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Why 2012 Should be a "Go For It" Year for the Cubs


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#1 Oswego Chris

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 10:45 AM

Since the end of the disaster(and I am talking a disaster of biblical porportions!) that was the 2011 season, there has been much sentiment on this board that 2012 should be a rebuilding year. Many Cub fans have said it's time to "let the kids play!" or that we have to build from the ground up. I believe those are partially correct assessments. However I think "punting" the 2012 season would be a grave mistake. Before I continue I would like to point out "The Theotles" have never stated that they don't intend to compete in 2012. To the contrary, I loved the "Every year is Sacred" quote that came from Theo. There is a way to do both, and actually, the Cubs are in a decent position to make this work.

1. THEY HAVE $ - If you read the well researched and informative "2012 Cub Salary Analysis" on this same message board by a totally anonymous BN writer, then you know that conservatively just using last year's budget the Cubs are about 35-40 million below last year. That number could also be a bit higher considering the new CBA rules. Now not being a former lawyer(ahem), I can't even get through a few paragraphs of the new language without getting a headache. Made simple however, what I do understand is that it will discourage(and actually eliminate) spending on the amateur draft.
The 2010 team salary was 144 million compared to last year's 135. Many fans, and even media(isn't it their job to be informed?) lambasted Tom Ricketts for cutting the MLB budget. Actually Mr. Ricketts funneled that money to the amateur and international side, resulting in the most "expensive" draft in Cubs' history. Now the rules have changed, so it is concievable that the 2012 budget may go up a bit. If you just split the difference between 2010-11 that would give you another 4.5 million. Therefore even after the addition of David DeJesus, a fair estimate would be that we still have that 35-40 million. That gives Theo and the gang plenty of flexibilty to trade for and sign parts that could lead to a contending team.
Another consideration is that both Zambrano and Dempster come off the books after the upcoming season freeing up another 32 million! That means even with a static budget over 2012-13, the Cubs will have at least 65 to 70 million.
Simply put, if you have smart baseball people, with a budget like the Cubs, you should always have money, and always have "go for it" years. The 2010 and 2011 bad rosters were due to horrible deals by the Hendry/Zell regime, that put the Cubs right up against the budget threshold. Thus no flexibility. Theo and the new guys will have 65-70 million more ways to be flexible in 2012 and 2013.

2. LET THE FARM SYSTEM "FERMENT" I am not a wine drinker, so that's probably the first time I have typed the word "ferment". Let me explain what I mean by this before you (A.) lose interest or (B.) think I am crazy.
If you followed the "Cub Crype Team Series" on BN(written by another anonymous BN user), or even if you didn't, you know the Cubs have a long tired history of failed propsects. This is not inherently a unigue Cubs problem. All MLB teams have many of these failed prospects historically. ( I am talking about you Joe Borchard of the White Sox!) That's why they are propsects. They are gambles and very few of them will turn to gold.(Ok, corny analogy I know) The trick is, you have to know how to "play the game" with propects.
Many teams rush players, and rarely does it work. Cub fans are clamoring right now for Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Matt Szcur, Trey McNutt or DJ LeMahieu. The sad fact is, odds are we will be lucky if two of these guys are future MLB players. The trick with your prospects is evaluating correctly if they will make it or not, perferably at the minor league level. Then if you accurately, or as accurately as you can, assess your own propsects you build up and trade the ones you know are not as likely to make it. This is not an exact science and you will still make mistakes, but think of the "haul" the Cubs could have gotten for Felix Pie at one time. Patience. Keep your prospects in the minors until they are just busting out down there.
If I were Theo(and as I have said before, sometimes in my dreams I am) I would just let all of the prospects develop this year. Let's see if Jackson tears up AAA, or Lake looks like the real deal, just let these assets gain value.

3. WINNING CURES ALL- Obviously, we Cub fans are a patient lot. However we are also starving for success. Therefore it really doesn't take much to get us excited. Winning record at the end of April? Excited. Winning record at the end of May? We are going to win it all! Seriously, give us a cracker! Last year, most of us tuned out before May. I had no interest going in to the season. "Hope" has been sold at Wrigley for a 100 years, and when that "Hope" changes to the slightest chance we buy it up.
The Cubs with their resources, fans, etc, should always go into each year with a chance. A total "rebuild" is not realistic for many reasons, one of which is we don't have enough "real" propsects to rebuild with. The idea is not to be "all in" for one year, it's obviously to be in for each year.

I realize the last section may be a bit Cubbie Blue Kool-Aidy, and that there are many real problems. The 54 miilion for 3 more years of Soriano. The iconic yet "crumbling" stadium we play in. The hoops the city and neighborhood make the Cubs jump through. However, Mr. Ricketts and the new regime deserve a chance, not based on the last 100 years. Just as we fans deserve a shot to compete in 2012.




#2 T C

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 01:47 PM

Agreed on all counts, but I don't see any sort of contention no matter how well you restock this team. My best case scenarios would be signing Kuroda, trading Marmol+$ for Headly, and signing Kelly Johnson and Prince Fielder. leaves us with a lineup of:

DeJesus
Castro
Headly
Fielder
Johnson
Soto
Byrd
Soriano
P

with a rotation of:

Garza
Kuroda
Dempster
Wells
Cashner

Like, thats a very solid team, but it'd be nearly impossible for all of that to happen...

#3 Oswego Chris

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 03:36 PM

maybe all of those things happening are doubtful, but it's a plausible scenario which could have a similar alternative....which could put them contending until July.....which would allow anything to happen at the trade deadline...

#4 Sam

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 11:56 AM

Its very realistic that the Cubs will get at least Fielder and Headley AND possibly Cespedes. Those three players alone would elevate our lineup to one of the best in the NL Central. The way I see 2012 is if the D-Backs could win in 2011 with their roster, with the right moves the Cubs can at the least be competitive in the NL Central this year.
"Some may never live, but the crazy never die."- Hunter S. Thompson

#5 Brett

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 12:07 PM

Great point about the money coming off the books after this year - if Ricketts can take a one-year hit this year, the payroll can go back down next year without any problem.




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