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So what were you expecting?


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#1 Rated Rookie

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:23 AM

To those ready to chalk up Epstein as an epic fail, what were you expecting from him when you were celebrating his signing?

 

To immediately take what he was given and spin it into a contender? Because lest we forget, when he took over the Red Sox, he built off a perenial 90 game winner. Some of his large scale trades may have paid off, but at the time, his team was strong enough that he could afford to give up prospects for win now players. He could probably do some trades similar to those right about now, but it would derail what he's built, and even if he did use trades and big FA signings to crank us up to an 80-90 game winner, it wouldn't be long before we were back to a roster heavy in aging players with large contracts. Pretty much exactly what Jim Hendry would have done the past two offseasons.

 

His FA signing record doesn't seem to be anything special, at least post 2005. A lot of them were disasters. Lackey, Dice-K, Crawford anyone? Others like Beckett and A Gon may have worked out, but they were the type of signings that any big market GM would make.

 

His draft record and the farm system are where he shined. To anyone ready to railroad him out of town, turn off the crap on WGN, WCIU, or Comcast Sports Net for the next year or two and follow the minor leagues. Every level. But before you do so, take a look at what they looked like when he took over. To me, he seems pretty much as advertised so far as far as his existing strenghts.

 

Not his fault that fans had delusions of becoming an instant 90 game winner. My thinking is that rather than a "new aged" GM, a lot of the people who were so psyched about Epstein to begin with really wanted Red Sox ownership.

 

 



#2 Tommy

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:49 AM

 a lot of the people who were so psyched about Epstein to begin with really wanted Red Sox ownership.

 

Nailed it.


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#3 Brett

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:07 PM

 

 a lot of the people who were so psyched about Epstein to begin with really wanted Red Sox ownership.

 

Nailed it.

 

I think there remains a hope that that's what's coming in the next few years.



#4 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:19 PM

 

 

 a lot of the people who were so psyched about Epstein to begin with really wanted Red Sox ownership.

 

Nailed it.

 

I think there remains a hope that that's what's coming in the next few years.

 

Yes, except for the douchiness. But, with the spending definitely. Just make sure that when we start trading some of the prospects that there is enough left in the cupboard.


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#5 hansman1982

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:19 PM

 

 a lot of the people who were so psyched about Epstein to begin with really wanted Red Sox ownership.

 

Nailed it.

 

 

Considering the shit fest of the 2012 Red Sox (when their ownership seemed to be involved) and that the current team is still heavily made up of Theo acquired players, I think Theo is better than these two seasons would seem to indicate.  Heck, they shed $20M in payroll and are vastly superior WITHOUT major free agency acquisitions.

 

To the broader point, I expected this (heck I was calling for it in 2011).  Prior to the fire sale last year, this team was very much a middle-ish of the road, rebuilding team.  I think the fans got themselves (myself included) so worked up about acquring either Pujols or Fielder, that when a major splash wasn't made in the 2012 class, it ruined Theo in their eyes.

 

This year should be a better team than last year's team and I fully expect next year's team to have a reasonable-ish chance to contend. 

 

Free agency is just a god-awful way to build a team through (unless you either sign the right 1-year guys or the superstars).  If a GM looks at a team, realizes that there are slim chances to contend without spending a vast amount of money, and then also sees that fewer players will be hitting the FA market in the coming years to replace guys who get hurt or become ineffective, why does it make sense to load up on contracts?



#6 hansman1982

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:21 PM

 

 

 a lot of the people who were so psyched about Epstein to begin with really wanted Red Sox ownership.

 

Nailed it.

 

I think there remains a hope that that's what's coming in the next few years.

 

 

The Red Sox also benefitted greatly from having decades of previous good teams, a strong team and farm system AND a renovation of their ballpark right as those owners came in.   

 

The Cubs, kinda, had the opposite.



#7 FFP

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:40 PM

Well, the "decades of previous" Sox teams weren't that good before current ownership. (Although one or two years they were heartbreakingly pretty good). And I honestly was near totally ignorant of farm systems before Henry era so I can't say much to that, Hansman. (Although I am aware of the Dan Duquette acquired pieces of that first WS team so there is probably a lot to that.)

 

But my memory is that the renjuvinated Fenway Park came in with (because of) the current Sox ownership. The only big change to Fenway prior to '02 was the stupid "club" section that squats over everything behind homeplate, killing the backbay air that used to sweep through the park. (I think it came in during the Boggs era) 

 

In fact, prior Henry et al, Fenway Park was a crumbing, flooding, dated former icon. It was more valuable for the historical resonance with a passionate fanbase than as structure to house an elite, modern sports team and its deserving fans. Many spoke passionately about a building a brand new park including owners (who even had a proposal floated). (Like The Cubs. kinda) 

 

Then each off season (from 2003 to 2011) big stuff got done: New sections. Old sections totally rebuilt. New fan services support, New player accomodations and training rooms. New agreements with the city for expanding the park to take over a whole city street before and during the game (they actually check your ticket on a street corner to allow admittance to the "Park," really just a city street, an every gameday blockparty), New drainage and new infield (a couple of times until they got it right). New TV money. More than 5000 new seats and new signage that brought in new dollars.  

 

I expect sytematic, strategic improvement. On the field and to the field. The to-the-field part really isn't done at baseball ops. It is business ops thing. What asset do we have that is like that Sox team in '02? A field with historical resonance with a passionate fanbase. That's what business ops must parlay into new dollars.

 

Theo doesn't have much to do with those business moves. But his teams' successes here will depend on successful Wrigley improvements producing dollars.



#8 Rated Rookie

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:47 PM

 

 

 a lot of the people who were so psyched about Epstein to begin with really wanted Red Sox ownership.

 

Nailed it.

 

I think there remains a hope that that's what's coming in the next few years.

 

 

When Epstein took over as Red Sox GM, he had a star studded, high payroll, 90 game winner to work with. What did he do? he saw his holes and filled them with very cost effective options. he also did wonders in the draft, to ensure that they had plenty of talent coming through as his veterans aged. And then there was Papi, but even he likely didn;t expect him to become what he did.

 

It seems to me as though he plans to do the opposite now; He currently has 3 guys that I view as big league ready impact players for the next several years;

 

Castro (SS), Rizzo (1B), and Samardzjia (Front end SP). Then, there's the cost effective players that may not be Super Stars, but should be productive for the foreseeable future; Barney (2B) Jackson (Mid Rotation SP) Wood (3-4 Starter) Russell (BP, possible 7-8 inning) Schierholtz (RF/4th OF). I'm not ready to crown Castillo as the long term catcher, but if he is, that's huge.

 

And then there's the prospects. Quality at each level. Does this mean that every one of them will hit their ceiling? Doubtful. However, in the next 2 years, we should have a pretty good idea which ones will be impact players, every day players, role payers, or busts.

 

At that point, they'll be ready to do pretty much the opposite of what he did with the Red Sox; starting with the majority of his pieces already in place, and have a ton of money, and hopefully trade chips to add some big name additions, depenging on where the need emerges, and hopefully have a team that wins for years to come.



#9 hansman1982

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:18 PM

Maybe decades is a strong word.  Their 1980-2000 was a touch better than our 1989-2010 AND you had Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez on the team.

 

But for the most part, End of season 2011 Cubs were pretty similar to the 2000 Red Sox. 

 

And don't forget who was in the front office when Duquette was acquiring players in the late 90's early 2000's.  Theo.

 

I am done saying two words about Theo on the front page (ya, right).  This guy knows how to acquire players and build a successful franchise.  If he destroys the Cubs the way he destroyed the Red Sox, I can live with this year and next sucking.



#10 Tommy

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:51 PM

I am 100% for not signing more aging veterans to contracts that run them into their twilight years, and couldn't be happier with the way the FO is turning around the farm system.  If anyone would have said before the season started that we'd be in just about every game, most folks would have laughed.  The problem now is that we ARE playing competitive baseball, but we're just coming up short at the end of what seems like every stinkin' game.  If you keep it all in perspective, we are actually performing better than expected, and I do believe that we're still going to turn things around this year, as well as be a perennial playoff contender in a very short time.

 

I've been a Cub fan as long as I can remember, and there are two things that exemplify most of us: patience and loyalty.  I don't plan on changing now!

 

I do hope we stop losing late in games, though.  My heart can't continue to take these type of losses all season!


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#11 sven-erik312

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:28 AM

On the money, RR. 5 years, that's what it's gonna take. Good teachng in the minor leagues, good player selection in the draft, including looking for good work ethic and social skills along with the baseball skills in these kids. 5 years to build up a training system so good that it becomes a baseball factory. Anything good that happens before then is a bonus. The instant gratification fans will just have to go somewhere else.



#12 wvcubsfan

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:17 AM

I am 100% for not signing more aging veterans to contracts that run them into their twilight years, and couldn't be happier with the way the FO is turning around the farm system.  If anyone would have said before the season started that we'd be in just about every game, most folks would have laughed.  The problem now is that we ARE playing competitive baseball, but we're just coming up short at the end of what seems like every stinkin' game.  If you keep it all in perspective, we are actually performing better than expected, and I do believe that we're still going to turn things around this year, as well as be a perennial playoff contender in a very short time.

 

I've been a Cub fan as long as I can remember, and there are two things that exemplify most of us: patience and loyalty.  I don't plan on changing now!

 

I do hope we stop losing late in games, though.  My heart can't continue to take these type of losses all season!

This is where I'm at right now as well.  My brain knows good and well that being in the majority of games is better in the long run than getting blown out all the time.  My heart however sure wishes it wouldn't have to endure all of the late leads being blown or aching when we were "only one hit away".

 

Still think things are going to turn around in the near future and the majority of Cubs fans will be pleased with the result.



#13 FFP

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:54 AM

Tommy, on 23 Apr 2013 - 4:51 PM, said:snapback.png

I am 100% for not signing more aging veterans to contracts that run them into their twilight years, and couldn't be happier with the way the FO is turning around the farm system.  If anyone would have said before the season started that we'd be in just about every game, most folks would have laughed.  The problem now is that we ARE playing competitive baseball, but we're just coming up short at the end of what seems like every stinkin' game.  If you keep it all in perspective, we are actually performing better than expected, and I do believe that we're still going to turn things around this year, as well as be a perennial playoff contender in a very short time.

 

I've been a Cub fan as long as I can remember, and there are two things that exemplify most of us: patience and loyalty.  I don't plan on changing now!

 

I do hope we stop losing late in games, though.  My heart can't continue to take these type of losses all season!

This is where I'm at right now as well.  My brain knows good and well that being in the majority of games is better in the long run than getting blown out all the time.  My heart however sure wishes it wouldn't have to endure all of the late leads being blown or aching when we were "only one hit away".

 

Still think things are going to turn around in the near future and the majority of Cubs fans will be pleased with the result.

 

 Yah, that's a pretty spot on Tommy-post, wv.

About the near future, I do have some expectations of Theo. First, some of these bounce-back candidates gotta bounce back better, of course; but I also would not be surprised to find us buyers at someone else's fire sale. I expect some mid-season move that brings in a major piece as other teams shake out. This seems important to our long-term success too, because the free agent markets and draft class(es) coming up (I'm told) are weak.

 

Like the Twinkie said, we are in the hunt in more of these games than we're not. One better bat (not the used-be-someone-else's-big-bat Tommy correctly discounted), for example, might do a ton to our W-L record.



#14 Morken

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:59 PM

I can tell you what I wasn't expecting:

1.) Consecutive 100-loss seasons.
2.) The throwing of multiple baseball seasons, in the name of high draft picks.
3.) Kevin Gregg, Cody Ransom, Alberto Gonzales and Brett Lillibridge, being on the active roster.

#15 sven-erik312

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:27 PM

I'm fine with getting a top draft pick this year as well. I can wait, I only just turned 60 this year...






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