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haters gonna hate pandaIt hasn’t been a great day and a half, man. Starting in the 9th inning on Wednesday, it’s been a bit downhill. There was that game’s implosion on an otherwise great day (and the development of the attendant sunburn), there was the FCC’s nightmarish net neutrality proposal, there was the C.J. Edwards shoulder thing, the Sammy Sosa criticism, and then the silly cake flap. Oh, and the Cubs lost yesterday, too. I’m wearing a hard hat today, and I’d recommend everyone associated with the Cubs do the same.

  • Bloomberg did a “study” and made a fancy chart, purporting to come up with the smartest teams in professional sports, based on how much they’ve spent on payroll and how much they’ve won over the past five seasons, and the Cubs come in dead last out of 122 teams. It’s kind of interesting to look at, but it doesn’t really demonstrate what it purports to – it shows how well your team has done (with heavy emphasis on playoffs and championships) and how much they’ve spent on payroll, but “smart” is probably the wrong word, given the nature of baseball spending and player control (I could find a $5 million free agent contract for a 2 WAR player that is really “smart”; but in this system, it looks far less “smart” than having a 1 win player in his pre-arb years). Really, all this exercise tells us is that the Cubs have been very bad on the field over the past five years, and they had a lot of expensive contracts in the early years of this five-year window that didn’t produce a whole lot for them. Given that window of time, this is pretty much exactly how you’d expect this kind of study to turn out, and pretty much exactly why the Cubs are rebuilding from the ground up. They are behaving “smart” now, if nothing else.
  • (The Cardinals, by the way, are second overall, behind only the Blackhawks. No one can argue that the Cardinals haven’t been damn good, and damn efficient, over the past five years. Grumble.)
  • The Cubs called up two relievers yesterday to replace Blake Parker and Justin Ruggiano, meaning that they’re at an unusually large 13 pitchers right now. Usually, teams don’t stay with 13 pitchers for more than a couple days (bullpen is taxed, or a roster move is coming, etc.), but Ricky Renteria tells ESPN that the plan is to keep Neil Ramirez and Zac Rosscup in the pen “at least for 15 days with Ruggiano down.” Given that Ruggiano is going to be out a heck of a lot longer than 15 days with a grade two hamstring strain, and given that it’s hard to see the Cubs needing – or appropriately dolling innings to – eight relievers for such a long period of time, I’m not so sure we’ll actually see the Cubs at 13 pitchers for 15 days. I think what’s really going to happen is that, when Jake Arrieta is ready to return next week, and Carlos Villanueva is bumped to the pen, we’ll see the Cubs sort things out at that time, because they’re going to have to make a series of moves anyway. For this week, though, it certainly makes sense to have the extra reliever, given how much the bullpen has been taxed, and how much flexibility they have on the positional side.
  • Speaking of the pen, RR isn’t naming a closer, especially after Pedro Strop struggled in his first save opportunity. Renteria called the situation “organic,” presumably meaning that a closer will emerge as the weeks go on, rather than meaning his bullpen is pesticide free and locally grown.
  • Anthony Rizzo made Keith Law’s list of the top 25 players under 25, coming in at number 23. Hopefully there will come a day soon when the Cubs have more than one player on the list.
  • A very cool map of baseball team fandom across the country. It’s good to be the Yankees.
  • Danny Ecker caught up with Bill Wrigley, Jr. for his thoughts on the Wrigley renovation plans (positive), and his piece includes some interesting tidbits about the sale of the team to the Tribune Company – including the fact that Wrigley family could remove its name from Wrigley Field if the Cubs branded the stadium with another corporate name (e.g., Budweiser Park at Wrigley Field), not that the Cubs have indicated any interest in doing that.
  • Speaking of that horrible net neutrality decision, some folks asked yesterday where they could register their displeasure: Boing Boing has your answer here.
  • Jon

    It will be a fun exercise to see how much everyone pins this all on Jim Hendry even though Theo Epstein has been in charge three of the past five years and only really inheritance one “bad” contract(Soriano).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Hendry wouldn’t be the guy to pin this on – neither would Theo.

      • MaxM1908

        I personally blame Sam Zell. But, then again, I blame everything on Zell. Income inequality in America? Zell. Global warming? Zell. Price of gasoline? Zell.

        • renegade4196

          ^ this

      • Chet Masterson

        Really? I guess it doesn’t really matter, but it’s hard for me to look at that lineup in 2010 which took the 3rd highest payroll in baseball to a 75 and 87 record and not think the dude who put that team together gambled big a few years earlier (I don’t think he had a gun to his head when he gave Kosuke his deal) and it didn’t payoff.

        My favorite parts about this issue?

        1) I looked at a 75 -87 record and first said, “geez, that’s not so bad”

        2) When I Googled the Cubs 2010 record I got an ad for this on the side of the browser
        http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/121179832788?lpid=82
        Look at how many Rudy Jaramillo game worn jerseys you can buy!!! If you don’t like that, you can get yourself some Larry Rothschild game worn pants. Hopefully not even washed so you can feel the same sweat Larry did as he strolled to the mound to see why John Grabow just threw 12 straight balls.

    • CubFanBob

      Zambrano ?

    • BT

      Don’t worry Jon, we know WHATEVER the situation, you’re blaming Theo. Which actually makes your remark about people irrationally blaming Hendry pretty funny.

    • Darth Ivy

      Bradley? fukudome? Harden (4.09 ERA and $7 million, which was much more in 2009 than 2014)?

      • Brocktoon

        Rich Harden? Really? We’re going to stretch that much?

        • Darth Ivy

          Stretch? Maybe a tiny bit, but 4.09 ERA. $7 million was a lot more back then.

          • Brocktoon

            4.09 ERA was a lot better back then too.

          • Edwin

            His ERA- was 94 that season, and he was worth 1.9 WAR. He was easily worth his contract.

            • Darth Ivy

              Yeah, ok. Harden was a stretch. But he wasn’t the only name I brought up, either. So, it doesn’t really matter

  • chifords2000

    The Cubs at the major league level are not only generating no excitement, they continue to spin their roster wheels. I understand that the best still reside at AAA and lower, but when you continually bring in projects and your biggest free agent blast is Edwin Jackson (still not panning out nearly a third into the contract), what other conclusion can anyone come to? I will say the study does not at all take into consideration the widespread and necessary retooling of the minor league infrastructure so it’s a tad unfair in that respect.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I could come to a conclusion other than the Cubs being the dumbest organization in all of sports.

      • https://twitter.com/LouHemp beerhelps

        The New York Knicks immediately come to mind for me.

        • Spriggs

          The Bulls aren’t far behind.

          • Jon

            The Bulls? Yeah, no.

            • renegade4196

              Knicks, Raiders, Browns, Sacramento Kings….there’s plenty others. Not saying the Cubs shouldn’t be in that bunch though.

              • okiecubhawk

                Being a Dallas Cowboy fan I can confidently state that Jerry Jones heads the single dumbest organization in pro sports.

      • chifords2000

        Yeah there are huge holes in the “study”, but at the 35,000 foot national view, that’s the impression.

    • bbmoney

      It’s not like the results are a surprise given the methodology. I think the methodology is kind of silly and short sighted and doesn’t consider context.

      So given their exact methodology, it’s a fair conclusion. When I actually bother to use my brain and consider context it’s pretty easy for me to draw other conclusions. Not that everyone will agree with me, but whatever.

  • JakeMac

    That may be the greatest picture lead-in to the story I’ve ever seen here. Kudos.

    • CubsFaninMS

      It is quite awesome! I saw a man recently driving a very old long-bed Datsun pickup truck and apprently he wanted a 4 x 4 truck. So he bought two “4″ stickers and an “x” sticker from the store and stuck them on his truck where a logo would normally go. Haterz gonna hate! lol

    • Funn Dave

      Definitely.

  • Jim

    “…bullpen is pesticide free and locally grown”

    This.

  • NorthSideIrish

    For those of you interested in the draft…Dan does good work here.

    Dan Kirby ‏@DanMKirby 11m
    Just posted — 2014 MLB draft: 25 options for Chicago Cubs at No. 45 – http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft-25-options-for-chicago-cubs-at-no-45/42664 … via @TTFBaseball #Cubs #MLBDraft

    • Chad

      One I don’t see on there would be Keaton McKinney from Iowa. He is a big kid that throws hard. He won’t get much press now because Iowa has not started playing baseball yet, but he’s a sleeper I would love to see the cubs grab.

  • J. L.

    Who would’ve thought the Cubs were so popular in Denali Borough, Alaska?

  • http://BN Sacko

    My anticipation is like many others on our prospects and when they will come up and when they should and maybe when they will not. The team that is playing now looks so much worse then I expected which means another selloff. Then we are more likely to see these prospects..but what has happened and what will happen with the FO talking about Veterens protecting the young players. With this process do Rizzo and Castro become those protectors when they need to be protected themselves? There are no promises with the prospects making it. I’m getting real sceptical on this FO process in addition to who would they sign? When we have done nothing with guys like Shark and Wood?

  • jp3

    “Organic” huh? Ricky should’ve skipped that one on his new word a day calendar. I’m making shirts now that say, “Building the Cubs, the Organic Way”.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I think there was a so called honeymoon period extended to Theo and ownership by the fans and especially by the media. Last season really stressed the honeymoon and now it is over. The gloves are off, the marriage is in trouble.

    • Jon

      Nah, the honeymoon is still alive and well, IMO. If anyone in the media tries to say the slightest negative thing, they are browbeaten from many angles.

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

        “If anyone in the media tries to say the slightest negative thing in a stupid and trollish manner, they are browbeaten from many angles.”

        FTFY.

        • Jon

          Even Passan’s well reasoned piece got trashed by many.

          • mjhurdle

            it got trashed specifically because it wasn’t well-reasoned.

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

            If that is your example of a well-reasoned piece, we have nothing further to discuss, sir, and I say good day.

            • Jon

              I love reading Jeff Passan. He’s a bright guy. Occasionally, writers sometimes tell you things you don’t want to hear. He was a little too hard on Ricketts, but the off season was a joke, that much is true.

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                I like Passan too, a lot actually, but he didn’t do his research on that article and it showed. He took the very on the surface argument without digging deeper. I won’t accuse him of click baiting, but it was borderline.

        • KHRSS

          Trollish = Being skeptical of the plan

          The honeymoon is far from over, with the deadline to compete being constantly pushed back I think we are at least 3-4 years away from the honeymoon being over.

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

            Trollish = raising strawman arguments or completely ignoring new information that is brought to light.

            There have been a great many debates on this site about the rebuild plan. A great many of those have been decent and a great many of them haven’t.

            The ones that typically devolve into crap involve a lot of capitalization, the word “cheap” and a general rallying cry that can be summed up with: “SHEEPLE!!!!”

            Passan’s piece was written as if it was a monologe on sports radio and most of the “hate” for the piece was directed at how it was written, not what was said.

            • CubFan Paul

              I could put together a solid argument prominently using the word ‘cheap’. They’ve made it pretty easy.

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

                I could to, but it generally doesn’t happen that way.

              • BT

                Not if you have read and comprehended Brett’s article.

                • CubFan Paul

                  My reading & comprehension is fine, thank you.

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    *Are fine (Sorry Dave for taking your job)

                    • CubFan Paul

                      heh.

            • Stu

              Strawman argument=a tactic used to discredit an argument that is obvious.

              what is the definition of “is”

          • DarthHater

            Trollish = making asinine remarks like: “Trollish = Being skeptical of the plan”

    • mjhurdle

      i think it is more of a parent-child relationship.

      The Cubs as a parent have a better understanding and experience with the subject at hand.
      the majority of fans/media are the Veruca Salts thinking of themselves as mini-GMs, reading articles from ESPN and hearing podcasts from someone at Fangraphs. They see what they want(teams like Boston/STL/As) and they want it NOOOOOOOWWWWWW!

      The Cubs will continue to do what they think they need to and any changes will come by necessity and not because of the incessant whining from a fanbase. the fanbase will whine no matter what, and just like the spoiled brats throwing tantrums, the minute what they want shows up, they will come right back in droves.

      • Brocktoon

        So fans shouldn’t criticize THE PLAN? Was Jim Hendry granted this same courtesy?

        • mjhurdle

          yep, i definitely said no one can criticize. Good job picking up on that.

          • Brocktoon

            Then don’t compare unhappy Cubs fans to petulant children who want AN OOMPA LOOMPA NOW

  • jp3

    Hmmm… Renaming the stadium a possibility? If it’ll make us 50 cent I’m sure the FO and Ownership group’s mouths are watering.

    • Jon

      They should. Why are the Cubs still giving free advertising to Wrigley Chewing Gum? It’s not like the name means something deeper than that like “Solider Field”.

      • Voice of Reason

        They are not giving free advertising to Wrigley chewing gum? Last I knew its named Wrigley field, not Wrigley chewing gum field.

        Every time they use the word chase in newscasts are they giving free advertising to chase bank?

        • Jon

          What’s the big deal about the name “Wrigley” ? who gives a shit about “Wrigley”. Sell those naming rights and up the payroll.

          • Voice of Reason

            You’re exactly right Jon. When you are dealing with a small ball park and not a lot of sky boxes you have to look at all avenues of generating cash.

            Wrigley field? Nobody has even won a world series at the place. The team that plays there is known as the lovable losers.

            The name of the park means nothing. Sell the name if you can.

            • Jon

              All those fans that named their dog Wrigley might be pissed, but they would get over it.

    • jp3

      I changed my mind jon, I’m pretty sure they’d settle for a hot sandwich for the rights

      • Jon

        Full blown naming rights could bring in 15-20 million annually in revenue. They could name it Massengill Field for all I care, if the $$$ goes directly back onto the field.

        • jp3

          That’s odd they haven’t done that yet, don’t you think? Short of putting red bull across the back of the jersey they’ve left no stone unturned for a buck.

          • Jon

            They might be afraid of alienating even more fans, especially during this period, which I guess I understand. If/When the team is winning 90+ games and in the playoffs, they definelty should sell them and bank that extra revenue. No need to live in the past.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              By then, they’ll be raking in enough revenue to hit the luxury tax cap every year (and then some, if they wanted) without any issue. I think there are better ways to gain extra revenue. Wrigley Field is Wrigley Field.

              • Voice of Reason

                To a lesser extent they could sell the naming rights by branding it:

                “Fifth third bank presents Wrigley field”

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

                  Not as valuable and Wrigley might want to remove the name in which case the marquee out front has to be replaced.

                  This is an issue that has A LOT more weight with the casual fan than with most of us on here.

              • DarthHater

                “Wrigley Field is Weeghman Park.”

                FTFY

                • Jon

                  “Wrigley” literately means nothing. This isn’t “Yankee Stadium” or “Solder Field”. Sell it today and go into 2015 with ceiling of a 130-140 million dollar payroll.

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

                    Eh, naming rights to already named stadiums (especially stadiums that have been named that for nearly a century) never earn as much as new stadiums.

                    Hell, look at Sears/Willis Tower.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    “This isn’t ‘Yankee Stadium’ or ‘Solder Field’”

                    I’m trying to figure out what you mean by that. Are you saying that “Wrigley Field” isn’t as iconic a name and stadium as those two?

                    Because, if so … lulz.

                    • Jon

                      It isn’t named after a team and maintained that name over the years(Yankee Stadium).

                      It’s name isn’t to honor our serviceman and women(solider field). It’s named after the chewing gum company and the only reason it’s still named that is because its another reveumne opportunity the Tribune didn’t cash in on.

                      If the name change pisses off the average fan, the average fan is dumber than I thought. The game of baseball and the Cubs are bigger than a freakin name “Wrigley”

                      I feel like Walter in the Big Lebowski, people need to stop living in the past.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      Jon, just stop digging

                    • Edwin

                      One of the big themes of The Big Lebowski is that all the characters are living in the past/representations of different era’s.

                    • ssckelley

                      I think we are way past the point where anyone thinks of chewing gum when saying Wrigley Field.

                      They can sell naming rights but I would think they keep Wrigley Field as part of the name.

        • Voice of Reason

          This I agree with.

          I still like having that new furniture store called dump buy the naming rights.

          I could hear Len Kasper open up the telecast with: “welcome to the dump! Its time for exciting cubs baseball.”

      • JB88

        Listen, you can criticize this ownership for a number of their decisions, but this isn’t a dumb group. I’m sure there is a reason that the stadium hasn’t been renamed, and it is the same reason they aren’t looking to move: Because the name Wrigley isn’t synonymous with chewing gum, it is synonymous with the Chicago Cubs and that sort of branding isn’t easily replaced.

        My guess is that the Cubs have commissioned a number of studies or hired some very good marketing firms to study this precise question. If the Cubs ever rename Wrigley it is going to be because the naming rights so grossly outweigh the Wrigley Field brand that the Cubs would basically be dumb not to take the deal.

  • Unlucky 13

    The fandom map is extremely cool. I just wish there was a way to dig deeper beyond the top 3 teams. My zip code is extremely small, both in size and population. I wonder if I’m the lone Cubs fan, lol.

  • KHRSS

    “all this exercise tells us is that the Cubs have been very bad on the field over the past five years, and they had a lot of expensive contracts”
    Now they are bad with a lot of cheap contracts, so at least we can feel better about that.

  • DarthHater

    “Wrigley family could remove its name from Wrigley Field if the Cubs branded the stadium with another corporate name”

    So, the Wrigley family doesn’t want to pay one red cent to have their name on the stadium, but they still want to give orders? Tell you what. Get bent, Bill. I think the Cubs should see if Larry Flynt would be interested in buying the rights to “Larry Flynt Amphitheater at Wrigley Field.”

    (ed. The first version of this comment was much more colorfully worded, but I decided to spare Brett the aggravation) :-P

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Easy now. It’s just a right they have, based on when the team was sold. How does that make them the bad guy?

      • Jon

        Maybe not a bad guy, but just another dolt with his hand out. I honestly don’t know how TR puts up with this crap.

        • DarthHater

          I like your idea of Massengill as a sponsor. Fits well with the whole douchebag side of things.

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

          Eh…Wrigley Field will always be Wrigley Field.

          Renaming the stadium will piss off a lot more casual fans and earn a lot more negative press that it may be worth.

          • Voice of Reason

            So, the average fan isn’t going to a cub game because they changed the name of the field? Oh brother….

            Look around…. Chicago stadium…. comiskey park…. three rivers stadium….. riverfront stadium….

            • Voice of Reason

              And, this is the typical “cub fan” thinking. Oh no, we will tick the fans off by changing the name of the ball park. Worry about the product on the field not the name of the ball park.

              Negative fan perception and not going to games because of a name change? We haven’t won a world series in over 100 years yet people still go to the games.

              Let’s just win a fucking world series. I don’t care what you call it.

              I need a xanax.

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

                It’s about balancing the two.

                Stadium naming rights would be lucky to bring in as much as outfield advertising but cause a much bigger shitstorm.

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

              During a rough stretch…I bet you’d be surprised.

      • DarthHater

        “Easy now.”

        As I said, that was the “easy now” version. :-D

        More seriously, are you saying that they actually have an existing contractual right to remove their name from the place? If so, I did not know that.

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

          Either side can at any time.

    • jp3

      Yeah they are totally saying hey Cubs don’t send us a bill for keeping our name on the stadium, tell us when the meter is going to start running and we’ll peel out.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Hey Darth if Flint buys the rights we could call it ‘Fornication Field’.

    • Darth Ivy

      I doubt the Wrigley family ever takes their name off. They’re all about appearances. Example: they built a house on the lake, on a street where all the other houses were closer to the street which gave everyone huge backyards that lead to the bluff. It worked for everyone, so no one’s backyard was up against their neighbor’s house. Privacy for all. But then the Wrigley’s moved in and built their house as close to the bluff as possible. Why? To make their front yard and driveway enormous, which makes it look more impressive to people driving buy or pulling up. It served no purpose but for looks. Their backyard sucks. Their neighbors’ yards are right up on their house. Terrible layout, but it LOOKS impressive.

      So for the same reason, I doubt they want to drop their name from one of the most iconic buildings in the city

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I would love to see the Cubs open a can of whoop ass on Garza tonight, but I seriously doubt that CV is going to be able to hold down Aramis and Braun.

    • FortyFour

      Like to think that the Cubs will play hard against Garza after his comments and all. We all want to see Boni lead off with a bunt to Garza. Will Matt’s throw to 1st get airmailed or whipped into the ground? My answer is that it depends on which side of the mound the bunts goes (3rd base side – airmailed throw; 1st base – into the ground).

      • Brocktoon

        I’m pretty the Cubs play hard regardless of the opponent.

        • Funn Dave

          I’m pretty, too.

  • Voice of Reason

    You have to look at the bloomberg study in a different way.

    The cubs finally finished first at something!

  • BlameHendry

    The chart is pathetically simplistic, only taking two inputs – wins, and payroll – and calculating a $$$ spent per win ratio. It’s no secret that MANY teams around the league have a lower payroll and win a lot more games than the Cubs. The Bloomburg “study” is way too simple to determine how “smart” an organization’s spending is.

    That being said, I still completely disagree with a lot of the things Theo has done in his time here (hold on – let me get my suit of armor in preparation for all the rocks being thrown at me while I question everyone’s savior) and things like signing Jackson to 4-years $52 million is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to “smart spending.” The Veras contract? That’s just a fluke and it’s a very small contract. But there have been a handful of trades where Theo was blatantly ripped off and he flopped on international players like Puig and Cespedes (and you could even say Tanaka although he wouldn’t have been a bargain like Puig or Cespedes). Oh and the Anibal Sanchez ordeal – which has turned out to be a bargain for the Tigers. Topping their offer still would have been a good deal for us.

    The only positive piece of Theo’s tenure in Chicago that I see is the Rizzo trade, and even that wasn’t a steal of a trade as Cashner turned out to be a stud like many people knew he would. It was a fair, even trade that gained us a bat but lost us a pitcher. That would have been fine if we didn’t desperately need pitching more than we need power bats (which we also need).

    So in a way, ranking Theo among the “dumbest” GMs in the past few years isn’t entirely unfair to me.

    • Voice of Reason

      You think the ricketts or tribune company care where they are ranked in terms of being dumb in the eyes of some study?

      All they care about is $$$. From a business perspective the cubs are one of the smartest professional teams.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “(hold on – let me get my suit of armor in preparation for all the rocks being thrown at me while I question everyone’s savior)”

      You have to understand: it’s saying things like that – and not the point you made – that makes people want to throw e-rocks at you. You’re not some white knight riding in horse of truth, carrying with him the last ounce of intelligence to be found. You’re just a guy – like I’m just a guy – with some thoughts on a subject. That doesn’t me you an idiot, and it doesn’t make me one either. Just offer your thoughts, and spare everyone the pedestal.

      • Edwin

        It’s like evey poster is Don Quixote these days.

        • jp3

          Who is Don Q and can he hit or close out games;)

          • Fishin Phil

            Don Q does not fit the plan, well past his prime years already.

    • mjhurdle

      “The only positive piece of Theo’s tenure in Chicago that I see is the Rizzo trade”

      ya, im pretty down on that Marshall for Sappelt and Torroyes trade too. Definitely not a positive at all.

    • cubbiehawkeye

      I’m ordering a Travis Wood jersey as we speak.

    • Chad

      So many people knew Cashner was going to be a stud. That’s why all the GMs were lined up outside trying to give a highly touted power hitting prospect to the cubs. hindsight is a beautiful thing. Too bad most of the times it comes through the use of narcissistict blinders

      • Brocktoon

        Wait, didn’t we get a highly touted power hitting prospect for him?

    • NorthSideIrish

      I have a hard time blaming the Cubs FO for Puig or Cespedes too much. That deal that Cespedes got was crazy because he hits free agency after four years and it didn’t make any sense to pay a guy that much without getting the full amount of control. I think Oakland got a pass because many assumed they signed him to flip him down the road so they probably didn’t care about the amount of control.

      The Puig we see now isn’t the guy who showed up to his workout. He was 30 lbs overweight and not at all explosive at the time and many people mocked the Dodgers for that deal. He got himself into incredible shape after signing and showed up to Spring Training looking like a different person.

      In hindsight, both players look like guys we’d like to see in the Cubs OF, but both deals were considered questionable at the time.

      • Jon

        I mean, you can make excuses for every FA that missed on. But bottom line is that we have a massive talent gap, especially in the outfield, these guys were available, and they didn’t get them. They really would have been nice to have.

        • Darth Ivy

          a reason and an excuse are different.

        • terencemann

          If you signed Ellsbury and Choo (the only 2 free agents who were worth it), it would cost $35MM this season. That would push the Cubs payroll up to one of the highest in the team’s history and only be a drop in the bucket toward competing considering the rest of the offense and bullpen. In 2016, that number goes up to 44MM and you’d be blocking some solid young outfielders in order to play a 32 year old in centerfield and a 34 year old in right field.

          These guys aren’t special. There will be more good free agents when the Cubs are more prepared to make use of them.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed, people forget that when the Dodgers signed Puig, a lot of people thought that it was an over-reaction to “just missing” on Cespedes and Soler! (The Dodgers were in heavily on both of those players, too.)

        However, we have to recognize that the Cubs (and Dodgers, who supposedly made Cespedes an offer similar to what the Cubs offered him) were not going to suddenly “match” the A’s offer. If they even were told of the A’s much higher offer, then chances are good that neither FO really thought that it existed: after all, there is no verification process for offers, and the competing offers seemed to be pretty similar to each other up to that point. At any rate, they almost couldn’t match the A’s offer: if they did, then that agent would know that he could get either organization (or any of the other organizations that supposedly were close on Cespedes, such as the Sox) to bid against itself pretty easily.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Yes just ignore that he signed Paul Maholm and turned him into Arodys Vizcaino. He signed Scott Feldman and turned him into Jake Arietta and Pedro Strop. He traded Sean Marshall for Travis Wood. He traded 3 months of Matt Garza for 3 current Major Leaguers and a top 50 prospect in baseball. He picked up guys like Luis Valbuena, Hector Rondon, and Emilio Bonifacio off the scrap-heap.

      At the time, the Puig contract was seen as a MASSIVE overpay and Cespedes took a 4 year deal which would not have benefited the Cubs at all (Plus he hasn’t even been that great). Tanaka not only got a giant contract, but also fleeced the Yankees by getting a full no-trade clause AND an opt-out clause.

      Andrew Cashner is good, but he got a stud power hitter for a guy who still has only had 1 full season of a starter and is 3 years older than Rizzo. Not to mention that Cashner’s home/road splits leave something to be desired.

      The Edwin Jackson contract isn’t great, but he was 28 at the time, and has thrown 160 innings in 7 straight seasons. Is he worth 52 million? Probably not, but that deal isn’t the albatross everyone makes it out to be.

      Lastly, the Cubs never had a shot at Anibal Sanchez. He wanted to stay in Detroit all along and his agent only brought the Cubs into the conversation to get Detroit to increase their offer. The Cubs were used in this situation plain and simple.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Oh and the Anibal Sanchez ordeal – which has turned out to be a bargain for the Tigers. Topping their offer still would have been a good deal for us”

      Sanchez never gave the Cubs a chance to top the offer. Sanchez went to the Tigers and said “this is the best offer I got: will you top it?” The Tigers said: “Yes.”

      Finé.

      • Darth Ivy

        and last year was an outlier for Sanchez, hence making it a bargain. I’m glad the Cubs don’t give out contracts valued on potential outlying season

        • Jon

          “i’m glad the Cubs don’t give out contracts valued on potential outlying season”

          Yeah, that’s been working out phenomenally.

          • Darth Ivy

            You WANT the cubs to give out free agent contracts based on expecting potential outlying production? I’ve made it clear around here that I wish ththeyve spent more money. But there’s a middle ground between what they’ve been doing and paying out based on potential outlying production.

          • Darth Ivy

            Wait, do you even know what “outlier” means?

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          Anibal Sanchez is easily worth the contract he got, outlier season last year or not. That doesn’t change the fact that the Cubs never had a legit shot at signing him

          • Darth Ivy

            Easily? No. I thought he got the absolute most he should’ve gotten based on his career through 2012. Even if the cubs had another shot to make a bid, I wouldn’t have been disappointed if they chose not to

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Do you really think Homer Bailey is worth more than Anibal Sanchez??

              • Darth Ivy

                Now? No. But Anibal Sanchez had a breakout/outlier year last year AFTER he signed his deal, and the market for pitching got more expensive for Bailey when he signed his contract. Those things do matter.

                you can’t expect teams to pay players valued on hopes of a breakout, outlying season. And you can’t be surprised that the free agent market is simply getting more expensive year by year.

                Sanchez’s two years before his contract: 2.4 WAR, 3.8 WAR
                Bailey’s two years before his contract: 3.2 WAR, 2.5 WAR

                Their WARs are pretty even there. Then price in the market getting more expensive over the year, and they sound about right. Both players seemed to be at market value, While I wouldn’t mind the Cubs spending a little over market value for a free agent pitcher, I wouldn’t be disappointed if they stay away from overpaying, either.

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  You did 2 years only, but 3 years before the deal, Sanchez had 3.2 WAR and while Bailey’s was .4.

                  I guess I’m just a big fan of Anibal, I think he was a very underrated pitcher in Miami and really wish his interest in coming to the Cubs was real.

                  • Darth Ivy

                    I used two years because that’s what the Reds used to value Bailey’s contract.

                    I’m a fan of Anibal, too. He’s on one of the fantasy team. Gets a ton of strikeouts. On a winning team. So far this year (small sample size), he’s looked more like the pre-2013 Anibal. Too many walks. Not leaving enough guys on base. When both those things turn around, his .221 FIP should shine through a little more (which is actually better than his FIP last year). His GB% will come up a little, too.

                    And yeah, I always wondered if the Cubs FO was doing Anibal’s agent a favor by jumping in the market for him. I would guess not, though, because the Tigers’ pre-Cubs bid must have been well below market value for him. So it would’ve just made sense for a team in the SP market to make a bid (which, the Cubs were definitely in that market, later signing Jackson. Oh, if only the Cubs had Sanchez instead of Jackson. A man can dream)

                  • Darth Ivy

                    And there was definitely some eyebrows raised when the Reds gave Bailey that extension. If my memory serves me correctly, people were a little surprised with that. They showed him the money

                    • Jon

                      Not here. Everyone was sad because of all the upcoming possible FA pitchers, he was the most ideal because of his age.

  • Stu

    The smartest people are those season ticket holders who are PAYING (All caps for emphasis) for FUTURE success, whenever that comes.

    • Brent Kennedy

      Well, I can’t speak for all season ticket holders, but I have season tickets to enjoy my favorite baseball team play in my favorite stadium. All while having a great time and making memories with my family and friends.

      After the rebuild (I am on board with the plan) my resale ticket value should increase. That will be an added benefit. Thanks for your concern.

  • Dustin S

    The Bloomberg article was overly simplistic and kind of lazy writing. It’s not exactly apples to apples to compare teams (after the fact, no less) like the Blackhawks for example who have won 2 Stanley Cups in the last 5 years, to the Cubs in the middle of a massive rebuild and at the tail end of some less than ideal long-term contracts like Soriano. The only way an article like that would even make a modestly accurate argument across leagues and different sports would be to compare a much longer time period, like the last 25 or even 50 years. Then it would at least cover the peaks and valleys of rebuilds and successful times, factor in drafting, how trades for prospects pan out, and not just cover the time period during a rebuild and the end of some contracts.

    What is even lazier writing are the other writers that jumped on that article to write the Cubs suck, or the Cubs front office has failed, etc. arguments. A better article specific to the Cubs evaluating the front office would be better, but if you start looking at the few signings they’ve done, the trades, how prospects have looked early, etc. the front office would look pretty good. And unfortunately that doesn’t make an attention grabbing title as well as something like “Cubs spending success last in all of sports…” sounds, even if the actual data is nonsense.

    • terencemann

      It gives far too much weight to playoff game wins and championships, imo. Using only 5 years of data is also terrible since it just captured the “window of contention” for some teams. Teams who were employing a scorched earth strategy toward winning are now finding that it’s catching up to them.

      Like you said, though, the writers using those standings as proof of anything are even lazier than the person who wrote the original article.

      I’d love to see Cubs fans pick up the moniker #122org just to stick it to Bloomberg over the next several seasons.

      • Brocktoon

        And I’m always in favor of mocking Dave Cameron.

  • Santos Toupee

    Probably wrong, but I predict Ramirez is here to stay-unless they want to turn him back into a starter.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Theo is playing possum as league wide pitching injuries force teams to beg for Shark

    • mjhurdle

      Diehard’s back!

    • Jason P

      Diehard!

    • DarthHater

      Meanwhile, the Cubs are dogging it while fans are giving them the bird and Brett continue to lionize everything the FO does…

      Welcome back, Diehard! :-D

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