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theo epstein and jed hoyerWe had a great first day in the BN Blogathon fundraiser for Make-A-Wish, topping $2,000 already! That said, you’ve got a long way to go if you want to get me all silly at the Trade Deadline, and keep me up for 30 straight hours ($6,000) or as much as 37 straight hours ($12,000).

  • As the Cubs play – and beat – the Red Sox this week, it’s been fair to reflect upon the imported front office’s process in Boston versus the one it’s undertaking now in Chicago. As GM Jed Hoyer told Patrick Mooney, it’s different. “We inherited something very different when we all got to Boston,” Hoyer said, per Mooney’s piece for CSN. “A lot of great players were already there and the farm system wasn’t very strong. That’s why we took a lot of pride in what we built in ’07.But those two processes will never be the same. There’s a different CBA, a different ability to hoard draft picks, a different free-agent landscape and a ton more talent available on the free-agent market back then. And we just inherited a ton of talent here. Dan Duquette deserves a lot of credit for a lot of things that happened in ’04.” It was never the case that these guys – Epstein, Hoyer, McLeod – would win in Chicago just because they’d done it in Boston, no matter how many times folks remarked that they were just importing everything from the Red Sox. And as Hoyer notes, the Cubs’ front office couldn’t even do it the same way if they wanted.
  • The idea has always been simply that this was a very smart, very hard-working crew, guided by the right set of overarching principles of organization construction. That stuff will play in a big market or a small market, with a large budget or a tiny budget, and before the CBA and after it. The proof will come when the team is winning at the big league level, but I remain heartened by the development so far. Anyone want to argue that things don’t “feel” better about this team right now than at any time in the past 2.5 years?
  • Junior Lake is in a deep slump, hitless in his last 15 at bats with 9 strikeouts. He’s hitting .173/.189/.231 in his last 17 games, with 21 Ks in 54 plate appearances. Those 21 Ks are stacked against just 1 walk and 1 extra-base hit. Yikes. Rick Renteria is not thinking about a demotion, and says it’s just a valley for Lake (CSN, Cubs.com). Unless the Cubs believe time at AAA will cure Lake’s ongoing whiff issues – which are, themselves, subject to peaks and valleys – I don’t see much point in discussing a demotion.
  • Think the Cubs did well to get Javier Baez 9th in the 2011 draft? Baseball Prospectus does a re-draft, now knowing what we know, and Baez goes second, behind only Jose Fernandez, in an extremely deep draft. The Cubs don’t get too burned, though, given the depth – they still land Archie Bradley at number nine.
  • Patrick Mooney on the Farrell family, which connects the Red Sox and the Cubs.
  • Another great Tommy John read in the Hardball Times.
  • Ever wonder how much a minor league baseball franchise is worth? Well, the Dayton Dragons are reportedly selling for $40 million. Although that’s a Low-A team, it’s a particularly successful one, and that price is a record for MiLB.
  • Your visual update on the Blogathon fundraiser:

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