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rick renteria cubs speakYesterday, Chicago Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the media on a variety of topics, including some really salient stuff on the Wrigley Field renovation and rooftop discussions.

But the focus of his comments was the inevitable question, and the inevitable answer, about the Cubs’ chances of making the playoffs in 2014. To much ridicule, Ricketts said that he believes the 2014 Cubs can make the playoffs. Every few years it seems like a team surprises, he said, and this team has a solid, young nucleus that could be very good.

To be quite clear, no reasonable evaluator of big league rosters can look at this iteration of the Cubs and say that they are a playoff team. Even saying that the team has a chance to make the playoffs feels a bit disingenuous, although it is technically true (probably somewhere in the 1 to 2% range, depending on your projection system of choice). But my take on Ricketts’ comments was that he was in a no-win position: if he says he believes the Cubs can make the playoffs, he’s dubbed a fool or a liar. If he says anything else, today’s headlines would be all about how even the owner doesn’t believe in the Cubs – why should the fans come out to the park at all?

Further, shouldn’t we expect everyone associated with the Cubs to be expressing positivity right now, in Spring Training? Isn’t that, like, what you do? Isn’t that the message they want to send to the players? Hell, don’t fans want the players to believe they can win?

I just don’t see the issue here. An owner of a team was asked if his team can win, and he said yes. Expecting him to say otherwise makes no sense to me, and maybe that’s just a personal idiosyncrasy that I can’t get past.

But, for the record, Ricketts wasn’t alone.

In his write-up on Ricketts’ comments and a variety of other things yesterday (including Theo Epstein’s plans to stay with the Cubs long-term), Paul Sullivan took Ricketts’ comments to Epstein and asked him on whether he thought the Cubs could make the playoffs this year. At first, Epstein said all the right things that critics of Ricketts say he should have said – the goal is the playoffs, you want to get off to a good start, and you never know what might happen, etc. But, Sullivan pushed Epstein on the specific question. Can the Cubs make the playoffs this year? Epstein said yes. When pinned down to the specific question, what else was he supposed to say?

Similarly, Carrie Muskat asked manager Rick Renteria if he agreed with Ricketts that the Cubs could make the playoffs. Not only did RR agree, he took it a step further: “I think we expect it.” For so many reasons, that’s the attitude I want the manager to have.

The point here, of course, is not that the 2014 Chicago Cubs are likely to make the playoffs – or even 3% likely – but instead is that this is just what teams say in the Spring. And it’s probably what they – the owner, the president, the manager, the players – should say.

  • Kyle

    Sure, they can. It’s very unlikely, but anything’s possible.

    I’d be happy with a flirtation with .500. There’s no reason a bad team can’t start the year like 20-15 or something, just enough to get some excitement going and sell some tickets.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Feels like a million years since the Cubs had that kind of early-season luck.

      • JadeBos

        Was ’97 the 0-15 start?

  • Fishin Phil

    Just remember, they are currently undefeated and tied for first!

    • Cizzle

      They haven’t lost a game in almost 5 months!

  • aaronb

    I’m shocked that a President and a Manager would go on record backing their boss.

    • hansman

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      • Fishin Phil

        You forgot the exclamation marks.

        • hansman

          I forget nothing…

          • arta

            lol,

  • When The Musics Over

    “Can the Cubs make the playoffs this year? Epstein said yes. When pinned down to the specific question, what else was he supposed to say?”

    I know this topic was covered ad nauseum yesterday, but not every question has to be answered yes when almost 100% of your audience that will take in those answers are adults, especially ones that are of the very involved fan variety.

    • Norm

      But it’s true. Every team in baseball has a chance to make the playoffs this year.
      Maybe 1 in a million, but a chance nonetheless.
      If they want to ask stupid questions, give him the stupid answer.

      • When The Musics Over

        I don’t like this argument. It assumes people are stupid by using semi-extreme statistical improbabilities as an out in providing a disingenuous answer.

      • When The Musics Over

        And it wasn’t a stupid question. It may be a loaded question that he figured he was going to get a run around type answer, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t answer it. Not every question can be of the lob variety. Sometimes you have to ask questions that carry tough questions.

        • Norm

          It is a dumb question because it leaves open the possibility of that dumb answer
          How about “What would need to happen for the Cubs to make the playoffs?”

          Much better than “Can you make it?”

  • CubFanBob

    When the Cubs nab the last 2014 wild card spot in the NL I expect all these haters across the media, blogosphere, twitteruverse, and sports radio to line up to kiss Tom Ricketts’, Theo Epstein’s, Rick Renteria’s and my ass cheeks right downtown and PRINT IT !!!!

    • JB88

      If kissing your behind is the stakes if the Cubs make the playoffs, what, out of curiosity, will you, Ricketts, Theo, and Renteria be doing if the Cubs don’t make the playoffs?

      • aaronb

        [img]https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSLgU8vyJy66uPfUZZCjXMxk-0JRoPV-1ICu551FQv8vUAc-GXs[/img]

  • miggy80

    That had to be the craziest hailstorm I have ever scene!

    • hansman

      Went from pouring rain to tremendous sized sleet in 3 seconds. THUNDERSLEET!!!

      • miggy80

        I think it’s a sign that the Cubs will make the playoffs. Remember this day the day Hell froze over!!!

        • JB88

          I just had a double sneeze and I NEVER double sneeze. Clearly it is a sign that the Cubs are going all the way this year …

          • DarthHater

            Burn the witch!

          • Funn Dave

            I just bought a soda. If that’s not a sign from above, then I don’t know what is.

  • Edwin

    Current Magic Number of 163.

  • Jon

    So, to reiterate, the 2014 Cubs can contend?

    “Yes,” he repeated. “That’s why we’re here

    That can be open to interpretation. I believe the 2014 Cubs can contend, for the #1 overall pick.

    • Funn Dave

      Ha.

    • D-Rock

      Good call, Jon. See, they are being honest!

  • Edwin

    Wow, Theo looks really old in that picture. Being President of the Cubs must have really aged him.

  • C. Steadman

    those people on this board criticizing Ricketts’ comment about making the playoffs would be the same people criticizing him for saying the Cubs have no chance..

  • hansman

    “why should the fans come out to the park at all?”

    Because then we would know that we have an honest owner who says the blunt, unadulterated truth!

    • Isaac

      Actually, the pure, unadulterated truth is yes, we could make the playoffs.

      • aaronb

        If we played 2014 in the PCL.

  • baldtaxguy

    Anything is possible (except of course Tanaka coming to the Cubs). Rickett’s says goofy things (its like your neighbors watching your Showtime subscription through your window), and his comment about not understanding profit-taking was just…goofy. I kind of expect a bit better level of wordsmanship out of Ricketts as the owner, and would appreciate a little less coded wordsmanship from Theo, but this is so much ta-doo about nothing.

  • Cheese Chad

    Man, now Simmons has extended with the Braves. SIGN ALL THE “OUR OWN” PLAYERS!

    • D.G.Lang

      Most teams now-a-days are signing their own players early to keep them, after all the Cubs DID extend both Castro and Rizzo early to protect their long term investment and ensure that they remain Cubs for as long as possible.

  • TTH

    Of course there is a chance. It’s possible that the Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates planes crash into each other with the debris landing on a field where the Cards AAA team is playing. That would put the Cubs on the fringes of contention.

  • TommyK

    The follow-up question should have been “Then why didn’t you do anything to make it likely this team could score more runs?” If he really believed the Cubs had a chance to win this year, Theo should have tried to improve the 2014 lineup. The only explanation for this off season that doesn’t make Theo worthy of firing is that this team never had a chance no matter what he did.

    And I’ll ask the question anyway. Why should fans bother coming to the park to see the 2014 Cubs?

    • Jon

      Exactly, it’s like the alcoholic that claims he “sober” yet consistently falls off the wagon. You could take their positive outlook more seriously, genuine, if their actions didn’t reflect the opposite.

      Indeed that would have been a great follow up question, too bad Sullivan is worthless.

    • CubSTH60625

      I’m going because I have season tickets.

      Now I’m going to piss you off.

      And I have an occasional beer with Paul Sullivan. He’s a neighbor. He’s a pretty nice guy. Gracious and understands that he may not be everyone’s favorite, but he knows that he’s not chasing around Raum and reporting on real news.

      I just feel its incredibly tactless to call someone “worthless” when, in my dealings with the guy, he’s filled with much worth.

      • Jon

        You are right, I didn’t have to call him worthless. His work (see said article) speaks for itself. Is that even journalism?

        • CubFanBob

          Hey Jon

          If you are going to call Sully worthless how bout you get a job in the media so we read and/or hear how great your journalism work is.

          • Jon

            You been ranting/bitching about someone in the Cubs media on here of late, I forget who, so this seems a bit odd.

            • Jon

              I mean seriously, read that article, he trolled Theo like four or five times like a five year asking when he can get his piece of candy.

              “Can the Cubs contend?
              “Can the Cubs contend?
              “Can the Cubs contend?
              “Can the Cubs contend?

              Of course they can’t you gnome looking idiot!

              • CubFanBob

                Hey Sully and Wittenmyer always seem to be bent on creating tension or drama when it comes to the north side team so I am not trying to defend them. I just really want to read or hear some of your work online. Jon’s blog on baseball would be a great read in my opinion.

                • Jon

                  I hear BN needs a new Bears writer.

    • JB88

      What moves do you think the Cubs should have made? Putting aside signing Tanaka (which they tried to do), which of the FA batters out there fit the Cubs philosophy and would make the team significantly better?

      I’ll hang up and listen to your answer.

      • aaronb

        Nelson Cruz, David Freese, Ubaldo Jimenez/Matt Garza would have been nice. Plus you never know who was available to us in the trade market.

        • JB88

          Cruz and Jimenez are tough options for me given the draft pick comp they’d have taken. If neither were tied to that, I’d have been interested, warts and all. Not sure how Freese was a viable option since I don’t really see the Cards trading him to the Cubs. Garza wasn’t happening for any number of reasons.

          Do Cruz and Jimenez make the Cubs playoff contenders? Not sure of that.

          The area I was surprised to see the Cubs not more active on was the trade front. I really thought we’d start to see them moving some parts for some ML pieces.

          • bbmoney

            I do wish the Cubs had signed Jimenez if he would have taken 4/50 from the Cubs instead of from the Orioles (unlikely…although I thought I read they deferred a bunch of money…maybe if we hadn’t required that). He’s the kind of high beta guy that makes sense for a team like the Cubs in my opinion.

      • CubFan Paul

        “What moves do you think the Cubs should have made?”

        That’s a tired & moot question when Theo&Co didn’t acquire impact pieces for 2014 in ’12 or ’13 (…the original “plan”)

      • Patrick W.

        Can we stop asking this question? I mean, it’s sort of silly. Nobody here gets paid to make these moves, nobody here has to outline exactly what they would have done to make the team better in order to claim that nothing was done to make the team better.

        The argument “this team did nothing to be better in 2014″ is not incongruous with the point “I don’t need to tell you what I would have done, it’s not my job.”

        Why ask somebody who doesn’t believe in the Cubs philosophy to tell you what FA batters out there fit the Cubs philosophy?

        • Jon

          “Don’t ask people do more work then you are willing to do” as Kyle put a while back.

          I gave up on this exercise a while back.

        • JB88

          I’m willing to stop asking the question as soon as the naysayers stop talking in hyperbole.

          • Edwin

            It’s kind of a loaded question though.

            • JB88

              Of course it is a loaded question. It was meant to be a loaded question. Clients pay lots of money everyday for me to ask loaded questions.

              But the point remains, if you are going to be snarky/dickish about the manner in which the Cubs are constructing this team, you need to offer something more than hyperbole or vagueries to earn my respect and stop me from asking you to put your money where your mouth is (so to speak).

      • TommyK

        If Theo thought the Cubs had a chance to make the playoffs this year, he should have signed an outfielder. Granderson, Choo, or someone else who is actually a starting caliber outfielder. I look at our outfield and get terrified we will loss 110 games.

  • Bilbo161

    There is always a part of me that is hopeful of a surprise season. This time of year I’m always thinking about who could surprise or what young kid might just take a job with his performance in ST and the early parts of the season. There is too much to look forward to to be negative before the season even starts. I plan to enjoy my optimism as long as possible.

  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

    “But my take on Ricketts’ comments was that he was in a no-win position: if he says he believes the Cubs can make the playoffs, he’s dubbed a fool or a liar. If he says anything else, today’s headlines would be all about how even the owner doesn’t believe in the Cubs – why should the fans come out to the park at all?”

    Well, first, don’t put yourself in a no-win position. You are a businessman, do you seek out no-win –or do you create a FLEXIBLE plan or options? (Knowing timing is a factor, do you wait, and wait?)

    But how does/did one get in a no-win position? Waiting on ONE guy: Tanaka. By doing next to nothing before that in the off-season to substantially put talent on the MLB roster, you wind up in this no-win position.

    There were ways to do combat this, and effect next to nothing on the long-term plan:
    1) Chris Young – 1 yr/7.35M — Cameron liked
    2) David Murphy – 2-yr/11.5M (w 7M club option) —Cameron liked
    3) Scott Kazmir – 2/22M —Cameron’s top ten
    4) Erik Bedard – 1.56M if he makes team and makes some starts (Tampa structure – Bedard may too be a pen guy (read GM Andrew Friedman’s comments)
    5) Jose Veras —BP help
    6) A Catcher – George K. as it turns out

    Add it all up and it is less than Edwin Jackson’s total contract.

    IT IS NOT guaranteeing the Cubs make the playoffs. But it does provide more credence to the probability and possibility of getting there. Then Tom TERRIFIC Ricketts could have said, well, “we added several players that we think can provide good performance, veteran leadership and experience in what it takes to win.”

    In other words, different line of B.S. than what is currently coming out of his mouth. At least, it is change of pace. If they fail, or the team does, you still can FLIP all the ASSETS for prospects. 2013 redux. But, if we catch lightening in a bottle, like Doc Peter Wimsey stated about the 1984 team’s luck, yesterday, well….shiver me timbers!

    We get playoffs, still have 4-6 awesome prospects coming, and who knows. That’s a plan—I can tolerate. Epic fail 2013-4 off-season.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-best-transactions-of-the-2014-off-season/

    • CubFan Paul

      Nice work.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ah, the mythical approach where the Cubs get every guy they want at exactly the same price said player signed with another team, AND where the Cubs were willing to not even put themselves in position to have a shot at Tanaka.

      For the record: a team with those additions would probably still have sucked.

      • aaronb

        Why did we bring in the “Best front office in baseball” if they are powerless to improve the club?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Oh, I get it, because I called them that!

          … er, except I didn’t. I said there’s an argument that they’re the best, and it might prove to be true in time.

          But don’t worry about that. Go ahead and Control-C that comment, add some quotes about it, and keep throwing it at me like I actually said it in the context you use it.

          • aaronb

            I didn’t say you called them that. Just that they are routinely referred to as such.

            And for the record. I do think that Theo and company are capable front office stewards. I just wish they would get around to proving it in Chicago.

            My feeling is that they are either 1) scared to make a mistake so they keep kicking the can down the road…or more likely 2) being severely handcuffed by ownership.

            • DarthHater

              “they are routinely referred to as such.”

              Very true. They are routinely referred to as such – by guys like you.

            • baldtaxguy

              “I didn’t say you called them that.”

              No, but unless Brett calls you on it, that statement sits out there assumed by all that you are attributing it to Brett. Dick-ish.

      • When The Musics Over

        “Ah, the mythical approach where the Cubs get every guy they want at exactly the same price said player signed with another team, AND where the Cubs were willing to not even put themselves in position to have a shot at Tanaka.”

        Brett, so many people used this exact line of thinking when putting up the argument that the Cubs would land Tanaka. So many people said over and over again that if even money was on the table from the Cubs and Yankees, that he would be nuts to choose the Yankees because of their very limited future. You can’t choose who you rip on (I don’t remember which exact position you took in this matter) under this premise. It lacks consistency.

        “For the record: a team with those additions would probably still have sucked.”

        Maybe it would have, but it would have at least given a better illusion of trying to win, and therefore offered much more credence when answering yes to the question of does he think they will make the playoffs. That’s really what Jason was saying. He was not saying he thinks the wouldn’t have sucked.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “Brett, so many people used this exact line of thinking when putting up the argument that the Cubs would land Tanaka. So many people said over and over again that if even money was on the table from the Cubs and Yankees, that he would be nuts to choose the Yankees because of their very limited future. You can’t choose who you rip on (I don’t remember which exact position you took in this matter) under this premise. It lacks consistency.”

          Why do you always start from a presumption that I’ve done something bad?

          In no universe would I have said at even money Tanaka would choose the Cubs; indeed I wrote repeatedly in actual blog posts for the world to see that I had a very hard time seeing a guy coming over to the United States and not choosing the brightest lights (New York) if everything else was equal.

          I don’t even know what point you were trying to make in that parallel. It’s really obnoxious that your default position is: “I think I remember some people saying some stupid stuff, Brett probably didn’t say anything about it, so I’m going to say he lacks consistency.”

          • When The Musics Over

            Why do you so often take my posts as a personal attack against you or your past posts/beliefs?

            • Fishin Phil

              I don’t know, maybe because you addressed that one directly to him?

              Just a guess on that one.

              • When The Musics Over

                Again, I didn’t know that every dissenting reply was a personal attack. Also, when I say people, I’m not always referring to Brett. The comment that spurned this conversation was

                I view personal attacks as someone who’s directly trying to belittle me or attack my personality or my intelligence or my looks or anything about me. If I took every disagreeing comment from people around me in my life as a personal attack, I wouldn’t be married, so I wouldnt’ have kids. I wouldn’t have friends. My family would be dead to me. There’s no way in hell I’d be able to be employed.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Is that a serious question?

              Your question was *literally* an attack on me personally. Like, the very definition of it. And it was really freaking obnoxious. And wrong.

              Kind of like this comment, too.

              Gee, can’t imagine why I get bent out of shape sometimes …

              • When The Musics Over

                I guess you and I have different definitions of personal attack. You are quite testy lately, which means you are taking things personally, which I don’t really get.

                As for the aiming at you. Just because I reply to you, doesn’t mean I’m necessarily pointing the gun at you. It’s often just to further a conversational topic, many times in a devil’s advocate manner. If that grinds your gears that hard, and you can’t handle it without emotion. I’ll will note that. Just let me know.

                • Patrick W.

                  If you have a different definition of a personal attack, maybe (just playing devil’s advocate) your definition is lacking.

                  • When The Musics Over

                    Patrick, you disagree with lots of people on here, almost habitually. Are those all personal attacks?

                    • Patrick W.

                      Only when they deserve it :)

                      And I also agree with lots of people. In fact, there are times when I agree with things said by people within minutes of disagreeing with things said by those very same people.

                      Here’s the thing: it’s fine to disagree with what people write, but it’s a personal attack when you challenge why they are writing it. I do that sometimes. For example, today, when Jon wrote:

                      “This is exactly what I’m talking about. Jason puts together a solid effort on what could have been reasonable alternative and immediately , two posts shitting on it.

                      Even if you don’t agree, it’s pretty condescending.”

                      I commented that this was not a very self-aware comment. I was issuing a personal attack meant to convey that Jon is guilty of that exact same thing, virtually every single time he posts.

                      At the same time, today, I took a very Jon-like take on the silliness of asking somebody to post what they would do. That was me agreeing with Kyle and Jon and other people who don’t believe sufficient progress is being made even though I disagree with that sentiment.

                    • When The Musics Over

                      I’m sure this will make some./most people happy, but I honestly think I’m done with blog commenting (this is the only one I’ve ever posted on in my life, save for 15-20 comments on Cubs Den). I’ve flirted with this idea lately. It’s a f*cking exhausting commitment (and career limiting for that matter), and arguing with people about slight semantics over mostly future looking topics that are almost 100% opinion based where so many people get twisted sideways goes nowhere and is such a departure from who I am as a person. Shit, today I found out I’ve somehow forced my way into the asshole class of people.

                      And don’t worry Patrick. It’s not you, it’s me.

                    • Patrick W.

                      Look man, I wouldn’t call you an asshole.

                      We’ve had some really good discussions, I think.

                      You said: “you disagree with lots of people on here, almost habitually” and I view that as a personal attack, but that’s okay.

                    • Brocktoon

                      But he wasn’t challenging why Brett wrote what he did best as I can see. He was just saying he was being inconsistent

              • When The Musics Over

                And for the record, your jabs lately have gotten much harder and much less playful. Not sure if that’s the intent, but it’s at the very least how I perceive them.

                • hansman

                  Lets start making personal attacks at you and see how long you remain playful.

                  • When The Musics Over

                    I’ve had lots of “personal attacks” (the definition of that has gotten very wide lately) on this website. I tend to think I remain pretty playful.

                    Also, I also don’t run this website. Expectations are different.

                    Think of Brett as a law firm and everyone on this website as potential/current clients. Now, this isn’t apples and apples, but we are clients. Tough love and tough truth can be had with the right people, but you get pissy with enough people or take on a pissy persona in general with those that don’t agree with your opinion or who make “personal attacks”, and things can get dicey. Brett has to maintain a personal brand. It’s up to him to decide what brand he wants to emanate. If that means taking a break from commenting for a while because it’s just too much, so be it.

                    All that said. Brett can be as condescending and standoffish as he wants in response to my “personal attacks”. It just takes away from the impact of the actual merit of his comment.

                    • mjhurdle

                      “It just takes away from the impact of the actual merit of his comment.”

                      His comment didn’t lose any merit in my eyes.
                      Maybe it only loses merit to the one posting attacks on a writer’s credibility hoping that the writer is too nice/professional to call you out on it?

                    • When The Musics Over

                      I guess we just see things in different ways. Brett was disagreeing with someone’s comment. I was disagreeing with Brett’s comment to that comment. Brett called it a personal attack. I said we have different definitions of personal attacks. I also said when people call me names, like obnoxious, that it takes away from the merit of a comment. You don’t think it does.

                    • JB88

                      You suggested that Brett’s coverage of the topic was inconsistent and suggested that Brett was biased (while conceding that you didn’t remember Brett’s prior stance on the topic). You might not have been calling him an A hole, but you also weren’t extending him a compliment. In my book, it falls a lot closer to a personal attack than otherwise.

                    • Brocktoon

                      You can have inconsistent reasoning without being biased.

                    • JB88

                      You said “You can’t choose who you rip on (I don’t remember which exact position you took in this matter) under this premise.”, which is the basis for me summarizing that you were calling Brett biased. You also clearly called him inconsisent.

                      So these are two separate things.

                      Whether you intended your comments to come across in this way is a different question, but that they could and did come across that way is pretty obvious at this point.

                    • JB88

                      And sorry, Brocktoon, I thought When the Music’s Over wrote what you wrote. So rather than “You” it should read: “When the Music’s Over said …”

              • Brocktoon

                Personal attack? It was a fair point. One of your arguments that we couldn’t implement the offseason above was that we wouldn’t have put ourselves in position to get tanaka. This after you wrote an article that the cubs were never really likely to get him.

                I understand it’s hindsight, but if that were a actually the case, that’s the type of thing a front office should be figuring out sometime befor he’s signing a contract with the Yankees

                • JB88

                  By the time Tanaka was posted (December 24th or 25th), the Yankees had already signed McCann, Ellsbury, Beltran, and Kuroda, didn’t know whether Rodriguez’s 2014 salary was coming off the books, and had clearly taken steps in 2012 and 2013 to get out from under the luxury tax.

                  In other words, it was no foregone conclusion that the Yankees were going to be involved with Tanaka at all. FA was almost over before Tanaka was even posted, so the idea that the Cubs should have made those calls in November and December seems like terrific examples of hindsight and confirmation bias.

                  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                    To me, it was a “nearly” a foregone conclusion the Yanks would be in the hunt for Tanaka. They needed pitching badly. A Wall Street Journal pointed out the losses in incurred by not getting to the playoffs, somewhere north of $50M in lost revenues. They too have debts to pay on that new stadium. They lost Cano – who want $250 (got $240)M ++ and so they diversified their portfolio instead. Still, at that point, lacked in pitching. Needed a top arm….only one really was there – a gamble they were willing to take. (And they had been scouting him too…)

                    And the Yanks too had, in my humble opinion, a high level of certainty in A-Rod’s case (and behavior) the ARB would take that salary off the books, giving them $25 million more to play with..for a year.

                    But those players selected WERE not hindsight at ALL. I wrote 3 articles explicitly (in early November 2013) about those players, and others, in question. IT was Cameron who lends credence to my “stock picks” in 3 cases. And I think he’s fairly competent.

                    • aaronb

                      The cynic can easily point that the Cubs NEVER thought they were going to get Tanaka.

                      However they DID earn goodwill with a portion of the fanbase by claiming they pulled out all the stops and finished 2nd in the bidding.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                      Cubs Brand mgmt. has taken a beating since 2008.

                      Now we give out try points (in some circles) for 2nd place in FA contests. I can finish 2nd place too – and get the same outcome. (Doubters: Give me a ball team and watch. LOL)

                      But what exactly should the Brand be? Lovable losers or success-seeking post-season contenders?

                      Just a thought…

          • When The Musics Over

            Very testy boy lately.

        • Norm

          “Maybe it would have, but it would have at least given a better illusion of trying to win, and therefore offered much more credence when answering yes to the question of does he think they will make the playoffs.”

          Ah, just what I want, a front office that puts more value on misleading fans than optimizing chances of getting an impact player that can be on team for many years.

          • When The Musics Over

            Is this a personal attack?* The use of “ah, just what I want” implies a decent level of condescension via the sigh and eye roll that typically are part of “ah” in real life face-to-face interpsersonal conversation, however, it’s still not a personal attack, at least not to me. It’s just someone, whether right or wrong, that feels he has a superior intellect, and if someone want to feel they’re much smarter than me, so be it, it still doesn’t hurt my feelings (many people are much smarter than me, I just happen to be comfortable with who I am).

            *(someone will undoubtedly reply yes to be snarky)

        • D.G.Lang

          What’s worth more, spending the money to promote an illusion of trying or saving that money for a time when it can actually provide a good long term value?

          Realizing exactly how bad the team and especially the entire system was when Rickets bought it there was little chance of any near future success let alone any long term success. The Cubs (that includes Rickets as well as Theo’s team) recognized that the best solution was a complete rebuild of the entire system along with trying to present a respectable MLB team.

          Finances as well as labor contract changes have stacked up against the Cubs being able to achieve as much as they thought they could as quickly as they thought they would. The best response to the delays is to stay with the plan which will be extremely productive for the long term and NOT vacillate between one extreme and another.

          I only wish that when the Cubs do (hopefully as soon as possible) achieve the long term sustainable success they are targeting that they will reward the faithful season ticket holders who have stayed with the team either by reducing those long term season ticket holders prices or not raising them if ticket prices are raised.

          In so far as criticizing Rickets and Co, if this was a NEW team doing what they have done, no one would be blasting them for doing an excellent job in building it up correctly. I would rather suspect that they would only be blasted if they weren’t doing exactly what they are currently doing.

          It would be extremely foolish to jeopardize the teams long term future just for a little short “gain” now which wouldn’t last and would harm the future.

          Once the Cubs do start winning consistently many non ticket holders would gladly pay a one or two season ticket premium just to be able to purchase current season tickets at that time.

          As much as it hurts for current season ticket holders to be paying so much currently for so little, there is some satisfaction to be gained in that they do have the right to retain their season tickets if they wish when the Cubs are doing very well rather than to hope to get to the top of the waiting list or being able to somehow buy season tickets when they are already all sold out.

      • http://obstructedview.net Myles

        I don’t understand how you can have such thinly-veiled contempt for someone who is actually trying to put forward a plan of action, and who isn’t condescending about it (maybe the only piece is saying Tom TERRIFIC, but who cares). I have several issues with your response (which is as bad or worse than the snark we’d usually see from Jon or a similar negative poster).

        First, he trots out the contracts that other teams signed and you admonish him for saying them. What is he supposed to do? He has no idea what it would take for the Cubs to sign any of those players, and his best guess is the amount they signed for. Not every player magically hates the Cubs and would need more money to sign with them- many of those players didn’t even sign with contenders so that’s likely not an issue. Also, if he DOESN’T put together names of people he’d sign, you’d just as easily say “no concrete plan, you can’t just sign guys that aren’t there.” It’s playing tennis without the net and it’s very disingenuous.

        Second, you admonish his approach saying that they get “every guy they want.” They didn’t get the one guy they actually really did want this year, so even if that plan failed, it would have been more successful than their failed bid on Tanaka. Also, it’s of course unfeasible that they could have signed all of those people, but even if they signed some of them they could then look at contingency plans for the ones they didn’t get. Free agency isn’t 10 guys standing around; there are plenty of different players, and if the Cubs pursued enough of them, they could at least come close to Jason’s blueprint, even if it didn’t look exactly like the plan he proposed.

        Third, you say that team would probably suck. I’m not so sure – our outfield is easily the team’s greatest weakness, and Jason’s offseason addresses that to an extent. Sure, maybe Murphy and Young don’t get it done, but hey, maybe they do. Or one of them does, and you flip him for some prospects. You of all people should know that the Cubs have some talent and a chance to at least be fringe-competitive this year (like 28 of the 30 teams this year or so). Jason put forth a plan that at least gives us a chance, much like 2013 did. Why would you take a crap on him for it? And he can easily say that “for the record: that team is much more competitive than the team we have” and be 100% right.

        Brett, you’re the best Cubs blogger out there, and I say that as someone who writes for a different Cubs blog. I visit your site multiple times a day. I couldn’t respect your ability to follow this awful team as close as you do as diligently as you do. However, I think it’s plain to see that you’ve changed in the past half of a year. You’re more combative and you’re snarkier – not towards the Cubs, but towards your own readers. As you’ve become more popular, your commenters have understandably skewed more negative (as we’ve all become tired of this rebuild, even if it’s the right thing to do). I’m not even saying that I wouldn’t do the same thing, because I’m sure I would. It’s just depressing to see that you’re so negative in your own comments section so often now, and it feels like you gave Jason a shot of negativity that he didn’t really come close to deserving.

        • dw8

          I do appreciate the effort by Jason here, and your comments Myles:
          This one in particular is interesting:
          “Third, you say that team would probably suck. I’m not so sure – our outfield is easily the team’s greatest weakness, and Jason’s offseason addresses that to an extent. Sure, maybe Murphy and Young don’t get it done, but hey, maybe they do. Or one of them does, and you flip him for some prospects.”

          How are the Sweeney and Ruggiano acquisitions different?
          From what I’ve seen and read, both Young and Murphy have struggled as everyday OFs. They both have been profiled as platoon guys with upside. Murphy isn’t really a CF and is a LF only corner. So the arrangement becomes a Murphy/Lake platoon in LF. Young in CF full time and Schierholtz/Lake in RF?

          • dw8

            Genuinely curious about thoughts on this.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Myles – I appreciate your thoughts, and you taking the time to offer them, but I disagree with so much of it. I don’t want to be accused in this very response of being dismissive and snarky, but I write 5 or 6,000 words a day, every day, and it seems to increase every month. I also now have two small children, and I have to run every facet of the site and the business behind it. As much as I want to, I don’t have time to respond to comments in the kind of lengthy, balanced, safe way I used to. What you see as “combative and snarky,” I see as cutting through the bullshit and getting to the point. Right now, that’s the most I can offer in the comments. Most writers don’t even read the comments, let alone participate in them. I’m doing the best I can. I’m grateful to have such a community here at BN, and I enjoy being a part of it (separate from being the writer at the site).

          The other thing – and this is a broader point, not necessarily applicable to Jason – I’m tired of assholes being assholes in the comments. (http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/12/08/the-momentum-of-the-witner-meetings-and-other-bullets/) If that’s made me, in addition to the time constraints, shorter and terser in some of my responses, then I’m not thrilled about that. But the reality is, the people to whom I’m usually short and terse are assholes. Worse, they can’t seem to see the distinction between disagreeing with something and disagreeing in an obnoxious manner (and then they play the victim card, “You just hate on me because I don’t drink the Koolaid and agree with everything you say!”). Kyle is the perfect example of how you disagree (with evvvvverything), and you’re still an enjoyable part of the community. The people whom you appear to be defending? They’re assholes who don’t get that. Why would I treat them better than I do? (Which, let’s be quite clear: I’m a f**king peach compared to how most people would react to jerks who constantly rub their ass all over the carpet that is the community of this site.) They don’t deserve it. Usually, I just ignore them, and I’m always working at trying to do a better job of that. Except I also have to manage a community, and you can ignore a weed only so long before it strangles the garden.

          As to the specific substance here, I don’t have much to offer. This is a silly dance we’ve done over and over again, and it is met with the same back and forth every time. That was my point, and I feel comfortable making it, since I’ve seen those dances take place again and again. That’s why I was short.

          • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

            Brett, I can’t say anything that is going to not sound self-serving. But that’s about the first time you’ve put my name on anything.

            I think it is hard to write 1,000 words a day (and more) about these Cubs that will not be cut apart or dissed.

            So, you have my respect for that.

            Good baseball cures all that ails.

            • Fishin Phil

              Actually, at this point I think any baseball would be a welcome distraction!

              • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                +1

          • When The Musics Over

            Well, after reading this comment, I’d guess I’m well within the borders of the “asshole” class of internet persona. Good to know where I stand. At least that’s outta the way.

          • CubsFaninMS

            Brett:

            The internet inevitably brings out the snarkiness in people. If we were all gathered around a table, most people would likely be much more respectful to one another. When you mix that with an element of habitual and long-term frustration that is being a Cub fan, the snarkiness is amplified. We all have our moments (including me), but I think everyone who frequently posts on here should conduct themselves with greater respect for dissenting opinions.. and dissenting opinions shouldn’t be condescending. You do see that quite a bit in here, honestly. We have variying levels of “Cubs smarts” coming in here. If someone posts something that appears “ill informed”, that may be a 20-year-old Cub fan who just starting watching. We should be mindful of that. I won’t point out the common “perpetrators” of the snarkiness because that is pointless, but if we are to separate ourselves from the other forums that comment on Cubs news, we all have to play our part to circulate the respect. And Brett, you stepping in at times to keep that respect level up to a certain standard is maintaining an important business objective for you to keep this site going, thriving, and you making it a career/passion. That’s another incentive for frequent posters in here to keep the respect level elevated. It’s all an ecosystem that we play a part in.

        • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

          I appreciate your post. Thanks.

        • MattM

          Thanks for this Myles. Maybe they might believe you, but I doubt it. I’ll add that as Brett has gotten snarkier so too have the posters who post here all day and all night. They swarm people with dissenting opinions at will.

          It’s also funny that they frequently make personal attacks on people then cry foul on retorts that aren’t even close to personal attacks. I just call them cronies.

          Anyone who agrees with them is automatically smart and anyone who disagrees is automatically stupid. I also, two months ago put out what I thought would have been a decent plan for the Cubs and used what those players got in terms of contracts. Just like Brett did here 6 posters jumped me after saying the same “at that price” statement etc..

          We have to always agree or we are hated. I will admit that I lose my temper on here, but you can sense every single time when the pile up is going to happen, and then you start to get defensive. I’ve mentioned that more than once to Brett and been made fun of. I’ve also pointed out how Brett actually condones those sorts of actions from posters I call “lifers.”

          That said I really like Brett’s writing style and would bet if I met him in person he’s a really nice guy!

          • Patrick W.

            I just don’t understand this. You post a dissenting opinion and then people dissent. Why is that a problem? It just seems like you want to have your dissenting opinion but you don’t want dissenting opinions.

            Honestly, I’m not clear on of what I’m guilty.

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

              Not agreeing with said dissenting opinion?

              • Patrick W.

                Cronie. Or lifer whatever

            • MattM

              Actually, most of the time I like the debate. I had one with Doc over the weekend about getting assets through the bullpen because it was cheaper to load a BP than any other positions. Then if your BP pitchers are successful flip them for assets like the Pirates did. He gave his opinion and I gave mine etc..

              Nothing is wrong with that. When you have guys immediately coming and and saying things like, “I honestly don’t think you know what you are talking about,” Before posting their opinion on the topic are just starting it off wrong. Or posting pictures flipping people the bird, or flat out calling people stupid.

              If you go back about 8 months and read my posts from then till now you will notice a negative progression. That’s because every time I would post something the first retort would come in hinting at an insult. The next post would cross the line further, and on and on.

              Your question would be fine if it was just people dissenting, but it’s not. It got so out of hand yesterday that Brett finally did come in and tell the person to stop posting expletives.

              You have to see that right?

              • MattM

                I will say this too…..On a vast majority of the arguments there are so many posts between my posts I would post a retort to an insult and it would just look like I was insulting the last person.

                I think that is part of the problem too. That can make someone look worse than they should because they weren’t trying to insult the person just disagreeing but the person ten posts up calling them an asshole etc..

              • Patrick W.

                I think that’s a fair statement but I think you have to realize that everyone sees that. Everybody knows when people are just being jerks to be jerks and aren’t adding anything to the conversation. You can’t just dismiss dissent as kneejerk. I don’t think people are dismissing what anyone posts if somebody they tend to agree with says “you’re an idiot” and nothing more. I recently said “I don’t think you understand the situation as well as you think you do” specifically because I didn’t think the person understood what he was talking about as well as he seemed to and then I offered reasons why. That’s not a personal attack it’s a plea for more open thinking.

                • MattM

                  And your response would have been fine…until….an additional poster comes in much like TWC usually does and types things like, “yeah you go is D#)(#.” It pretty much devolves from there.

                  That’s the real issue. I’ll be honest I still don’t know what everyone was being pissy about on that either. I said Brett Nut up and answer a question…… I thought that was generally accepted as a normal term people use. I work for the government and I’ve used that. It was just weird as soon as they thought I was attacking the leader I got mauled.

                  Hell Brett answered the question, and I thought the answer was fair and that was that. Sometimes just gets a little cultish if I’m being honest….

                  I do honestly think if that level of vitriol didn’t occur it would be ok, but it seems that with a lot of the arguments a comment like yours (however well meaning) can be taken by the next chap and pushed to the limit…

                  • MattM

                    Also Patrick one last thing. I don’t know if you read the threads where I was pointing out that their seemed to be a double standard with how the rules were enforced. I was then labeled as a “victim.”

                    Yet you can read through this thread right now and find the people who always agree telling someone who disagreed that they were giving personal attacks. It’s just up further. In no way was that a personal attack yet because it was questioning the leader it was seen by all of the agree’ers as a personal attack. When I point out personal attacks I’m attacked personally.

                    Isn’t it weird how the mob mentality plays out. Anything that agrees with the group is good, and anything that doesn’t is automatically seen as a personal attack, yet when the leader personally attacks someone in this thread it is NOT seen as a personal attack.

                    Jason was replying to a guy who was insulting someone about “what would YOU do.” Jason says what he would do and subsequently is attacked for it. That attack is fine but the next person who disagrees with the original attacker is now labeled as someone who personally attacked them. Pretty crazy actually…

                    • Chef Brian

                      The definition of someone saying something regrettable, then trying to rationalize it, when that doesn’t work, he falls back on his status as a victim of the infamous BN Mob Attack. It’s like Groundhog Day every few months around here.

                    • MattM

                      Patrick W I think we had a good conversation about this last night. As you can see we have some replies to my comments mocking me. Is that not the definition of a personal attack? I’m pretty sure if you follow Brett’s sensitivity above it is.

                      Brett believed that this: “Gee, can’t imagine why I get bent out of shape sometimes …” was a personal attack.

                      Why is that considereed a personal attack when it’s Brett (which everyone agreed with him) but all of this stuff here is not? And obviously they are now hitting me as being a “whiny victim.” Why am I a whiny victim when I point out personal attacks, but Brett is not when he does?

                      This proves my point entirely!

                  • TWC

                    “yeah you go is D#)(#.”

                    Larf.

                    • MattM

                      Here we go….

                    • mjhurdle

                      TWC, stop dissenting you lifer cronie.

      • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

        Well, you first have to approach them, Brett.

        (Any rumors AT ALL about approaching any of them???)

        Seems you have to take some action — and if it doesn’t work out, that is the cookie crumbling. That you didn’t SELL them on coming, that’s a missed opportunity too. And well, we can’t do everything for the Ownership/FO. I assume they can make a Free Agent offers they can’t refuse = a bit more dollars. But wait, they probably will…refuse.

        So, add 10% to those contracts, is it more than Edwin Jackson? I’ll let you do the math.

        It was a plausible plan – and many were guys I targeted (specifically) back in Nov 2013, WELL before the Cameron piece. Is he not credible enough? Wall Street Journal and Fangraphs primary not a good enough source.

        And to the team still sucking – now whose being the Debbie downer? (And I didn’t say that’s a great team….But I guess Dave Cameron and Oakland, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, and the Mets (Alderson-Beane’s former boss) didn’t know anything either about adding talent. They just spent money because it was there.

        Nothing ventured, always lose.

        • YourResidentJag

          I was listening to Kaplan today (yeah, I was bored). He said that Feldman wanted to come back because he enjoyed his time here. I guess Theo actually made a formal offer of 2/$16, but his agent said Theo would have to match the Astros offer. And there went that.

          • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

            3 years./30..commitment/$$$ is often the problem. Not saying I’d done that, but we all have our wants.

            • Jon

              3/30…at that point, I think I would rather have Jimenez.

              • CubFan Paul

                I would rather have Santana for that.

                • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                  I agree. But each FA is it’s own bag of unknowns and knowns.

        • Norm

          “But I guess Dave Cameron and Oakland, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, and the Mets (Alderson-Beane’s former boss) didn’t know anything either about adding talent. They just spent money because it was there.”

          Oakland had 96 wins last year. Adding 1 win in OAK is a lot more valuable than adding one win to the Cubs.
          Cleveland had 92 wins and lost the division by one game. Same thing as OAK.
          Tampa Bay…same thing. 1 win to them is significantly more important.
          The Mets look like they chose your desired path of trying to add a few wins to a mediocre team. Let’s see how that works out for them.

          • YourResidentJag

            I’ll buy into the Oakland and Tampa arguments but Cleveland basically did what Jason’s suggesting the Cubs do….that being said I’m not sure how strong they’ll be this year. I expect a certain amount of negative regression.

          • C. Steadman

            great assessment Norm

          • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

            And do they just make contracts with high risk guys – no reward guys on a lark?

            And so, those front offices (with lower ranked farm systems, less payroll- less resources) were where the Cubs should be, knocking at the door of the playoffs. Are the Cubs too risk-averse?

            You dwelt on their prior performances. I’ve discussed these guys:
            http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com/2013/11/fa-of-analysis-david-murphy-curtis.html

            Take it for what its worth.

            But hey

      • Orval Overall

        No they absolutely need to pay more than others. That’s why 6 @ $120 for Tanaka was never going to happen, and he is not someone they deserve credit for “trying” to sign.

        • BT

          Right. So by that “logic”, the Yankees should have been able to sign Tanaka for 6/120. If the Cubs were second, and they not only can’t tie, but need to go higher, the Yankees could have gotten away with paying even less.

          • aaronb

            If the Yankees were at 6/120…The Cubs would have been at 6/100.

            The plan was never to actually spend 20 mil on Tanaka. Just to use that as an excuse to not spend elsewhere. Unless Tanaka was going to be a bargain.

            (And truthfully, I didn’t want Tanaka at 20 mil a year. I’d have preferred 20-25 spent on proven MLB players instead)

            • Jason P

              It’s a good thing you work for the Cubs organization and are here to tell us these things.

            • Diehardthefirst

              Theos “plan” included helping former team to edge Yankees by bidding up Tanaka and thus hamstring Yanks in other moves

              • Jason P

                That theory’s about as logical as Aaron’s.

    • Patrick W.

      Basically this is saying the Cubs should have signed two outfielders.

      • CubFan Paul

        I thought they would of at least signed one

        • C. Steadman

          i agree our outfield could’ve used another bat but Lake/Ruggiano/Schierholtz will be an interesting crew to watch, with Sweeney and ____ off the bench

          • TTH

            There is nothing interesting about the steaming pile that is the Cubs collection of 4th/5th outfielders.

            • C. Steadman

              except that lake could turn into a good OF, he has the tools and unless you forgot he was very exciting to watch in 2013, and Ruggiano has a good combo of speed and power that could produce a 20/20 year and and Schierholtz can improve on 2013 in his second season as an everyday player

            • YourResidentJag

              There’s not much else they can do. As Steadman infers, they would have to do some platoons until guys like Almora or Bryant can come and take over the positions.

      • Norm

        And those two OF’ers combined for less than 1 fWAR last year.
        If only they did that…the fans would REALLY start to believe.

    • Jon

      This is exactly what I’m talking about. Jason puts together a solid effort on what could have been reasonable alternative and immediately , two posts shitting on it.

      Even if you don’t agree, it’s pretty condescending.

      • hansman

        Chill out dude. Just because folks point out the flaws in a plan, doesn’t mean they are condescending.

        [img]http://i.imgur.com/2h2JNrg.jpg[/img]

        • jh03

          1000 points to whoever took that picture.

      • Jon

        Also Jason didn’t say his scenario puts the Cubs in the playoffs, just makes them “less terrible” without hurting long term objectives.

        • Patrick W.

          What does this: “We get playoffs” mean?

          • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

            It means, sir Patrick, that if they get lucky – like the aforementioned 1984 Cubs did, as Doc yesterday calculated, or didn’t you get the memo/text? – WE (the Cubs team and the lucky fans who watch the games and pay their salaries thru ticket sales et. al.) are in the playoffs. IF they are LIKE the Chicago Cubs of 1984 who went to the playoffs.

            • Patrick W.

              Wow man, I wasn’t attacking you. I don’t even disagree with you.

              I was just asking the question, what does that mean to Jon, who wrote:
              “Also Jason didn’t say his scenario puts the Cubs in the playoffs”

              Looks like Jon is the one who didn’t understand what you wrote, not me.

              I’m not sure what I said that elicited this response, but it hurts man. It hurts.

              • DarthHater

                Sorry, PW, but you left yourself wide open:

                • DarthHater

                  [img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2876/10732970213_3a7b7a9774_n.jpg[/img]

                  • Patrick W.

                    “This picture is hidden”

                    I got an idea of what’s in it, but my change worked man, it worked!!!

                    • DarthHater

                      Crap, now I have to fill out the damn form!

                    • Patrick W.

                      And I’m still hurt.

                    • DarthHater

                      [img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7446/12661051174_7de56422b6_n.jpg[/img]

              • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                You made a flame/comment or two about me in regards to the Jeff Passan article and my diatribe, which was over the top – but that was the intent. To which I have rethought my position.

                Nevertheless, it hurt and I didn’t think you had changed much since that.

                You mentioned “defaming me” and disrespect for women. That HURT.

                I apologize for the tenor of this comment. Be clearer to whom you are directing it. I stated “We make the playoffs’ in my post. Easy to take such as a “there is no we” in making the playoffs.

                • JB88

                  In Patrick W.’s defense, his comment follows directly after Jon’s comment.

                  In your defense, trying to track the little lined boxes to determine to whose post someone is responding can be a bit maddening.

                • Patrick W.

                  Yeah, I thought I apologized for being so harsh. If I didn’t well then, let me apologize now.

                  That said, I haven’t changed at all.

                  • DarthHater

                    In Patrick’s defense, Patrick is just maddening. ;-)

                    • Patrick W.

                      I’m all over the place, man.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                      We are cool….
                      I couldn’t make heads of it.

                      (I think too we get other convos emotions/3 or 4 other dudes engaging you. It’s like a street fight…)

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      Group hug???

        • Norm

          And this is covered and argued about every single day….the front office disagrees with your statement about ‘hurting long term objectives’.
          You believe what you want, but getting a worse pick and less draft money DOES hurt the chances of getting an impact player in the draft.

          And you want to do that for Chris Young, David Murphy (combined for less than 1fWAR last year), and Scott Kazmir. The front office doesn’t. Thank God.

          • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

            So the other front offices that signed them were probably just throwing their money away too?

            As Oakland, Cleveland, and the Mets actually rare reported to have far less money to spend than the Cubs, if Forbe’s, Bloomberg, et. al. are reporting this accurately.

            So why would they hamstring themselves with 20M contracts? Is it because this is all that was available? They can’t evaluate talent better than Chicago’s FO? They just felt the need to spend?

            • C. Steadman

              these guys were signed by three different teams though as complements to already competitive rosters(maybe not the Mets), those players are evaluated differently on those rosters. if the Cubs were signing them they wouldnt be counted on as compliments but rather to contribute greatly if the Cubs would get to the playoffs…their contracts would stick out more on a less competitive team….but I liked your assessment Jason and was hoping the cubs would sign Kazmir

            • Norm

              Already answered this above. Those teams are winners, except the Mets. Wins to them are more valuable than wins to the Cubs. I know you know this.
              The problem is that you believe that it would have been “right” to do it your way. I don’t mean specifically those players, but to add a few guys that makes it look like they’re trying. There is no “right” or “wrong”. Just two different paths. The Mets took your path, the Cubs took the path you don’t like.

          • Orval Overall

            Well which is it? Either these guys would not add many wins (your comment about combined fWAR < 1), in which case they don't harm the rebuild, or they would add wins. So which one is it?

            It's definitely true that a lower pick can make it harder to get impact talent … But at the same time, a 95 loss team has a harder time signing players in free agency and convincing other players (like Shark) to sign extensions to stay. At some point it becomes a vicious cycle.

      • Patrick W.

        Seriously, this is the least self aware comment we’ll likely see.

        I just don’t know what it must feel like to be able to type that and hit the submit button.

    • JB88

      That doesn’t look like a playoff team on paper to me.

      But I certainly appreciate you taking the time to actually pose a solution rather than talk in vagueries. Hats off to you.

      • When The Musics Over

        That was a big post by Jason and likely took a lot of time to put together. It’s nice you appreciate when so many others don’t; however, I hope you and other realize that whe people auto-ask for this type of response, it’s a very tall order.

        • JB88

          It sure is (i.e., “it’s a very tall order”). But it is the least that someone can do if they are going to take a hyperbolic shit on Ricketts and the FO.

          • When The Musics Over

            I’m beginning to think the word hyperbole, or a similar derivation of it, is overused here on this website.

        • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

          I appreciate the response from you and others.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I appreciate your effort, and the advancing of dialogue in a reasonable way.

            For me, I think it’s pretty misguided to shit on an owner who rah-rah’s when he obviously has to rah-rah by saying he instead should have had his front office spend a bunch of short-term money on a crappy team so that he can have a better answer to the rah-rah question in the Spring.

            Hopefully I’m allowed to have an opinion, too.

            • Edwin

              I appreciate your appreciation of JP’s appreciation of JB88’s appreciation of JP.

              • JB88

                You’ll have to start over. :)

                I’m pretty sure JP’s appreciation was of “When the Music’s Over”, not me …

                • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                  I appreciate YOU ALL!

                  (Well, TR needs work..)
                  I could not work for Tom Ricketts EVAH!

                  He maybe a great man, personally, but too risk-adverse to me.

                  • hansman

                    Too risk adverse? Are you not aware that Tom doesn’t control who Theo signs/doesn’t sign?

                    • Brocktoon

                      He certainly does to the extent that he sets the anemic budget

                    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                      Your mom gave you an allowance likely. When it was .50 you could get some gum, or save it, and use it later. Mom didn’t care what you spent it on – you didn’t have enough to do any damage anyways.

                      When it was 5.00 you could get a candy bar, a pop, Topps baseball cards..more gum. You had more options afforded to you. But your mom likely, if she’s like a lot of moms said, “You should invest some of that amount. Stop buying things you’ll not have tomorrow. Like candy.” Mom loved you, but she wanted you to appreciate the allowance and tie it to growing into a responsible thrifty adult.

                      That answer you, hansman?

                      Tom & the ownership group control the budget to the baseball group. Theo substracts out the current contracts, then says, “I have X.”

                      I suspect Theo is saving up those quarters like miser George Bailey and can’t wait to get out of ol’ building and loan or Bedford Falls.

                      Brocktoon hit it.

            • hansman

              “Hopefully I’m allowed to have an opinion, too.”

              (THIS IS KIDDING (seeing how the comments have gone today))

              Eh, I’m sure you are just copy and pasting your opinion from somewhere. Either a “legitimate” reporter or the memo that Tom sends you every day on what to think.

              • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                I get that TR has to play the role of the ever optimistic owner.

                Just don’t like his PR tact. He needs work on it.

                And the decisions haven’t all been great. Too risk-adverse to me.

                • hansman

                  He needs to work on how he says what he says in the media but what he said yesterday about the team’s playoff chances was pretty spot on.

                  Eh, he decision to double-down on staying at Wrigley was full of risk. The risk that, ultimately panned out as negatively as possible, that he would receive no public funding and a long battle with the rooftops and neighborhood and be stuck in a not much better situation than he is now. That the rooftops could sue and any ability to modernize Wrigely would be doomed forever.

                  • davidalanu

                    Also, the decision to go with a full-on rebuild instead of a try to build on the fly and not take so much criticism approach was very risky.

                    I remember having disagreements with another Cub blog (and season ticket holder), who said that Cubs fans would never stand for a true rebuild.

                    Many still argue the merits of this approach, but there were more than a few when it started that believed it to be business suicide.

  • itzscott

    Hey, it’d be interesting to see if the Astros, Marlins and every other team’s manager, GM and Owner are saying the same thing!

    My bet is that they are.

    • YourResidentJag

      They most certainly are. AA, the GM of the Blue Jays, yesterday rationalized why the team didn’t go after FA SP because they team was unlucky last year and loaded with injuries. So, they’re due for some luck and could have a solid chance to compete this year. Let’s just say I feel for Jays fans more because their GM traded a lot of prospects for a last place finish. At least the Cubs haven’t done this.

  • http://BN Sacko

    I did an off hand study on games in which we lost the lead in the 7th 8th and 9th inning and came up with turning those into a 50% difference we would have been close to .500.
    The BP is much better this year and maybe we could get at least a 30% turnaround in those innings.

    • Danny Ballgame

      I agree on the bullpen issues damning us before the allstar break. That combined with the fact that we cannot be worse offensively than last year makes me believe that we could be a .500 club until a deadline sell-off.

      • another JP

        That’s about enough positive thinking out of you Sacko & DannyBG… we’re all supposed to be miserable frickin’ bashers like Jon, When The Music’s Over, aaronb, et. al.

        • MattM

          This is the usual post good job…

      • Brocktoon

        The offense certainly can be worse than last year. I expect declines from the outfield, 3b, and catcher. If they play service time games with Bryant and Baez is bet the offense pits up worse numbers. Even with both of them for a couple months improvement is far from a lock.

        • BT

          Those aren’t games. It’s the most logical thing to do. It’s done by literally every team in the major leagues, despite the fact that you can find occasional outliers.

          • Brocktoon

            We just had this argument and most seemed to come down on the side that they had no issue with calling up a guy July-august if he’s ready.

  • waffle

    if we could just get off to a decent start for once…man would that help

    • Brocktoon

      We’ve been crushed by negative variance to start the year for what seems like forever.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Sure the Cubs are going to make the playoffs this year. And i’m going to be dating Jennifer Love Hewitt. NOT!

  • DrReiCow

    I am happy with what RR, Rickets, and Theo have said. This is the exact attitude I want to see from them – you play to win. Period. That is the point. It may not be to win one specific game, but in general it is to win. The roster, as constructed, likely isn’t winning much, but you still have to go full-bore. The organization needs to be on board with trying their best to win with what we have.

    Moo.

  • Forlines

    “I just don’t see the issue here. An owner of a team was asked if his team can win, and he said yes. Expecting him to say otherwise makes no sense to me…”

    This, X the highest possible # there is. I don’t understand people taking issue with it. Sure, i’m not pleased we didn’t spend vast amounts of $ to back up this statement, but in no way are you supposed to say anything different, at least in my opinion.

  • Spoda17

    I refuse to respond to Jon, as I refuse to give him any credibility for his thoughtless comments; so I will address this in this way…

    Those of you who think Ricketts should be “honest” and say the Cubs have no chance have never done anything athletic. I would never want [you] on any team, even one at work. If you’re an athlete, coach, manager, GM, or owner, and you don’t think you can win every game, yes EVERY GAME, you’re in the wrong business. No matter what your talent, if you think you suck and are going to lose… you would never win ever. Why do anything if you think it’s not going to be successful…

    • Jon

      Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!!!!!!!!!!!!!………..

    • ArrietasUncle

      You had me at “I refuse to respond to Jon”. Well said.

    • aaronb

      In fairness, I’m certain Tom Ricketts hasn’t done anything athletic either.

      • Spoda17

        He competes everyday in the market, and has become very rich because of his competitiveness. You don’t make billions of dollars being a follower.

        • Jon

          *he was born a billionaire.

        • aaronb

          Tom Ricketts got rich by being born into his family. He nor any of the Ricketts kids have made billions of dollars.

          • CubFan Paul

            InCapital.

            • Jon

              He’s definitely the smartest one of the family. I’m trying to figure out what Todd does besides run a bike shop and that anti-Obama group.

              • Jon

                Which also begs the question, when trying to navigate a multi-million dollar renovation project, one that involves cooperation and help from a city government, that has always leaned very democratic, is it the best idea to align yourself with a pretty radical PAC like that?

                • TWC

                  “Which also begs the question…”

                  No, it doesn’t. That situation may raise the question in your mind, but it doesn’t “beg the question”.

                  • Jon

                    tomato to mah toe

          • Spoda17

            You guys need to read more… he has a life outside of the Cubs. I know that’s a shock, and he actually has proven success outside of his family… but keep complaining, that’s what you’re good at.

            • Patrick W.

              Yeah but there’s no denying he was born on third base. That doesn’t diminish his talents, it’s just saying he had a head start. I don’t think anybody is saying his being born rich proves he’s stupid, I think they are saying it is a data point to consider if you’re putting all of your trust in his talents in the “he’s self made” basket.

              • Edwin

                True. The number 1 way to become wealthy is to be born into a wealthy family.

                • hansman

                  Unless you are Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, John Rockefeller, Andrew Carneige, Joe Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, Mark Cuban, Sam Walton, Mark Zukerberg, Steve Jobs, John Paul Dejoria, quite a few members of Congress, our current President, a large swath of professional athletes (many of whom come from 3rd world countries), and a shit-ton more folks who came from outside the weathy class.

                  Being born into wealth or being born into poverty doesn’t mean shit. It’s all about what you do with your situation.

                  • Patrick W.

                    That’s just nutty.

                    • hansman

                      Just look at the Ricketts family. Tom runs the Cubs while Todd runs a bike shop.

                      It’s what makes America (and doubly so, the internet) so great. Get a good idea/take advantage of a talent, work your ass off so that if luck comes your way you can take advantage of it and you might just become wealthy beyond your wildest imagination.

                      Inherited wealth may actually be a disadvantage in life as, most of the time, the wealth that was created dries up by the thrid generation of that wealth.

                    • Patrick W.

                      We’re going to have to disagree here.

                      It is absolutely “possible” to move on up. It just isn’t probable.

                      Roughly 62% of Americans born and raised into the top 20% of incomes stay in the top 20-40%.

                      65% born in the bottom 20% stay in the bottom 20-40%.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Tom runs the cubs with papa joes money/trust fund

                    • hansman

                      “Tom runs the cubs with papa joes money/trust fund”

                      Tom’s inclusion was a last second addition because he made the wealth himself, but he doesn’t fit the list. In a do-over, I wouldn’t include him.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Holy shit, “inherited wealth may actually be a disadvantage”

                      Unreal

                    • aaronb

                      But he didn’t make the wealth himself. His Dad is the guy who has wealth.

                    • Jon

                      Inherited wealth may actually be a disadvantage in life

                      Quote of the year

                    • hansman

                      “Holy shit, “inherited wealth may actually be a disadvantage”

                      Unreal”

                      Then why does inhereted wealth typically dry up before that wealth can be passed on again?

                      “But he didn’t make the wealth himself. His Dad is the guy who has wealth.”

                      He made his own wealth as well, through InCapital.

                    • hansman

                      “Inherited wealth may actually be a disadvantage in life

                      Quote of the year”

                      In terms of actually creating more wealth? Previously wealthy families seem to bear this idea out pretty well.

                    • Patrick W.

                      “Then why does inhereted wealth typically dry up before that wealth can be passed on again?”

                      I’m skeptical of this notion. I’d like to see some evidence of that.

                    • mjhurdle

                      I agree that inherited wealth can be a disadvantage.
                      Obviously this doesn’t refer to Bill Gate’s kids, that will inherit so much that they couldn’t possibly go broke if they tried.
                      But inheriting enough wealth to discourage fostering good habits and a productive education in your formative years can be a disadvantage if the amount of wealth, if managed improperly, is not enough to live a lifetime on.

                    • hansman

                      “I’m skeptical of this notion. I’d like to see some evidence of that.”

                      I’ll have to see if I can find the actual study. I guess I have seen it reported so many times between business textbooks, the WSJ and other financial news outlets that it’s become like the concept of space being really cold. I haven’t seen a picture of the thermometer in space but I know it’s cold.

                      “Bill Gate’s kids”
                      From what I have read, they aren’t getting a dime of his money. But the rest of your points are excellent, it isn’t about having or not having wealth, it’s about good parents and what the individual does.

                    • aaronb

                      I don’t think we know exactly what Tom did or did not do with InCapital.

                      He co-founded it supposedly. However it was an offshoot of his Dads company. Somebody else has run the day to day of it. And his Dad and Brother are sitting on the board of the company.

                      It just doesn’t scream “Self made man” to me. But I also can’t claim to be an expert.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Yeah how unfortunate that their inherited wealth doesn’t last their entire lives. That’s much worse than starting out with nothing in terms of wealth or connections

                    • Brocktoon

                      I guess BOOTSTRAPS! only works for poor people

                  • aaronb

                    So….Tom Ricketts wasn’t born into wealth?

                    • hansman

                      Tom’s inclusion was a last second addition because he made the wealth himself, but he doesn’t fit the list. In a do-over, I wouldn’t include him.

              • Spoda17

                Patrick, I never said he was poor and self made. I said he was competitive and his business success (he has documented success that is not tied to his family wealth) is proof of that. Pretty much that simple.

                • Patrick W.

                  Fair enough.

    • mjhurdle

      I heard that Boston College’s coach suspended one player from the team right before the game last night because that player said “Team, I think we have a shot to beat Syracuse tonight”.

      The coach knew that there was no way his team (at 6-19 and the 189th worst team in the nation) had a shot to beat the #1, undefeated team in nation at that #1 team’s home court where Boston College hadn’t won in 7 years.

      I praise that coach for requiring honesty from his players. No way can you have players or coaches on your team believing that you can win, when obviously you can’t.

      Anyone catch how much Syracuse won by? i missed the ending…

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        That coach should be instantly fired if that is true

    • TTH

      “If you’re an athlete, coach, manager, GM, or owner, and you don’t think you can win every game, yes EVERY GAME, you’re in the wrong business”

      Kind of a strange argument since the Cubs front office has built teams to lose.

      • Spoda17

        If they built the team to lose, Rizzo and Castro would have been traded. They built with what they had.

        Again, most of you people must not have reading comprehension. My post was about “If you’re an athlete, coach, manager, GM, or owner, and you don’t think you can win every game, yes EVERY GAME, you’re in the wrong business;” It’s about believing they CAN win… If they built the team to lose, they would have not signed anyone…

        • Brocktoon

          They built the team to lose with the idea that it would help them win in the future. Do you think theo was as confident in the teams chances in September ’12 with Germano on the mound, joe Mather at 3rd and Brett Jackson in cf as he was earlier in the year with Dempster on the mound and people who weren’t awful at baseball in those positions?

    • Brocktoon

      I think theo and even ricketts are smart enough to not think they can win every game or even a majority of them. I have no problem with what they said, it’s spring training puffery but your contention is silly

  • http://BN Sacko

    Olt singing Johnny Nash…I can see clearly now..1st day of live BP.

  • smackafilieyo

    Maybe he meant the minor leagues?! Haha….AAA AND AA are stacked. (That’s a lot of “A’s” in that sentence.

  • arta

    as a pro u have too believe u can win. doesn’t matter what we think.

  • jp3

    In all fairness it’s easy for RR to have that kind of attitude when he hasn’t lost a game yet much more had 2 horrific seasons in which he had pretty much nothing in the way of ammo. I think this has to be the last throw away season, anymore than that and the whole FO is going to have to answer some serious long term questions. This plan looks more and more like field a crappy team and hope to pick high and get a mike trout type crossing your fingers hoping he can turn the franchise around. What pitchers are set for free agency next offseason? 2 have since signed extensions already if I remember the list correctly.

  • Akabari

    I feel like the people ragging on Ricket’s comments about optimism are the same people who would be the FIRST in line to jump down Starlin’s throat saying he isn’t trying hard or is lazy when he starts the season off cold.
    You can’t have it both ways, people.
    And don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of issues with how this offseason went. You can be critical and rational at the same time.

    • jp3

      I don’t care if starlin hustles or not if he has a decent slash line, the only problem is he couldn’t hit this year either. His errors were down so there’s that I guess.

      • Akabari

        Well yeah, I mean. Not a single person was satisfied with his year last year. But if you’re going to mark it down to “not trying” or “not having a good enough team around him so he doesn’t try since they know they’re going to lost anyway” then it seems silly to ALSO be mad when the team is speaking optimistically across the board.
        I’ve been on a LOT of crappy sports teams growing up (we won 3 games in 2 years of football) and its really easy to feel defeated when no one is even TRYING to pep you up.

        BRETT Y U NO EVER ACKNOWLEDGE ME!?

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    In regards to the discussion about the objectivity of Brett’s analysis and divide between Kool-Aid drinkers V.S. critics of the plan I have these thoughts. First and foremost this is a Chicago Cubs blog and Brett devotes a lot of time and effort to make this the best Cubs community there is. Hands down no debate. Since this is Brett’s livelyhood it is not in his interest to trash ownership or FO, considering that in this business it is no easy task to build a reputation as a writer and to cultivate contacts and sources close to or inside the organization. Therefore to say that Ricketts or Theo are talking out their asses would go over like a fart in church. I think Brett has been very up front in his coverage and hasn’t backed off from giving criticism where it is due. Give the man a break, he’s the hardest working guy in this business. There is not a day that goes by without three or four pieces to invoke thought and discussion. I visit all the sites daily and it is not even close. I enjoy the posts by blackhawks 1963 and darth hater. But there are some here that don’t have any wit or humor or anything positive to say. You can go through post after post, day after day and read the same shit. There is way to be critical and debate all things in cubs nation, but some of this nitpicking and the resulting pissing matches are depressing. So as far as the state of the state and job Ricketts and Theo are doing I can say this. Yes there have been mistakes made, especially from the business side of things. But I think buying an MLB ball club is kind of like being president. You learn most of it on the job. This rooftops situation would try the grit and patience of just about anyone that would be sitting in Rickett’s place. Being a sceptic is what keeps the debate balanced, but from there it is a slippery slope to being nothing more that a troll sitting in his mama’s basement trying to stir controversy with every response.

    • brainiac

      i think everything said here is pretty fair. but i also think that these comments take the form of tragi-comedy at best. or they’re just making fun of the fans.

    • DarthHater

      ” I enjoy the posts by blackhawks 1963 and darth hater.”

      There’s no accounting for taste. :-P

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