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Better for the Cubs: 80 Wins in 2012, or Total, Unadulterated Suck?


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#16 T C

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:23 PM

So TC, how many games do you see this sorry collection of misfits winning this year?


65

Stewarts wrist worries the hell out of me, and I don't think he approaches Aramis' 3.5 wins last year. I put Stewart at ~1WAR, so that's -2.5 wins from last year. I don't think Lahair is gonna be anything special, nor will he be any good on defense, and at about 1.5 WAR thats half a win of downgrade. Barney isn't going to post 2 wins again, so there's another lost win. DeJesus doesn't inspire confidence in me, and Reed Johnson wont be worth a full win again, so thats about another lost win in right field. Soriano will continue to decline. Im not entirely sold on Garza being a 5-win pitcher yet (but Im close). Volstad and Maholm wont produce jack (Maholm cause of injuries/low innings, Volstad cause he just isnt very good), and I absolutely do not believe in Jeff Samardzija the Starting Pitcher. So we'll call the starting pitching wins a wash from last year, but we lost nearly 3 wins in Marshall that aren't coming back anytime soon.

Thats a total loss of 8 WAR, which puts them at about 63 wins in 2012, and then I'll give them 2 wins cause Quade's gone. 65 wins.

My opinion on the whole, outside of projections and shit like that, I just think this team is garbage outside of Castro, Byrd, DeJesus, Garza, and Dempster. Everyone else is basically a mortal lock to perform below league average

#17 Brett

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:31 PM

Better for the Cubs how?


The lack of specificity was intentional.

#18 SirCub

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:44 PM


Better for the Cubs how?


The lack of specificity was intentional.

I gathered that. I just wanted to point out that it's a more complex question than it might at first seem.

#19 Brett

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:12 PM



Better for the Cubs how?


The lack of specificity was intentional.

I gathered that. I just wanted to point out that it's a more complex question than it might at first seem.


Then we agree. I just wanted to point out what you were pointing out about what I obliquely pointed out.

#20 Luke

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:57 PM

The biggest benefit to losing a ton of games would appear to be moving up in the draft. The available draft budget is tied to the slot numbers for each pick, so if we assume each pick will sign for a close approximation of slot, then the actual talent a team will acquire from the draft should remain a function of the skill of the team in the draft and the team's draft position even after accounting for changes under the new CBA.

So, let's look at the best teams in baseball and see where their farm systems rank, despite having consistently lower picks. I'm using Baseball America's rankings.

Yankees - #6. This is helped by their strong international presence, but they are no slouch in the draft.
Red Sox - #10. See above.
Rangers - #2. See above.
Angels - #18. After Trout, it isn't a good system.
Giants - #21. The only reason the Giants are this low is because they have promoted their best talent.
Phillies - #27. This farm system was good, and then was gutted in trades. If you consider who the Phillies have been able to trade for, you get an idea just how good this system was.
Rays - #11. No one rigged the old draft system quite like Tampa. The new CBA could cause them fits.

And, to be fair, let's look at the farm system of some of the game's worst teams.
Pirates - #13. Twenty years of sub-.500 ball, and they are still only #13.
Mariners - #9. Some good pitching here.
Astros - #17. And that includes the haul they got at the trade deadline last year.
Orioles - #20. They always finish at or near the bottom, but their farm system is lacking.
Athletics - #26. That does not include the Gio Gonzalez trade.

I don't see a clear correlation between historically good teams (who pick lower in the draft) and less successful farm systems. On the other hand, I don't see a correlation between historically bad teams (who pick higher) and more successful farm systems either.

I'm not convinced that available data supports the notion that tanking a season would be an automatic net benefit to the Cubs. It would improve the player taken in the first round, but winning franchises don't just draft well in the first round, they are still drafting well in the tenth round, and the twentieth, and in the case of the Cubs, the thirty second (Trey McNutt) and beyond.

If the win total in the majors and a team's draft position doesn't have a significant impact on the long term health of a farm system, then I'm content to see the major league team squeeze out every possible win they can get. Winning is contagious, or so the saying goes. If that is the case, then I'd rather see the Cubs infect themselves.

#21 Brett

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:15 PM

Gotta factor in a big part of the reason those "winning" teams have been so good in the Draft: overslot signings. Those now go away.

#22 Katie

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:44 PM

Good scouting is part of that too. The Cubs have sucked plenty & had early draft picks that didn't pan out.
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#23 Luke

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:19 PM

Gotta factor in a big part of the reason those "winning" teams have been so good in the Draft: overslot signings. Those now go away.


On the other hand, that also means that teams can't use overslot bonuses to lessen the effects of bad drafting, particularly in the early rounds. The landscape has definitely changed, but I'm not yet convinced that the best organization won't continue to be the best organization under the new CBA. It'll be five years or so before know for sure.

#24 FFP

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:27 PM

Winning is better.

And winning 80+ is possible.
1. Better field (and human resource) managment yeilds more wins than we see through current projections.
2. This team's performance after 6 weeks convinces the front office and ownership to make a big 2012-only move. (A potentially great, proven free agent pitcher who took the first month off gets added; another team decides to dump a big$, short-timer corner or outfielder)
3. The pen gets better (maybe from AAA or Shark goes back)
4. Another big move informed by standings and availability (possibly from AAA) gets made at halfway point.

It might be Dick Williams circa 1967 influencing me, but I am excited to see what actually plays out this season.

#25 T C

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:17 PM

2. This team's performance after 6 weeks convinces the front office and ownership to make a big 2012-only move


This is precisely what I am scared of with a decent season. This team is not built to contend this year, and chasing some sort of pipe dream this year by mortgaging any part of the future would be moronic

#26 Fishin Phil

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 03:13 AM


2. This team's performance after 6 weeks convinces the front office and ownership to make a big 2012-only move


This is precisely what I am scared of with a decent season. This team is not built to contend this year, and chasing some sort of pipe dream this year by mortgaging any part of the future would be moronic


If Hendry were still here I would agree with that. The current Front Office has repeatedly said they will not do that.
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#27 FFP

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 03:54 AM

I disagree with the premise "not built to contend this year" It comes from the false either/or. The Cubs are doing both, and long-term is primary, as this off-season has shown. As Fishin Phil pointed out Theo said he will only fight to win in 2012 in ways that don't hurt later.

I mean big moves that largely "only cost money" as Brett puts it.
Money is held in reserve so that it might be deployed when it is most efficient to do so. These special values will be dictated by need (which takes a little time to assess), availabilty (again, time), and projections of just which hump the move would take the team over.

Thanks TC for helping me clarify.

#28 hansman1982

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:49 AM

The Marlins and the Cubs have nearly identical teams, when you factor in the potential outcomes.

The Marlins clearly have more talent but the personalities involved make it a powder keg. Either they will attach a rocket nozzle to that powder keg and blast to the moon or they will sit on top of it until it goes boom. 100 wins or 70 wins.

The Cubs have a lot of "former" talent. They have numerous guys who were hyped prospects that haven't panned out yet or guys coming off injury years. Either Theo is a genius and Sveum is a voodoo worker and the Cubs win 87 games or its a disaster of a season and we secure a top 3 draft pick next year with 65 wins.

If I had to choose, I would take 87 wins. In my unscientific study of the draft, it appears that once you get outside of the top 5 (at the most) the perceived talent plateaus for about 50 picks. Meaning that you are just as likely to draft the next Pujols at 10 as you are at 30, depending on your scouts.

#29 MichiganGoat

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:17 AM

Fenway: what money moves do see out there the only one I can think of would be Roy Oswalt, and he said he want to be on a contender- something the Cubs just are built to be right now.

The ceiling for me is along the lines of the Pirates last year, a newsworthy and exciting push to the top (maybe even a day or so at 1st place) then a return to reality. We will be a better team than last year but it may not translate in wins. 72 games seems safe.

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#30 FFP

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:37 PM

I know this is a mere typo, but my internal eternal optimist sees a Freudian slip.

a contender- something the Cubs just are built to be right now.


No. I don't see anyone else in particular right now. Standings will evolve; new grips learned in the off-season will get their bite; attrition will have her ugly way; stuff will happen; and opportunites we can't see now (though the organization might) will open up.




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