, but when a new front office takes over during the wrong half of several backloaded deals, it certainly creates some problems. Also, your run of the mill backloading can be efficient. However, the Trib was backloading deals, or signing ill-advised longterm deals to make the team marginally competitive and to fill seats while they were attempting to sell, knowing that they would not be around to pick up the tab the last few years. Be fair.

                  • Kyle

                    I am being fair. That backloading bought the team the 3.1 million fans he had in his pocket when he took over.

                    It bought him the team that made it seem like it made sense to trade for Matt Garza, whom the current regime was able to turn into his organizaton’s best pitching prospect.

                    It bought the team Jeff Samardzija, for goodness sakes.

                    This current regime benefitted heavily from that backloading. Would it have been ideal not to have a balloon payment on Marmol last year? Sure. But it wasn’t the franchise-crippling practice that Epstein wants to spin it to be.

                    • JulioZuleta

                      I don’t recall him saying it was franchise crippling. I think he suggested that having several players signed to bad contracts was one of many reasons that the franchise was not healthy in 2011. I believe he also suggested that payroll was artificially inflated as a result of the backloaded deals.

                    • aaronb

                      The back loading of the contracts wouldn’t have mattered, if payroll had stayed where it was.

                      Backloading and slashing is where we got stuck.

                    • JulioZuleta

                      I’m not sure what you’re saying. The slashing was a result of the inflated payroll due to backloaded deals.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      Backloading contracts is “slightly” relevant. It slightly lowers the cost In “todays” dollars slightly based on todays dollars.

                      The rest of the effect is basically a wash. It is easier to backload and buy extra talent during the current year, but with more difficulty adding talent later as the backloaded salaries goes up.

                      Overall, its no big deal.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      …and the backloaded contracts were one of the most damaging legacies of Hendry’s era (not saying it was all his fault). The backloaded contracts that were shifted to the new ownership made it difficult to add any talent for years without letting the old/bad contract years expire.

                • Tommy

                  I’m not sure what a little spinny fact is, but it sounds like your doing one now with what you say. You use a lot of words, but there is always a lack of substance behind them. Anyone can make suppositions with no facts to back them up and claim to know a better way, but yet, we never hear the better way, just that there is one.

                  • Kyle

                    The better way was to keep the team competitive by using their financial advantages to bring in MLB talent immediately upon taking over, and using their experience drafting in the back of the first round to continue to build the farm system despite not having top picks.

                    • Tommy

                      Fair enough. I think that’s a pretty rudimentary explanation of how you’d ‘fix’ what is wrong with the Cubs, but we’ll go with that.

                      I think that you may be wrong in the degree of ‘financial advantages’ that they have right now is my only concern. I don’t think the Cubs are as well off compared to other teams as you think they are, but then, maybe they are – I don’t really know.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Totally ruined premise by the new CBA. Whereas big market clubs could wait for “unsignable” players in the back of the 1st round before essentially giving them a Top 5 or Top 10 pick they can’t do that now. The impact guys like Bryant now go where they’re supposed to

                    • Jason P

                      If you can point to a reasonable sequence of moves that Epstein could have made when he took over that would have made the club competitive in 2012, I’ll listen.

                      “The better way was to keep the team competitive by using their financial advantages” – Let’s say instead of hiring Epstein, the Cubs hired you and gave you $40-45 million to work with in free agency (bringing payroll back to where it was during the Trib era). Your job is to improve a 71-win team into a 90+win playoff contender. How are you going to do it? No more skating by with just saying “use their financial advantages”. An actual, specific course of action.

                    • Cheese Chad

                      You are comparing opinions. Your opinion is to do that. It’s naïve to think that Theo hadn’t thought of that plan too. The organization as a whole decided that picking in the top 5 gave them a better chance to compete annually. His opinion vs. your opinion. And because he has had success at the highest level and you are commenting on a blog message board (a little offense because I despise your negativity) I am willing to side with Theo.

                    • Cheese Chad

                      This is directed towards Kyle by the way.

                    • Mick

                      Wrong, the Cubs wouldn’t have been drafting in the 1st round had Theo continued Hendry’s offseason binges on high profile free agents. Heck, by your formula, they wouldn’t have been drafting in any of the first 5 rounds.

                    • Kyle

                      “Totally ruined premise by the new CBA. Whereas big market clubs could wait for “unsignable” players in the back of the 1st round before essentially giving them a Top 5 or Top 10 pick they can’t do that now. The impact guys like Bryant now go where they’re supposed to”

                      I’m sorry, but what on earth are you talking about?

                      I don’t know you. I don’t know how much you were paying attention under the old CBA. But to be honest, that’s a statement that seems to me that could only be made my someone who is very recently interested in the MLB development process and is repeating what he’s heard.

                      Overslotting was popular under the old CBA, but it didn’t work that way. Very few “top 5 or top 10″ players dropped to the back of the first round. Overslotting was more on the margins, getting late-first-round and second-round talents (which aren’t as great as it sounds) in the later rounds.

                      And while Epstein’s Red Sox did do some amount of overslotting (all teams did), it was hardly the primary driver of their success. Most of their big hits were not significant overslots.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Kyle, your opinion is flying in the face of the whole reason they changed the draft rules in the new CBA. They did that because the Red Sox, among others, were getting the equivalent of several 1st round picks because prospects (Appel for instance) knew other clubs would pay more money in the bottom of the first round or Round 8. The whole reason they changed it is because guys would say they were definitely going to college so that they would be drafted by those teams later

                    • Rebuilding

                      And it’s interesting that you are arguing this way now after arguing forever that Theo’s plan was doomed to fail because he couldn’t do in the draft what he did in Boston

                    • Kyle

                      They changed the draft rules because they wanted to save money for the owners. It was as simple as that.

                      Again: You seem to be repeating a narrative, because what you are describing just didn’t happen.

                      Teams like the Red Sox might pay first-round money in the 3rd or 4th round to get 2nd-round talents to forgo college, but they weren’t getting Appel-type guys, or even guys of true first-round quality.

                      In 2011, the Red Sox did not have a single pick outside the first round get more than an 800k signing bonus.

                      In Epstein’s entire tenure with the Red Sox, only five players picked outside the first round got 7-figure bonuses. They weren’t making it rain with a bunch of these guys every year.

                    • Kyle

                      “You are comparing opinions. Your opinion is to do that. It’s naïve to think that Theo hadn’t thought of that plan too. The organization as a whole decided that picking in the top 5 gave them a better chance to compete annually. His opinion vs. your opinion. And because he has had success at the highest level and you are commenting on a blog message board (a little offense because I despise your negativity) I am willing to side with Theo.”

                      Andy MacPhail succeeded at the highest level. Is everything he ever did correct?

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      A big reason for the changes in the draft was because the players wanted the money that was increasingly flowing to amateurs to be spent on major league players instead. That was not purely a team or owner driven change. The union was very much on board.

                      And yes, those amateurs became union members the minute they signed the contract to the union was arguably spiteing itself (and several articles were written on that topic), but that was still their position.

                    • Rebuilding

                      That’s silly, Luke. Potential draftees have no say in how the union operates. The actual muscle in the union are veteran players. None of them give a damn what Kris Bryant makes, because he has to “earn it”. The changes to the CBA were driven by small market clubs who argued that the draft wasn’t working like it was supposed to. Guys were sliding just on sign ability unlike the NFL, NBA and NHL

                    • Kyle

                      “And it’s interesting that you are arguing this way now after arguing forever that Theo’s plan was doomed to fail because he couldn’t do in the draft what he did in Boston”

                      I’m arguing no such thing. Theo’s plan isn’t doomed to fail. It’s just not the best plan we could have had and isn’t as fated for success as the true believers think.

                    • Kyle

                      “If you can point to a reasonable sequence of moves that Epstein could have made when he took over that would have made the club competitive in 2012, I’ll listen.”

                      I’ve explained the reasons why I’m not doing alternative offseasons two+ years back. They require an absurd amount of effort and require the person writing them to make a number of arbitrary assumptions, and all that’s going to happen is that the people who disagree are going to point to slightly different arbitrary assumptions and say that’s why the whole thing is wrong.

                      “The better way was to keep the team competitive by using their financial advantages” – Let’s say instead of hiring Epstein, the Cubs hired you and gave you $40-45 million to work with in free agency (bringing payroll back to where it was during the Trib era). Your job is to improve a 71-win team into a 90+win playoff contender. How are you going to do it? No more skating by with just saying “use their financial advantages”. An actual, specific course of action.”

                      Feel free to go back in the BN archives. There are many examples of discussions both at the time and after the fact that outline some of those alternatives.

                      No one ever demands that we go back over every Hendry draft and IFA period and structure alternatives for 10 years worth to see how his tenure could have been different.

                    • Jason P

                      Okay, then let me simplify that. Do you believe there were 20 wins worth of free agents out there to be had for 40 million dollars? Don’t kid yourself. The Cubs were not going to be a playoff team in 2012 one way or another.

                    • KyleJRM

                      “Okay, then let me simplify that. Do you believe there were 20 wins worth of free agents out there to be had for 40 million dollars? Don’t kid yourself. The Cubs were not going to be a playoff team in 2012 one way or another.”

                      I think there was the potential for 20 wins worth of different moves from the ones they made.

                • Tommy

                  ‘Backloading is a good idea’ – that is a matter of opinion, not a fact.

                  • JulioZuleta

                    I know what you’re saying. And I’m not a huge proponent of backloading, especially to the extent that it was done with the Cubs, but if done correctly and reasonably, it is a fact that backloading will result in more money to spend. From an economic standpoint the value of a dollar goes down every year. If you sign a guy to a 10 year deal, it will cost you less money/value if you backload the deal.

                    You just have to balance it and not be so extreme that it prevents you from spending freely later on.

                  • Kyle

                    It’s the opinion of everyone who has ever passed an economics class at the college level.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      Backloading is good – true statement.

                      Backloading to such an extent that you wind up in a position where those backloaded deals are eating a larger percentage of even your most optimistic projections of payroll than you can really afford them to – not such a good plan.

                      That’s not to say that the Cubs did do too much backloading under Zell, but I suspect a case can be made there.

                    • Kyle

                      “Backloading to such an extent that you wind up in a position where those backloaded deals are eating a larger percentage of even your most optimistic projections of payroll than you can really afford them to – not such a good plan.

                      That’s not to say that the Cubs did do too much backloading under Zell, but I suspect a case can be made there.”

                      It only becomes a prohibitive problem if other things go wrong.

                      Like, say, a crop of prospects fizzles and you have no cheap MLB talent to fill in key gaps.

                      Or the owner sells to a new owner and the two agree to a restrictive sales agreement that mires the team in debt and shrinks buying power.

                      Or the team falls apart for an extended run and attendance starts to go in the tank.

                      Or all three of those things. The backloading only became a significant problem because Ricketts and later Epstein allowed it to become a significant problem.

              • aaronb

                I hate the false narrative that we NEVER spent money on the minors before Theo decided it might be a good idea. What about the money spent in Latin America on Castro, Lake, Pie, Zambrano, Juan Cruz and a host of others?

                What about all the guys in the Pacific Rim who got huge signing bonuses (Jae Kuk Ryu, Hee Man Choi, Ha, Ree, Hak Ju Lee, etc).

                The reality is that MLB has capped these expenses. So we look like heroes when we exceed the cap by a million bucks.

                • Kyle

                  If I’m not mistaken, Jim Hendry (as scouting director and GM) still has two of the top-10 biggest contracts ever given to a draftee.

                • JulioZuleta

                  Starlin Castro cost $60K, Zambrano was $130K, I’m pretty sure Felix Pie, like, didn’t even get money. He just signed the regular minor league contract (could be wrong on that though). Lake was also $100K> I’m pretty sure. No idea on Juan Cruz. I think some of the Pacific Rim players received decent signing bonuses, but I don’t know specifics.

                  • aaronb

                    Jeff Samadizja got huge money in the 5th round. Chris Huseby and a host of other guys got 1 million plus as later round overslots.

                    This is not a new practice. Obviously I wish they had done it more often.

                    Still doubt the actual expenditure difference is much bigger under Ricketts. Especially since he cut Scout per diems.

                    • JulioZuleta

                      Sure, it happened. I was just addressing the examples that you used to support the statement. If you want to say that the Cubs spent money on the farm system in the past, fine, every team does to some extent. If you want to say their developmental spending was near what it could have/should have been, that’s where we’ll disagree. You can pick and choose players to support your case, but the fact of the matter is, any team that uses a first round pick on Tyler Colvin and Hayden Simpson, despite being universally viewed as third to 5th round picks, clearly doesn’t prioritize development as much as it should.

                    • aaronb

                      Hayden Simpson was under Ricketts watch.

                    • Rebuilding

                      No, he was drafted by Hendry and is the example of the most inexplicable 1st round draft pick in the last 10 years

                    • Rebuilding

                      Although Ricketts had won the bid at that point he did nothing and let Hendry run everything for 1 year as he learned the situation. That pick is on Hendry and not Ricketts draft budget

                    • BT

                      Samardzija got huge money in the 5th, in part because the Cubs didn’t have to pay a 2nd, 3rd or 4th rounder, since they were given up as compensation for major league free agents.

                    • Kyle

                      Wait, you are complaining about him picking and choosing examples, but you want to use two picked and chosen examples as the definitive end-all of the argument?

                      The year the Cubs draft Colvin, they spent more money on draft picks than any other team by almost 50% more than second place:

                      http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2007/02/Issue-101/The-Back-Of-The-Book/Signing-Bonus-Expenditures-For-MLB-Draft-Picks.aspx

                      The whole “Cubs were cheap on the draft under the Tribune” thing is one of those recently popped-up memes perpetuated by fans who are new to following the farm system.

                • Rebuilding

                  @aaronb – For making so many grand proclamations you sure get a lot of basic facts wrong

                • Tommy

                  Aaron – I think it’s more the facilities that are being built than the money being spent on players. Also, the FO several times larger than it was in the Hendry era. Jim Hendry was set up to fail, this FO has a lot of positions that didn’t exist 5 years ago.

                  • aaronb

                    Fair enough Tommy.

                    And just so I am clear…I am GLAD they are putting emphasis on player development.

                    I just don’t buy that we have to run Minnesota Twins type payrolls in the name of player development.

                • Hee Seop Chode

                  Hee Man Choi was Hee Seop Chio’s often forgotten older brother, who courageously gave up his promising power hitting career the fight Skeletor. Great guy. A real hero.

    • CWILLS

      They want to see what there farm system can do. We are not the Yankees who have to buy players like crazy to win. The Cubs will have players come up in the farm system within the next few years who will be able to perform, so why spend big bucks on a free agent who will already be 30+ years old?

  • praying the cubs get ready to win

    Brett, I agree with everything you said which makes getting Tanaka a must. I just wish there was one more bat in the line up to protect Rizzo so we can know for sure if he is the real deal? My guess is our top minor league players won’t come up to start the season and so goes another year. I am okay with it but really feel ownership could have gotten one big bat and Tanaka. I understand winning 80 games vs last isn’t that great, but think if we are close with these two additions then at the AllStar game we are buyers. Without a big bat or gambling on a couple of the kids starting for us and not getting Tanaka, where are we, we are more than a couple of years away. Cincinnati, Cards, Pitt are all pretty young teams that can compete for a while. Our time might not be for a while. There won’t be one year where we add a lot of players, it will come a few players per year. Add a couple of players like Tanaka and a bat, bring up mid season a couple of the kids, next year add a couple more pieces and bring up a couple more kids and 2016 could look like a real team. Praying the Cubs win in my lifetime.

  • rockin’ dawg

    McLouth and Garrett Jones were the two buy-low guys I thought the Cubs would go after. Now McLouth is gone and it looks like Jones is going to the Marlins. But there are still some OFs out there and the Cubs probably need to get one. How about Jason Kubel or Corey Hart? Or Rajai Davis if we’re looking for a CF?

  • Crazyhorse

    Under the Circumstance Nate McLouth was one of those players I was hoping the Cubs get this off season due to the financial restrictions this front office apparently has in place. Mclouth can do the small things run – hit – and play all outfield positions . His flexibility and monetary commitment would have enable the Cubs to trade certain players and not hinder the production at any outfield production his leadership qualities would have been a plus in a young clubhouse. Cant blame the man in accepting his role with the Nats , going to a contender and being a part of organization seeking its first World series title.

  • jim

    Snag late value? Like e jackson! Haha

    • CubFan Paul

      I can see EJax reversing his W/L record and maintaining or improving his groundball %

      • wilbur

        just need for the cubs to score a bit more runs per game, well, two runs per game more actually.

        • willis

          And that’s not likely with a team of AAAA and bench scraps playing behind you every day.

  • Josh

    This will be the worst Cubs team of the rebuilding phase. They will be drafting #1 or #2 in June of 2015

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Presently, it has that look. We’ll see what happens over the next few months.

      An interesting thing to note on that … the Astros are adding pieces, the Marlins are adding pieces (and have young talent breaking through), and the White Sox are unlikely to repeat their swoon. Maybe 2014 is the year to take a shot at that number one pick in 2015 …

      *ducks*

      • Kyle

        You joke, but I think it’s pretty plausible.

        As stands, this team’s upside is .500ish and it’s downside is 105 losses.

        • aaronb

          Upside is closer to .430 in my estimation. I’d be shocked if the Cubs win 70 games.

      • Rebuilding

        I think Baez and Bryant coming up in the 2nd half will keep us better than the Astros. And before anyone jumps, yes they will be rookies, but they can prob both out OPS Barney and Valbuena hitting left handed. Fowler and Feldman are both mediocre and don’t really add that much. I think the Marlins, White Sox and Twins are all better than us now

        • Kyle

          I think one coming up in September and one not until 2015 is more likely than both in the second half.

          • Rebuilding

            We’ll agree to disagree on that. If Baez starts at Iowa he is likely to hit 20 HRs in the first half in the PCL. I don’t expect Bryant to do anything but tear up the Southern League. As advanced as he was he probably should have started there last year but going to Daytona to get his feet wet was fine. I don’t think he’ll spend much time in AAA. So if I had to guess now it would be Baez at the All-Star break and Bryant in September. But I actually think Bryant will move faster than that

            • When the Music’s Over

              It will be interesting to see if this front office follows through with its “rule” of having hitters get in a full season (or close to it) at AAA.

              Also, not wanting to sign any free agents because there’s no point in wining 70 or 75 games but wanting to aggressively push prospects into mid season promotions in the hopes of helping the team win more games isn’t consistent. Also, aggressively pushing guys can be a dangerous tactic.

        • TK

          I agree with you.

          I think a lot of folks conveniently ignore how close some of these prospects truly are to facilitate their infantile griping. Unlesss Baez and/or Bryant regress in the first 1/2, they should have absolutely nothing remaining to accomplish in MiLB. They very well could be called up mid-season. People feel like that is uneasonable, especially considering Bryant, however, those are the people who are stuck in the Fantasy world where only stats — and a measurable history of them — matter . . . they ignore that Bryant played college ball and that in MiLB he is a man among boys . . . with little to gain.

          If Castro reverts to pre-2013 offensive form, and Rizzo starts hitting LHP again, or just improves his OBP to some degree, adding Baez and Bryant could make this team fairly competitive on a daily basis. One key to team success will be 2B. I’ve always been a Barney fan, but I think it may be time to give Valbo or Murphy a go in search of offense.

          We may not be in line for a #1 pick, but we could be in line for a pretty decent MLB product come 2015. Especially if we sign Tanaka and extend Shark.

          • Kyle

            You do understand that between the two, they have less than 250 plate appearances above A+.

            To say that they are both clearly on the verge of having nothing left to prove in MiLB is crazy in the extreme.

            • TK

              I am familiar. Thats why I said if they dont regress. If they move up and keep playing as they have, theres no reason to leave them there. If they move up a struggle intially, then, yes, they need more time. I dont expect expect either of them to have this problem. Do you? If so, why?

            • Rebuilding

              It seems I understand a lot you do not Kyle. Anyone who is the best player in AA at 20 is pretty much MLB ready. Manny Machado skipped AAA, Mike Trout had 77 ABs in AAA, Bryce Harper had 86 ABs at AAA and on and on. And before you freak about me comparing Baez to them – he was undoubtedly the best player in AA last year. Most of the great ones go from AA to the show. Anyone who OPS 986 in the Southern League at 20 is likely to be a great one

              • Rebuilding

                And then you have Bryant who is yet to post lower than a 1.100 OPS except for 6 at bats in rookie ball. He then made a mockery of the AFL. He turns 22 next month. Advanced college bats are on a much shorter timeline.

              • YourResidentJag

                But Theo and Co don’t do that practice of jumping players from AA to the majors so….

                • Rebuilding

                  Because they said they want 500 at-bats at each level? That’s for the normal guys. Their promotions with the big guys thus far point to exactly the opposite. Or look at what he actually did in Boston and you’ll get a different pitcher. He promotes the top prospects when he thinks they can handle it

                  • YourResidentJag

                    According to who? You. They won’t do that. This isn’t Boston.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Look at how they’ve promoted Baez and Bryant so far. This isn’t rocket science http://www.baseballreference.com

                    • YourResidentJag

                      They still get their ABs at the AAA level. No rush to bring them up in 2014. Baez will probably come up not out of Spring Training but in June.

                    • Rebuilding

                      We can agree to disagree. They will bring them up because they are the kind of prospects that get brought up early. We aren’t talking Alcantera here. Baez was the best player in Milb last year for age/level. Bryant is the most advanced hitter in the minor leagues period

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Damn now you’ve hurt Buxton’s feelings. ;)

                    • Rebuilding

                      Actually I’ll agree that they bring Baez up in June. Might as well save a year on him

                    • Rebuilding

                      I know what you are saying – Buxton is a ridiculous prospect for a lot of things. He isn’t close to being the advanced hitter Kris Bryant is

                    • Kyle

                      I’m definitely not saying there’s no chance they’ll be brought up quickly. I think it’s possible. I just don’t think it’s reasonable to expect on it. It ignores too many factors, especially their development and the desirability for the Cubs to delay the accumulation of service time.

              • Kyle

                There’s a difference between “could probably hit in MLB” and “has nothing left to gain in MiLB.”

                Do I think Javier Baez could be a productive MLB player right now? Yes. Do I think that he could set himself up for a better development curve (and not waste service time) by learning more in the minors for awhile longer? Also yes.

                • YourResidentJag

                  His defensive skills won’t play well out of spring training straight to the majors.

      • wilbur

        It worked for the nats.

      • JulioZuleta

        The White Sox are a (seemingly inevitable, but I keep saying that) Chris Sale injury away from being unbelievably bad. Even with Konerko having a lesser year last year, I don’t think you can pencil in Abreu as an improvement. Also, full year of no Peavy & Rios. No Floyd, and no reason to believe Danks is going to get his stuff back.

        • Rebuilding

          I actually think the White Sox will be close to 500 this year. A rotation of Sale, Quintana, Danks, Santiago and Erik Johnson (huge sleeper if you play fantasy) is damn good. They have an established closer and a lot of big arms in the pen. Abreu is going to help the offense tremendously and Marcus Semien (another big sleeper) will be a huge upgrade at 3rd. And an OF of Garcia, De Aza and Viciedo while not good isn’t really bad

          • JulioZuleta

            There are a fair amount of rather big assumptions in there.

            • Rebuilding

              Such as? They have 4 SP that are better than league average. Johnson projects to be very, very good (look at his numbers). Abreu is an upgrade over Konerko in every way. Marcus Semien could just stay alive and be better than the their 3b last year. Reed, Jones, etc provide a good bullpen. Where are the assumptions?

              • JulioZuleta

                Well, they do not have 4 above average starters. Danks lost so much last year that even counting on him to be average would be a reach. He struck out about 5.5 per 9, and lost some considerable velocity. Shoulder injuries are significantly worse than elbow injuries. I also have a very hard time considering Quintana “above average.” He’s basically exactly average. Santiago is not even close to being an above average pitcher. I don’t know if you look at/believe in advanced metrics, but only ONE pitcher on the WSox had a higher xFIP than Edwin Jackson last year. Erik Johnson is fine, had good minor league but to just assume that he is going to be a good starter this year is optimistic. You seem to have looked basically just at ERA, which is fine, but if you look at Quintana, and ESPECIALLY Santiago’s other numbers, you’ll see that they’re unlikely to repeat. Abreu is not better in every way. By all reports, he is a butcher in the field and there are significant questions about his ability to hit MLB fastballs. You also just assume Semien will be fine. (Remember top WSox 3B prospects Morel and Fields? Gross).

                Basically, you’re assuming best case scenario on everyone. Abreu and Semien could struggle mightily, Beckham and De Aza could easily regress. As I said, the SPs will be extraordinarily lucky to repeat. I just don’t see how a 100 loss team could lose Peavy and Rios and somehow gain 20 wins without doing a whole heck of a lot else.

      • JulioZuleta

        And I have to say, the offseason has for sure been quiet, but I have a hard time believing that the Front Office isn’t working on a few substantial things. Maybe not though; they are somewhat limited by having a few near-ready impact players that can’t really be blocked. You aren’t replacing Castro or Rizzo right now, you’re probably not going to offer enough to get a quality 3B or 2B coming with Baez and Bryant theoretically on their way. There certainly is room to improve in the OF and in the rotation, and maybe those moves are coming.

        I can’t see them doing *nothing*. I really do think they might go crazy on Tanaka, assuming he’s posted.

      • Jason P

        The Astros ace is Scott Feldman. He is by far their best starting pitcher (the only other 2 returning starters on that team are the awful Lucas Harrell and Brad Peacock). The Astros have a long way to go before they can even catch the Cubs, which is saying something.

        • YourResidentJag

          I wouldn’t be so sure of that. You remember who’s running that ballclub…former architect of the Cards. Be thankful that the Astros still aren’t in the NL Central.

          • Jason P

            And I’m sure he’ll guide them on the right track, but he isn’t magic. Even the Cardinals can’t make 4 competent starters fall out of the sky.

    • CubFan Paul

      “This will be the worst Cubs team of the rebuilding phase”

      I’ll accept that if they kids are given a shot/lots of at-bats

      3B Olt
      LF/CF Lake
      2B/CF Watkins
      LF/RF Vitters
      2B Baez (June)
      RF Bryant (June)

      & obviously Castro, Welington, & Rizzo. It’s all about developing the core on the ML level.

    • cubsin

      I see the likeliest candidates for drafting #1 and #2 as the Astros and White Sox, with the Cubs in competition for #3 with the Brewers, Marlins, Mets, Rockies and possibly the Phillies.

  • SenorGato

    Cubs interested in Joba Chamberlain. Oft injured but has the kind of arm they want otherwise.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    happy holidays. Check out this YouTube video http//youtu.be/2NYC3u3-0c Morton Arboretum lights up the trees. Another condemned Cubs fan lol

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    sorry I do not know how to add a link but check it out you like it

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    Brett I love this site and your work and this is no way critical of you. Some of the fans on here have not only drank the kook-aid but got drunk on it. I believe that if(I know it won’t happen) the front office signed Milton Bradly to a 3year 60 mil contract some of the fans would praise them and say its part of the plan. I like a lot of the moves they’ve made,some I don’t. I try to be objective no matter who is running the team. I don’t like tanking seasons and winning 75-80 in no way damages the future unless you are spending 300 mil or trading all your prospects.

  • Tommy

    Here are two thoughts on players that use banned substances, and the teams they play on:

    1) Players caught knowingly using banned substances should be banned from baseball for life. I also think there should be something written into all contracts that allows teams/the league to get back a portion of money from a player if this happens. Make it hurt enough if you get caught to where it’s not worth it to do it anymore is my point.
    2) Teams that have players (like the Yankees) that have been caught using banned substances should be stuck with the salary cap hit for that player, regardless of suspensions. Furthermore, if the player is no longer being paid that money (salary), it should go in a fund the league controls to investigate banned substance use throughout the league. This would make teams a little more interested in getting players that were clean.

    There needs to be accountability from the players and the teams or this problem will never go away. There is just too much money to be made otherwise. The fact that something as simple as the suggestions I have made have not been implemented just makes me believe that MLB is not really that interested in fixing the problem, as they are in making it appear that they’re trying to fix the problem. Now in defense of MLB – they have done far, Far, FAR more than any other professional league to address this problem, so they should at least get some kudos for that.

    This is my humble opinion, and this is how I’d address PED’s in baseball if I were the commissioner.

  • CubsFaninAZ

    Out here in AZ we are having a pleasant surprise, The Phoenix Suns are a .500 team and are beating up on some good teams lately, trailblazers, rockets, etc. Why do I bring this up on a Cubs forum? Because I think the Cubs can be like the Suns next year. Written off as the worst team in the league on paper, but its up playing hard and scrappy keeping them around .500 and giving good teams fits. If Rick Renteria can get the best effort out of his guys day in and day out just like Jeff Hornacek does. I think this Cubs team might surprise alot. With Shark, Wood, Jackson can all be guys that turn around with a lil more offense and win 15 plus games.Get good production from the other 2 rotation spots. Bullpen is getting better and if Vizciano comes in strong out of the pen shutting people down. All you need is your young guys to pick up on the offense and lookout . That being said, the biggest weakness the Cubs have is no one protecting Rizzo in the lineup. Till you get another big bat or someone else gets hot, him and Castro will continue to see the other pitchers best efforts, which will keep them struggling a bit. My hope is Mike Olt surprises out of Spring Training and mashes from the right side. The still hope for a good product out there. Thought I’d say that since it all seems to be negative Nancy’s all the time coming out of Illinois! P.S. the new spring training facilities look off the hook, and its location is in the perfect spot. I’m glad Mesa stepped up!

  • rockin’ dawg

    I’m actually OK with punting 2014 and getting a #1 or #2 draft pick for 2015. Face it- we are not going to be competitive this season regardless of what we do. For that reason, I would wait to spend the big money and keep stocking the minors for another year.

    I really hope Tanaka doesn’t get posted until next year. He doesn’t really help us accomplish any goals for 2014 and we would arguably be in a much better position to go after him in 2015. Which we should with reckless abandon!

    I would make trading for 25 year-old SLP Brett Anderson a priority now. And I would sign Rajai Davis to hold down CF for 2-3 years until Almora is ready. Let Olt/Vitters battle it out for 3B until Kris Bryant comes up. Leave Barney at 2B until Baez or Alcantara come up. By 2015 most of the pieces are there and we are ready to compete.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      That’s if his arm doesn’t get toasted pitching another year in Japan.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    This team resembles some of the teams of the late 70’s and early 80’s. You might argue that our farm system is much better then back then. You might be right if you are looking at ratings. That system produced Gregg madux,lee smith,Rafael Palmeiro,Jamie Moyer,joe carter and I’m sure some others. So far this system under the current front office can’t claim nearly that. I’m not saying they won’t as a matter of fact I’m very high on our system. My point is some are holding this system and front office up as great and the past as a complete failure. The future has yet to be determined but so far they have nothing to back up their high and mighty attitudes.

  • cubsin

    At this super-early stage, I have written off of chances of getting Tanaka (he’ll either be posted next year or one of the big-budget teams will sign him). To me, the key players are Shark (if he’s traded for prospects before the season even starts, we’re chasing the top draft pick and 100 or more losses), Olt (if he hits, he strengthens 3B and allows Valbuena and Murphy to keep the heat on Barney for 2B) and Arietta (he can be a strong #4 if he can learn to keep his focus and avoid big innings, or a total bust).

    If Arietta can hold down #4, I’ll take my chances with Rusin, Grimm, Cabrera or eventually Hendricks at #5, although I’d obviously like to have another starter added before Opening Day.

    • cjdubbya

      I don’t know about that. Even if Tanaka’s team doesn’t like that they’re not going to get Darvish-esque posting cash, they’ll still get $20MM. Saw an article posted somewhere a little bit ago where if Tanaka doesn’t get posted this year, he may just decline next year to be a true FA, then his team gets nothing. $20MM is a lot better than $0.

  • Rich H

    I still think the Cubs have moves yet to make. We were told repeatedly that the Cubs did not see a fit with any top tier FA’s so them signing elsewhere is not a huge deal.

    I still have a feeling that Chicago will make some noise next week. Think of this scenerio.

    Team Theo make a play for Ackley from Seattle and Anderson from Oakland (still hearing an outfielder may be parted with Anderson to really get a solid return). They then trade Shark for top deal but with atleast one ML player in the deal. Then adding possible bullpen arms like Axeford and Chamberlan. Are we still talking about a 100 loss team with rebound seasons from Castro and Rizzo?
    Our OF goes from being a weakness to being a solid group very quickly with an addition of Ackley, one of Oaklands OF’ers, or maybe get involved a Kemp trade that keeps getting whispered.

    I am not saying any of this stuff can or will happen just that there is still 2 1/2 month till pitchers and catchers report. Plenty of time to change our mindset on what the end results will be.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      If you think the team will lose 100 games in spite of making the moves you suggested, then what is the point of making any moves at all?

  • Ben

    Pittsburgh appears to be loaded in the outfield going forward with McCutchen, Marte, Palanco, Meadows, and Bell. I think Bell would be a perfect fit with our rebuild model. MLB projects him as having above average hit and power tools. 21 years old and he’s a switch hitter to boot.

    CF -R- Almora
    LF -S- Bell
    SS -R- Baez
    3B -R- Bryant
    DH -L- Vogelbach – 2016 lets hope.
    RF -R- Soler
    1B -L- Rizzo
    C -R- Castillo
    2B -S- Alcantara

    • rockin’ dawg

      What did you do with Starlin Castro??

      • Ben

        I think we trade him next summer.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    Another thing while I’m on my soap box. I’m very tired of hearing people say I’m willing to tank a season or seasons to get top 5 draft picks. Ask the royals and the pirates how that works for them on the 20 year plan. This is not the nfl or NBA where picks make an immediate impact and are almost always a star. We hired Theo because of his great knowledge of baseball. I for one believe that he can make a great pick at 15 or 20 just as he could at 3. Not all superstars are top 5 picks.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      So, Frank, what would you do this offseason to be competitive with Reds, Bucs, & Cards?

  • Bob Johnson

    We waited around for Girardi, now it’s Tanaka who probably will both end up Yankees.

  • Mike

    I have a hard time believing Tanka if he does leave Japan will choose the Cubs over the Yankees or Dodgers or any other playoff team for that matter…if he does come to the Cubs it will be because they were willing to pay him more than anyone else which I have a hard time believing will happen. I really wish we would stop obsessing over Tanaka. He is not coming to the Cubs.

  • Crazyhorse

    You all realize in order to have draft picks in the first 5 slots the team has to be pretty bad. To do that in consecutive years means that the teams 25 man roster has to be terrible for all those years. To do it over several years and pick in the top 5 slots means that the front office has been spinning it wheels, either through punting seasons and or bad front office decisions gave the Cubs team the one of the worst spans in Cub history.

    To fall back and counter and declare the front office is doing a good job because the constantly pick in the top 5 slots is a paradox. Bad teams are suppose to pick higher the Cubs have been bad and the front office has clearly puts bad team on the field the represent Chicago and its fans,

  • When the Music’s Over

    I don’t get it. There are alot of fans that are supremely confident that the Baez, Bryant, etc will be up by June and will Commerce mashing immediately. If that’s the case, then signing some key free agents, such as Choo, would make perfect sense. Right? Keep the team competitive until the prospects come up and put up Trout numbers from the get go.

    • When the Music’s Over

      *commence

    • TK

      I haven’t heard anyone say they expect anything along the lines of them “mashing” or crushing or raking or anything like that immediately. I think there’s a significant difference between those manipulations, and coming up and being EFFECTIVE and an UPGRADE (at their respective positions) that, in combination with other things (like rebounds by Castro and Rizzo, and hopefully extending Shark and signing Tanaka), could result in this team being competitive. They don’t have to come up and immediately hover at a .900+ OPS to be considered successful. And I don’t think anybody actually considers that a possibility. They will have struggles from time to time. That doesn’t mean they’re not ready, however, for that challenge.

      • Rebuilding

        Exactly. When you are replacing Barney and Valbuena the term upgrade is relative

        • Rebuilding

          They could put up a 750 OPS and be “mashing” in comparison

          • Rebuilding

            For instance the Oliver projection system (which is the best IMHO) projects Baez to put up a 4.3 WAR if he started at 2b right out of ST. That’s with a 297 OBP and a 498 SLG%. For comparison – Barney was -0.2 last year. That’s 4 wins right there. Tanaka is projected as a 4-5 WAR starter. That’s another 4 wins. Now we are closing in on 80. Starlin Castro was -0.1 last year. If he reverts to 4 you’re at 83-85

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Not sure the Cubs will get quite as much from Wood/Feldman/Garza/Murphy/Sweeney/Bogusevic/etc. this year, though. I dig where your head’s at, but negative regression will occur for a lot of these guys.

              • Rebuilding

                Negative regression from who that I listed? Castro already saw the extreme of negative regression. As did Rizzo. Tanaka has nothing to regress to. I’ll give you Wood. Castillo is getting better…would you agree?

                • Jason P

                  I think Castillo, in terms of WAR, is going to regress next year. His BABIP was a little high, and the advanced metrics rated him as the best defensive catcher in the game. Even though I like his defense, nobody — not even Yadier Molina — can post 2.8 dWAR seasons consistently.

            • Professor Snarks

              Still a little optimistic, Rebuilding. You are using the upgrades in WAR, but not the WAR values that could go down. (if players regress)
              Rizzo and Castro: +5 (that’s being generous)
              Baez/Barney: +2 (assuming Baex at AS break)
              LF: -2 (Who replaces Soriano’s homers and SB’s?)
              CF: -1 (we got about 3 last year from DeJesus, a hot Sweeney and Lake’s unreal start. Not likely to be repeated).
              RF -1 (Nate’s power will regress, and who replaces Hairston’s power?)
              Starters -3 (assuming Tanaka signs, Shark traded) -5 w/Shark trade.
              Catcher:-1 (Navarro production not replaced)
              3B -1 (No 20 homers out of backups)
              Bullpen: Net Zero, which means who knows.

              That puts us pretty much equal to last year.

              • Rebuilding

                I was asked about best case scenario. You are bringing up impact talent soon. Very soon

                • Professor Snarks

                  I admire your optimism, but I think if you look at it realistically, this team looks really bad. As much as I’m looking forward to the stud prospects arriving, it’s hard to imagine all of them having a positive impact immediately. Remember, Baez only had 240 PA’s at AA, and Bryant hasn’t seen it yet. That’s expecting a lot.

                  • Whiteflag

                    Well said. Rebuilding admire your optimism as well. But some of your expectations are a little unrealistic. The chances of all of that happening are very low. You have to take into account both regression and progression of players. This team looks bad on paper. Hopefully, I am proven wrong.

            • TK

              Forget all the microstatistical hyperscrutiny trying to determine a season on paper, months before ST. COMMON SENSE tells you that Baez and Bryant are very near ready, and that its not unrealistic to expect, given the proper situation, that they could be called this season. COMMON SENSE also tells us that their presence would immediately result in noticeable improvement in the overall performance of this team. And THAT my friend is plenty of reason to feel good about the future of the Cubs. All the negative nellie doom n gloom sky is falling folks are always gonna find just as many numbers to negate your argument. COMMON SENSE . . . you have it. Not all folks do.

          • TK

            My big question is with Alcantara and Baez both seeming to be so near ready, and the org apparently committed to Castro, who is the odd man out? That question HAS to be answered this year. Can’t go into 2015 saying “well, time will tell.”
            You got 4 IF (all should be at MLB NLT opening day 2015) to fill 3 positions. We all know Bryant is the new Golden Boy and trumps all others. So, as of now, both Baez and Alcantara look OUTSTANDING. Castro has actually done it at the MLB level. How do you decide? Gotta give ‘em a chance I guess. I hate the idea of trading guys who have “emerged” to be so highly regarded (versus guys who were thought to be such from day 1) like Baez and Alcantara without giving them a shot.

            FO needs to figure this out, soon!

            • Rebuilding

              Bryant will move to RF. it’s only a matter of time. They’ll bring Castro up as a 2b just because it makes the most sense now. But if Alcantera maintains this year and shows the signs of being a switch hitting, plus defense 2b then Baez will move to 3b

              • Rebuilding

                Baez up as a 2b I mean

              • TK

                Ive heard things like that before, but the FO just repeated (this weekend) that all 3 of them will continue indefinitely at their current primary positions. No plans to cross-train any of them. Not good to switch them on the run at the MLB level. Thats the part they seriously need to start working on. Id be pretty disappointed if they just stood by the statement above and ended up just trading a couple of them, or letting them just rot in MiLB instead of creating opportunities for them to come up, contribute, and be successful.

                • Professor Snarks

                  Truly believe they will try to get guys minor league reps at their projected positions. The problem is, no one knows what those positions will be.

            • http://bleachernation.com woody

              That’s pretty simple really. Baez plays third and Bryant goes to the outfield. Alcantara plays second.

              • Professor Snarks

                Most likely scenario, IMO. What would be a bonus is if Olt could show his hitting is back and move him to LF.

              • wvcubsfan

                I would say there’s just as much chance that one of the three never starts a game for the CHC, one is traded, and the other never has to move off of their MiLB position when they move up to Chicago.

                • TK

                  Thats what Im afraid of. THAT would be tragic. As bad as we’ve been over the years developing prospects, to have these 3, all of whom seem to be as close as can be to being locks to make it . . . it would be a shame to trade 1, watch him become an allstar for another team, then watch 1 of the ones we keep AND 1 of our prized OF prospects not pan out. That nwould be gut-wrentching! That would make me turn against our FO. Especially when they’ve known for so long about this impending log jam.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Sign Infante and Young to short term deals and more money and slot them in to plat second and third this year. That improves the offense right away. If they are doing well come the trade deadline move them for prospects.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    In regards to the discussion about Baez and Bryant being ready for the big show next year I think that if they are both dominating in their perspective leagues, and the ball club is getting killed on a regular basis, then Theo has no choice but to bring them up. We may not have the best TV deal, but a lot of the teams with better deals don’t draw 30,000 practically every game. As good as the Pirates were this year I remember seeing some games there where the stands were pretty empty. So attendance is a very important component to the business side of things. But on the flip side you have to wonder if the FO wants to get their service clocks ticking so soon. The way they are sitting on their hands so far indicates to me that they may not do squat as far as adding a potent bat to the outfield. Aside from the pitching situation the biggest whole in the Cubs offense in my opinion was that there was no protection for Rizzo. Aside from possibly Schierholtz there was not one guy in the lineup that would have been a middle of the order bat for any other team except maybe the Astros. Having Baez, Rizzo and Bryant will make a worlld of difference. And seeing how close they are I don’t see the FO adding money to the payroll to plug the holes those two guys will fill.

    • TK

      Of course their own performances’ are primary; however, a lot of it will also likely depend on other factors: if we sign Tanaka; if we extend Shark; what we get for Shark via trade; how Castro and Rizzo perform; how other 2B and 3B (Olt, Valbo, Murphy, Alcantara, etc…) perform. If things shape up 1 certain way, we could expect, with success from Bryant and Baez, to be competitive in 2015. AND, of course, if things go in a different direction, it could end up that by June we are painfully aware that 2015 will be another 95 loss season. Situation dictates . . . I think mostly on the rotation, and Castro and Rizzo.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    I never said we would be competing with the cards,reds or pirates this year. What people forget in a rebuild is the BUILD. Teams don’t normally go from 93 loses to a championship ln one season like the Red Sox did. It is usual a progression. So the sky won’t fall if we win 80 games in ’14 and 85 in ’15. What I do this year you ask? Trade shark try to get back Tor pitcher,catching prospects,an outfielder that can lead off. I’m all for signing tanaka but we must make other improvements as well.

  • Rebuilding

    If there is one thing that frustrates me on this cold Saturday in December 2013 (don’t worry I’ll be drinking during the Big Ten Championship game later) it’s that the complainers now (the aaronb’s, the Jag’s, the Edwin’s or was it Eric) won’t be around in 2015 or they will have changed their handles. Theo is building a beast. Our #4 pick this year will be another Top 20 prospect and we will have one of the most exciting, young lineups/rotations in baseball. All for a pittance..which will allow us to add the Choos and Ellsburys of the world. Then they will be at a bar boasting that the Cubs did it the right way to a group of people who don’t know better

    • Rebuilding

      However, Kyle will still be around screaming that we could have nabbed the wildcard in 2012 if his plan would have been followed

      • Kyle

        Dang straight :) I’ve been doing this “argue about the Cubs on the internet” thing since shortly after Kerry Wood was drafted.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Are you sure you haven’t started drinking already? lol

      • YourResidentJag

        Hitting the liquor hard today. :)

    • YourResidentJag

      I’m not complaining though in your frame of reference on things. Wasn’t it I who said the Cubs main prerogative should be the #1 2015 pick for this upcoming season? I have no problem as well with a Shark trade. Theo is doing exactly what most others have done in the NL Central. I wouldn’t call it necessarily building a beast. Staying competitive with what your divisional rivals have done. Yes, absolutely. And yes, I’ll still be commenting on here and curious to see how long Theo is able to stick with this organization.

  • YourResidentJag

    Over at @CusbDen, they’re talking about Shark to the Padres.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    So we are going to suck in 2014 but be winners in 2015. While mr”rebuilding” is basking in the glory of “I told you so” some others will be lying to others in a bar? More like”rebuild” will be preaching “have patience,the cubs will win,when all of our top 10 draft picks come up at the same time and carry us to victory!”

  • Moe C

    Im just tired of hearing be patient. Yes i do understand spending 200mil on Cano or Ellsbury is crazy but to sit on our arses and not do a thing waiting on prospects that might not pan out is crazy.

    If the Cubs would have shelled out some money on Puig, Cespedes, Ryu, Darvish, Tanaka(which hopefully we get but i doubt very much we will)

    Imagine a pitching staff with Darvish or Ryu, Tanaka Shark, Woods
    And Puig or Cespedes Soler almora Rizzo, Baez, Castro, Bryant etc
    The thing is like we have said timing. The cubs missed on key pieces cuz they arent ready to win well thats the thing if you dont add pieces slowly then we cant just hope prospects will carry us. Those players we missed out on were def the ones to go in on and we didnt now we are hoping these young guys can carry us and that FAs will eventually want to come to chicago to play for the cubs

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+