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javier baez aflTaking the kiddos to an aquarium today, which is the kind of self-contained wonder that seems easiest for a couple of on-the-go youngsters these days.

  • Andy MacPhail was Theo Epstein with the Cubs before Theo Epstein was Theo Epstein with the Cubs, or so the narrative goes. A good read from Patrick Mooney on MacPhail, and his thoughts about the Cubs’ gig. In the piece, there are more quotes still from Epstein on the unrealistic nature of counting solely on a core of prospects to come up and turn your team into a winner. That’s a great point, but, this time around, it wasn’t really offered in tandem with thoughts on why that makes it so important for the Cubs to add some quality veteran players to help ease the transition of the youngsters (and to help hide their struggles in the early years). Instead, it was mostly offered as a reminder to fans to be patient when the youngsters come up and struggle (if they make it at all). I’ve got no problem with that point, and it’s quite right, but there’s a tenuous balance right now between the marketing machine of the Cubs that is all about selling us on the prospect core – since there obviously isn’t going to be significant spending at the big league level right now (which is still arguably the right approach) – and the reality that you don’t want your fans expecting that prospects will be a panacea (as Epstein puts it). Which is it? Are we supposed to focus on the prospects with all our vigor and dollars, or are we supposed to understand that they’re fun to dream on, but success is not guaranteed? This offseason might not be the right one to bring in the veteran talent, for any number of reasons. But, next year? Even if just to help the prospect transition and increase the likelihood of general success, it should be.
  • Gammons Daily has a short blurb on Kris Bryant, though it’s mostly just a “hey, did you notice that this kid had a ridiculous time in the Arizona Fall League?” kind of thing. Yes, we did notice. Guaranteed success! Er, I mean ….
  • Mark Grace is back in baseball, having accepted a job as the hitting coach for the Diamondbacks’ A-ball team. I guess he was technically involved in player development last year, too.
  • Fergie Jenkins is Canadian, so of course he’s awesome at hockey.
  • The Renterias and their offseason/holidays.
  • CubFan Paul

    “This offseason might not be the right one to bring in the veteran talent, for any number of reasons”

    Can we get a list? It would of been nice to plug the OF and rotation holes with vets. In the beginning of the offseason you were for that too.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Depends on the types of players you’re talking about. I was never for the biggest money signings this offseason. Just a patient approach and grabbing some good pieces in Jan/Feb. Still could happen. In this post, I’m talking about signing bigger pieces to actually field an on-paper winner going into the season.

      • YourResidentJag

        Disagree. You wanted Choo on the right deal. You also wanted Tanaka. At 25, he’s definitely more of the veteran than the upper echelon prospects.

        • frank

          Key words: “on the right deal.”

          • YourResidentJag

            No, keywords—“top tier FAs.”

  • Oswego Chris

    Without waking up some of the pitchfork wielding folk ’round here, I really thought they were going to make a couple of significant moves to sell tix….

    Still time, and their patience may be rewarded with some guys falling into their lap,

    • baldtaxguy

      I still think (hope) something interesting will happen.

  • Moe C

    I agree that the Cubs shouldnt go all yankee crazy in spending so much on players but times have change and we also cant go all Pirate crazy. Remember the Pirates attempted this plan on waiting for prospects and trading or just letting key players walk away: Bay, Bonds, McClouth and others and well it only took them 20 years to become competitive and that is because they are a small market team. I dont care what reports come out that the comes dont have money because they do. And it def is unfair to the fans to lie to our faces and then raise ticket prices on a subpar team how insulting. And yes I know I will get messages saying if you dont like it dont go, but the point is that I am a die hard fan and i know a bunch of more die hard fans that go regardless of them winning or losing because of the love of the team and its def unfair that they put a D+ team on the field. I think that Theo will be gone after his contract is over and he will leave this experiment in the wind and we (the fans) will be left with hoping on these prospects that may not be all that are cutout to be.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      What lies have been told in your face or mine?

      • Hee Seop Chode

        “Every season is sacred.” That was the big, bold face lie.

        • mjhurdle

          not really.
          “Every opportunity to win is sacred,” Epstein said. “It’s sacred to us inside the organization and it should be sacred to the fans as well. They deserve our best efforts to do what we can to improve the club, and put the club in position to succeed in any given season.”

          i dont see a lie there. you could disagree about how they are trying to improve the team, but i dont see any lie there.
          in fact, it looks even less like a lie when you read even more of the quotes from that interview.
          “We won’t rest until there is a steady stream of talent”
          “We’re going to have to grind our way to the top,”
          we are definitely “grinding” right now. we can debate how quickly/if the “to the top” is coming, but no denying we are grinding.

          • mattm

            See, this is the problem! Mjhurdle what are you talking about? How on earth could the Cubs be putting THIS team in a position to win THIS season? Can you tell me that? AND keep in mind that you are not posting the actual question that he was asked and was answering directly. Why don’t you post the question?

            You are trying to take his answer out of context to support your belief that he ONLY meant he would be making the minors better. That was not the case at all! He said two more times through that answer that he was going with a balanced approach. He would be looking at a balanced way forward that would not hurt either side of our ball club i.e. the major league team at the expense of our minors or visa versa.

            Clearly, that is a lie! If he were taking a balanced approach he would be trying to make our MLB team better as well….. What actual moves have they done to address our massive weaknesses? We have a worse outfield in fact than what we did at the beginning of the year last year. Second base is terrible. Third base is a question mark at best! On top of that we are putting added pressure on Rizzo and Castro to be successful because there are no other offensive threats in the lineup. Rizzo doesn’t have a right hander with power behind him like he had at the beginning of the year last year.

            So, everyone will come back that psychology doesn’t matter ONLY numbers. That’s just untrue! Rizzo and Castro are still developing and to make them develop in a situation that is not conducive towards that I.E. putting all the stress on them to perform because no one else can will not help them in the long run. In stead guess what! It’s going to hurt them. They will have no confidence. The same will be said about Baez when he comes up. The team will be looking to him. It’s bad enough to have the stress when you step up to the majors but on top of that to be the ONLY right handed power in the lineup is even more!

            So, actually yes Theo HAS been lying to us…

            • DocPeterWimsey

              wait, mjhurdle is taking the quote out of context when Hee Seop Chode uses a fabricated quote? Every opportunity ≠ every season. Jed & Theo inherited a 0.455 team that projected to be more like a 0.440 team the next year given the declining performances of some of the more important players. A 0.440 team is not a chance to win: that’s a ship with so many holes that you probably should suck it up and get a new hull. The team needed upgrades at C, 3B, 2B, 1B, CF & RF, as well as 2 more starting pitchers. That’s 4-5 years of rebuilding.

              So, look at the trend in the Cubs basic performance (I’ll use net OPS) and expected winning percentage:
              Year nOPS Exp WP
              2008 0.086 0.614
              2009 0.023 0.530
              2010 -0.011 0.485
              2011 -0.033 0.456
              2012 -0.079 0.395
              2013 -0.025 0.467

              Here is something really key: the 2013 Cubs actually were a better team than the 2011 Cubs. Moreover, whereas the 2011 Cubs were built on players in decline, the 2013 Cubs were not.

              Now, the Cubs still have some big holes to fill. They need a good hitting 2Bmen and 3Bmen. There was 1 good-hitting 2Bman on the market over the last 3 off-seasons, and 0 good-hitting 3Bmen on the market. They needed a good hitting C: there was 1 or 2 (if you count Napoli) of those, and both signed with AL teams where the DH (for days off and the future) is a nice incentive. They needed two good-hitting OFers: they had a better chance there, but the available ones (except Cespedes) signed big contracts with AL teams (again, the DH thing) OR had huge warning signs (like BJ Upton’s rapidly rising K rate). (No, don’t say “Puig”: nobody but the Dodgers was willing to offer him any money when the Dodgers signed him.)

              And, of course, the Cubs needed starters. They might have had a better shot there, but the market was not exactly overflowing AND a lot of teams who felt that they were one starter away from being really good were going to offer more $$$ than a team that was most of a team away from being really good.

              • Kyle

                “wait, mjhurdle is taking the quote out of context when Hee Seop Chode uses a fabricated quote? Every opportunity ≠ every season.”

                It was both. In the full interview, he says that every season is a chance to win and every chance to win is sacred.

                • mattm

                  Kyle it is no use. They are going to take this out of context until it’s dead and gone! He said what he said Doc and Mjhurdle! The fact of the matter is that he NEVER ONCE said hey there are a thousand holes and guess what 5 year rebuild!

                  HE LIED! READ THE QUOTE! On top of that Doc Kelly Johnson IS a major offensive upgrade over Barney and he signed for 3 million THIS YEAR! Come on make up some advanced metrics to say we shouldn’t sign him.

                  I have NEVER ONCE said that we should “sign all players.” I will say that there are and where upgrades we could have made that would have made our team better! We definitely should have kept Maholm because obviously what we got back was less than pathetic! The Feldman deal was good. There were an inordinate amount of under the radar bullpen signings we could have made. And there were also decent contracts we could have taken on that would have bettered our team.

                  That said….I got killed because I suggested three signings this year that WOULD have made our team better. Granderson (15/year) Colon (10/year) Johnson (3/year). Those are major upgrades. In addition they do not block anyone and the longest is Granderson at 4.

                  The funny thing was I get flack because Colon did steroids (ok who doesn’t). He’s also 40 (ok and we sign nothing but TJ rejects). Granderson (this is the funny one) has declining OPS. The funny thing about that is that he didn’t even play half a season last year because of injury. He mentioned playing in Chicago as well. I also like that because we suck we have to pay more. Guess what! That’s why we shouldn’t suck so bad!

                  The other thing that the rah rahs didn’t take into account is that if we sucked again through the year Colon on a two year deal is an excellent flip candidate and so is Johnson. Granderson offers protection in the lineup and I would have liked him in right and Scherholtz/Lake in left. We wouldn’t have a terribly bad outfield then. The thing is that Theo is NOT trying to make the MLB team better so those deals don’t matter…..

          • mattm

            BTW Doc you LITERALLY took the quote that Mjhurdle posted and took THAT post out of context. READ THE WHOLE QUOTE!!!! I’m going to capitalize the part you CAN’T SEEM TO SEE…..

            “Every opportunity to win is sacred,” Epstein said. “It’s sacred to us inside the organization and it should be sacred to the fans as well. THEY DESERVE OUR BEST EFFORTS TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO IMPROVE THE CLUB, AND PUT THE CLUB IN POSITION TO SUCCEED IN ANY GIVEN SEASON.”

            Let me guess because he didn’t say EVERY and said ANY you take that to not mean anything right?

            Oh BTW here is another quote from Epstein on day one: “Citing a policy he had in Boston, Epstein would not say what the Cubs’ payroll will look like next season, but said that the baseball side of the operation will have plenty of resources.”

            BOOM! That’s a LIE!!!!

            • DocPeterWimsey

              For one thing, you don’t seem to know what the word “lie” means. To “lie” is to deliberately state something that you think is false. Theo *probably* thought that he was going to have a lot more resources available to him when he made that quote: the extent of the Cubs financial problems have come to light only more recently. (It’s quite possible that even Ricketts did not quite foresee what a mess it would become.)

              Otherwise, you were not getting answers wrong on your logic exams, you were lying about not understanding what a logical fallacy was.

              Two, Theo said that every chance to win is sacred. He said that his job is to try to put the team together a team that has a chance to win. Logically, this means that many teams need work and effort to be put in a position to win. So, obviously, NOT every season is an opportunity to win.

              Or should I accuse you of lying if you pretend to not follow that?

              • mattm

                So now YOUR logic is to state that a BILLIONAIRE who created one of the biggest online trade organizations ever is not smart enough to understand what a financial deal would mean for the operations of a business? Seriously? That’s your logic?

                Hmmm…..Kind of flawed right? I mean didn’t the Ricketts own the team a while before Epstein got there? Since they obviously have tax lawyers as well and one would LOGICALLY think they have business savvy wouldn’t that suggest they KNEW what was happening?

                You are correct in that WE did not know, but now you are trying to say the people who made the deal didn’t know…. Come on….

                So we go back to that….Either Epstein knew and still was not honest OR Ricketts knew and was not honest with Epstein.

                I love how you re-write his context to meet your logic…. Let me post again DIRECTLY what he said….”THEY DESERVE OUR BEST EFFORTS TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO IMPROVE THE CLUB, AND PUT THE CLUB IN POSITION TO SUCCEED IN ANY GIVEN SEASON.”

                So Logically…..let’s break the English down here. Let’s look at the last line of that quote (since you seem not to be able to read it). “Put the club in position to SUCCEED in ANY GIVEN SEASON. ” Just in point of fact he could have said, “any season in five year,” or “any season AFTER we re-build.” He purposely said “ANY GIVEN SEASON.” Logically that suggests in this case that it is his job to put together a team that has the opportunity to succeed in every given season. Yes? Can we agree on JUST the English? Here is the definition for the word context: “the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specified word or passage and can influence its meaning or effect.”

                I think we both are arguing as to the real meaning in this statement of ANY. We should check the context and then re visit ANY to try to derive the actual meaning of the context.

                Let’s put the word any into a different context. If we say for instance that we would do something by ANY means……in this case the word any would actually mean all. A synonym for the word all in certain contexts (much like this one) is every….

                So…in point of fact…in the context with which Epstein used his words and phrases he was saying that his job is the put the team into a position to be successful in EVERY given season.

                The ONLY thing you could argue honestly in that quote is what the word successful means….Should we LOGICALLY look at the context of successful?

                • mattm

                  And by the way….If your job LOGICALLY is to put together a team that is successful and you are taking off around 4-5 years before you create a successful team….Are you doing your job?

                  What job do you have Doc where you get to only have to do your job once in a five year period? Just asking….

                  • mattm

                    I would also like to point out that not two weeks ago I was on THIS very website pointing out the fact that Theo Epstein is looking A LOT like Andy McFAIL!

                    I can actually pull up some of my posts, but there is a very interesting book written about McFAIL’S terrible failure with the Cubs. Right now it is looking an awful lot like what is going on….

                  • roz

                    Saying that GMs are only doing their jobs if the team has a positive winning percentage is pretty damn ignorant.

                    • mattm

                      HAHA!!!! See!!! Wow!!! Context!!!! I never once mentioned winning percentage….. Very strange….

                      Now, what I am afraid is happening IS what’s happening….. When you start to move the goalposts (that’s what’s been done) and started to change your theme (also that’s been done) your team philosophy starts to undergo some issues!

                      So, what do we have…well….first….we were building the team on two fronts….then…we aren’t spending until it’s feasible for both the now and the long term future….then we are waiting on our talented prospects….now it’s that the prospect won’t bare fruit for much longer than we’ve been saying oh and the part about where they said originally next year would be the year it would turn around… Also that hmm did we say this year? Maybe 2016 we might start seeing some good things…..

                      If you are forced to change your messaging (like what’s going on) to a board of directors based on the fact that you have not met ANY sort of benchmark that you originally set out to make and then you keep pushing your deadlines further and further into the future…..You get fired my friend!

                      If the goalposts keep getting pushed even if the RIcketts like him Theo will get himself fired! Maybe he is a one trick pony! Maybe he is exactly like Mcfail! One thing is for certain…he keeps pushing back the goalposts…..

                      Oh also….if you keep pushing back the goalposts to a time in the future, but you gave a four year contract to a player at a substantial amount of money. Not only that but that contract will be up BEFORE you start winning. That means you just WASTED your boss’s money for no reason!

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Ouch: stop using the word “logic” for “rationalization.” They are completely different things.

                  But as for the “logic” involved, yes, the possibility that Ricketts did not fully appreciate the financial morass was evolving is a possibility that might be true. Billionaires are not omniscient, and there is no reason to think that does not mean that he’d ever encountered anything like the apparently complex morass that has evolved over the last couple of years.

                  Alternatively, Ricketts might have known it was possible, but planned on optimistic projections. Finally, it is just as likely that he knew but simply lied to Theo (or misrepresented the truth) because Ricketts clearly was very keen to hire Theo.

                  All of this is what is called Venn logic: you put all the ideas that could be true given the facts in one pile, and toss out the others.

                  And let’s get back to what Epstein said: An FO’s job is to do it’s utmost to get its team so that it has a chance to win. A NECESSARY contention (called a “lemma”) of this statement is that there are teams that do NOT have a chance to win. Without that contention, the entire statement is pointless.

                  So, what Theo really was telling us was simple: the Cubs had no chance to win in 2012, and it was his job to get them to the point where they would have a chance to win year-in and year-out indefinitely.

                  • mattm

                    There again….context…..if what you are saying is true….why did he then come back and talk about building on multiple fronts as well as this tidbit that you keep trying to re-write to match your them: “THEY DESERVE OUR BEST EFFORTS TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO IMPROVE THE CLUB, AND PUT THE CLUB IN POSITION TO SUCCEED IN ANY GIVEN SEASON.”

                    Again breaking down the wording is crucial! As well as the THEME he was getting at. Throughout that interview he mentions the not taking away from the MLB club to help the minors, and not taking away from the minors to help the MLB club. Multiple fronts was his theme of the day I believe.

                    Because you guys seem to be making stuff up….I’m actually watching the first news conference Epstein had. He says, “to the players on the big league club, they deserve for us to be honest with them and to put them into a position to succeed.”

                    Ok I just came on to this quote. This is where all of your logic gets thrown out the window. Epstein says that, “every season represents a chance to win and every chance to win is sacred.” That is the actual quote.

                    SO really you should apologize to Hee Sop Chode that IS the quote. Or perhaps your numbers tell you that Epstein said something else. Just for everyone’s sake here is the link to the actual conference:

                    http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=nyYh3hur-Ag

                    It’s at 16:33 just so Doc can’t call me a liar as well….

                    Oh BTW he also mentions PARALELL FRONTS!!!!

                    Why do you guys try to take ACTUAL quotes and either change them to suit what you THINK or just tell people they aren’t being truthful because it doesn’t support you. MjHurtle and Doc!

                    MjHurtle is worse because he actually cut out the first part of the quote which explains that “every season is a chance to win and every chance to win is sacred.” SO in essence Theo is saying that every season is sacred.

                    Hey DOC WATCH IT THEN TELL ME I”M NO RIGHT!

                    • mattm

                      I can guarantee since Doc has been blatantly proven wrong and MJhurtle has been proven untruthful that neither will come in and 1. Doc apologize to Hee Sop Chode for calling him a liar when it’s now proven that Epstein DID SAY THAT and 2. MJhurtle comes in to admit he did not quote it correctly.

                      I’m hoping when MjHurtle took that quote it was off of somewhere that messed up because if he saw the whole quote and purposely took of the front four or five words that’s just bad all around…

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Well, I just found it: I had assumed that this oft-bantered quote was a Grimmsian degeneration of Theo’s (obviously later) quote that mj cites. (And I didn’t think he was lying: I just thought that he was wrong.)

                      However…..

                      *HOW* could you watch that entire thing, in which Theo is extremely clear that the Cubs are years away from winning, and take that for anything but a poorly stated rhetorical flourish? The quote with which I was more familiar (the one that mjhurdle put up) must have been a clarification of that.

                      This press conference does not help your case: there is one throw-away line against 20 minutes of “this organization needs to be torn down and rebuilt form scratch.” Theo made it abundantly clear that the organization needed a lot of work, and that it was going to be a long process. Indeed, nobody who had any knowledge of baseball would have thought that: people were saying that the Cubs were five years away from becoming competitive again, which is baseball speak for “it’s nowhere in sight.”

                      As for your parallel fronts bit, what rhetorical point are you trying to score? The current FA market simply does not have the pieces that the Cubs need: remember, they still are multiple pieces away from being a good team. The trade market might exist, but, again, the Cubs have multiple holes to fill (3B, 2B, CF, starting rotation), and nobody has a farm system deep enough to plug all of those holes.

                      So, stop harping on one throw-away line, and listen to what Epstein stated over and over and over again: the Cubs needed extensive work on multiple fronts to get the team back to competitive. He was not incorrect: the MLB roster was bad and getting worse 24 months ago; the minor league system was mediocrity incarnate with no outstanding pieces for promotion or trading.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Oh, and just in case you cannot figure it out, no, you are not right.

                    • mjhurdle

                      wow, i go to a christmas party and miss all the fun.

                      Doc, you laid it out pretty clear. The whole point of the thread, before it was hijacked into some twisted rabbit tunnel, was to debate the point of whether or not Theo ‘lied’ by saying every season is sacred.

                      I still do not think you can say that he did, going by the definition of what a lie is.
                      (1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
                      2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.)
                      If the organization promised a division contender in 2013, then they lied to us.
                      Saying that every season/win is sacred is not. You can believe seasons/wins are sacred, but still having rebuilding/bad seasons.
                      If you listen to the interviews Theo has done, he has made it clear that this is a rebuilding process.
                      Like I mentioned in an earlier post, we can debate whether or not they are doing this the right way. We can debate the mistakes they have or haven’t made. but the front office has stressed that this is a process since day 1. That it wasn’t a 1 year turn around.

                    • Jason P

                      Sorry I can’t read, I think maybe if you use more Caps, ellipsis’, exclamation points and hyperbole it might help.

                    • hansman

                      Please show me where Theo and Jed have completely, totally and utterly abandoned seasons.

                      Has there been a single season where they went the route of the 2011-2012-2013 Astros and did completely nothing to improve the MLB team and brought up the AAA team to play?

                    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                      Wasting time on this clown is unneeded. He needs validation do it’s best to just tell how great he is, nod your head, find an excuse to leave and return to the bar when he’s gone. The glory of his life right now is believing he won an arguement on the interweb. Is is January 1st yet? Btw Doc nicely done.

                    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                      Hans let it go… He’s is always right and if doesn’t have this then what good did he do today? Let him have his moment – he clearly needs them.

                    • hansman

                      Eh, it’s late at night and Natty Ice combined with Doctor Who have gots me all sorts of fired up…kinda.

                    • DarthHater

                      [img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2830/11491405486_4ca537e1b3_n.jpg[/img]

                    • mjhurdle

                      mmmmm….meatballs…

                    • MattM

                      Ah….so now we do admit that in fact Theo DID say both things mentioned.

                      Can I ask anyone if as Theo puts it, “every season is sacred,” what moves has he done this year to ensure that this season in fact is sacred?

                      The only thing that has been upgraded so far is the bullpen.

    • Jim L

      Do you have anything to back up that last sentence? I haven’t read anything anywhere that would even hint that Theo is unhappy and looking to move on.

    • Brian Eisenmenger

      Owners come and go, but the fans…they remain.

      Moe – I agree with you 100%. Building a winning team is not an either/or proposition (either build the minor leagues or build the big league team). For the Cubs it should be “both/and”.

      How is it that the Cardinals rarely have a down year?

      Personally, I am tired of hearing about “prospects”. The biggest jump is all of professional sports is from AAA to the big leagues. If one of the big four becomes a legitimate major league starter, that would be a huge success.

      Really – how much better are the Cubs for having traded away Dempster, Garza, Maholm, and Feldman? Are they any closer to a championship today than they were two years ago?

      I really hope I am wrong and I am sure many on this board will tell me I am.

      • Tommy

        Brian – you do realize the Cub’s ML payroll was only approximately $11M less than the Cardinals, right?

        I’m not sure that spending an extra $11M last year would have made much of a difference. Call me crazy. And the FO at no point has said that it isn’t going to spend on the ML club, so that is an invalid argument altogether.

        • Hee Seop Chode

          Meanwhile, the Cardinals have added veteran FAs, while the cubs have cut their payroll by $30 million from 2012. There will likely be more moves made, but that does not mean it’s irrational for a fan to be anxious when they see no progress on the MLB team after 4 strait loosing seasons.

          The Cubs are receiving $25MM in new TV revenue this year, excluding any increase from the WGN games. Where will it be spent? Because it will be spent on baseball operations. Everyone still believes that right?

          Brett?

        • Kyle

          That $11m figure is only true if you only look at Opening Day payroll and not actual money spent.

      • kid_dynomite28

        The Cardinals rarely have a down year because they find that minor league player or 2 that help them every year. They are ranked #1 in minor league systems so that seems like a pretty good answer as to why they rarely have a down year.

    • josh ruiter

      How did you just accomplish putting those three guys in the same sentence? A work of literary genius to be sure. Bonds is a mistake, Bay is debatable, and McClouth was clearly not a significant piece to let go of. That is like saying our letting Maddux go falls in line with our letting Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, and Scott Baker walk. Come on bro.

  • David

    Here we are in 2013, looking to get our hands on a top of a rotation starter via trade…. Looking back at the infamous 2010 draft, we got Harden Simpson at #16. The following guys were available and we’re drafted after that, in the top 50: Sanchez (Toronto), Syndergaard, Walker (Seattle). Olt and Castellanos were also available. Arggghhhh.

    • David

      That draft looks pretty awesome. Bruce Harper, Taillon, Machado, Sale, Matt Harvey were part of it.

    • RKStu

      Yeah, but Tim Wilken found Roy Halladay!

      Which I believe is every bullet point on his resume.

      • Scotti

        Javy Baez is also on his resume…

  • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

    I don’t understand some of the comments that I see. How many years as cub fans, did we see aging, lumbering veterans, clogging up the ML roster. I remember fans screaming for the manager to play the “kids” and trade off the vets. Well here it sits, we finally have a FO that did just that, and where the average age of the player will be younger than 28, in essence the “kids” will own the field this coming season. I don’t think the FO is delusional enough to believe that all of the prospects will work out, become stars, or hold down a ML job, but, until we know what we have, how will we know what we need. There is no substitute for real world data, and I think that’s what 2014 will be about, putting some of our best young players on the field, and finding out if they can navigate in the Major Leagues. I’m looking forward to finding out if it really was just an eye issue with Olt, if Lake can hit, if 2013 was an outlier for Rizzo and Castro, and later, if Baez, and Bryant, and Alacantra, really are as good as the hype, this season is the next “phase” in the plan, and one I feel has to happen, to understand what this team needs to contend.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The problem is that baseball (and probably other sports) is basically like religion: there is no universal view, and what is known to be “good” by some adherents is known to be “evil” by others. There is in every fan base a vocal minority screaming “play the kids!” These people include those who will attribute any failure of the prospects to managers not playing them enough OR playing them one game too long if they were slumping or anything like that. They also blast every trade as “giving away the future”: even though they cannot name a single future HoFer from the last mortgaging of the future.

      And then you have the “Sign all the players!” fans. These are the ones that will list all the free agents that have been signed over the last two years that they think would have helped the team. Of course, they immediately forget the ones that they were screaming to sign 12-24 months ago that didn’t work out well. And they never notice that NO other team came close to signing that many guys: the X other guys often went to X other teams (or to some Y other teams that is not much less than X).

      And, of course, you always have the fans who are convinced that the players we have are good enough to win if only they would “hustle” or “improve their attitude.” Free agents are all mercenaries with bad attitudes. Young players are too cocky and don’t know how to do “the little things”: it’s all about getting the late 20’s hard-nosed guys.

      In the end, it’s like coming up with a theology that will satisfy Quakers, Lutherans and Calvinists: impossible given that each holds some basic tenants that are flatly contradictory with some of those held by the others!

      • cubmig

        A nice write-up Doc, but the point of criticism, as I read it, is that “balance” is missing in the “signings” so far. That is the issue. Last season the Cubs lost a lot of games by a difference of one run, and the reason was no one came through at the plate in risp situations. All the signings thus far are not addressing that issue, hence no “balance” to prop up that weakness. What does that mean (so far at least)? That shortcoming is being counted on to covered by the “kids”……..and hopefully……by Castro and Rizzo bouncing back.

        Those are big “ifs”—-Castro and Castro. It may happen and it may not.

        So……my one-note mantra has been “sign Choo”, a vet who imho, addresss what we need for balance (especially the risp thing). It will co$t, but his value to the overall development thrust can only offer dividends to the “kids” once up.

        “Balance”. That’s the word. And so far in the signings, it’s missing.

        • cubmig

          oooops ^ *Castrro and Rizzo !!!!!…..

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I was responding in particular to salesguy’s opening statement that he didn’t understand some of the comments. My point is that they are expected, given that there are such different (and to some extent antithetical) schools of baseball philosophy.

          Indeed, one of your comments reflect that: “Last season the Cubs lost a lot of games by a difference of one run, and the reason was no one came through at the plate in risp situations. All the signings thus far are not addressing that issue”

          According to one school of baseball thought (the “attitude” crowd of the old school), that is addressable: there are guys who are “known” to be clutch hitters. So, sign them. Another school is well satisfied by statistical analyses falsifying the idea that there are clutch hitters. In other words: you canNOT address this in the off-season. It is 50:50 that the Cubs will hit better or worse with RiSP than they hit otherwise next year.

          Moreover, the latter school says that the real reason why the Cubs were bad last year is that the pitchers allowed an OPS of 0.718 and the batters managed an OPS of only 0.693. A team OPS of -0.025 means that the FO really has about a 0.467 team with which to play. One, that is not good. Two, fixing that means getting more batters who slug more and (in particular) make fewer outs AND getting pitchers who walk fewer guys and give up less slugging. These holes can be patched: but there are a lot of them on this Cubs team.

          (Before you write: “what about the Cardinals?”, their net OPS projected them to be a 0.570 team. So, if both teams had hit the same with runners in scoring position as otherwise, then the Cards still would have won 16-17 more games.)

          • caryatid62

            The problem with your statement is that there are no 100% “play all the kids” or 100% “sign all the players” people. Both are caricatures, and one of the problems on this (and pretty much every) comment section is the desire to see any disagreement as a binary choice between two extremes.

            We’re all somewhere in the middle, and likely disagree on much lesser grounds than we think we do. However, the more we’re classified as one half of a binary choice, we tend to believe ourselves polarized, and attack as if others are the enemy.

            • YourResidentJag

              Agreed.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              This is both true and completely tangential to what I wrote. For every prospect, there are many people from the “homegrown” school who say “he’s the future.” For every FA, there are many people from the “sign all the players” school who say “we need him.” And for every player on a current team, there are many people from the “he does / does not play the game the right way” school ready to defend or detract from that player. Whether any one fan is 100% that way is completely moot.

              And that is why salesguy is seeing responses that he does not understand.

              • Caryatid62

                You’re missing the point. The point is that these “schools” don’t exist. Outside of a few outliers, people don’t adhere to single belief sets. The entire idea of “schools of thought” that underscore anyone’s full belief systems is a myth.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  That is utter nonsense. Every time you read someone write “*THE* right way,” you are reading someone identifying themselves as a member of one of these schools. (This is true for every team: every trade of a prospect is mortgaging the future; every prospect ranking is essentially random; every signing of a free agent is putting potential cancer on the team; every failed signing of a free agent is lack of effort from the FO; every marginal player on the team does things *THE* right way; every star has an attitude problem; etc.)

                  You will see “THE” right way here and any other group like this frequently. Will they admit that the rules are not hard and fast? Sure, but that’s not important: someone from their general school will stick to the party line for any individual’s exceptions.

                  • Caryatid62

                    You’re confusing “every” with each.

                    EACH time a signing happens, people critique it based upon the grounds you’ve laid out. However, it’s not the same people making the same argument every time. People cross over between ideas, have differing levels to which they adhere to these principles, and generally do not hold universal opinions of these things. Furthermore, each situation presents it’s own nuance insofar as it doesn’t
                    Strictly and neatly fit into either of your categories.

                    The world isn’t binary. It’s dangerous to think that it is.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      “Every” and “each” both mean 100% in the strict sense. (Colloquially, people say that Albert Pujols comes through “every time” by having a 35% success rate, but that’s another issue.) There are some grammatical rules, if I recall: you use “each” for objects, “every” for subjects, etc.

                      And why are you telling a statistician that the world is not binary? That is why you never find us in any of the traditional schools, after all.

                      Again, absolutely NONE of this is germane to my explanation to salesguy as to why there are opinions here that he doesn’t understand, and none of it contradicts my explanation at all. (Well, the flat-out incorrect assertion that the “homegrown”, “sign all the players”, etc., schools don’t exist contradicted it, but that’s the difference between an invalid statement and an unsound one.)

                  • Caryatid62

                    I’m sorry, but we’re not going to agree on this. These “schools” do not exist as an ethos or “religion” as you claimed. People duck in and out of them, and regardless of the fact that you see these arguments made by people for each signing, those people are rarely the same people each time. For the schools to exist, they’d have to be populated by a finite group of people, and they’re just not.

                    As I wrote above, I don’t think we’ll end up agreeing on this, so I’m gonna move on.

                    • mattm

                      Caryatid I think you are wasting your time. While numbers are his thing….I think he thinks he is the only smart person in here…

                      He also thinks we ALL belong in some stereotypical box.

                      I’m sure whatever business he belongs too might worry a time or two about a statistician’s stereotypes…That’s what gets them into lawsuits lol!

                    • DarthHater

                      “Caryatid I think you are wasting everyone’s time.”

                      FTFY

    • Dan Hyde

      This is a wonderful point.

  • X The Cubs Fan

    Samardzija and Alcantra To the Indians for Bauer, Lindor and Cody Anderson. And Play Castro at 2B, Lindor at SS and Baez at 3B or you could trade Castro for pitching.

    • Jim L

      Play Baez at 2B, Bryant at 3B instead; trade Castro for Taijuan Walker, Sanchez and Syndeegard!

      • X The Cubs Fan

        All 3? No need for the sarcasm.

        • Jim L

          Sorry. Lindor is the Indians #1 prospect, I just think it’s pie in the sky thinking they would let him go.

        • X The Cubs Fan

          They were willing to discuss him for Price.

  • Caleb

    Brett, you are always 100% consistent with voicing your thoughts on a subject, even when the same subject comes up in 100 articles (how many ways can you say “X”, etc.). But the way you phrased this one? Slightly different. Are you extra reflective today? Did you read something that put a doubt in your mind?

    Just curious. I’m your article-analyzing desk chair counselor.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Same to me. Not spending big this offseason makes sense. Next year, it might. I’ve generally always said that.

      • cub2014

        I guess it depends on how long the loosing
        will continue. If you think you are going to
        start competing by 2015 then you should be
        looking at 5yr FA this year especially if it
        fits the needs you will have going forward
        and the future FA dont look that good.

        I mean I get payroll flexibility but by not
        signing anyone of significance you are
        killing attendance. Thus the money you are
        not spending now is also profits lost now.

        As you know I am an advocate for Choo and
        Tanaka, I also know the difficulty in getting
        them even if you were all in.

        But I guess if they dont sign anyone, this
        will be an audition season for: Castillo,Lake,
        Olt,Vitters,Watkins,Baez,Bryant,Alcantera,
        Hendricks,Rosscup,Ramirez,Grimm,Strop,
        Rondon,Parker,Vizcaino,Fujikawa,Arrieta, and
        to some degree Wood,Shark,Castro & Rizzo.

        Thats a nice collection of young talent and I
        guess we will know more this time next year
        as far as what the Cubs have.

      • Gocubs

        Brett – have you done an article analyzing potential FA by years. Seems like the Cubs are waiting to spend but if the future FAs are worse in future years they should spend when the talent is available. I’m all for waiting (when we aren’t likely to compete) if that means a better player in future years. If future FAs are projected to be worse then they should be locking up talent in the down years so they have them in place.

  • cubster22

    ^ This!

  • cubster22

    er, Yeah, that was for salesguy…

  • Matt

    I’m not speaking for Brett, by any means, but the recent pieces by Patrick Mooney have made me a bit nervous. He’s a pretty progressive thinker, baseballwise-( read: supporter of rebuild), and he’s sounding more and more like Wittenmeyer with regard to the business side of things. The problem is that nobody is telling us what is the trigger point for the alleged fiancial flexibility to bear fruit. The other big issue is the structure of the Zell transaction. People refer to restrictions it puts on Ricketts but doesn’t explain what they are and when they “expire”. I think it’s becoming a communication issue for the business side of the team. Epstoyer seems like they’re left holding the bag, unable to provide a thorough explanation.

    • cub2014

      I dont get the Rickett’s restricted money issue?
      What power does the bank have over him and
      his payroll?

      If he is:
      1. showing a profit
      2. paying his loan
      3. not borrowing money towards
      increasing his payroll.

      I would think the bank would have zero control
      over his payroll decisions.

      The only issue it could be is if his loans are all
      with one bank and he has to use profits from the
      Cubs to pay other business loans with the same
      bank then they may be transferring his profits
      but I cant imagine he set up the loan to purchase
      the Cubs in this manner.

      Does anybody here actually know the details?

      I personally think they are trying to avoid contracts
      that could affect their payroll when its time for them
      to compete. (I disagree with this, I think there are
      contracts they could add that wouldnt hurt their
      future flexibility).

      • Sandberg

        I’d like to see Brett take a stab at the alleged issues in a post. A breakdown of what the potential issues are would make for very interesting reading.

      • Scotti

        The Cubs have loans with multiple banks. The banks are not the issue. The sale of the team from Zell to Ricketts was structured to allow Zell to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the, well, gains (the Trib/Zell paid $20M and sold 95% for $850M–that’s a ton of capital gains). Certain debt restrictions are in play for Zell to continue to be tax free.

        At least one offer of 1 billion dollars, straight up, was made to Zell and he declined–that tells you that the taxes are north of $150 million.

        • cub2014

          I would love to see the actual proof of this?

          I mean its sounds like you are saying that
          Zell is selling it on a (land contract) so as
          not to realize his Capital gains profits all at
          once?
          If Zell sold it and has been paid by whomever
          (Rickett’s or Rickett’s Bank).
          Zell’s issue with capital gains would have
          absolutely nothing to do with the Chicago
          Cubs.

          • Scotti

            Zell IS the Chicago Cubs. He is still part owner. The reason he is still part owner is the structured tax deal. The minimum he could retain was 5%. In very basic terms, Zell has not sold the Cubs, he has added a partner. In adding a partner, he isn’t paying gains since he is still owner. To circumvent “cheating” the gov’t’s stipulation is that the Cubs (Zell, Ricketts) cannot go into debt to run the business (the idea here is that Zell would be using his partner’s influx of cash to run the business–he obviously isn’t but the system is blind).

            • cub2014

              I dont think so, if Zell sold 95% of the Cubs then
              the only way he can avoid capital gains based
              on what the Cubs do would only be related to
              his 5% ownership (which he technically hasnt
              sold yet).
              Whatever he has figured out on the other 95%
              of his capital gains tax would have no bearing
              on future business dealings.

              • cub2014

                I actually had 20% ownership in a manufacturing
                business and before the new purchasers would
                buy it I had to agree to keep 5% of my stock in the
                NEW company (to ensure that I would stay).

                I was solely responsible for the capital gains on
                the original sale (my 15% of the old company).

                • Scotti

                  You needed a better tax attorney (and, more importantly, a willing buyer). Zell had both great tax attorneys and a willing buyer. The billion dollar bidder–Cuban–was NOT willing to go the structured tax deal route and Zell just brushed him off.

                  • cub2014

                    Well then Zell hasnt received his
                    money he must still own the Cubs.

                    There must be some tax attorney
                    on this sight that can tell me how
                    Zell could have structured a deal
                    that would have:

                    1. avoided his capital gains tax
                    if he received his money.
                    2. if it is a long term purchase agreement
                    then what decisions the Cubs make have no
                    bearing on his tax situation.

                    Someone please help.

                  • cub2014

                    Scotti,
                    what are the details of “the structured tax deal”?

                • Scotti
                  • cub2014

                    Scotti,
                    I read the article. So they are paying Zell
                    of over a period of years (this reduces his
                    one time capital gains) actually hurts him
                    in long term as capital gains % went up in
                    2014 and will more than likely again in
                    2015 and so on.

                    So the Cubs dont have money because they
                    are using baseball operations profits to pay
                    Zell.

                    OK I can buy this is how it is set up, my first
                    point earlier is the money they could spend
                    on certain free agents would have translated
                    to improved gate receipts. Thus they could
                    have been a wash as far as cash goes.

                    So in essence it is a business decision by the
                    Cubs, because of their purchase payments
                    to Zell they dont want to trade payroll for
                    additional gate receipts?

                    Again why did they sign Jackson. If this
                    is the case?

                    • Scotti

                      There is no sale. Zell/Trib added a partner (again, structured differently than your deal–likely structured differently than any non-Zell deal). He really pushed the boundaries.

                      How the Cubs (Trib/Ricketts) operate affects the make up of that deal (deal–not sale). The Cubs (Ricketts/Trib) must remain heavily leveraged long term. To get the sale passed Selig and MLB, the Ricketts had to cash out a lump of stock right before the sale ($400 M and, because the stock was at its lowest mark (50% of where out was and where it has been since, the Ricketts lost roughly $400 million right there)…

                  • Scotti

                    Here’s a follow up, by the same author but in summer of 2013 who says the IRS has notified the Trib (sans Zell) that it it’s coming after the taxes anyway. That would, in theory, be good for the Ricketts (as they could then, in theory, pay down the debt as fast as they want) but, in reality, this would likely be dragged out for years between the Trib and the IRS and, possibly result in the structure of the deal remaining if the Trib pays only a portion of the taxes (as the author suggests). No real advantage for the Cubs for the foreseeable future:

                    http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/06/18/irs-tribune-sam-zell/

            • fresno cub fan

              If this is true, then I am hating Zell even more! He screwed the team up horribly before the sale by making huge short-term transactions that were disasters for the long-term team. That lasted for years after. Now you tell me that his diseased touch is going to last a full decade after the sale??

              • cub2014

                Fresno,
                I dont buy it about Zell. Someone give me
                some proof, it just doesnt make financial
                sense for Zell or Ricketts or his bank.

                • Scotti

                  http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/21/news/companies/zell_tribune_chicago_cubs.fortune/

                  That’s from a tax guru who estimated, prior to the sale, that Zell would save approximately $300M in taxes through the deal.

                  • cub2014

                    If he made 800mil on the sale his total
                    capital gains tax would have been $160
                    million. It is 20% rate for long term assets
                    since he owned the Cubs for more than a
                    year.

                    • Scotti

                      The IRS pegs it much higher in this article (by the same author):

                      http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/06/18/irs-tribune-sam-zell/

                    • cub2014

                      Yikes! I just read the article. I have
                      to think that is illegal or at the very
                      least dishonest. If that is the case
                      what in the f*** were the Ricketts
                      thinking. Heck if the Zell/tribune
                      doesnt currently have the tax money
                      that the IRS says is owed. The Cubs
                      themselves could be responsible for
                      tax debts or even worse a challenge
                      to the purchase contract for the Cubs

                    • cub2014

                      Its could be the IRS that is requiring
                      them to set aside certain funds. For
                      future taxes (if the Trib/Zell no longer
                      has the money that has been given
                      to them for the “stock transfer”).

                    • Scotti

                      I’m not thinking the IRS hits the Cubs on this. The Trib has assets it can sell to pay its taxes. If the IRS dems it a sale (an they obviously would have to to get anywhere) then the Cubs don’t pay the Trib’s capital gains taxes.

                    • cub2014

                      If the Ricketts bought into a partnership
                      then they could be liable for any taxes
                      that might be still owed. I am sure they
                      have this covered but overall this sounds
                      very shady.

                    • Scotti

                      If the IRS deems that taxes are owed, then the IRS also deems that there was an actual SALE and no partnership. The reason taxes have not been paid by the Trib is because there was no sale. If there was a sale there its no partnership.

                    • Scotti

                      And, yes, very shady. That’s Zell. And also, like I said, MLB had the family cash out $400M before the sale to make them feel better about the debt ratio. They will be fine.

                    • cub2014

                      I suppose that is true. If they deem
                      it a sale then Zell/Tribune would be
                      liable for taxes even if they dont have
                      it. They might require the Cubs to pay
                      the additional monies to them that
                      would go towards the 5% still owed Zell.

                      If they decide it is a sale.

                    • Pat

                      No one is really contesting that it was a sale. Zell’s contention is that the structure of the sale (transfer) allowed it to, via tax code loopholes, be exempt from capital gains taxes.

              • Scotti

                Yes, Fresno, hate Zell. Always hate Zell.

    • commander bob

      most of the young guys will likely bust out. Theo had it right in his first PC. Build on parallel forts. For one reason or another he didnt do it thus the failure.

      Mooney must be getting direction from above to finally start writing something balanced or he’ll be writing about the Toledo Mudhens for a living

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

    Bottom line this FO understands the meaning of young impact Core. Think 1970’s RED machine……it is worth trying to build.

    • commander bob

      The Big Red Machine? LOL

      Now thats trolling right there.

  • cubbiehawkeye

    I think next offseason will will see some spending. We will have a steady flow of young talent starting next year. If they don’t shop to improve the team in the 2014 offseason then I would start to be concerned. The only free agents I wanted this offseason are still out there and one isn’t technically a free agent yet. (Choo and Tanaka) While I don’t see us going to to a playoff I believe this team will be fun to watch next year. We dont have Marmol walking every guy he faces and Camp throwing BP. I think a lot forget how horrible the bullpen was in the first half of 2013.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    I think they have tried to address the bullpen issues this offseason

  • Matt

    I’d love to see Brett tackle the transaction issue in an article….

  • Bwa

    We can only hope that olt hits .270 with 25 homers and Baez and Bryant get called up and compete. Then this time next year will be much less sad of a situation.

  • waffle

    this offseason did not appear to be the best choice for going $$$ crazy. There just weren’t that many vets that I felt were an obvious fit for the cubs

    the 3 players who I was most interested in were 1) ellesbury 2) choo 3) tanaka. OK, we lost out on Ellesbury, but Tanaka and Choo are still out there.

    None of the guys we DIDN’T get was I saying to myself “drats, why didn’t the cubs sign him!!!!”

  • Cubfan Budman

    Rookies of the Year: Eric Karros (1992), Mike Piazza (1993), Raul Mondesi (1994), Hideo Nomo (1995) and Todd Hollandsworth (1996)! I remember this streak by the damn Dodgers and was super jealous! Funny they produced zero championship’s but dang it was exciting! !

  • Chuck24

    I think the points made in this article are valid and I have said as much. Prospects are no more than “suspects” until they prove themselves at the major league level. Most don’t. Certainly I hope the Big Four all pan out, along with some of the rest of the key minor leaguers that Cubs have…but realistically that won’t happen. We all know that. Another problem with putting all your eggs in the prospect basket and being non-competitive at the major league level is this…To sign any quality free agent players, the Cubs will have to overpay them, since who wants to join a team that will lose 90-100 games? This is likely true with Samardzija as well. Unlike the Cubs handsomely line his wallet, why would he want to stay with a lousy team that shows no signs of winning any time soon? Who can blame him? I think that’s why the Cubs should work to add some talent now that will make them reasonable competitive to set the foundation for the kids and the addition of quality free agents who might then see there is a bright future with the Cubs.

  • OlderStyle

    Thanks for writing this piece. The starry-eyed dreaming of an all-farm lineup in the near future that many propose should be tempered with some reality.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    It’s very simple. Sign the veterans that compliment the youth and fill the holes where you lack depth. 2b, CF, trade off depth for needs.

  • waffle

    but which vets? Like I said, there were very few signed this offseason who I looked at and thought “now there is someone the cubs should have signed”. I am not being an apologist for their lack of impact moves, but as I watched guys getting signed I kept on finding myself thinking that the cubs made the right choice by not signing that person.

    The fact that the one or 2 of the kids might be on the big league team by the middle of next season complicates things. We don’t want some below average vet that we signed for 3 years blocking them.

    Also, the offseason isn’t over. Let’s see what we look like on opening day and THEN what we look like come the all-star break.

  • ACA

    Choo to the Rangers

  • Aaron

    “To circumvent “cheating” the gov’t’s stipulation is that the Cubs (Zell, Ricketts) cannot go into debt to run the business (the idea here is that Zell would be using his partner’s influx of cash to run the business–he obviously isn’t but the system is blind).”

    If this is true, the the Ricketts family pulled one over on season ticket holders and fans everywhere over the past 3 seasons. At the same time, there were unloading major league player contracts further reducing their payroll. We thought is was all for securing minor league prospects. While this may still be true, the team had an alternative motive to reduce payroll because of the paying down of the debt. Some trust has been lost with this fan.

    • cub2014

      Aaron,
      I dont think this is true anyway. He has to pay
      his capital gains tax on the sale of his
      business. Their is no way to avoid this even
      if the corporation remained the same he would
      have to pay taxes on his income which would be
      worse for him.

      Besides there is reason to believe that not spending
      on payroll has actually cost the Cubs the same or
      more at the gate in attendance. So I thinks its the
      plan not to spend until they are ready. Which I dislike
      but understand what they are trying to do.

    • Reality Check

      the fans that wear Thoyer and Ricketts blinders have been fooled. i’ve said since day one; ricketts never should of agreed to the sale with 5 % being kept by zell/tribune. it was a fool’s deal from day one. mark cuban or any astute entrepeneur would never of agreed to it. mlb should of screamed no as well; especially with the wilpons mess in nyny and the mccourts mess in la; but bud and his cronies (uncle jerry reinsdorf included) were hell bent on no cuban. (‘cuz he would not tank seasons; moved the team to schaumburg or rosement and the stadium deal would be done by now; this is the 5th year of the incompetent ricketts ownership).

      careful what you wish for; we all wanted the tribune to sell (the zell trib and the orig trib), but this is not what we wanted. the ricketts. it’s a mess.

  • waffle

    if that is true about the finances you HAVE to think Theo would be furious.

    • Pat

      Maybe, or maybe he knew the deal going in. I don’t think there is a GM out there who would mind the opportunity to be able to completely rebuild a system the way they would like, without immediate pressure to win.

      • cub2014

        I dont think the financing has anything to do with
        it. Why would they spend 52mil on Jackson if
        there were some type of contractual restraints.

        I think they signed Jackson thinking they might
        be able to compete, when Rizzo and Castro fell
        flat and marmol struggled. They realized they
        are still a couple of years away. Why else would
        you sign Jackson?

        • YourResidentJag

          Except that now that they realized it didn’t work, Theo and Jed have gone into the full court press austere mode for the 2014 season. They now realize the error of their ways–that the teams of 2012 and 2013 with the financials in place weren’t going to win anything. So, now it’s all about the young core and only about the young core. Until that core performs, Theo’s not going to rush into any FA signings.

    • BenRoethig

      If he didn’t know going into this. You’d think he’d have to be apprised about the financial situation before taking the job.

      • cub2014

        Yes because I am sure Theo had to present a full
        business plan to Ricketts before he was hired. With
        what they were planning on spending and how they
        were going to go about it.

  • Steve R

    Just read on mlbtraderumors.com the Choo has agreed to terms with the rangers, so we can finally stop having people saying we better go get him, when it was never gonna happen. I think at this point Cruz is the best bat left in free agency, and I really don’t see us bringing him in. So the best hope we have for adding a bat to improve the offense would be thru a trade, which is what the FO has been exploring. I think that Shark will end up being traded for an OF bat and some prospect arms. We asked for Heyward or Upton from the braves, so I’d really like to see us go back to Toronto and work out a trade for Rasmus and some prospect arms.

    Off hand I don’t recall what other teams are looking for a pitcher, but maybe we can get a few other teams involved that has some good young arms and a good major league bat. We cannot go thru another year not giving Rizzo any help in the lineup, and I think it’s foolish to think that Bryant or Baez will come up at some point and be the help Rizzo needs in the middle of the order, that would be too much pressure to put on those kids shoulders right off. Both have the middle of the order potential, however I expect at least some growing pains, and adding more pressure to that is a recipe for trouble. We need to find a bat somewhere good enough to hit behind Rizzo, and let those two kids come up and just play without putting more on them than the already incredible pressure on them to help save this franchise.

  • Rebuilding

    Eh, is there anyone who has advocated just hoping the prospects pan out and not doing anything else? That’s just as dangerous as wanting to sign Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson. Setting aside where we are competitively, there just weren’t/aren’t that many attractive options. Why sign Granderson when a Sweeney/Ruggiano platoon is likely to out produce him? Why sign Dan Haren when Rusin or Arrieta will likely be within a half a win of him?

    There were/are only 4 FA’s that make a difference this season – Tanaka, Choo, Cano and Ellsbury. I just don’t like the years and money on either Cano or Ellsbury. Maybe if we were a few wins away from the playoffs you take a chance on those guys and then eat the last few years of their deals. But not now. And with Tanaka and Choo we’ll see

    • Jono

      Yeah, I didn’t want grandy anyway. Whatever. Who cares? :,(

  • Wrigleyville,nv

    I still see an effort for Tanaka as it is: 1. tied to no compensation. 2. an impact player whose age and impact allow for some contribution during our proposed “competitive” run. 3. Serves to drive up the market considerably for our tradable pieces (Shark). I don’t think we will be out-dollared in our offer, I think it will only come down to whether or not he believes the pitch that we’ll compete and if the vision of being on a history-making team is a dream he buys into. I for one am praying Tanaka has vision…

  • cubmig

    Well. So much for advocating for Choo. What now?
    ………oh yeah:…..”Wait” “Patience.”

  • Rafael R.

    Can’t count on all the prospects making it big, but we are trying to get a “core” group of players together. You gotta figure that Castro and Rizzo are part of this core and hoping 2 out of the big 4 prospects are solid/more than average players. Looking at the 4 prospects, Baez, Bryant, and Almora are projected stars with Soler being a question, but has potential. That’s to be seen but if we can get a core group of players and then fill the needs of the team through FA in the future then it should start looking good.

    I think everyone is just bummed out that the Cubs aren’t making big splashes. If you keep reading about how other teams do things it’s easy to point at your club and hate that we’re doing nothing for now. If attendance falls it falls. The Cubs aren’t going to win the World Series this year and I’d rather pay to see a great team than 1 or 2 huge signings playing for a losing team. I’m waiting for those “stars” in our system to come in. It looks like at least 1 or 2 should make it and whether it works out or not I’m not sure, but I’m excited!

  • Mark S

    Any time table for when any of the big 4 prospect could be up by? Any by July 27th when they play the Cards? Baez and/or Bryant?

    • bbmoney

      Maybe Baez.

      That’s probably it. Bryant has a very very slim chance. Not soler or almora.

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