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theo epstein about thatThere’s a Waffle House a few blocks from my hotel. I should totally get breakfast there, right?

  • Theo Epstein dropped a thoroughly Epstein analogy, off the cuff, on McNeil and Spiegel yesterday on the Score. When asked if he would consider giving Cubs fans the cookie of seeing Javier Baez break camp with the big team, Epstein said, “I was shaking my head at the notion that we should make baseball decisions based on giving our fans cookies. We’re cooking the whole meal. We want to give them an annual feast. The only way to make fans happy is to give them pennant races and October baseball if you can pull it off on an annual basis. Nothing is going to get in the way of that.” No cookies! Give them a feast! This should become a thing.
  • Notice that we haven’t seen James Russell in a game yet? Carrie Muskat reports it’s because he’s dealing with “dead arm,” a phenomenon a handful of pitchers experience at some point during a season (it’s just kind of a generalized weakness/soreness – throwing a baseball as hard as you can isn’t exactly a natural motion). Apparently Russell had earlier said he was dealing with allergies … in either case, Rick Renteria says he’s not worried. This is something to keep an eye on, particularly given Russell’s extreme workload the past two years.
  • If you read any singular piece on the Cubs adding Ted Lilly to the front office, as they did yesterday, you must read this piece from Patrick Mooney. In recounting Lilly’s Lilly-ness, Mooney drops this gem: “There was the time in 2010 when Lilly dove headfirst trying to steal second base … in an A-ball game … during a rehab start … five months after shoulder surgery.”
  • Mike Olt, who went deep yesterday, says he continues to perceive a difference in how he feels/sees this year versus last year at this time.
  • Starlin Castro sees no rivalry with Javier Baez, and figures the young shortstop will make the bigs at some point in the future, and he’ll play wherever he plays.
  • A little profile on lefty pitching prospect Eric Jokisch.
  • FanGraphs has calculated the 2014 cost of a win ($/WAR) in free agency, and it landed pretty much where folks were anecdotally projecting: about $6 million. That number is a little bit flexible, depending on whether you look at the average or the median figure, and whether you discount future dollars in contracts for inflation. But, for our purposes, that’ll be the benchmark referenced at this site going forward – at least until the market is re-set next year.
  • Also: $/WAR tends to be non-linear (i.e., a guy worth 5.0 WAR is probably worth more than $30 million, and a guy worth 1.0 WAR might not be quite worth $6 million), and that was the case this offseason, too.
  • Kyle

    Oh, Mr. Epstein, the promises get bigger every year while the results remain scant. It’s not “success every year” if you have to start with a big steaming pile of non-success.

    I honestly hadn’t even noticed Russell was missing. Given that I’m not even convinced he’s one of our best two lefty relievers, I’m OK with that.

    • blublud

      I see nothing wrong wit what Epstein said. I agree with it. While I would love to see Baez break camp with the Cubs, there is no need for Baez to break camp with the Cubs. The other stuff is stuff every GM says.

    • D-Rock

      You must have forgotten the big pile of dog crap that Epstein had to clean up that was left behind by the last regime. Our farm system was one of the worst in baseball and in just a few short years, Epstein has completely turned around the farm system- which is the best way to build sustained success. That’s where the focus and money has been spent. Now that the foundation of the farm system has been laid, they can now turn their focus to spending money on the big league club. Us, Cubs’ fans should be the most patient fans in sports, so why are you so impatient about what Epstein is doing?

      • Kyle

        “You must have forgotten the big pile of dog crap that Epstein had to clean up that was left behind by the last regime.”

        Not only did I not forget, I was actually there paying attention to the farm system back then, which is more than I can say for many, many fans who are very recent converts to the Church of Prospects.

        “Our farm system was one of the worst in baseball”

        Not really.

        “and in just a few short years, Epstein has completely turned around the farm system- which is the best way to build sustained success.”

        Having a good farm system is certainly the best way to have sustained success. Short-cutting your way to that farm system by slashing the MLB budget and trading everything that isn’t nailed down for prospects? Well, not so much.

        ” That’s where the focus and money has been spent. Now that the foundation of the farm system has been laid, they can now turn their focus to spending money on the big league club.”

        I’m not holding my breath on that.

        ” Us, Cubs’ fans should be the most patient fans in sports, so why are you so impatient about what Epstein is doing?”

        We’re about to field the third straight terrible team under Epstein and the fifth straight bad team overall. We passed “impatience” a long time ago.

        Again: Losing a bunch and then winning isn’t sustained success.

        • D-Rock

          Read this: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/66729814/

          “When Epstein left to take over the Cubs after the 2011 season, he inherited an organization almost bereft of talent. The Cubs 2012 Top Prospect list is highlighted by your ex that got away, your dead dog and a sad-face emoticon. What isn’t on the list: major league baseball players. Of the top five, only shortstop Javier Baez has shown promise. Top prospect Brett Jackson regressed and looks like a non-factor. Outfielder Matt Szczur will be 24 this season and has no experience above Double A, and pitcher Trey McNutt hasn’t posted an ERA below 4.00 since 2010. While Baez is an excellent prospect, one good Double A shortstop does not a good minor league system make.”

          • Edwin

            Well of course, if the great Matthew Kory of Sports on Earth prints something, than that decides it.

          • Jon

            That link is trash. WTF is sports on earth? Szczur was never considered a top prospect.

            Quit using garbage internet links to prove your weak point.

            • Kyle

              Szczur had one year where he got a lot of buzz because he got an outlier ranking from Baseball America. They like to sort of “call their shot” each year with one or two very toolsy, very raw prospects getting rankings way higher than they probably should. Szczur was the lucky winner one year.

            • Q-Ball

              Szczur was a consensus 1st round talent, and an overslot signing. He made #64 on BA’s top100 list. That is a prospect.

              • Kyle

                “consensus first-round talent” … eh, maybe like back of the supplemental round.

              • aaronb

                Consensus 1st round talent and 64th rated player doesn’t seem to jive numerically?

                • C. Steadman

                  considering that the top 100 list is comprised of players from multiple drafts it jives fine…agree with Kyle that Szczur would maybe be the back of the supplement round at best though, he is impressing me so far

            • Big City Mick

              That’s pretty short sighted to call an internet blog’s author trash, I mean, it’s not like Bleachernation is a nationally syndicated publication and look at the quality of write-ups Brett puts together.

              It’s also short-sighted to classify prospects solely on what round they were drafted.

              Finally, regardless of where I farm system ranked, what has it produced over the last 5 years? Not only did Hendry strike out on his top draft choices (aside from Baez) but the system in place couldn’t develop MLB players.

              • aaronb

                Over the last 5 years.

                Cashner
                Castillo
                Samjay
                Barney
                Lake
                LaHair
                Baez
                Russell
                Josh Donaldson
                Ryan Flaherty
                Marwin Gonzalez

                Certainly not great…But not an unmitigated disaster either.

          • Kyle

            I don’t need to read a mediocre article trying to recap a history I was actually there for. But I humored you and read it anyway.

            It’s a look at the farm system that combines hindsight with a shallow knowledge of the system.

            First, you can’t just gloss over the existence of Javier Baez. Inheriting a guy who is now a top-5 prospect is not a minor thing. But yes, Jackson regressed and McNutt got hurt. That doesn’t prove that they weren’t good prospects.

            And focusing on the Top Prospects List is exactly something that a writer with a shallow knowledge of the subject would do. The Cubs’ farm system when Epstein took over was in the middle of a donut hole. They had recently graduated a pretty decent class of players, led by Starlin Castro but also featuring under-27 and on the MLB roster: Samardzija, Cashner, Russell, Marshall, Barney. And Garza was just 27.

            And they had some strong talent bubbling up outside of the “Top Prospects” list. They had just had a huge international spending and overslotting draft year, which infused quite a bit of talent into the system. They also had a fairly strong class of previously signed international prospects beginning to break into the loewr domestic leagues, guys like Amaya and Alcantara and Candelario.

            So while the farm system wasn’t the best in the league by any stretch, it wasn’t anywhere near a contender for the worst in the league.

            Long story short: I know more about the Cubs’ system and its history than the guy who wrote that article. Listen to me, not him.

            • JacqueJones

              The cubs system was probably somewhere between 20-16 in the league if i recall a lot of the ranking systems. The main problem with the system after the cubs let open the draft purse strings in 2011 was just a general lack of great development of prospects. I think it’s silly to say that the FO has turned around that aspect of the system already since its so soon and there still havent been any prospects graduating under this system. It’s also impossible to see what exactly they changed about the development system and how they “revamped” it. I won’t say the new FO did not succeed in changing how well prospects develop, but I won’t say they did succeed either. the higher rankings right now are built on baez and the fruits of tanking seasons, not something i would commend the FO for. If after all our top 5 picks graduate and we still have a top-ranked system like the cardinals, then i would call the FO’s project successful but I don’t know if thats the case.

            • another JP

              Hahaha… yeah D-Rock, listen to “Mr. Logic”- the guy that bashed Baez on every internet forum until it was obvious he was making a total fool of himself. Or the guy that reams the Cub FO for not signing Pujols or every other overpriced FA out there.

              Or listen to the all-knowing, ever-trolling Kyle instead of another blogger or the guy paid $18M by Ricketts that has two World Series rings as Boston’s GM.

              • Kyle

                That’s half-accurate, which given the tone is better than I would have expected.

                I was rightfully skeptical of Baez and I rightfully changed my mind with new information.

                The overpriced FA stuff would require nuance that I suspect is beyond you.

                You don’t have to listen to me or anyone. Baseball is a meritocracy that tests the skill of the organization. The standings will tell you who is good at their jobs and who isn’t.

                • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

                  When you discuss standings, I’m assuming you mean third order wins?

                  • Kyle

                    Ideally the third-order wins and the real wins will converge over time.

                • another JP

                  ” The standings will tell you who is good at their jobs and who isn’t.”

                  Seriously? If you believe what you just wrote, then FA “stuff” can’t possibly be your forte. You’ve plenty to learn- not just about baseball, but life in general, sonny-boy.

                  BTW- what is your occupation or real-life experience that makes you qualified to paint yourself as such an expert? If you have the nerve to tell us-

                  • Kyle

                    My professional qualifications are irrelevant to whether or not I’m correct. I either am or am not.

                    But since you asked, I am a retired sports reporter who is currently a full-time stay-at-home dad to my special-needs son.

                    As always, it’s not Epstein’s job to know more about baseball than I do. He does. So did Jim Hendry. So did Ed Lynch. It’s his job to know more than 29 other front offices, and he’s flailing.

                    • Noah_I

                      The one thing I’d say is that saying that, if Epstein/Hoyer are able to build a team that, let’s say, from 2017 to 2021 (I’m guessing Epstein leaves after 10 years if the plan works) makes the playoffs 3 or 4 times isn’t sustained success because 2012-2014 were seasons where the team was just terrible. Especially if the Cubs are primed for continued success for 2022 and beyond. That just seems to be moving the goalposts for continued success.

                      As to whether Epstein/Hoyer are flailing, wouldn’t that depend on if the plan works or not? So far, the plan appears to be one year behind the initial schedule, but again, that’s not necessarily flailing.

                      To use the White Sox as a counterpoint (and admittedly their farm system was much worse when Hahn took over than the Cubs’ system was when Epstein/Hoyer took over), despite the fact that I like the White Sox’s moves, I don’t see how they’re meaningfully competitive beyond having a year where just everything goes right over the next five seasons or so. They don’t have players in their farm system to supplement the talent they brought in, aside from Abreu they have no potential offensive stars either on the team or on the horizon, and they don’t have the payroll flexibility to make big additions through free agency. They could be solidly mediocre for the next 5 years, but at that point will they be primed to take the next step, or will they just be set to continue being solidly mediocre?

              • JB88

                I’m by no means a Kyle apologist or defender, but I seriously don’t remember him bashing Baez at every turn. In fact, I remember Kyle being pretty firmly ensconced in the “Baez is a stud” department.

                • another JP

                  You only need to go back to last spring to know that Kyle ran his mouth about Baez’ KO rate and 2012 season at Daytona every time someone like me was praising his performance in Mesa last year. There are also others on this board remember that very well– maybe you haven’t been around here that long…

                  • JCubs79

                    Skepticism of Baez was completely warranted when he was in A-Ball. The high K-rate left plenty of room for concern that he may not be able to handle advanced pitching.

                  • Norm

                    I did and I’m still skeptical because of that K rate.

                • Kyle

                  Before Baez’s historic run at AA, I was pretty skeptical of him and considered him the worst of the (at the time) Big Three.

                  • MattM

                    JP Doc Wimsley has mentioned Baez’s K rate over the last few days and so has Hansman.

                    Apparently, they are bashing him too. According to both of them Baez’s K rate (which is high now) will rise when he moves on to the Majors. They say that it is historically hard to be successful with such a high K rate.

                    Are they bashing Baez? Isn’t that a pretty good clue as to how good a prospect would be?

                    That said I hope everyone is wrong about the K rate jumpin and Baez becomes a hall of famer! His swing is awesome!

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “That said I hope everyone is wrong about the K rate jumpin”

                      They’re wrong because they’re assuming off of a small sample size.

              • Internet Random

                “ever-trolling Kyle”

                Let’s all of us not misuse the term “troll”, eh?

            • 70′s Cub

              “Fruits of tanking” are you out of your mind, the Cubs “sucked” when the new owner took over almost every position was filled with over paid old players. The farm system had very little pitching talent. The farm talent on hand needed to be “saved” as in providing a decent player development/evaluation system that they the players could believe in. Theo/Jed represent solid ethical baseball management they are bringing it across all the organizational levels. “baseball top notch operations 24/7″. At this time all positions on the MLB roster are wide open and/or manned by young players with upside. Only the outfield has some short term care takers left!

            • D-Rock

              Someone is awfully full of himself…

              “Long story short: I know more about the Cubs’ system and its history than the guy who wrote that article. Listen to me, not him.”

              • Kyle

                Sure, but it’s true. I get impatient with having to debunk the same myths over and over from people who weren’t paying attention at the time. It’s the 1984 lost home game all over again.

              • C. Steadman

                I’m pretty sure a lot of people around here know more about the Cubs farm system than that guy who wrote that article…that’s not being full of himself, its being a Cubs fan and to be a diehard fan you should be expected to know the farm system

          • CubsFaninMS

            “One good AA shortstop” is definitely downplaying Baez’s potential. He’s an elite talent. That being said, your point is still valid. Our minor league system is on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to 2010.

      • CubFan Paul

        “You must have forgotten the big pile of dog crap that Epstein had to clean up that was left behind by the last regime.”

        myth

        “Our farm system was one of the worst in baseball”

        myth & propaganda

        “which is the best way to build sustained success”

        Tell that to other contenders without the best farm systems

        “That’s where the focus and money has been spent”

        Don’t forget about the reported $35MM going to debt services until 2019

        “Now that the foundation of the farm system has been laid, they can now turn their focus to spending money on the big league club”

        They’re purposely punting 2014 and they told Mooney they’re punting 2015 also

        “so why are you so impatient about what Epstein is doing?”

        Because we’ve reached the point in the Plan where Theo&Co should be adding to the ML roster to supplement the youth, so that 2015 & 2016 would be competitive ball and now that’s looking unlikely.

        • blublud

          Hey Paul, where you been? Haven’t seen you in couple days. I missed taking shots at you. ;)

        • Jon

          lol, they myth of the worst farm system in baseball grows bigger either day. Nevermind the fact 2/5 top prospects were from the previous regime.

          • blublud

            You can also add Rizzo the Hendry’s stash. He was the reason Rizzo came to Chicago, because he drafted Cashner. Wood came for Marshall.

            • D-Rock

              But I would argue that Hendry probably wouldn’t have made those trades.

              • blublud

                Cool. Then we would have Cashner in our rotation and Soriano in LF. What’s the problem.

                • D-Rock

                  I would rather have Rizzo and T. Wood over Cashner (who has been hurt much of his career thus far) and Marshall (bullpen guy). Soriano? I’m not following you.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    That’s debatable. Replication is something that Theo desires. Listen to the interview yesterday. Replication is something totally available with 1st baseman. They can come from multiple avenues….not just trades. I’d rather have that they went FA route on a 1st baseman. Abreu? Maybe. And then kept Cashner. That is to say I’m on the fence with the Rizzo move. As for Soriano, with a few moves that others have been discussing throughout the year, the Cubs could have been wildcard playoff competitive this year. Now, not so much…we’ll have to wait until they decide what to do with Shark.

              • Edwin

                But Theo wouldn’t have been able to make those trades without the resources he inherited from Hendry.

                • roz

                  And those resources wouldn’t have existed in the first place without the efforts of William Hulbert way back in the late 1800′s! Screw Theo, let’s give all the credit to the original founders of the club.

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

              Well then Olt, Ramirez, Grimm and the 4th Beatle are Hendry’s as well. Not to mention Pierce Johnson and Almora (since Hendry got such a great pick).

              Really, this FO has done nothing.

              • Kyle

                I wouldn’t “attribute them to Hendry,” but it is interesting to note what a large portion of Epstein’s success in rebuilding the farm system has come from trading valuable assets he inherited from Hendry, when we all know he inherited a mess with nothing valuable.

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

                  Such is the case when any GM is new to the organization. The Red Sox are still having quite a bit of success with the pieces Theo left them

                  Theo did get good value for what he was trading away and has done a good job developing the prospects that are here.

                  • Kyle

                    He got good value, definitely.

                    Developing the prospects? Mixed bag. Baez!!!!!, but also Jackson???? and Castro:(

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

                      Castillo!!! Lake~~~ Samardzija!!! Rizzo! Jackson I’d bump it down 2 question marks LaHair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

                      It’ll be fun to dissect the Cubs farm system production in 5 years.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      Didn’t the Jackson ship appear to be sinking before Theo got a hold of him???? Is this just a case of prospects getting overranked???? Do the rankings of these prospects before Theo took over indicate that Hendry really did find some talent or just that he and all the rankings services were wrong on him????

                      I guess we will know the answer in 10 years or so, but I agree with your point on the trades…very good trades, but they did trade away a bunch of Hendry assets (and sucked for it) in order to build the minors.

                    • MattM

                      Pessimist, I would say it’s more an indication that the Cub’s minor league organization did not know how to develop talent.

                      If you look at Choi’s, Pie’s, Patterson’, Jackson’s swings they all look loopy and have holes. Someone was teaching that….

                    • Voice of Reason

                      Matt M typed:

                      “If you look at Choi’s, Pie’s, Patterson’, Jackson’s swings they all look loopy and have holes. Someone was teaching that….”

                      There were more teachers than just the coaches in the Cubs organization. All, with the exception of Jackson, moved on to other organizations where they had the same problems that could not be corrected.

                      I’m not going to argue that the Cubs don’t have a track record in developing talent, but Choi, Pie and Patterson were simply busts! That’s why organizations need more than one or two grade a prospects. The Cubs certainly have more than they’ve had in years.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Having pieces available to improve the organization, and being (even remotely) in a good position to have a consistently competitive team long-term are two very different things. It’s less about Hendry, anyway, than it is about the way the entire organization was run.

                  • blublud

                    If Ricketts was the owner longer, Hendry would have a better farm system. The team was in position for sustained success, no one can deny that. But not in a position for sustained success, and the team left bare is two different things.

                  • Kyle

                    ” It’s less about Hendry, anyway, than it is about the way the entire organization was run.”

                    Agreed. The organization is being run with insufficient success, regardless of whether things are better than they were under Hendry.

                    (that’s probably not what you meant when you said it was less about Hendry, but I gotta do what I gotta do…)

                  • MattM

                    Brett, I would argue that the team tanking 5 plus years in a row is as a result of ownership….

              • blublud

                There you are with your narrative creation. Epstein made those trades, but those would not have been possible if the team was left as bare as people say. I liked Hendry, I like Epstein. There not rivals. You can like both.

                Its like most KD and Lebron fans. You have bash one to make their guy look good. Why can’t the both just be great. You don’t have to tear down one guy to make the other look better.

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

                  Narrative creation?

                  I don’t hate Hendry, he did a decent job building good teams but he was behind the times on a lot of things in baseball and has quite a few black marks on his sell trades.

                  What was left was (what should be) a future HoF 3B that declined his player option, a pretty good SP, an above-average SP, a couple of good BP arms, an above-average and young SS and a farm system that was praised for it’s depth of guys who were back-of-the-rotation-but-if-everything-breaks-there-way-perfectly-fringe-TOR/average positional prospects.

                  It was a team that was on the downhill side of it’s window of contention, a minor league system that had churned out some interesting players but no MVP candidates in nearly a decade, a front office that was at least 20 years behind the times and an owner that was trimming payroll.

                  Now, what has been traded away since he left was an over-the-hill SP, an oft-injured SP that has only had real success in pitching at Petco, a pretty good but expensive OF, two above-average pitchers and some AAAA players.

                  Theo has done a good job of turning that talent into some intriguing prospects, developing the prospects that were here and updating the FO.

                  Has he been a great GM/PBO? No, he traded for Stewart and the guy we got back for Zambrano, screwed up Castro for a season and screwed the pooch on the bullpen for 2 years (why on God’s green earth did he bring Camp back last year (yes, I was bitching about that when he did it)) and has missed on every impact under-26-year-old free agent out there.

                  Now, I am willing to be lenient with him based on what he did in Boston and that he has had a limited payroll to work with (although, I think that isn’t all Ricketts fault) but I like the overall approach and realize that he doesn’t always poop butterflys. Sometimes, he is going to have diarrhea. I really hope that he gets another 5 years after this term as I don’t think the game has passed him up and we finally have an owner and front office who are on the same page and appear to be in it for the long haul.

                  • blublud

                    Hans, I agree with all this. But to regardless, half the talent that Theo acquired was due to Henry’s talent. Like I said, Hendry did a good job with what he had. It was his time to go. Epstein was good a good hire. He done things the way I prefer. I just don’t like all the Hendry bashing, when in reality, he was the mos successful GM we had.

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

                      Eh…the GM’s of pretty much any pre-1920 Cubs team were better. The Cubs were the Yankees of baseball before the Yankees were the Yankees of baseball.

                      It was a mess when Theo took over in that we had an aging roster without any top propsects that could cushion the blow, nor did we have any top players outside of Ramirez (who was aging and had an injury every year). I will forever remember the 2008 team fondly.

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

              And Villanueva, Pineyro…Mmm, who else can we link to Hendry?

              • jh03

                I know you’re being sarcastic lol, but not Pineyro, right?

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

                  Who was it that we got back for Soriano?

                  • jh03

                    Corey Black

                  • Kyle

                    Black

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

                    After I read your statement I realized my boner and remembered him.

                    Got Hairston and Soriano mixed up.

                    • jh03

                      If it’s been 4 hours you might want to get that checked out…

            • another JP

              No, you can’t add Rizzo to Hendry’s “stash”. Theo originally drafted Rizzo and the Cubs wouldn’t have him now if Theo didn’t acquire him again.

              And which 2/5 of our prospects were acquired by Hendry? Only Baez- Vogelbach is nowhere near a top 5 prospect on this team, & he might not even be top 10.

              Furthermore, much of Baez’ success has come under the development he’s received under the Theo regime. If people are going to blame Theo and Sveum for messing with Castro’s performance, you can’t say they haven’t had an influence on Baez rise as a prospect.

              • Jon

                Alcantera is a top 5 prospect in this system and was from the previous regime.

              • Edwin

                Theo also wouldn’t have been able to aquire him without giving giving up a valuable piece in Cashner. I give Theo full credit for turning what looked like at the time a RP into a decent starting 1B. But again, if someone is trying to say that “Theo didn’t inherit anything”, trading Cashner for Rizzo is a pretty good demonstration that Theo at least inherited something of value.

                I think the 2 prospects are Baez and Alcantara.

              • blublud

                Theo acquired him straight up for a Hendry draft pick.

          • Chad

            2/5, but it should be more like 4/5, and the fact that only 1 in the last two years has actually graduated to the majors says a lot. Plus if you look at the top 10, the best ones that came to the cubs under Hendry were in the last year of his reign under Rickett’s control (Baez, Vogelbach). If you look at the top 10 then yes it is 2/5, but if you look at the top 5 it is only 20%.

          • D-Rock

            Baseball America Farm System Rankings:
            2011: Cubs #16
            2012: Cubs #14
            2013: Cubs #5
            2014: Cubs #4

            Now, 16th and 14th aren’t horrible, but 5th and 4th are a whole lot better.

            • Jon

              ok, so are you willing to admit you were exaggerating and talking out of your ass previously?

              • CubFan Paul

                JINX

              • D-Rock

                Mediocrity is just as bad as the worst in baseball IMO. If you are a fan of mediocrity, good for you. I can’t stand being just a .500 team who makes the playoffs once every several years and then loses in the first round most times. I don’t recall our farm system EVER being this good. If I am wrong about that, please correct me.

                • Edwin

                  Early 2000′s.

                • C. Steadman

                  2002

            • CubFan Paul

              16th & 14th also isn’t “one of the worst in baseball”

              • Lou Brown

                It wasn’t one of the worst in baseball. Hendry never had much focus on it, or on player development. It was a mediocre system for years. Interestingly the 2011 draft he suddenly did an about-face and went all in, spending big on Baez, Vogelbach, even Maples got a nice bonus. I think he saw the writing on the wall with the CBA coming, 2011 was the last year you could use that approach.

                • Kyle

                  “Hendry never had much focus on it, or on player development.”

                  You know how Jim Hendry got his job as GM? By being Scouting and Development director for the Cubs and putting together a farm system that was top-3 for three straight years from 2000-2002. He was basically Jason McLeod.

                  And the Cubs were pretty regular big draft spenders throughout the 2000s.

                  • Lou Brown

                    That’s great, when his job was scouting he scouted. However, once he became GM he built the teams through trades and FA signings very few homegrown players. And he traded away most of those highly rated farm systems. Hendry built three playoff teams, so that isn’t a knock against him, but he built them through the trades and free agents. That’s were his focus was.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      So? Why fault him for that? He took advantage of what the market gave him and made some solid trades.

              • D-Rock

                Go ahead and enjoy mediocrity. It will NEVER win you a World Series.

                • YourResidentJag

                  We will see how GOOD Theo is at getting the additional wins he needs to actually win the division. Sure, with the farm system, he’ll make up 20 wins easily. But once you get further up the win column the difference between winning 5 games and losing five games is critical. That’s a difficult task….and BTW it also may mean NEVER winning a WS.

            • Kyle

              If you had said “The Cubs farm system is better now than it was then,” no one would have criticized.

              But it seems *very* important to some people to convince themselves that not only is it better now, but it was as bad as could possibly be imagined before.

              It’s a whole series of myths that have popped up that seem destined to go down in Cubs history next to the lost home game of the 1984 NLCS.

            • Edwin

              While the farm system has improved, the MLB hasn’t. So while it’s nice that the farm system looks so good, it also means that there is an even bigger hole to climb out of.

        • Chad

          Who are the annual contenders without a poor farm system that don’t have to spend over $150 million/year???? The cubs have never spent that much on payroll and probably never will.

          • Jon

            If they are going to continue to charge a top 3 ticket price in the game, one would hope payroll goes that high. Otherwise that would just be profit taking.

            • CubFan Paul

              “Otherwise that would just be profit taking”

              I see what you did there…

            • Chad

              Not like it will be invested into a $500 million rennovation or the farm system, or scouting in the Dominican etc. Only reinvest in the ML team. And that is how you get into the predicament we are in right now.

              • Jon

                Actually, no. None of the current team revenues/profits will be invested in the renovation. None. That is why they need the signage and other advertisements.

                • Chad

                  Isn’t it all one in the same. The signage/advertisements, the ticket revenue, is all part of the cub’s revenue which will go into the renovation. How can you even say that none of the current revenue will go to it? Also, I think the cubs will get a much bigger payroll than currently as they start to win, and the Rickett’s deal works its way out, but they need the renovation and the signs and advertising. It’s not just like only revenue from one area can be used for improving the team. If you think the cubs will ever be like the Dodgers or Yankees, I’d say that is a bit naive.

                  • Brocktoon

                    Well they do bear a striking resemblance to the McCourt dodgers

                    • aaronb

                      Almost an identical business plan. The only difference is we don’t have an angry wife confirming our suspicions to the media.

      • Edwin

        Just look at how good the Royals are doing with their stud farm system.

        • D-Rock

          Once you have a “stud farm system” you add pieces around the young studs- something the Royals don’t do well. Cardinals and BoSox are 2 teams that do this well and have sustained success. Cubs will add the pieces (IMO) unlike the Royals.

          • Kyle

            Isn’t it weird how our front office couldn’t build a great farm system without tanking and flipping and slashing into the MLB budget to sign big-money prospects, but St. Louis and Boston didn’t need to lose to get their farm systems?

            Maybe their front offices are better than ours?

            • D-Rock

              Boston was bad for a number of years, similar history to the Cubs before Epstein got there…I’ll give you the Cardinals, though. They are the model organization.

              • Edwin

                Since 1995, the Red Sox have had 2 seasons where they have finsished below .500, 1997 and 2012.

                • D-Rock

                  “Since 1995, the Red Sox have had 2 seasons where they have finsished below .500, 1997 and 2012.

                  You could make a similar argument about the Cubs records before Epstein got here, although they had few more years of below .500 baseball. Cubs have made the playoffs 4 times since 95. Red Sox made the playoffs 3 times from 95-02 when Epstein arrived. How many times since he’s been there until present? 7

                  Has it taken a bit longer for the success to translate into playoff baseball in Chicago? Yes. But, look at the farm club and the look at the sustained success in Boston right now. These 2 things should give us hope as Cubs’ fans.

                  • Kyle

                    4 times in 20 years

                    3 times in 7 years

                    Completely comparable. You are shredding your own point to pieces, don’t even need my help.

                    • D-Rock

                      No, you are shredding your point to pieces because you just proved my point that the Cubs were in a worse situation than the Sox when Epstein took over so that is why it is taking longer…

                  • Edwin

                    I’m happy with the farm system, but I’m not happy that getting to this point with the farm system has come somewhat as a result of gutting the MLB team.

                  • Kyle

                    “No, you are shredding your point to pieces because you just proved my point that the Cubs were in a worse situation than the Sox when Epstein took over so that is why it is taking longer…”

                    I don’t recall ever denying that the 2012 Cubs were in worse shape than the 2003 Red Sox.

                    • D-Rock

                      Good, bc that is how you were coming across.

                    • Kyle

                      The problem is you keep moving the goalposts.

                      The Cubs were not in a great position when Epstein took over, sure. But they also weren’t in nearly as bad a position as many feel the need to believe.

              • JB88

                This is not correct as it relates to Boston’s history before Epstein arrived. It just isn’t. Look at the record of that team before Epstein became GM.

              • Kyle

                That is … incorrect.

                • D-Rock

                  Look at the playoff history of the 2 teams and you will see they really are not all that different. Except for what has happened in the last decade.

                  • Jon

                    The Epstien Mennonites are really distorting facts today to suit their agenda, from Cubs farm system being a wasteland before Theo got here, to the freakin Red Sox being a bad baseball team before Theo took over.

                    Dat KoolAid strong today!

                    • D-Rock

                      Not saying the Red Sox were bad in the few years prior to Epstein arriving in Boston, but everyone knows the 2 teams had a similar sucky history of playoff baseball and World Series drought.

                      Theo and Co. had a much worse mess to clean up in Chicago, is all I’m saying. How do you not see this?

                    • Jon

                      “Not saying the Red Sox were bad in the few years prior to Epstein arriving in Boston”

                      BUT YOU SAID JUST THAT!

                      “Boston was bad for a number of years, similar history to the Cubs before Epstein got there…”

                      Quite honestly, I think you are typing whatever comes into your head without any regard basic fact checking.

                    • D-Rock

                      “Quite honestly, I think you are typing whatever comes into your head without any regard basic fact checking.”

                      You should know, you do it every day on here.

                    • D-Rock

                      BTW, I do fact-check. How do you define winning? Being .500? Making the playoffs? Winning in the playoffs? Winning a World Series?

                      Boston didn’t start winning World Series championships until Epstein and Co. got there and they are still winning off the foundation they laid.

                      All I’m saying is, I believe in what the Cubs FO is doing because they have a proven track record. I can’t make you believe that too, but I just get tired of the constant negativity and Theo bashing.

                    • Kyle

                      That’s alright, I get tired of the constant re-writing of history to make them look better and the moving goalposts. So now we can both be tired of something.

                    • Chef Brian

                      Oh please, we got Jon and the Antitheonistas in full force today. Jon is all a twitter because he can rally around his demagogue Kyle. Jon is usually on the business end of these beatings. Instead you guys have spent an entire afternoon bashing this kids head against the wall because he dared say the universally accepted bad Cubs system of 2010 was terrible instead of bad. Jon can add wordsmith to his title.

                  • brainiac

                    he definitely had some cleanup courtesy of the tribune company, but he’s mostly swept the dirt under the ricketts’ very, very expensive bed. and the toilet has been stopped up for a while. it stinks.

              • aaronb

                Completely false. They won 93 games and had been perennial playoff attendees when Epstein got hired.

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

              Don’t we have the front office that did that in Boston?

              • Kyle

                We have part of it. Maybe we got the wrong parts? Shoulda gotten Cherington.

                • Kyle

                  And we’d still have Chris Carpenter. Dammit, Ricketts!

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

                  I wonder if we took Henry off their hands, if they would have given us their entire MLB and MiLB roster.

                  Would it have been worth it?

                • davidalanu

                  So is this something you really believe, or is this just one of your stir the pot comments?

                  And remember, he who stirs the shit pot must like the spoon!

                  • davidalanu

                    That would be “lick” the spoon!

                    • Edwin

                      You may have to lick the spoon, but you don’t have to like the spoon.

            • bbmoney

              Couldn’t?

              Didn’t….sure. Couldn’t is unknown. It would have been harder and less likely, which is probably why they didn’t, since they see it as the key to future sustained success.

              What was the right course of action is unknown and a matter of opinion. But couldn’t takes it to far. I’d prefer they make their decisions based on what they feel gives them the best chance of success not on what could possibly happen.

            • Chad

              Would most of you agree that the majority of the best players in the last decade for the cardinals have come through their farm system? I think so. They drafted better and apparently developed players much better than the cubs did. We all know there is a balance needed between a good farm system and add with FA. When was the last monster FA that the cardinals signed. If the cubs had done a better job of adding to the farm in the last decade they probably would be in a similar spot as the cards.

              • Kyle

                Now that I’ll agree with.

                Nobody thinks that the Cubs shouldn’t try to have a better farm system. We simply aren’t happy that it’s the only thing they’ve accomplished in three offseasons and two drafts.

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

                  The question is, given the apparent payroll cap of $110M, how much better could we expect the best front office ever to do?

                  It’s an interesting dichotomy though, we want a lot of wins AND we want a lot of good prospects.

                  To do the first, Theo could, easily, have 10 more wins in his tenure had he not sold off the 2012 and 2013 teams but then he wouldn’t have as many good prospects. Then I’d be bitching that we have had 75 win teams and a farm system that isn’t that much better than when they started.

                  • Kyle

                    Quite a bit better, considering we’re coming in a good $20m below that cap this year.

                    If the farm system isn’t much better than they started in that scenario, then they aren’t as good at scouting and development as we hoped and none of this is sustainable anyway. We’ll just be the Brewers, trying to time a few years of top picks to open a brief window then falling back to mediocrity again.

                • candyland07

                  true

          • Brocktoon

            The royals have a higher payroll than we do

      • blublud

        The team Epstein inherited could have been turned around pretty quickly, so stop saying there was this big mess left behind. Epstein chose not to go that route, and I’m glad. Also, their was talent in the minors, though minimal. He dry had one draft where he spent money, and it was a good draft. He could have done everything Epstein has done so far. I agree, it was the time for him to leave, and Epstein was the best hire, but please stop creating this huge mess that didn’t really exist.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The team Theo & Jed inherited was 5 years away from being good again. It had 1-2 regular players (Castro and maybe Soto: and theater became a “definitely not”) that didn’t need to be replaced within the next couple of years, and 1-2 starters (Garza and Shark if the latter was given a chance) who didn’t need to be replaced in the next couple of years.

          In a good year, you can replace 2 parts. The Cubs needed to replace 10. The farm system was not thought to be awful, but it was thoroughly “meh.” It was offering at best two near-term replacements for position players (BJax and Vitters), both of whom already had shown major warning flags that hurt their trade value candy which have stopped them from becoming viable candidates to fill holes.

          I agree that people need to quit labeling the. Cubs 2011 farm system as among the worst in baseball. However, the MLB roster at that time was a 0.450 team that projected to be a 0.425 team given the decline of key players. This wasn’t a ship that needed a hull patch: this was a ship that needed a new hull.

          • Kyle

            Under good management, no team in the history of baseball has ever fated to be five years away from being good.

            ” However, the MLB roster at that time was a 0.450 team that projected to be a 0.425 team given the decline of key players. This wasn’t a ship that needed a hull patch: this was a ship that needed a new hull.”

            Garza, Samardzija, Russell, Marshall, Castro, Barney, Cashner. If that’s not enough of a foundation to go to work, then you aren’t a good baseball executive.

            • brainiac

              Kyle hits another one on the nose. there is no precedent in the history of baseball in which a team can be engineered to win because middle management said so. also no precedent for a team to be competitive based solely on drafting due to purposefully losing for a half-epoch.

            • Diehardthefirst

              Yankees are always ready to compete every year … So are Cardinals

              • D-Rock

                Yes, and that is what Epstein is trying to do here.

                • Kyle

                  You can’t call it “competing every year” when there’s a bunch of years where you don’t compete.

                  • D-Rock

                    Patience, my friend. There are plenty of teams you can root for that don’t require as much patience. So, if you don’t want to keep being patient a little bit more, than go be a fan of the Cardinals, Yankees, or Red Sox, I, for one, am tired of the negativity of fans who don’t want to be patient just a little bit longer. If the Cubs still suck in 2 more years, then we will have a big problem on our hands.

                    • Kyle

                      I hold the Cubs to slightly higher standards than you,

                    • brainiac

                      d-rock the disagreement is over intent. you’re accepting advertisements as statements of purpose. how the organization is running things is highly unusual and not particularly healthy.

            • bbmoney

              You named 1 good not great MLB starter. 3 guys who were MLB relievers at the time. 1 all-star SS. 1 all glove 2b and 1 pitching prospect.

              That’s supposed to make people think there was a good foundation in place? When the only guys that have graduated from the minors and provided any value between then and now (which is what we’re talking about when we’re talking about building an MLB winner by now) are Castillo and..Lake?

              Shit man, there’s a reason we were so low on the list of teams with MLB pre-arb roster guys. It’s because there was 0 upper level help on the way in the minors 3 off-seasons ago. We haven’t graduated anyone useful but Castillo since then. That’s not on the new FO, that’s on the old one.

              • bbmoney

                And RIzzo…but that was a trade. So throw in Cashner as graduating instead of Rizzo and you’ve got 2 guys that would have graduated…..so 2, not 1.

                And no I don’t count lake.

              • D-Rock

                Than you bbmoney. “Garza, Samardzija, Russell, Marshall, Castro, Barney, Cashner. If that’s not enough of a foundation to go to work, then you aren’t a good baseball executive.”

                No, that is not a good foundation.

                • Kyle

                  Nor is it a bad one.

                  • Norm

                    RP’s should not be considered a part of any foundation.

                    • half_full_beer_mug

                      One of those non-foundation players netted the great FO the most consistent SP they have, so they’re probably real happy we was part of the building blocks.

                    • Norm

                      Well he WASN’T part of the building blocks, hence the trade.
                      And you’ve just described the FO’s philosophy for the last few years; trading away non-foundation, non-building blocks, for assets that could be those types in the future.

                    • half_full_beer_mug

                      Well Norm, if you get to create the strict definition of every word to suit your purpose then I guess I’ll just have to agree that whatever you say is the truth.

                      Personally, if I use something to obtain a product that I need for a future project the thing I used was a pretty necessary item to have to begin with.

                      That’s also every teams philosophy. Use parts that you have excess of or that don’t fit your puzzle to obtain other parts that do.

              • Kyle

                Good foundation? No, I wouldn’t call it a good foundation.

                But I wouldn’t call it a bad one, either.

                And our low status on that pre-arb list is at least partially self-inflicted. Guys like Watkins and Vitters are going to be on the outside in favor of Boston washouts and other assorted flotsam. And we inexplicably spent resources on the bullpen this offseason (and nowhere else) when we had quite a few pre-arb guys that seemed poised to take jobs.

            • Voice of Reason

              Kyle typed:

              “Garza, Samardzija, Russell, Marshall, Castro, Barney, Cashner. If that’s not enough of a foundation to go to work, then you aren’t a good baseball executive.”

              Other than Cashner and Castro, that is far from a solid foundation to work with. Then again, you’re used to following the Cubs and that’s probably the best foundation they’ve had to work with in years. So, to you, it looks really good!

              • D-Rock

                This ^^^

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

              I’ll give you Garza, Castro and Marshall.

              Samardzija had some major doubts about being successful long-term, Cashner was injured more than not (a reason you wanted little to do with Garza in the past year), Barney has always been a weak bat, Russell was a LOOGY.

              We had no 1B, a 3B that didn’t want to be here, an aging LF, no RF and a weak rotation (after Garza and Dempster there was some thin air).

              • Kyle

                We definitely had holes.

                But if we’re going by how guys looked then and not now, then we have to give a bit of a boost to Brett jackson.

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

                  Ya, it certainly looked like he could have been a league-average CF. Granted, even then there were folks seriously concerned about his K rate. I remember reading a lot about how it was because he was working deep counts.

                  I was excited for him. If only I knew then what I know now about K/BB/HR rates.

              • half_full_beer_mug

                Perhaps the 3B didn’t want to be here because he saw the writing on the wall (I think he pretty much said that on his way out in fact). The aging LF did pretty well if I’m remembering correctly. Shouldn’t have been that hard to find a RF’er (even though dumpster diving hasn’t produced one).

                I was never on the side that wanted the huge FA, but never understood why they didn’t look at a few “mid tier” guys that first year instead of completely blowing things up.

            • Joshua Edwards

              “Under good management, no team in the history of baseball has ever fated to be five years away from being good.”

              Someone better tell the Astros to hurry and up and getter better soon.

              • Kyle

                They aren’t being managed well.

                I love Lunhow’s history, but it’s yet another example (besides the Cubs) of perhaps an executive getting a bit restless/burnt out with the rigors of running a winning team and looking for a project to keep himself interested rather than doing what’s best.

          • brickhouse

            I don’t buy the team Theo inherited was 5 years from competing. The Marlins won a World Series in 5 years from the time the team was formed and started with no farm system and very little mlb talent.

          • another JP

            You are right on the money, Doc. Theo inherited a 71 win team that was declining rapidly. I’ve noted before how the Cubs could have acquired Pujols, C.J. Wilson, had a $190M payroll, & still not be a playoff caliber team with the same roster.

            • Edwin

              And now they’re 71 win team with a very good farm system. Progress, to be sure.

              • aaronb

                I doubt we are a 61 win team at this point.

            • Kyle

              And I’ve noted before how acquiring those three players or what they did were not the only two options.

    • Funn Dave

      This thread is long.

      • Patrick W.

        “This”

        If by this you mean the one we are engaged with now, sure, I’ll grant you that.

        “thread”

        False, thread implies linear and much of this has been circular or folded back on itself.

        “is”

        So are you saying at the current moment or at the moment you typed it or at some point in the future. You’re presenting a moving target from the very start of your flimsy argument.

        “long”

        Nice that your “eyes” tell you that but you’re just trying to fit the facts to your narrative. Where in the grand pantheon of threads (and I’m generously accepting your use of the term) does this fit statistically in thread lengths? Certainly not in the top 5% which would qualify it for the designation “long”

        • Joshua Edwards

          +1

        • On The Farm

          Obligatory you win the internet for the day post. But seriously well done.

  • Edwin

    Let them eat cake.

  • dreese

    Hey Brett, what happened to BN Bears?

    • On The Farm

      I too was hoping this issue would at least be addressed

      • CubFan Paul

        Nah. More Cubs the better.

        Most of the BN readers are Cubs fans outside Chicago and fans of different football teams.

        • TWC

          You’re probably right, Paul, but the fact that the BN Bears site has dropped off the face of the earth with zero comment from either Ace or Jay is a little odd, especially considering they’ve both been asked directly (and repeatedly).

          • Jon

            The Bears author didn’t pace himself. He was churning out like 3 articles a day on the offensive line. You got to take a venture like that on slow and steady or you will burn out.

            • TWC

              Yeah, I mean, I’m not a huge football fan by any stretch, but I did pop over from time to time to check out the discussions (mostly just to provide a few more clicks in support of Ace’s endeavors). But an entire month of no articles passing without comment just seems weird, and I know the “WTF?!” question had been asked multiple times.

        • Funn Dave

          I’m a Packers fan but I still enjoyed reading Jay’s pieces on the Bears.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        It will be. But not while I’m in Arizona.

        • TWC

          Well, that’s something!

          • On The Farm

            Thanks

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

          HA! A NON-COMMENT COMMENT!!!! YOU’RE THE CUBS FRONT OFFICE OF BLOGGERS!!!! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          • Fishin Phil

            Are you saying he’s tanking it on purpose?

  • another JP

    Is there a U.S. Egg or some other restaurant nearby? The Breakfast Club in Scottsdale is good if you’re close enough and can beat the crowd. Much better options than Waffle House in the Phoenix area-

  • Spriggs

    I read somewhere that Bill Buckner is out as hitting coach for Boise. Is that old news? Is it true?

  • CubFan Paul

    “and it landed pretty much where folks were anecdotally projecting: about $6 million”

    That number is inflated by the Giants’ (silly) extensions.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Eh. That’s the median figure, so it does a pretty good job of cutting out the outliers (which include the Lincecum deal and the Michael Morse deal).

      • CubFan Paul

        Don’t forget Pence and Posey.

        • bbmoney

          Well Posey wasn’t a FA, so he’s not included when calculating the cost of a win in FA.

          Pence was though and he’s in fangraphs calc.

    • josh ruiter

      and deflated by silly Nelson Cruz.

  • jp3
  • josh ruiter

    What is the average wins per team that WAR plays above. in other words…does a 0 WAR team project at 60 wins? 70? etc. Maybe a better way to ask it…what are the projected wins for said replacement?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A replacement-level team (using FanGraphs WAR) would project to win about 48 games.

  • Ballgame17

    This is the first I realized Russell hasn’t pitched. I think that’s attributed to the bullpen being an area of strength right now. Plenty of solid depth for ‘pen, so not too alarming. Theo is being transparent, per usual and it makes sense. We can all see this “plan” is about to start paying dividends because Baez/Bryant are knocking on the door. It’s coming guys and money not spent on Tanaka will be rolled into next years’ budget. Assuming there are guys to spend on, this has the arrow pointing up

  • Cheese Chad

    There’s a Waffle House a few blocks from anywhere once you are anywhere south of Kentucky.

  • jp3

    Brett if you haven’t seen this 2 minute section of this Jim gaffigan skit he’ll totally persuade you to eat at Waffle House. Among my favorite quotes, things you won’t hear at the Waffle House: “Nice job cleaning up!”

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qz1cfwFmv1w

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Why doesn’t anyone have video of the Olt homerun? I want to get a completely unscientific and fan-biased look at how he’s approaching the ball!

  • CubChymyst

    Is the waffle house a 24 hours waffle house? I’d go there for a late night snacks after a few drinks.

    • willis

      Isn’t that the best? There is one right across from one of the entrances to the casinos in Tunica…after a 12 hour gambling/drinking bender there is nothing finer than a waffle house meal.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    So he won’t be giving cookies away eh. Not until fans are throwing a tantrum amid empty seats at Wrigley. As for Russell I’m not surprised a bit. I was pretty down on him last year and expressed my desire to get rid of him this winter. To me he is going the route of Camp into oblivion. Both he and Camp had value in 2012 and sucked in 2013.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Haha- and you dismissed my suggestion 2 yrs ago that the Cubs FO is lacking in real major league experience like Giants and Tidrow- well obviously Ricketts was listening to me– ps to Brett – if you haven’t tried that Tucson Deli yet still time to have a good meal

  • Diehardthefirst

    The timing of Theos plan will coincide with the renegotiation of his contract — that’s the real Plan

    • CubFan Paul

      Solid point

  • Diehardthefirst

    Lilly adds credibility to the FO like Tidrow and Giants- still time to right this ship

  • Diehardthefirst

    This plan better yield results before the 30000 year old virus reported found yesterday spreads to kill us all

  • Stu

    Why is it that Cub fans have to be talked to like they are children. Cookies, really?

    If they don’t like the product on the field, they have a RIGHT to protest by NOT spending money on tickets. If these clowns can’t produce a winning team in a reasonable amount of time or at least a competitive team, spend your hard earned money elsewhere.

    I bet that would get their attention. But please stop the childish metaphors.

    • Jon

      I think of it is the “snobbish” east cost, “I’m better than you” mentality. They don’t mean it, but yeah, it comes off rough at times.

    • roz

      Damn, people really will criticize Theo for anything huh? Even though the Score guys brought up the metaphor in the first place. Tough crowd.

      • Jon

        Like I said, it’s an East Coast thing. They all think you are dumb and their shit doesn’t stink. It’s just not Theo, they all do it.

        • roz

          Oh seriously, just stop it. You’re calling Theo an East Coast snob for using a particular metaphor, one that he didn’t bring into the conversation. You’re grasping at stuff to criticize him for at this point. It’s pathetic.

          • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

            A metaphor presented to him by the radio host?

  • TTH

    No cookies, but Theo’s added a side of defiance to go with his healthy portion of arrogance. Best washed down with a bottomless glass of Koolaid and followed up with a dessert of 95+ losses.

  • brainiac

    the basic distinction is that theo simply doesn’t have the resources or support that he did in boston. he’s been forced to make lemonade, but jed isn’t creative enough to work as a chef.

    so we get a lot of talking points and PR, good lawyer talk. most of you are overly hopeful and gullible and you get indigent to have your bubble burst. but we have serious operations problems and serious financing problems, most of which are elective, not purposive.

    and there you have it. the past 6 months of arguments on here. the irony is that none of this can be fixed until the owners release money into the system. until revenues are no longer used for profits. these are the same guys who tried to sell bison dogs for $20 each in wisconsin and had 0 customers for months. it was all over the news. chock theo’s failed “plan” to another hiccup en route to our inevitable salvation.

    • Kyle

      He also didn’t inherit the running start that he did in Boston. It’s a bit upsetting to note that the longer he was in Boston, the more infrequent the playoffs became.

  • ssckelley

    mmmmmm….cookies!!!

    [img]http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Perfect-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies–450×675.jpg[/img]

    • ssckelley

      DAMN YOU HENDRY!!!!!

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

        HENDRY LEFT SOME REAL GOLD THERE BUT THEO IS THE ONE WHO SCREWED THE POOCH ON GETTING THAT PIC TO BECOME AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      • another JP

        Hendry was and still is an amazing executive. He’s done wonders with that talent he’s helping the Yankees accumulate– and look at how great their farm system now is. All with one of the highest payrolls in baseball.

        What a laugh.

        • Jon

          You do realize he’s just a special assistant to Cashman in NY?

        • brainiac

          sorry guys, hendry gave us years of great teams, or at least *tried* to. theo has mostly crapped on his own players and run the mlb team into the ground over 3 offseasons. he’s great at “branding” though. i’m sure he’ll make a great ceo once he leaves baseball operations.

  • salesguy

    Wow, comments board for this story is like a who’s who of persons who want to, and have been taking shots at the plan from day one. Never mind the facts:

    New CBA changed how clubs value prospects, and increased the difficulty of not only acquiring elite talent, but the difficulty of signing draft picks and free agent talent
    Farm system was a wasteland, and almost totally barren of elite talent
    Major league club was a hot mess of bloated contracts, head cases, and old vets (no value)
    Revenue problems/payroll restrictions, due to terms of sale and a stalled renovation
    Blockage of renovation plan by rooftops/city, stalling revenue development (payroll)

    But, don’t let these facts, and the fact that we will soon have new streams of revenue for payroll, renovated facilities, a top 5 farm system, and elite level talent soon to be on the major league roster, all in 3 years slow anyone down. It should have been done faster! Curse you Theo!

    • Jon

      “Farm system was a wasteland, and almost totally barren of elite talent”
      “But, don’t let these facts….slow anyone down”

      As noted the Cubs farm system was ranked middle of the road of 2011 and just had graduated some key pieces.

      I would suggest you do the same in regards to the facts.

    • Kyle

      “New CBA changed how clubs value prospects, and increased the difficulty of not only acquiring elite talent, but the difficulty of signing draft picks and free agent talent”

      Not exactly, but vague enough that I’ll give you a pass.

      “Farm system was a wasteland, and almost totally barren of elite talent”

      False.

      “renovated facilities, a top 5 farm system”

      I’ll bet you a million internet dollars that by the time the renovation, the farm system won’t be top-5 anymore.

      Everybody has top-5 farm systems sometimes. Hendry did it three times (as SD director and GM). In the last five years, 14 different teams have been ranked in the top 5 by BA. It’s just the cyclical nature of farm systems.

    • salesguy

      Kyle you’ve made this point about the farm system not being void of talent several times, Hendry was technically Fired when he signed Baez, and the others, and our top prospects were Josh Vitters, and Brett Jackson. Theo has multiplied that amount of talent several times over, with waves of talent on the Horizon, with well more headwinds than Hendry ever faced. And, I think you will be correct about the renovation timeline, that is because Bryant, Baez and possibly Olt, and Alacantra will be in Wrigley, gladly take the hit to the farm system for that. Oh and Key piece, they will all be properly developed.

      • Jon

        Alacantra another inherited piece…so about that wasteland of a farm system?

        • Big City Mick

          If Hendry still had been in charge we wouldn’t still have Baez, Alcantara, etc.

          • Jon

            pure conjecture.

            • Big City Mick

              During the Hendry years I was on board with the whole, “We don’t rebuild, we reload!” But, what did that get us? Especially at the end when he traded the farm for Garza when it was an obvious band-aid more so than the final championship piece. We had an aging, overpriced roster (he back-loaded every contract) and our farm system was scant with anything of value, not to mention it hadn’t produced anything of value on the MLB level other than Castro and now it’s arguable that he promoted him too quickly. This whole organization needed someone to hit the reset button and whether it’s Theo, Billy Beane, etc. someone had to do it. Theo’s a smart cookie (pun intended) and there’s nobody I would trust more except for maybe Billy Beane or Andrew Friedman. Theo’s pushed the snow ball down the hill and it’s gaining speed and size and you have to be BLIND not to see it.

              • half_full_beer_mug

                We get it, Hendry was terrible, he was/is responsible fro every bad contract, every bad trade, all of those terrible years where they didn’t make the playoffs.

                Remind me again how much better the “farm” was than Garza, and how much better they are than the players Garza returned? I’m sure that you are convinced we would have gotten those players anyway with or without Garza since Theo and Co are so good at what they do and Hendry was so terrible.

                • Big City Mick

                  Like I said, at the time, I was all aboard the Hendry train. He got us as close as we’ve ever been to the World Series in my lifetime. The 2003 playoffs were my favorite time ever until the bitter end and the promise that Theo made to return us to that, and beyond, year after year, is too good to pass up. I’ll gladly pay 4-5 years of absolute crud of an MLB roster for 10 years+ of consecutive playoffs and the possibility of a World Series.

                  • Edwin

                    Is 10+ years of playoffs realistic in this day and age? And does 4-5 years of a crud MLB roster gaurantee anything like that happening?

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Agreed.

              • Jon

                I have no idea what that has anything to do with my previous statement. Two of the Cubs top 5 prospects, both who could make impacts on the major league roster this year, were carryovers. Making the whole “barren farm system” thing a bit inaccurate.

      • Kyle

        There is, as always, a big difference between “Farm system is better now” and “farm system was a wasteland” then.

    • brainiac

      just for the record, i strongly support the minor league development plan. and strongly condemn the way that the cubs are being run from both logistical and administrative angles. is it theo’s fault that the organization is actually in worse shape than when he arrived, with an extremely unhealthy major league team and a deteriorating relationship with the neighborhood? i don’t think so. but i also think he needs to be a lot more effective and use less negative PR tactics.

  • Diehardthefirst

    A month ago I recommended watching the ARod special which was really all about Theo and Jed trying every which way to get him for BoSox- Theo came across as arrogant and Jed as over his head- these are the guys running the Cubs

  • Darth Ivy

    Don’t people get bored writing the same things over and over again?

    That said, we should’ve signed Granderson.

    • Darth Ivy

      oops, I mean “they”….damn it. I’ll go home now

  • candyland07

    When it comes to Javier Baez breaking camp with the Cubs, hopefully it because he is not needed on the Cubs roster and would be better to gain experience at a minor league level . Lets not forget that team Epstein is running a terrible major league team that has produce high draft compensations that has enable him to pick high draft choices.therefore the Cubs farm system should increase in ranking . Also since Team Epstein feels its necessary to punt seasons to get better draft choices and trade for fringe prospects while adding E. Jackson ( terrible season) as his only major free agent prospect it is without a doubt the Cubs farm system should rise and the parent team decline further.

    The Cubs are a terrible team and that reflect its front office. The Cubs ranked close to the bottom of every batting category for the past two years and still have a stagnate team that produces a poor quality of baseball at the major league level.

    The Cubs front office might be the best in acquiring young unproven broken talent and drafting blue chip prospect while posturing to so at the expense of the Cubs.

    The lipstick on the pig is still lipstick.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I don’t get the Theo bashers at all. The organization he inherited was horribly broken. He made it clear from Day One that he took this job to build things up the right way. And he emphatically said there would be no shortcuts.

    The Cubs weren’t going to spend their way into relevance via the free agency market. Nor was there anything much more to trade that wasn’t traded. The foundation of success is being built on a strong farm system. Just like what they have in Boston, St. Louis, Texas, Washington, Oakland, San Francisco. WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT, then free agency splashes can be made to augment the core.

    Never will get the Theo bashers. Never.

    • Darth Ivy

      Did you know that professional trolling is a real thing?

    • brickhouse

      Blackhawks1963 – The reason you don’t get Theo bashers is because they are not bashing Theo. The Theo supporters can’t handle when the truth is spoken about parts of the rebuild and that gets misunderstood as bashing.

      • Darth Ivy

        It’s bashing. We all wish that the Cubs were better over the last two years and going into 2014. The difference between the two camps is that some of us see light at the end of the tunnel while others don’t think the plan will work or that they’ll never spend on free agency. The bashers assume that the approach since 2012 will pretty much (not exactly, but pretty much) be their approach forever.

        The bashers view everything in a negative light and really only prefer to speak/write negatively about the FO/ownership (they do rarely say something positive).

        • brainiac

          yes but everything relies on 3-4 prospects transforming the team within the next 2 years. what free agents could we possibly sign to improve over the next offseasons? it’s unprecedented, and frankly impossible, for the current scaffolding to result in a winning culture, which is what they’re selling us. it might give us some 500 teams in the near future, but not much better. so the question becomes, what’s really going on? and the answer is “not much”. that’s the problem, they’re actually doing very little and branding it as a major transformation.

        • Jon

          They rarely give us something positive to praise.

        • Edwin

          My problem is that I look at the long term, and it seems filled with a lot of vague answers to questions like “What will the 2016 roation look like? What will the bullpen look like? What will the OF look like? What will the IF look like?”.

          We’re counting on being competative due to minor league players who haven’t even reached MLB yet, and on nameless “other pieces” who will be availbe, match up with our holes perfectly, and aquired in FA at some point.

          I see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I don’t know if it’s daylight, or a train coming the other way to smash me to pieces.

        • brickhouse

          The bashers only present the facts – It seems the plan backers don’t like or accept the facts and continue to push hope.

        • Kyle

          “The bashers view everything in a negative light and really only prefer to speak/write negatively about the FO/ownership (they do rarely say something positive).”

          I am remarkably easy to please. I’m *dying* for reasons to believe in Epstein. I jump all over his jock every time he gives me a halfway decent reason to.

        • half_full_beer_mug

          See that’s funny. Mainly because the majority of the conversation in this post is whether or not the narrative that many of the major proponents of “The Plan” is truth or fiction.

          Make no mistake about it, the vast majority of people understand that the Cubs as a franchise was broken and needed to be fixed. (The stage of broken seems to be up for debate) As always there are multiple ways to fix any situation and when Theo and company were hired they outlined their basic plan.

          Many things were said, and many of those things were probably taken too literal by a lot of fans. Problem is, they are getting to the end of the honeymoon for a lot of fans and those fans will begin to get critical.

          For sure there are people on here that will complain about certain figures in the Cubs organization no matter what they do. Pretty sure they could create a pill that cured cancer and some would complain it cost too much. While others will claim those same figures do no wrong. Then you have a few other posters (and Brett) who use facts and common sense to understand the world isn’t black and white but various shades of gray (or is it grey?).

          Not everything is bashing, in fact most of it is debating. Funny, I thought that was what blogs and message boards were for.

          • brickhouse

            It is easy to be critical of actual moves made by the front office by the lack of talent on the major league team. The financial condition of the team along with the lack of progress from revenue generating signs/jumbotron/renovation/tv deal/etc is open to debate as to the lack of progress on the field. I don’t believe this is the exact path Theo would have chosen if he had more resources and dollars available to the baseball operations budget.

            • brainiac

              agreed completely. unfortunately it’s a little *too* easy to be critical. and there’s just one reason for this. they aren’t trying in good faith. once they start working with some sportsmanship ethos my tune will change, for sure.

              • brainiac

                say what you will about hendry, but the man put everything into it. he signed lily from a hospital bed after a heart attack, for god’s sake. some of you guys have no sense of your own history.

                • mjhurdle

                  Hendry would make a heart-warming, Hallmark, made-for-TV movie with that touching story.
                  I’m not interested in using it to evaluate a GM, but the Lifetime channel might be.

            • half_full_beer_mug

              See I think it’s a little “too easy” to blame the financial part on Ricketts and claim that Theo knew nothing about it when he took the job.

              • brainiac

                this has been the grounds for me excusing some of theo’s clear missteps, almost amateurishly bad decisions regarding preparing for the future. i have no other explanation. either the team is hampered, the FO is hampered, or something has gone horribly wrong and all of theo’s critics in boston were right. he was given a good team to start and coasted for a while, and then failed? or he’s a great GM, a mediocre president, and has been blocked by ownership to make needed moves.

        • Darth Ivy

          Another attribute of the bashers is that they look for any opportunity to bash, which is evident in the responses above. Criticizing is one thing, obsession is another.

          • brainiac

            i’ll be the first to admit that i’m obsessed with the health of the cubs.

            but i’d also reframe your word “bash” to pragmatism. what is proposed and likely outcomes are dramatically different. let’s say that 4 prospects become all-star quality players by year 3. that still only equates to a medium-quality team without strong pitching or veterans. re-up garza and shark with those players, plus a choice signing or two and suddenly the puzzle fits better.

            instead they’ve dumped pitchers, dump on current pitchers, and refuse to provide lineup support for player development. it’s like chaos out there, called divinity.

            • Darth Ivy

              The bashing is not pragmatic. Two very different things.

        • D-Rock

          +1

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I wonder how many games Baez will start after his great performance? You would think that with Castro out for another week he would have that opportunity, but I think Theo is afraid that he might “dominate” the competition. We can’t have Baez stealing the lime light can we? Read between the lines and it’s all about another year of control and tanking the team for the draft pick. Lord forbid that we start winning games when it is inconvenient to the plan. I imagine Baez will get another start or two, but we’ll trot Barney and Bonafacio out there so there will be no controversy.

    • half_full_beer_mug

      I’m going to guess as many as the FO and management think he needs to get ready for the season and as few as needed so that he doesn’t risk injury.

  • Stu

    If Baez is able to perform at the Major League level, he should be there.

    • MatthewP

      That’s how I always felt. The concept of “maximizing our controllable assets by extending controllable years,” over simply “playing MLB talent that is MLB ready right now,” always bugged me a little.

      I’m not saying I don’t understand it, I’m just saying I don’t necessarily agree with it.

  • DarthHater

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