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mike olt iowaOn the slight downside, Chicago Cubs third base prospect Mike Olt is dealing with a sore shoulder that has prevented him from playing third base in the early going in Spring Training. On the upside, it hasn’t prevented Olt from hitting (which was always the big question with him coming into the year), and Rick Renteria says, per Mark Gonzalez, that Olt is actually throwing fine already. It sounds like there’s an abundance of caution being taken, and Olt is just going to be brought along slowly as he eases back into making the third base throws more regularly. Once he’s ready, Renteria says, Olt’s going to get as many looks as possible at third base.

In the last week, whether by virtue of a news cycle or whispers around camp, there has been a noticeable uptick in love for Olt as a possible huge piece for the Cubs. We have discussed the importance of Olt in the recent past, and the last week or so has brought a great deal of Olt-related pieces, including relative love from Gordon Wittenmyer and from Patrick Mooney, among others. Both are good reads so long as we always keep the proper perspective on Olt: his upside is huge, that of a cost-controlled, big power, good discipline, elite defensive third baseman; but reaching that upside is still probably a rough odds bet, given his eyesight issues last year and his contact issues in the minors even when he was still a top prospect. Getting Olt back to where he was in 2012 doesn’t mean he’s a top player in the big leagues; it means he’s a top prospect with a chance to be a good player in the big leagues.

Still, there’s a part of me that wonders if more media attention on Olt is something of a tea leaf. Are folks around the Cubs hearing good things about Olt? I think getting your hopes up would be a mistake. But, adding this all together with the early good signs about his eye issues being behind him, and there are reasons to believe there is a chance Olt could be a meaningful part of future Cubs success, even if he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training.

The thing that’s always been most compelling about the Olt storyline this year is that the Cubs aren’t counting on Olt to be a part of their future, near or long-term. He’s the best kind of lottery ticket: one with a huge possible payout, but one that won’t bankrupt you if you don’t hit. Olt emerging as a legit option at third base has a significant trickle-down effect on the Cubs’ options going forward*, but there are many other options in place that should provide the Cubs plenty of cover if Olt simply can’t put it all together.

*(And consider this: if Olt shows he can be a success at third in the big leagues, the Cubs could suddenly have four premium big-league ready (or near big-league ready) third base prospects (Olt, Bryant, Baez, and Villanueva). At a serious position of need around baseball, that’d be a hell of a good scenario as the Cubs consider trade options to, for example, build up the rotation.)

  • brainiac

    i hope the guy succeeds and is a starter for years to come. i just didn’t like that the trade for him was a clear salary dump with short upside. we should really have garza this year again, especially with the contract he signed. deconstructing the team without a good effort for reconstruction has to be demoralizing for the players we have left.

    • Ben

      What good would Garza be doing for the Cubs this year? You would have to think the players currently here see the writing on the wall, and are excited about the future. I wouldn’t have liked the trade had he been the centerpiece, but the Cubs are hardly out anything if Olt never lives up to his 2012 hype. Like Brett mentioned, it will be a huge luxury to have 4 MLB capable third baseman in your back pocket.

    • bbmoney

      This entire post confuses me.

    • another JP

      Short upside on the Garza trade? Even you can’t be that incoherent to believe what you just posted.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “i just didn’t like that the trade for him was a clear salary dump with short upside.”

      swift

      • brainiac

        say what you will, but the team is worse without garza, and olt is far from a guarantee due to health problems, not talent. now we have a weak staff with our ace almost out the door. and the team is looking pretty dire for at least the next 3 years. but there has to be some degree of laughing at ourselves here too, either for unrealistic optimism, conformist indignity, or gross mismanagement of the mlb team by the FO under admitted conditions of artificial constraint.

        • BT

          I’m going to stick with saying what i will.

          • brainiac

            as you should…

            • BT

              oooooooh, burn! I’m gonna feel that one in the morning.

              • brainiac

                that’s not a burn, the whole point is for us to debate and analyze. it’s the calls for censorship that ruin a good blog, not strong disagreements.

                • DarthHater

                  Here’s an idea, Brett: For each frequent poster, identify the subject on which he/she comments most repetitively, then have the person write a one-line summary of his/her basic view on that subject and email it to you. For example, for Brains, it could be: “Thinks the Plan is just a cover-up for unnecessary fiscal austerity.” For Kyle: “Thinks everybody except Kyle is dumb.” etc.

                  Then you create a section of the blog with an index of each BNers slogan. Constant repetition of basic views would then be unnecessary. :-D

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

                    Can I claim: “Beer is Good”

                    • DarthHater

                      Sure, but after that, you don’t get to clutter up the public comment page with your endless beer discussions any more. ;-)

                    • https://twitter.com/LouHemp beerhelps

                      sure thing, goat

                  • candyland07

                    Kyle is probably best define as neutral. Of all the people that post, he tends to keep his personal feeling out of his writing he is usually methodological and accurate in his assessment . he is not long winded nor spiteful in remarks . when he writes i tend to listen. i may not agree or disagree with subject but he also educates me from time to time.

                    • brainiac

                      kyle does make this blog even better. in fact, his pessimism, by my take, can only come from someone genuinely invested in winning and willing to calculate what that might take. i don’t have the patience to cite stats and previous posts like he does, considering the way careful work is received here. but he never gives up. he should probably even write occasional guest posts. :)

                  • Kyle

                    “For Kyle: “Thinks everybody except Kyle is dumb.” etc.”

                    See, that’s why I like you. You get me.

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

                      We’ve all come to terms with that Kyle.

          • DarthHater

            I’m going to stick with not saying things that are dictated by a tiresomely repetitious, exaggerated, and one-sided narrative that is divorced from reality.

            • brainiac

              you mean “the plan”?

              • brainiac

                now we’re getting somewhere. count on darth and his memes to decode blog strategies. B)

                • DarthHater

                  No memes for you. Next! ;-)

                  • Diehardthefirst

                    Your 😃 faces don’t make your comments any less asinine

                    • DarthHater

                      Your comments don’t make your comments any less asinine.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          This team probably would be better if they had resigned Garza.

          However, his trade had nothing to do with salary dumping.

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

            Well are you at all surprised that it said this? Just another attempt to rile everyone up Brett’s response is exactly the correct response.

          • DarthHater

            You clearly do not understand the binary nature of reality, Joe. There are only two possibilities in the universe. Nuanced opinion is not one of them.

            • DarthHater

              As I should. ;-)

              • DarthHater

                F-ing reply button. :-D

        • InTheoWeTrust

          Craziest thing I have heard in a while.

    • Blackhawks1963

      The Garza trade was absolutely huge for the Cubs. Plus Garza is a loose cannon that wore on his teammates and has dubious arm health. The trade was an A plus.

      • candyland07

        The Garza deal was good. He was not gonna resign with the Cubs . The Cubs got maximum value on his departure. This was good trade for the front office.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      [img]http://m.quickmeme.com/img/98/98cefacf73b1a14f74a65d91db652e6963492c0c85496615b67e7db6be188941.jpg[/img]

    • Jason P

      If the Cubs wanted Garza, they could have signed him this offseason, trade or not.

    • Patrick W.

      The Chicago Cubs offered the Texas Rangers a handful of beads and got Manhattan except before Rudy Giuliani turned Times Square into Disney’s Island of No Adventure. The last time a Texas Ranger was fleeced so badly he got saddled with Johnny Depp wearing a useless dead owl on his head instead of useless cutlery on his fingers or useless feathers in his useless braids.

      (p.s. All my comments today will be written from the point of view of a guy who delivers coffee to Deadspin editors)

      • Joshua Edwards

        Agreed. The Texas Rangers paid like they were buying the Lone Ranger, or at least a horse like Silver, and ended up with a featherless Johnny Depp.

        Given that 2013 Matt Garza helped the Rangers finish one game short of the Indians and Rays for a playoff spot, I’d say the following equation is true: Anything the Cubs get from Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm, or Neil Ramirez > 2 months of 2013 Matt Garza.

    • josh ruiter

      That statement “salary dump and short upside” is doubly wrong. Salary dump had little to do with it. We weren’t going to resign free agent to be Matt Garza, and he wasn’t making that much money anyway. He was an arbitration guy before that. Short upside might be even more wrong however, remember brainiac, we got CJ Edwards, Neil Ramirez, and Olt. Of all of those, the only short term piece that could even be contrived out of that is Olt. That was nearly as long term oriented as a trade gets man. It was no salary dump or short sighted move.

      • JadeBos

        We got Grimm too.

      • brainiac

        i accept this criticism as interpretation of the plan

  • Spoda17

    I know we have said this many, many times… but I really think Olt is the biggest story this spring. If he hits, we won a major lottery… If he makes the team out of spring, or June ish… it’s the biggest story of the year. I actually think he will. Why would we give Lake a “job” at his age and success rate, and not Olt… we have nothing to lose, and everything to gain (if he produces of course).

    • brainiac

      crossing my fingers that you’re right. aramis’ shoes are big ones to fill.

  • Javier Bryant

    I’m not so sure Olt wins the 3B job out of spring training, unfortunately. I see him starting in Iowa for a month or so. Although I haven’t heard or seen anything about Donnie Murphy all spring

    • Blackhawks1963

      I think Olt is headed to Iowa myself. He will be given a month or two to show he is ready for a big league trial.

      • Cheese Chad

        I’m alright with that (since I live near Des Moines). I do think they want Villanueva to see a lot of starts at third in Iowa though too so moving Olt to Chicago sooner makes that a more viable option.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      The Cubs will, probably, want to get Olt into some real games and see how everything clicks.

    • brainiac

      i think this is right. it’s a natural moment in the season to want optimism. but i’ve seen these kinds of “defend the trenches” spikes several times on these boards in the past 12 months. they always lead to a month of despair, mostly because unrealistic and a-historical claims are made about what’s possible/what happened, with no correlate results whatsoever. fun is fun, and the reason it’s not fun is because the team is being engineered to not be fun, for at least the foreseeable future.

  • Spoda17

    I just watched the video of Bryant on ESPN Chicago… and now my man-crush on Justin Timberlake is in jeopardy…

  • Diehardthefirst

    Recall the fuss over Orie? Deja vu poop all over again

    • DarthHater

      Hey, folks, I just invented a useful new metric: PAICOABLAN (Posted An Iidiotic Comment On A Blog Like A Nincompoop).

      • Jed Jam Band

        I like it. All hail PAICOBLAN!!

        • Diehardthefirst

          You’re the first winner- congrats! Darth close second

          • DarthHater

            Come on, Diehard, you are not only the lifetime leader and inspiration for the stat, but it was developed based on long, careful, and hideously painful analysis of your career.

  • candyland07

    That about sums it up. I am intrigued about Olt but it also helps that the Cubs have some other bats that can slide into 3b . This is good for the Cubs let the best player compete for the job rather then pinning ones hopes on broken player with a bleak future such as Stewart. I hope they do the same for 2b but barney has earned his right to play second base until someone better comes along and earns a shot at starting 2b.

    • snakdad

      But when those other bats are the likes of Valbuena, I’m not real impressed. I really hope Olt shows enough in spring training to bump the platoon off 3B. It shouldn’t be that hard to do if he actually is over whatever “issues” he’s had.

      • Jed Jam Band

        I think he was referring to the upcoming trio of Baez, Bryant, and Villanueva.

  • KTB3

    All of the positive pieces about Olt make me think the Cubs are trying to increase his trade value. Maybe they add him into a Samardzija deal?

    • Funn Dave

      This blog is not, to my knowledge, affiliated with the Cubs. That is, I don’t think there is a causal connection between the FO wanting to increase Olt’s trade value and this story.

      • candyland07

        I doubt it< but who knows what the Cubs front office allocate funds towards 3rd party personal blogs and independent social media outlets to convey ( the plan ) in positive professional manner.

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

          Seriously? Remember what you were tired of? So know your suggesting that the Cubs pay Brett to spin PR? Unbelievable.

          • candyland07

            I think i said i would not put it past the Cubs to pay social media outlets . And i said I doubt article that brett wrote was to increase olt trade value.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I would be very, very surprised if any MLB team were paying third party entities for positive coverage, directly. It’s too easy to bust a team on, and the PR backlash wouldn’t be worth whatever was gained. Might some employ folks who drop comments and/or tweets and/or Facebook comments? That’s definitely possible (though I don’t know either way on the Cubs).

          I can say for sure that if the Cubs were going to be paying anyone for positive coverage, I would have heard about it. They’re not, and they shouldn’t.

          (And, as an aside, they’d never pay someone to pump up a guy’s trade value because (1.) it wouldn’t work, and (2.) the baseball ops and business ops departments don’t work together in that way.)

          • DarthHater

            Exactly what I would expect a paid agent to say… :-P

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

              Precisely it’s so obvious now, Brett is Theo’s 3rd party mouthpiece.

              • brainiac

                i don’t think Brett is a mouthpiece, because pretty often he offers a level headed, if nuanced, critique of decisions that are made, obfuscated a little bit by careful lawyer talk. he avoids hyperbole.

                at times i’ve wondered if goat was working in the vender mailroom and looking for a promotion into the PR division’s mailroom, since most of his time here is spent policing opinions instead of having an opinion of his own.

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

                  Ah thanks I’ve moved up from climbing trees – that’s quite a compliment coming from a self-label troll. Just remember your days under the bridge won’t last now that a goat is involved. We’ve been humiliating trolls for generations. It’s what us goats do.

                  • brainiac

                    really cause i thought that goats spent most of their time eating tin cans and kicking things.

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

                      Nope we hunt trolls and the kick them off bridges. The cans is what we go after we enjoy a Dale’s Pale Ale or Founders All Day IPA. So yiu are partially correct which is a huge improvement. And with that my enjoyment of kicking the brain troll is finished time to watch some baseball.

            • Funn Dave

              Ahahaha. We’ve got him right where we want him! Brett’s shady financial dealings shall be exposed for the world to see!

  • Baseball_Writes

    “I think getting your hopes up would be a mistake.”

    Sorry, Brett … too late. Don’t be mad.

  • Ben

    Agreed. Absolutely no rush what so ever. It will definitely be interesting to see how they handle the prospects, if and when they are ready for the majors. In a perfect world we have enough to field a team, with a couple left over to trade for pitching. This is how it would play out for me in MLB THE SHOW anyway ;).

    • brainiac

      if it makes anyone feel any better, my fantasy video game baseball team has stan musial, and he has 73 doubles with 60 games into the season. though theo probably would have traded him for some prospects at this point if he was paid more than 10m a year, and then the PR division would have subtly dragged his name through the mud like with garza, shark, aramis, soriano, etc., so that we see his exodus as not only part of the “plan”, but integral to a healthy team. i’ll excuse theo for having a bad boss, but not for some of these unnecessary tactics and misfires.

      • brainiac

        also dempster, marmol, etc. trying to think of every player that was kicked in the ass going out the door. basically ALL of them with a decent contract. creates a pattern, doesn’t it?

        • Rebuilding

          I think you couldn’t be more wrong about the Garza trade, but ok. This post is where you dipped into trolling

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

            It was trolling long before this and it always has been.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          In your head, apparently.

          I lost you when you started claiming trading Garza was nothing but a salary dump and implying it was a bad thing.

          That was the funniest comment I’ve read here in awhile, so if that was an attempt at comedy, very well done.

          • DarthHater

            “I lost you when you started claiming trading Garza was nothing but a salary dump”

            Wow, Luke, you lasted a hell of a lot longer than most others.

          • brainiac

            in the blog world rhetoric is much more effective than debating reality. and if you say something enough times, everyone believes it nostalgically. but first you need scapegoats to devise a new narrative.

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

              aka “I’m trolling this board and should get banned” at least you’re being honest.

              • brainiac

                we have a blog of strategies. i invert “the plan” and state the opposite, which, incidentally, makes just as much sense as theo’s PR division to quite a few posters as the publicity. this is because there’s basis in reality.

                you wander the boards attacking people and never talking about baseball, for whatever reason. darth makes fun of people and posts photos. kyle schools us on baseball analysis. doc is calculatedly optimistic about how to structure the team. hansman piles it on when someone says something stupid….. etc. Brett aggregates and analyzes stories in circulation.

                none of these things have anything to do with the cubs. but they do have something to do with ‘cubs culture’. and we all root for the cubs in our own way. goat’s special because he actively roots against “cubs culture”, which is, incidentally, part of our losing tradition.

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

                  Exactly you troll and many of us call out your bullshit, and I say plenty of baseball related stuff I just don’t to that with a troll like you.

                • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

                  The devil’s advocate perspective is a worthy position, but when you cite Carlos Marmol as a guy who got away, you shouldn’t expect rational folks to go along with your arguments. That’s when your arguments can only be viewed as an attempt at attention seeking.

                  • brainiac

                    not a guy who got away, a guy who was kicked out the door. i’m talking about the rhetoric of the PR initiative to delay perspective about their lack of functional operations.

                    i definitely do not want marmol back, but this administration’s first act was to say that they had to get rid of guys “bad for the clubhouse”, a huge insult in baseball. well that turned out to be anyone with a salary. they all got tainted, and fans have been jeering scapegoats ever since (rooftops, wrigleyville, the mayor, forbes magazine, and worst of all, our own players). now we’re left with shambles, a maybe third baseman who’s a good man but has health problems, and the pitchforks continue to ride up the mountain.

                    • Cheese Chad

                      Aren’t all guys like Carlos Marmol (well below average pitcher) considered bad for the clubhouse because they make your team worse?

                    • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

                      If the Cubs thought Marmol was so bad for the clubhouse wouldn’t they have just gone through with the Haren trade or trade Marmol nothing, or just release him considering Marmol was in a walk year?

                      Garza walk year?
                      Dempster walk year?

                      I think this is the pattern you are conflating with the “bad clubhouse guy” narrative.

                    • DarthHater

                      “this administration’s first act was to say that they had to get rid of guys “bad for the clubhouse”,

                      That is complete BS, brains. Here is what Hoyer actually said on the day after they got rid of Marmol: “”But the significant part of the deal is that it netted us cash savings when we designated Carlos for assignment.”

                    • brainiac

                      no, it’s a character insult

                • candyland07

                  I fully understand your position- sometimes I feel the true heros of this plan is Theo PR department, but that has been his biggest ego trip. speak clearly and nicely into the mirror and say the right things with a smile . The man is charming, smart, and calculating. Nothing wrong with those qualities unless a person just wants honesty.

                  But after three years of utter embarrassment that no one wants to point a finger towards ownership and the front office. The time of being a laughingstock has generated high draft selections that has powered the Cubs farm system. The Astros have a good system , The padres have good farm system . the common is they are lousy teams in MLB level.

                  so your frustration is noted and respected because if the Cubs were a good team -I doubt you would have these type of strong feelings .

                  • brainiac

                    this is exactly right on every front. i root for the cubs, not for administrators. if/when the cubs are good, and even if/when i see real genuine evidence that they’re *trying* to be good, then i’ll be talking about something different.

                    sabotaging the team in the name of winning is simply an unacceptable approach. and all of the progress they have made only catches them up to a series of other awful teams. there’s nothing special about making a draft pick. there IS something special about tanking 4-6 seasons so financiers can’t have runaway profits while providing a shoddy product.

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

                      So when does the Jon’s BrainCandy hour begin on ESPN 8?

            • CubChymyst

              In what reality would it be a good idea extending Marmol? Dempster is all but retired so he wouldn’t be part of the cubs this year anyways. So for 1 year of dempster we got Villanueva and Hendricks. So in what reality is dempster more valuable to the cubs this year than the 2 prospects the cubs got for him?

              • brainiac

                the important point, to me at least, is more that they deliberately did not replace these contracts and made sure that they would not be missed. it’s more than incidental that the only players given this treatment are the high paid players. and if someone cites edwin (AAA) jackson again they have to sit in obstructed seating.

                • CubChymyst

                  So your issue is not with them trading the players. It sounds like your issue is that the FO hasn’t done enough to keep the MLB team competitive by signing FA. Personally I am fine with that. The Cubs have been bad a few years, no one can argue that. However, you did not present it that way.

                  On side note, I do think the FO did a good job replacing Dempster with Feldmann, he was simply traded. Garza has been replaced by Arrieta and Hammel. This year will determine if that replacement worked or not. Marmol has been replaced by Strop, Rodon, Parker and the bullpen looks like a strength this year. The offense is where the FO has done the least to improve the Cubs.

                  • Funn Dave

                    Idk if it’s fair to characterize Arrieta and Hammel as replacements for Garza. That’s like calling Valbuena a replacement for A-Ram.

                    • CubChymyst

                      I think it is fair. They are the ones most likely to have the starts this year that would of gone to Garza if he stayed. As I said the FO has done a poor job replacing the offensive players they have lost in the short term. However, long term I think the FO will show that this period of suck was worth it.

                    • Funn Dave

                      I guess I don’t see them as long-term replacements as much as you do. For example, I would say that Bryant is the replacement for A-Ram at 3B, and Olt is more of a lottery ticket.

          • candyland07

            Garza was not a salary dump. Just because the Cubs have a “PLAN-” Dont mean a player has to be in synch with that “plan”.Garza was not gonna sign with Cubs unless the Cubs gave him dollars and security. The Cubs received good compensation for a player that was gonna leave the through free agency.

            The Cubs at the present moment are a terrible team and will need to overpay to attract premium free agents or retain the above players they have. The Cubs do not have the talent or resources to attract those type of players .

            • brainiac

              however, the cubs do have the resources. they just refuse to spend them. that’s the cause of all of this blog’s arguments. unsportsmanlike behavior from middle management, not the field.

  • Grant

    While I understand you can’t expect every prospect to land, consider we have the following lineup available at potentially the AA level or higher:

    1B – Rizzo
    2B – Baez
    3B – Olt
    SS – Castro
    LF – Bryant
    CF – Almora
    RF – Soler

    Worth keeping a few of those extra 3B prospects to deal with the possibility/likelihood that some of these guys will flame out?

  • http://BN Sacko

    The big hope on Olt is that we know already what Vallbuana and Murphy can do and are not a long term solution to 3rd or 2nd which also includes Barney. Olt is the big hope of starting to replace those guys.

  • Kyle

    I think the stories about Olt show that the media thinks similarly to the fans, who eat up anything positive about Olt. It’s not as popular as a puff piece about Donnie Murphy.

    • Jason P

      I agree. There’s still well under a 50% chance Olt becomes a solid regular.

    • KTB3

      Couldn’t agree more. I hope the guy is successful but I just can’t see him being on this team long term. The positive stories are great but he’s got the 4th best chance to be the 3B of the future.

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com/ dw8

      Everybody loves a post-hype comeback story. I know I’m a sucker for them.

    • itzscott

      Olt may have 50% greater chance than Donnie Murphy does in mine.

      • itzscott

        That didn’t transcribe right…. Should be:

        Olt may have less than a 50% chance in your book, but that’s still a greater than 50% chance than Donnie Murphy has in my book.

        Meaning that Olt’s chances are inversely proportional to Murphy’s

        • Funn Dave

          Not gonna lie, I’m still confused….

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

            Agreed really lost, I think it means that Murphy and habe no chance of making the team?

    • Head and Heart

      I work in “the media”. The Olt stories have nothing to do with “the media” thinking like the fans but instead thinking “what do the fans want to read about”. Once the answer is “a Mike Olt story” then reporters will go gather some audio and if people they talk to are speaking positively about Olt then it will lead to a positive sounding story unless the writer themselves has a strong opinion based on things they have seen with their own eyes.

      The fact that more than one article has appeared on the topic indicates to me that a lot of fans are asking about Olt around the spring training complex, a lot of Cubs people are talking about him positively, or both.

      Oh and just to be clear because I know this to be true. “The media” doesn’t get together and discuss which stories to focus on and which to overlook.

      • Kyle

        You work in the media? That’s great. I’m a retired sports reporter.

        Nothing you wrote there contradicts anything I wrote.

        • ssckelley

          Yes it does, you wrote: “I think the stories about Olt show that the media thinks similarly to the fans” and H&H wrote “The Olt stories have nothing to do with “the media” thinking like the fans”.

          • Kyle

            Well, yes, his thesis contradicts it. But his supporting points don’t.

            Plus, they’re oversimplified. Members of the media don’t act the way he described any more than real-life people act like theoretical rational actors in economic models.

            They don’t exactly go out and do focus testing on what sort of stories people will want to read before making spring training filing decisions. An early-March ST story is going to be as much about what the reporter feels like writing and who has media availability that day as it is “what people want to read.”

            And of *course* everyone has good things to say about Mike Olt. They’re his coaches and it’s ST. They’re not going to bury a guy. But the idea that reporters’ stories are simply vehicles for the tone of the quotes they give is an oversimplification. Sports reporters are especially notorious for knowing what story they want to write (news reporters do it too, occasionally, but not as often) and then finding the sources and asking the questions that will get them the quotes that fit in with that story. It’s not ideal journalism, but it’s functional journalism in a world of layoffs and budget cuts, and it gets the job done when you’re asked to write 45 puff pieces in a month and a half of meaningless warmups.

            There’s reasons we have all the jokes about puff pieces in ST and guys being in “the best shape of his life” and such. Because:

            a) Reporters just want to get their daily file in
            b) Coaches of course aren’t going to say anything negative. There’s no results to be negative about. There’s no serious opponents to talk to. Who would say anything negative?
            c) Reporters are trying to establish a relationship with players to work throughout the season

            • Head and Heart

              Reporters who get to the level of working for major newspapers in major cities like Chicago don’t need a focus group to know what the fans want to read about.

              They are at that level because they have pretty good instincts for what the fans want. And reporters after a game? Sure maybe they have a story written and are just looking for a quote to fit into that story because they have a deadline. But I don’t think sports reporters at major market papers are as lazy as you implied.

              • Kyle

                It’s not so much laziness as it is balancing effort and reward.

                I’ve never done it on anything close to the MLB level, but everyone I’ve ever talked to says a daily MLB beat is the biggest grind in sports reporting. They aren’t going to burn either their energy or their capital with sources on a hatchet job on March 1.

                • Head and Heart

                  The positivity around Olt comes from the people the reporters are talking to on a daily basis. If there was a scout or rival exec with a dissenting opinion it wouldn’t take much work to find it.

                  The sports reporters I have known grind pretty hard for almost no reward other than getting to the next level. Do they grind less once they get to a major market? I am sure some do and some don’t. And it fluctuates because people in the real world, as you rightly pointed out, aren’t consistent and never a fixed point.

                  But it’s all anecdotal and therefore meaningless anyway. Had I known you were a former media member I wouldn’t have been so general in my original reply. In fact I may not have replied at all.

            • ssckelley

              Answering me with a wall of text does not change your original comment was “the stories about Olt show that the media thinks similarly to the fans”. If you are a former sports reporter then you should know that is not true. I would think it would spell doom for any reporter to start thinking like a fan, perhaps that is why you are retired.

              • Kyle

                I’m retired because my son was diagnosed with autism and needed a full-time caregiver.

                The only thing that spells doom for a sports reporter in the modern industry is making enough money to get noticed by the layoff fairy, but I digress.

                • ssckelley

                  Oops, I forgot all about your son with autism. (foot in mouth)

                  But I still say your original comment was wrong and H&H called you out on it.

                  Take care of that boy!

                  • Kyle

                    It’s cool.

                    It gives me lots of time to bloviate about journalism on comments sections.

                    • brainiac

                      the board is lucky to have you.

        • Head and Heart

          Well that’s good. I wasn’t aware you were a “retired” sports reporter. So I was expounding on some of your points with my perspective. Which, as it turns out, wasn’t as “unique” as I thought.

          I did take a little issue with you implying that “the media” eats up anything positive about Olt. Fans eat up Olt positivity and “the media” thinks similarly to the fans therefore the media eats it up as well.

          Reporters can only report the information that they are finding and if it is all positive then that’s what they will report. They think like fans in terms of figuring out what fans are interested in but after that the content of the story is dictated by sources.

          • ssckelley

            Good insight, care to share anything you have done?

            • Head and Heart

              I work in radio. In Canada. So basically everything I have ever done is about hockey.

              But one time about 4 years ago I had a sit down interview with a former Cub you may have heard of named Ferguson Jenkins. He was in the town I worked in for a speaking engagement. Came on my radio show. Stayed in studio with me for about 45 minutes and was an absolute gentleman. It was a wonderful chat.

              As a Canadian who grew up a pitcher and a Cubs fan….well that was my greatest moment. Ferguson Jenkins. Wow.

              • ssckelley

                I am jealous, as a little boy Fergie was one of my favorite Cubs. I have never had the chance to meet Fergie but to see him still involved after all these years shows he is a good person.

  • Javier Bryant

    Even if Olt becomes a useful bench piece. He’s somewhat versatile enough to play 3rd, 1st and decent enough in the OF. Seems like a majority of good teams have a guy like that on the bench. Provides some pop as a pinch hitter too

    • Cheese Chad

      A lot of what Olt has going for him is his defense. If he can hit .240 with 17-25 hrs and strikeout 200 times you probably still take that if his defense is gold glove caliber and defense rarely is the thing that flames out in a prospect.

  • Jed Jam Band

    I am not getting my hopes up, because prospects are always still a tricky business, of course. But Olt really is interesting, because his potential success can very much change the course of the organization. At least one of Olt, Alcantara, Baez, Bryant, and Villanueva is bound to pan out and probably more than one. These are very good prospects who all will likely contribute at the MLB level in one way or another. That being said, I like the idea of holding on to all of them as long as possible in order to have more options, because it’s hard to project who will and will not perform at a high level.

  • Funn Dave

    Nice, level-headed assessment of the cautious optimism surrounding Olt.

  • another JP

    As it stands today Olt will be returning to Iowa to regain confidence in his offense, which is the correct move. I still believe he’ll turn out to be a decent major leaguer in the long run.

    But anyone who still believes that resigning talent like Garza was the key to making the playoffs is leaving in a dream world. And the notion that the Cubs could improve the farm while also being competitive just isn’t possible under the new CBA.

    Are we supposed to believe the 2011 team that won 71 games with a declining Soriano, Aram, Pena, Dempster, Garza, Zambrano, Marshall, Soto, and Byrd would be able to be playoff caliber if we simply resigned them? Seriously? Even by keeping those guys with a $140M payroll and adding Pujols and/or C.J. Wilson- which many on this forum advocated at the time- wouldn’t have got the Cubs in the playoffs and there’d be a $190M payroll. With no Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks, C.J. Edwards, Pierce Johnson, Justin Grimm, Travis Wood, Corey Black, Christian Villanueva, Mike Olt, and others.

    The Garza trade alone will turn out to be an estimated net gain of ~$150M to the Cubs in reduced payrolls and increased production of the 4 prospects received over the next five years. So the bashers should really find another team, like the Mariners, to whine about. This Cubs team has the best FO in baseball, just get over yourselves, and enjoy the ride at the top that’s coming in the next couple of years.

    • itzscott

      Disagree….

      Barring a trade…. If Olt shows anything, he’ll make the Cubs out of ST so Villanueva can start at 3rd in Iowa and Bryant can start at 3rd for TN.

      • KTB3

        That’s what I’m saying. Doesn’t one of these 3B need to get traded? Olt’s value may not be at his highest, but I would imagine some teams out there might be interested since his eyes seem to be fixed. Even healthy I don’t see how he is the 3B of the future and holds more value as a trade piece. There’s a possibility that his eyes weren’t the problem at all and that he’s simply a below average offensive player. Trade him now while the narrative is positive and he hasn’t failed to hit again. He doesn’t really fit in the system anyway.

        • candyland07

          I have enough confidence that the front office will able to flip players when a good transaction can be had. The Cubs seem to work well in flipping older players for younger players. The time to just trade mid range prospects for nothing is never advised but having a selection of fringe prospect to sweeten a Bigger deal is always good.
          If they trade or dont trade Olt is not of any importance . the fact that they can is.

        • Voice of Reason

          “Trade one of these 3 basemen”

          You need to be patient and see how the players develop. You might see Bryant in right and Baez in center and olt at first and villanueva at 3rd. Maybe Bryant and Olt and villanueva don’t make it and Baez is at 3b, etc. You can up with a bunch of different thing that could happen.

          We have a bunch of pieces to the cubs puzzle. You just have to be patient.

      • another JP

        I said the following… AS IT STANDS TODAY. That implies that if he shows otherwise in ST, then Olt could be in Chicago. And I would love it if that happened because I’ve seen enough of Slappy Valbuena at 3B. But Olt has yet to show anything in games yet after a dismal 2013, so that’s why Hoyer said earlier this year that he is expecting Valbuena and Murphy to share time at 3B to start the season. Heck, Olt even has a sore shoulder and hasn’t been able to play the field yet, so there’s that too.

        • Voice of Reason

          Another JP,

          You said as it stands today Olt is going back to Iowa. Reread your post, dude

    • Voice of Reason

      As it stands today Olt with be given every chance to make the big league club out of spring training. If he doesn’t THEN he will be sent to Iowa.

    • Kyle

      “This Cubs team has the best FO in baseball”

      This is more like a religious mantra to be chanted by some than an actual argument. Why are they the best FO in baseball? Why are they better than the Cardinals? The Rays? The Yankees? The Rangers?

      You’d think the best FO in baseball might have thought of something in between “let the team be terrible” and “spend $190m on the worst FA deals possible.”

  • cubmig

    Off topic: Tanaka is coming out to pitch now. [NY vs Phil]

  • cubmig

    ^ NNY —–and beginning the 5th Tanaka will come in.

  • cubmig

    lol—–LOL—-SORRY! That’s NYY !!!! LOL

  • Cheese Chad

    I thought maybe it was Futurama and we were talking New New York

  • Lou Brown

    So given the glut at 3B, what would the trade value of a 25 year old, cost controlled, 25+ HR, plus defender at 3B be? I would imagine it to be pretty good, much more than a throw in on a shark trade. Guys like that don’t hit the market often. I think we flipped our top pitching prospect at the time (Cashner) for a similar style of player, but at 1B.

  • jp3

    Iowa is going to be interesting. Especially if Bryant tears the cover off the ball this spring and the start of AA. You have a DH, 3B and 1B position to house Olt, Bryant, Villinueva, and Vitters who’ll play LF I guess. How in the hell will they divvy the 3B starts up in particular?

  • JacqueJones

    I like how so many of the moves for “cheap lottery tickets” are considered good when we know that in reality the worst way to “invest” your money would be on cheap lottery tickets. I don’t necesarily think it’s wrong either as I do like most of those moves, but it is funny when you think about how much money people actually waste on the lottery with no payout.

    • candyland07

      Its a gamble and a way to keep a team in stagnate position . . Buying 5 million dollars lottery players will only net a team at most a few prospects the other players that fail will just eat up the Budget a owner will give his front office.. All this accomplish is bad team tend to stay bad for fixed period of time while hedging its position in the draft.

      Pay 15 million for player X is 15 million and that player either performs or dont a team improves or Not. Pay 3 players 5 million each and trade the performers to net young raw talent that may or may not develop can produce years down the road/ then replace that player that still depreciates your current team and keeps then a bottom feeder to exploit the draft . Either way its better to pay Three 5 million dollars and hope for good outing . This the Cubs approach.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Well, yeah, except in this case “lottery ticket” is a rather hyperbolic figure of speech. The expected payoff of even the worst prospect in your system is way better odds than the Powerball jackpot.

      • candyland07

        But the results is the same your spending money . Every year the Cubs get a budget . I am sure the Cubs front office is given a budget to maintain the team. Its just the goal of this front office is not to attract players that will help the team immediately they just parley the money allotted to them to gain better flexibilty to hedge the draft and stocking the farm system . The team may lose on a MLB level but slowly over the past three years the Cubs are able to stockpile a good farm system. This has been the model for this front office right or wrong.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    Brett, we need a new picture of Olt! Every time I look at this one, I think he’s pitching from the stretch in a game his team is losing 16-2. Maybe I’m alone in this. Anyone else? Bueller?

    If Olt does pan out, in 5 years this trade will be talked about by writers at every trade deadline as a caveat to teams looking for impact players to help in a playoff push.

  • Fastball

    I think Olt will be starting at 3b on opening day. I think he will own 3b. Bryant will move LF when he comes up late this season. Baez will play 2b. The rest of the prospects stay in the minors this entire season.

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