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My offseason predictions and 2013 outlook


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#1 5412

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:05 PM

Hi,

As we will see our last game of the season on Thursday and then head south, I wanted to share some feelings on the state of the team. After reading a lot of the good stuff Brett has posted, and looked at the minor leagues I have come to some conclusions. I think several factors are coming in to play.

1. There is one heck of a lot of payroll money being freed up. All that is left to go is the Soriano contract if I am correct. That means that Byrd, Silva, Soriano, Dempster and others are finally off the payroll.

2. While much of that money has gone into increasing scouting and player development staff, the team will have plenty of off season flexibility.

3. Whether they want to admit it or not, marketing considerations come in to play. After this year it will be hard to raise ticket prices, and there have been a lot of empty seats lately. Paying an extra few million for payroll to keep the team close to .500 will pay for itself in increased revenue.

4. While Mighty Mouse may be in Boise, Peoria or Daytona, he is not ready to come in and save the day for a few more years.

5. I forsee the team doing an entire analysis of the team depth position by position. Realistically, I am not impressed with Jackson or Vitters. I have no clue if they will be written off but here is what I do see. They may well find some decent free agent signings they have to compete with; particularly if the depth behind them is still in Daytona, Peoria or Boise. Spending a few million; particularly for another decent outfileder makes sense to me; particularly if they find a taker for Soriano.

6. Depending on the money, they may well bring Ian Stewart back or someone like him if they can get a 2 year deal.

7. Decisions will have to be made about Junior Lake and Baez. If Baez is going to be fast tracked to the major leagues, what position does he play? He could easily end up at 3B. From what I understand he can literally play anywhere in the field. He might just make a heck of a CF.

8. Theo and Co. made it clear going into this season when they kept Randy Wells that having five starters was not enough. They knew they needed more, if nothing else for health reasons. I see them shoring up the pitching in the off season with some servicable parts.

9. Jack Welch at GE described changing a corporate culture as similar to changing the tire on a car while driving down the road. Great analogy. The Cubs, for marketing purposes if nothing else, will have to improve next year, and find a way to do so without compromising the scouting and player development system. They have a lot more money to spend, and know they will get a return on that investment with increased attendance if they improve their record.

10. Personally, I think this has been a wonderful year in the big scheme of things. We dumped a lot of payroll. We have auditioned a record number of kids. Most have made it pretty easy to evaluate based on their numbers, we know what holes have to be filled, and the minor league pipeline is the best we have seen in quite some time.

Bring it on! 2013.

regards,
5412

#2 Carew

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 06:24 PM

Sir, I like the way you go about your business.

#3 Rated Rookie

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:35 AM

Point #3 on your list is a big one. Not just ticket prices, but revenue in general. Remember, a baseball team as an organization goes well beyond the players and coaches.

Even if the majority of the empty seats are paid for, empty seats don't buy beer, nachos, and bison dogs, and that's money lost.

Another factor is the White Sox. Like the Cubs, they've been very inconsistent over the past decade, with a great year here and an awful year there. However, if they can manage to string together a few good seasons in a row, people might just start attending their games. I know that whatever the Sox do, they simply can't bring in fans, but from what I hear, the neighborhood around the Cell is being built up as more of an area where people can hang out before and after the game. Couple that with sustained success by the team, and they could actually bring in fans on a regular basis.

Granted, the die hard Cubs fans won't jump ship, at least I hope not, but there's the fair weathers as well as new generations of fans who aren't as likely to put up with the "loveable losers" act, especially with a winning team across town. While it's easy to say "well who needs them," but the answer is simple: their money is as good as the die hard fans.

With this in mind, The Cubs should consider putting something resembling a winning team as soon as possible rather than wait until we've become Chicago's "other team," and then scrambling to create another overpriced Frankenstein's Monster of a team to bring the Cubs back to relevance, and more importantly, profitability.

This brings me to what I've been saying all along: so long as we're not compromising the future plans, there's no reason not to go out and make some quality acquisitions and put something resembling a contender on the field for next year.

#4 Dave H

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:00 AM

I like the cut of your jib there sir. You bring up very valid points. As for ticket prices in #3, look for them to be "creative" in which games get increased and which ones won't. I really see good things down on the farm. Pitching has lagged behind but we could probably see that one coming. Theo and company have put a lot of time in and have made progress. One step at a time I say.

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#5 CubChymyst

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:35 AM

Your point 8 about keeping Wells specifically for insurance reasons makes me think Voldstad will be on the team next year simply for than pitching depth. Keep him in the minors to start next year and if he finally puts it all together then great. If not then he will only been seen at Wrigley if injuries and trades deplete the starting pitching again. If the cubs are in the running for another high pick next year Voldstad might be the perfect pitcher to throw out there,

#6 bearzs99

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:17 AM

unless a team offers up a couple of major league ready talent for garza
(dont think it will happen )..
i see them opening up 2013 with garza, samardzija, and wood..
So via FA or trade their going to need to bring in 2 starters..

i think their going to get a couple of veteran relievers for the bullpen..

as far as everyday players..

C. castillo 1B rizzo 2B barney SS castro CF jackson

those 5 will definately be in the line up opening day..

soriano will be traded to an AL team and i wouldnt be suprise if dejesus is then moved to LF..

3B.. unless they bring in david wright or trade for a major league ready prospect ( ala rizzo ) .. i can see them going with ian stewart again..

RF. they need to go out and get a run producing RH hitter here, someone who can provide protection behind rizzo..


the cubs arent that far off with the everyday players, with the 5 they have up now and kids like soler and baez a couple seasons away..

they just need to fix their pitching for the rotation and the bullpen

#7 fromthemitten

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 12:26 PM

I'd rather see them use the money coming off the books to grab a couple innings eaters and a serviceable 3B (I don't know what their obsession with Valbuena is he's a backup at best) on a short-term contract and use the rest of the money on quality minor league instructors and upgrading facilities throughout the organization rather than make a big splurge on the FA market this offseason.

ps lots of quality posts recently!

#8 CubChymyst

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 04:07 PM

I'd like to see one bigger name free agent acquisition. It has been pointed out that not all prospects work out and that the cubs advantage in the NL Central is a financial one. I'd like to see the cubs get a guy like Bourn or B.J. Upton. It will be difficult to fill all of the holes in the line up at once so picking up one guy each year would not be a bad idea. If in a few years all of the prospects are working out we can trade who ever we pick up for more prospects while paying most of his salary. Its not like prospects cost a lot of money to field. The Cubs have the financial advantage in the NL Central and I'd like to see them use it. The cubs can have 1 or 2 "bad contracts" on the books and still have the flexibility to pick up someone or extend a young player.

#9 Katie

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 04:55 PM

I like many of the points you made and I agree with them. While this year was incredibly painful and downright agonizing at times, there were some bright spots. Who picked Barney to break Ryno's errorless streak? Who thought Rizzo would really truly be this good, this fast?

I'd like for them to field a vaguely competitive team next year without sacrificing the core youth movement. Will it be another painful year? Most likely. It's important to stay the course. This is the time for the FO to rebuild. The fan base hasn't turned on them. Yet.
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#10 Tommy

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 05:25 PM

I gotta think if they can add some pitching depth, we can be considerably better. Rizzo, Jackson, Castillo, and virtually anyone at 3rd base for an entire year should improve our team over a full season. And who knows, maybe we sign a big name free agent like others have suggested here. I was initially against signing someone like Upton because of all our young OF talent in the minors, but hey, if we have the money, who knows.

Still very excited to see how this whole thing plays out. I've never been more interested in the Cubs in my life (with the exception of missing the WS by 1 game!). This whole experience with Theo is like watching a chess match for me, and I really do believe that he is going to deliver on his promise to bring us a WS and sustainable playoff contender.
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#11 5412

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:18 PM

I gotta think if they can add some pitching depth, we can be considerably better. Rizzo, Jackson, Castillo, and virtually anyone at 3rd base for an entire year should improve our team over a full season. And who knows, maybe we sign a big name free agent like others have suggested here. I was initially against signing someone like Upton because of all our young OF talent in the minors, but hey, if we have the money, who knows.

Still very excited to see how this whole thing plays out. I've never been more interested in the Cubs in my life (with the exception of missing the WS by 1 game!). This whole experience with Theo is like watching a chess match for me, and I really do believe that he is going to deliver on his promise to bring us a WS and sustainable playoff contender.


Hi,

I looked at my old Die Hard Cub fan card and my number is #346.

First of all thanks to all for the kind words. I totally agree they need to spend the money on inning eating starters and at least one good outfielder. i saw a lot of folks put Jackson's name in as a keeper, and guys are not so positive on Vitters. Personally, I think it is a mistake to think Jackson will be able to live up to his so called potential. He might, me might not; therefore the team better have some combat ready options.......much better than Tony Campana.

Give me the benefit of the doubt and say we have four keepers (excluding pitchers), Castro, Barney, Rizzo & DeJesus. That is half of your everyday starting lineup. By the end of next year if we are up to six, with decent pitching....particularly with the kids in the low minors moving along, we will all be pretty excited.

Much like they kept Wells for insurance, I can't believe they will put all their money on Jackson. Help may be on the way, but it is a long way from Daytona to Wrigley.

regards,
5412

#12 fromthemitten

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 12:49 AM

I'd like them to hire an ex-catcher to work exclusively with Castillo on the offseason to work on the parts of catching that he's struggling with like how he's not "framing" pitches.

#13 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 07:02 AM

I'd like them to hire an ex-catcher to work exclusively with Castillo on the offseason to work on the parts of catching that he's struggling with like how he's not "framing" pitches.

I heard Koyie Hill is available.

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#14 Fishin Phil

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:15 AM


I'd like them to hire an ex-catcher to work exclusively with Castillo on the offseason to work on the parts of catching that he's struggling with like how he's not "framing" pitches.

I heard Koyie Hill is available.


That is actually not a bad idea. Calling games and framing pitches were a few of the things he actually did well.

If Koyie offered to throw in a few woodworking lessons, I would pass on that.
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#15 Glenn_i

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 04:33 PM

I can agree that they have a young core to start building on. Barney has been an exceptional surprise this year. Rizzo also has been better than expected at this point. Now lets start a discussion on the holes:

1) Closer and bullpen. They have been a very weak area this year. Marmol is not the answer and should be trade bait. Some consistency in the relief pitching areas that do not give up multiple run innings is an area of need. I believe this is the biggest area that will help in the W department.

2) At least 2 more starting pitchers. Dempster will be missed. They need some serviceable innings eaters. Don't sell the farm - get what you can in the FA market to help during the "bridge" to the future.

3) Third outfielder; DeJesus is a grinder and a lock for one position. Soriano has had a great year, not sure if he can repeat that - if anything hopefully it has increased his trade value. His defense has improved to the point that he is serviceable. Offensively he helps in an area that is not a strength - driving in runs. I am not certain that Jackson is the answer at this point. I will call the second position filled with a combination of Soriano/Jackson (baring a trade) and still have the 3rd slot open. Brain LaHair should be given a chance to see if he can fill that, but would still prefer a new addition to the outfield.

4) Third base - glaring opportunity for improvement.

5) Catcher. Wellington is an option but not sold on him as a foundation.

Improvements in these areas will make next year much more interesting (and pleasurable) to watch.




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