Theo is a Cub so what next?

In News And Rumors by dmick89Leave a Comment

When the reports of Theo Epstein signing with the Cubs began to trickle in this morning (or actually last night), I started thinking about what it means in the short-term for the Cubs. The truth is that I, and you, have literally no idea. I wrote this before reading Aisle 424’s most recent article so there may be some similarities.

We could look at Theo’s record in Boston to use as an example for what may happen in the near future, but the 2002 Red Sox were a really good team that missed the playoffs. The 2011 Cubs were a well below average team. When I’m talking about record, I’m not talking about the wins and losses. I’m speaking of the official transactions.

If we use that next year’s Red Sox team as an example, we don’t get anywhere. The starting 9 for the Sox in 2003 were an older bunch. David Ortiz was the spring chicken among them at the age of 27. That’s the age at which most Cubs fans think players can still be top prospects for some reason. Three were 29 years old: Nomar Gariaparra, Johnny Damon and Trot Nixon. Todd Walker was 30. Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar and Manny Ramirez were 31. Bill Mueller was 32. There was no infusion of youth into this lineup, but again, the 2002 Red Sox were a far better team than the one Theo will be taking over in Chicago.

Casey Fossum was the youngest starting pitcher for the Sox in 2003. He was 25 years old. He’s also the only starter younger than 30. Derek Lowe was 30, Pedro Martinez 31, Tim Wakefield 36 and John Burkett was 38. They did get 5 starts from 24-year old Byung-Hyun Kim (44 relief appearances). They got another 5 from 31 year old Ramiro Mendoza and 10 starts by 28 year old Jeff Suppan.

Shea Hillenbrand, Tony Clark and Brian Daubach were gone. Not sure why. Not that important. Lowe, Pedro and Burkett were their top 3. Frank Castillo (yeah, you remember him!) was their 4th starter and they got some starts from next year’s starter Casey Fossum and some from Tim Wakefield as well. So there wasn’t much turnover from one roster to another.

There was some additional turnover after 2003, but nothing major. The Red Sox roster did not change much after Theo was signed. It probably changed as much or maybe even less than it would have with another GM.

But these 2011 Cubs are different than the group he took over in Boston. Most of the guys on the Sox you wanted to keep around. That 2003 team was going to contend. Those players were valuable and you weren’t getting rid of them. The 2012 Cubs won’t contend without an overhaul of the roster. Looking at what Theo did at first in Boston is pointless because the situations are entirely different.

We could talk about what he shoud do, or rather what we think he should do. We’re all better suited to run this organization than the guy who will be paid $20 million over the next 5 years. Actually we’re not. I don’t expect to agree with every decision the Cubs make from this point forward, but I will give Theo the benefit of the doubt. He’s earned that.

It’s a rather lazy approach, but I don’t really have any suggestions for what should be done. Someone far, far more qualified than I is now running the show. I’m anxious to see where he starts and am confident the Cubs are a better organization now than they have been in the past. I’m not as confident as a lot of fans who think the Cubs are going to win the World Series. Not just next year or the year after or even the year after that. I swear some of these people think the Cubs are going to win all of them from here out.

There’s a lot of work to do. It will require some good decisions, a lot of money, and a lot of luck. The Cubs may never win a World Series with Theo. It’s entirely possible. In fact, I’d probably bet money on the Cubs not winning one while he is the GM. This assumes he’s the GM no longer than 10 years. It’s difficult to win a championship. You have to be good, which I am confident the Cubs will be eventually. Even if you’re good, you still have to be lucky.

Who was the best team this year through 162 games? The easy answer is to look at wins and say the Phillies. Maybe you know the AL is the superior league so you’re adjusting for that and say the Yankees. Maybe you’re adjusting in some way that takes pre-season projections into consideration and also say the Yankees (or maybe even Red Sox). Maybe you’re a Rays fan and think it’s the Rays. Do any of these teams have a chance to win it all this year?

Entering the season I thought the Yankees were the best team in baseball. They had the best record in the AL. They’re eliminated already. A lot of people thought the Red Sox were the best. Some thought they were the best ever. They didn’t even reach the postseason. The Phillies? Gone. Beaten in the NLDS by the Wild Card team.

This happens often. Maybe even every single season depending on how you’re figuring who the best team was. It’s takes a lucky team to win it all. Notice what I didn’t say. Being good obviously helps. You put yourself in a better position more frequently. It’s unlikely you’ll be affected by luck in one direction several years in a row. The better you are the better chance you have to win. This is obvious, but it does not mean that you have to be good to win. Less than good teams have won it all before and will do so again. I’m sure it could be and has been argued that at one point or more a bad team won it all.

Betting on the Cubs to win it all in the next 5 years is foolish. Betting on them to do it in the next 10 is less foolish, but still not advisable. If you tell me that Theo will be GM for 20 years, I’d put my money on the Cubs winning it all, but in all honesty, I’d put my money on them winning it all regardless of who the GM is.

There’s been discussion about whether the Cubs need to rebuild or try to contend. Several years ago I saw things in that way. You could either rebuild or try to contend, but the reality is that you can do both. To prove this point, it’s best to look at college sports. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about football, baseball or basketball. Or volleyball. Whatever. Those programs are constantly working to contend now and build the program so that it can contend years down the road. They do both at the same time. They are rebuilding and contending. The same can and has been done in MLB. It’s also what we’re more than likely going to see the Cubs do.

It’s highly unlikely that Theo would take this job just to have a fire sale and lose a million games next year, have little shot at contending in 2013 and probably 2014. If you have a fire sale, maybe you are contending in the 4th year of his contract or maybe it’s the 5th. Maybe it’s not at all. A fire sale doesn’t guarantee success down the road.

It’s also important to consider the quality of players the Cubs would be trading in a fire sale. There are only two players who are close to becoming expensive that the Cubs could trade. Those are usually the guys you consider trading in a fire sale. Geovany Soto and Matt Garza both will becoming more expensive and are eligible for free agency within the next 2 years (Garza after 2012 and Soto after 2013). The Cubs could get something decent for both of them, but they’re not going to dramatically improve their farm system by trading either of them. Marlon Byrd and Ryan Dempster have some value. So does Sean Marshall and maybe even Carlos Marmol. Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano have no value at all on the trade market. Randy Wells might bring a B prospect. Darwin Barney is still cheap, but even if you traded him you’d not get much in return. No chance the Cubs are trading Starlin Castro.

The Cubs won’t get much in return if they had a fire sale. The best and most reasonable plan of action for the Cubs at this point is to do both. Get rid of some of the bad contracts like Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. Maybe you add Prince Fielder. You don’t have to contend in 2012. It’s not like you’re in a situation where you have to contend in 2012 or have a fire sale. You can begin to rebuild, but not have a fire sale. You can accept you probably won’t contend in 2012, but refuse to trade everything away thinking it’s more than possible to find yourself in contention in 2013. Maybe even in 2012 if you get lucky.

Regardless of what the Cubs do, there’s more reason to be optimistic about the team’s future than there has been in the 30 years I’ve been a fan. Sure, I’ve been more optimistic about an individual Cubs team (2008 Cubs as an example), but never before have I been this optimistic about the team’s future. I’m fairly sure if that’s not true for someone then it’s because they’re simply looking for reasons to not be.

This optimism brings up another point that’s worth talking about. Tom Ricketts has been made fun of on this blog. Much of the time it was for a good reason and some of the time it was more just because it was fun. He made a commitment this past summer to player development and then he acted on it. The Cubs spent a lot of money and went overslot several times to sign guys. They spent a lot of money on the international free agent market.

Ricketts said he was going to go after a guy essentially matched Theo Epstein, I think we all were hopeful it would be Theo or Andrew Friedman or maybe even Brian Cashman. Ricketts went all out in acquiring Theo. Kaplan even says that Theo was blown away by the owner’s commitment. If you can blow away one of the most brilliant general managers in sports, you have gone the additional mile and then some to secure the best possible person for the job. That’s all you can ask of an owner. He can’t make Theo sign. He couldn’t have made Friedman sign. There’s only so much he can do and the rest is up to the individual. Ricketts obviously went out of his way here to see to it that Theo would feel welcome and receive an impressively large salary for a GM. Prying away a Boston guy from the Red Sox wasn’t going to be easy, but Ricketts did it.

He’s shown the kind of commitment that we’ve all wanted this organization to have for as long as we’ve been fans. This commitment does not guarantee a championship. It does, however, make the odds of winning one a hell of a lot higher. And that’s something to be optimistic about. That’s something to be happy about. After a shitty season, this is definitely the best news we could get and the World Series hasn’t even started.

The tough work is ahead. Going that extra mile as Ricketts did or showing up to work for the Cubs as Theo will do doesn’t mean anything. Together they have a lot they need to accomplish in order for this team to be the annual contender it should be. If that happens, given the Cubs payroll advantage over the rest of the teams in the Central, the Cubs can walk away with the division title most years.


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Comments

  1. WaLi

    [quote name=mb21]The dislike of Crane Kenney by the media and the fans is one of the strangest things I’ve seen since I’ve been a Cub fan. It drives me nuts that Zambrano gets bashed like he does, but I can, in some small way, understand it. The same is true for any other player, manager or GM. But Crane Kenney is none of those. I don’t even remember the last time the guy spoke openly about the Cubs in any way other than business. Even that has been rare.[/quote]Never trust a Crane.

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  2. Suburban kid

    [quote name=mb21]The dislike of Crane Kenney by the media and the fans is one of the strangest things I’ve seen .[/quote]He’s a corporate suit, man.

    Greek Orthodox priest summoner.

    Zell’s Waylon Smithers.

    Ricketts’ polo buddy.

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  3. fang2415

    We’re all better suited to run this organization than the guy who will be paid $20 million over the next 5 years. Actually we’re not.

    I was just emailing my brother yesterday about how this is now true for the first time. (dying laughing)

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  4. WaLi

    If you tell me that Theo will be GM for 20 years, I’d put my money on the Cubs winning it all, but in all honesty, I’d put my money on them winning it all regardless of who the GM is

    If you started doing this since 1908 you would have lost a lot of money (dying laughing), and you’d most likely have passed away already.

    He’s shown the kind of commitment that we’ve all wanted this organization to have for as long as we’ve been fans.

    I have been thorougly impressed with the moves Ricketts has been making in such a short time. Yeah he is easy to make fun of, but he seems to know what he is doing or is at least listening to people who know what they are doing.

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  5. binky

    Even if they don’t win under Theo, I’m confident the organization will improve under him, overall. As far as rebuilding v. contending, I guess my thought is just that they don’t currently have the minor league depth to do both. I could see contending in 2013, and building in 2012 toward that goal without sacrificing the future. The pieces are going to have to be assembled carefully with a mind for 2-3 seasons down the road. I’m really anxious to see what happens, either way.

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  6. Berselius

    [quote name=mb21]The dislike of Crane Kenney by the media and the fans is one of the strangest things I’ve seen since I’ve been a Cub fan. It drives me nuts that Zambrano gets bashed like he does, but I can, in some small way, understand it. The same is true for any other player, manager or GM. But Crane Kenney is none of those. I don’t even remember the last time the guy spoke openly about the Cubs in any way other than business. Even that has been rare.

    [/quote]
    Eh, it all boils down to this.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-01-18/sports/0901170373_1_cubs-fan-jim-hendry-holy-water

    And the fact that he’s the face of the fans hate over decades of Trib ownership, fairly deserved or not.

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  7. Berselius

    [quote name=fang2415] that article sounded like it was written by a second-grader who was angry that he had no friends.[/quote]
    This.

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  8. Berselius

    I agree with you 101% on Ricketts, mb. He’s done some stupid public shit (and has an idiot brother), but when push comes to shove he’s setting goals and going after them beyond just soaking in the Lovable Losers dollars. The stuff we complain about either doesn’t matter (undercover boss, way of life, oversized glasses) or is being worked on (hiring Connected McFuckface to go for public money, finally cutting Hendry loose). He might need to clean house in the marketing department but that’s about it.

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  9. JMan

    my concern is that the fans are going to expect a championship by year 2. They have one of the smallest FO staffs, of which Hendry seemed to enjoy, and there appears to be a huge lack of synergy between the ML and minor league teams. The org is in bad shape.
    I don’t think Theo will target Fielder or Pujols. Neither fits the profile of players the sox signed. As Pujols is on the back-9 of his abilities and Fielder will be DH material in 4-5 years tops. Reyes is the closest, young and athletic, but injury prone.

    instead I think they focus on dumping Zambrano and to a lesser extent Soriano. The goal will be to free up as much salary as possible in hopes of putting that into the org(minors, FO staff, ML team).

    I’d also guess the target will be on defensive players 1st and GB pitchers.

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  10. mb21

    [quote name=Berselius]Eh, it all boils down to this.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-01-18/sports/0901170373_1_cubs-fan-jim-hendry-holy-water

    And the fact that he’s the face of the fans hate over decades of Trib ownership, fairly deserved or not.[/quote]That’s still not exactly rational. I agree much of it is because of the two things you said, but neither mean much of anything. The holy water was just a stupid stunt. Cubs fans think the team is cursed, which is what brought that on. That he worked for the Tribune who Cubs fans dislike doesn’t mean anything about Crane Kenney personally. He may have been the single best employee he had. We don’t know. It’s just odd to me.

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  11. binky

    [quote name=Berselius]Lazy prediction:

    LAA is going to give stupid money to one of Fielder or Pujols[/quote]That’s such a weird organization.

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  12. mb21

    [quote name=oog]Skank Skank Skank Skank Skank Skank[/quote](dying laughing) I forgot about that.

    By the way, was that the first time we saw how much sympathy Jesse had for children?

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  13. binky

    [quote name=mb21]That’s still not exactly rational. I agree much of it is because of the two things you said, but neither mean much of anything. The holy water was just a stupid stunt. Cubs fans think the team is cursed, which is what brought that on. That he worked for the Tribune who Cubs fans dislike doesn’t mean anything about Crane Kenney personally. He may have been the single best employee he had. We don’t know. It’s just odd to me.[/quote]Irrational hatred is one of the hallmarks of baseball fans. FWIW, I don’t hate him per se, but he and Hendry were old guard and I was personally hoping for more of a regime change off the bat. Kenny, I think, was just a symbol of the desire of fans to see Rickets retool the organization.

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  14. binky

    [quote name=mb21](dying laughing) I forgot about that.

    By the way, was that the first time we saw how much sympathy Jesse had for children?[/quote]I just saw this episode yesterday. We’re cramming the 2nd season into 4 days. It was definitely a different side of Jessie.

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  15. GBTS

    David Ortiz was the spring chicken among them at the age of 27. That’s the age at which most Cubs fans think players can still be top prospects for some reason.

    (dying laughing)

    Nice post, mb.

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  16. mb21

    [quote name=josh]I just saw this episode yesterday. We’re cramming the 2nd season into 4 days. It was definitely a different side of Jessie.[/quote]You’ll see that side more. He genuinely cares about kids, but I think that was the first time we saw it.

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  17. mb21

    [quote name=josh]Irrational hatred is one of the hallmarks of baseball fans. FWIW, I don’t hate him per se, but he and Hendry were old guard and I was personally hoping for more of a regime change off the bat. Kenny, I think, was just a symbol of the desire of fans to see Rickets retool the organization.[/quote]I guess hatred in general is irrational.

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  18. WaLi

    Can’t we just quit the talks, about Theo, for just a minute, and focus on real baseball? There are two games, going on tonight, that I’d like to talk about. Theo isn’t going to have an impact, until at least next month, and I’d like to focus on today.

    Thank you,

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  19. Rice Cube

    [quote name=WaLi]Can’t we just quit the talks, about Theo, for just a minute, and focus on real baseball? There are two games, going on tonight, that I’d like to talk about. Theo isn’t going to have an impact, until at least next month, and I’d like to focus on today.

    Thank you,[/quote]Funsucker.

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  20. Aisle424

    Crane was also front and center when it came out the Cubs were scalping their own tickets through the Premium Seating whatever it was.

    My hatred of him is completely irrational, but he represents the Tribune’s corporate bottom-line thinking that always prevented the Cubs from making meaningful organizational changes. He weaseled his way in and now is like Owen Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums living off the rich family’s reputation.

    Plus the priest shit. What the fucking fuck was that? Anybody who thought that was a good idea is an idiot, and I’m not comfortable with idiots in high standing anywhere in my favorite team’s organization.

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  21. mb21

    [quote name=Aisle424]Crane was also front and center when it came out the Cubs were scalping their own tickets through the Premium Seating whatever it was.

    My hatred of him is completely irrational, but he represents the Tribune’s corporate bottom-line thinking that always prevented the Cubs from making meaningful organizational changes. He weaseled his way in and now is like Owen Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums living off the rich family’s reputation.

    Plus the priest shit. What the fucking fuck was that? Anybody who thought that was a good idea is an idiot, and I’m not comfortable with idiots in high standing anywhere in my favorite team’s organization.[/quote]The priest thing was a dumb idea for sure, but I always thought it got way more press than it deserved. It’s really not all that different from the shit players do that think brings them good luck.

    I don’t have a problem with the tickets. If the Cubs can get more for a ticket than they’re charging then I hope they do it.

    All I really know about Kenney is that he’s apparently helped increase the revenues tremendously and that he was instrumental in the Cubs international presence, which they lacked for a long time. I don’t really agree that huge resources should be spent in Korea, but he, along with a couple of scouts, were the ones to get that done. They have a larger presence in the Dominican and Venezuela in part because of him. I don’t have a problem with the guy. For me, his involvement in the priest nonsense and his employment at the Tribune just isn’t enough for me to judge him as harshly as others have. From everything I’ve read, he’s been a big help to the Cubs in generating additional revenue and I know he was partly responsible for increasing the Cubs presence around the world. Those are good things. I’m sure he’s done some things that weren’t so good too.

    If we’re making a list of the Cubs problems up and down their organization, Kenney is pretty far down that list.

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  22. Rice Cube

    [quote name=JMan]Rany posted an article at BP that is quite interesting. it’s kinda cool to know that we have a GM that might actually acknowledge and take advantage of this potential inefficiency.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15295

    It’s free to non-subscribers.[/quote]I wonder how young is too young…it’s not like you can pluck a 16-year-old North American kid out of school and then send him to Venezuela or the Dominican and have him do nothing but train for baseball with stiffer competition than at his high school and really take advantage of that upside to get him ready for the big leagues ASAP. It was definitely a good read though.

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  23. mb21

    When did they throw Theo under the bus? They did that for Francona and some of the players, but I never heard about them doing that to Theo. If I recall from some other site, in that one piece Theo wasn’t even mentioned until the very end.

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  24. Rice Cube

    [quote name=Rice Cube]I wonder how young is too young…it’s not like you can pluck a 16-year-old North American kid out of school and then send him to Venezuela or the Dominican and have him do nothing but train for baseball with stiffer competition than at his high school and really take advantage of that upside to get him ready for the big leagues ASAP. It was definitely a good read though.[/quote]I also now have a silly image in my head of fathers teaching their barely-walking toddlers how to recognize a slider (dying laughing)

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  25. Rice Cube

    [quote name=mb21]When did they throw Theo under the bus? They did that for Francona and some of the players, but I never heard about them doing that to Theo. If I recall from some other site, in that one piece Theo wasn’t even mentioned until the very end.[/quote]I haven’t really paid attention to all the banter so I couldn’t tell you. Calcaterra may be talking about the fan base in Boston who might feel a bit betrayed that Epstein is leaving them, but again I’m not sure.

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  26. mb21

    [quote name=Rice Cube]I wonder how young is too young…it’s not like you can pluck a 16-year-old North American kid out of school and then send him to Venezuela or the Dominican and have him do nothing but train for baseball with stiffer competition than at his high school and really take advantage of that upside to get him ready for the big leagues ASAP. It was definitely a good read though.[/quote]It’s a good question. What age does the kind of talent it takes to reach the big leagues appear? In Latin America they think 16. Obviously they’re scouting those guys at 14 and 15. Bryce Harper was on the cover of SI at the age 14, right? There’s some video out there of Maddux when he was 14 or 15. It seems the age at which people who are good at their jobs start paying attention is about 14.

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  27. mb21

    [quote name=Rice Cube]I haven’t really paid attention to all the banter so I couldn’t tell you. Calcaterra may be talking about the fan base in Boston who might feel a bit betrayed that Epstein is leaving them, but again I’m not sure.[/quote]Some of the comment on the “Epstein/Cubs agree” blog on Boston.com were your typical hurt teenagers voicing how much they hated Theo and how much he sucked, but most people there were thankful of his years in Boston and many were thinking the Red Sox would return to sucking.

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  28. Aisle424

    [quote name=mb21]
    All I really know about Kenney is that he’s apparently helped increase the revenues tremendously and that he was instrumental in the Cubs international presence, which they lacked for a long time. I don’t really agree that huge resources should be spent in Korea, but he, along with a couple of scouts, were the ones to get that done. They have a larger presence in the Dominican and Venezuela in part because of him. I don’t have a problem with the guy. For me, his involvement in the priest nonsense and his employment at the Tribune just isn’t enough for me to judge him as harshly as others have. From everything I’ve read, he’s been a big help to the Cubs in generating additional revenue and I know he was partly responsible for increasing the Cubs presence around the world. Those are good things. I’m sure he’s done some things that weren’t so good too.

    If we’re making a list of the Cubs problems up and down their organization, Kenney is pretty far down that list.[/quote]I think the consensus is that he has been very happy to take credit for things like this, but people like Oneiri Fleita have actually done the heavy lifting.

    That’s the sense I’m getting from the media.

    But yes, as long as he is separated from baseball operations, Crane Kenny is a small pimple on a body ravaged with leprosy.

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  29. Aisle424

    [quote name=Aisle424]I think the consensus is that he has been very happy to take credit for things like this, but people like Oneiri Fleita have actually done the heavy lifting.

    That’s the sense I’m getting from the media.

    But yes, as long as he is separated from baseball operations, Crane Kenny is a small pimple on a body ravaged with leprosy.[/quote]Which, I understand is a flawed source.

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  30. mb21

    That’s the sense I’m getting from the media.

    I’d be very skeptical of what the media is saying at this point. They’re pissed off they got left out of it yet again so they’re going to say all kinds of crazy things. Not to mention, they already say nasty things about Zambrano that sometimes aren’t even true. They certainly lack perspective. Right now I don’t believe a word any of them say. They’ve lost all credibility with the fact they knew as much about the Theo Epstein/Cubs rumors as you and I did. There one purpose in writing about the Cubs is providing information that you and I can’t find elsewhere. They can’t even do that.

    My comments on Kenney’s involvement in the Cubs international presence are based on what I remember reading back in 2007 and 2008. Kenney was a decision maker then. Surely someone brought the idea to him, but he was instrumental in getting it done.

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  31. Aisle424

    I’m all for giving Crane Kenney the benefit of the doubt and everything, but he should be burned alive in a tub of acid during Opening Day pre-game ceremonies.

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  32. mb21

    I also think there’s been so much negativity about Kenney for a couple reasons that he’s easy to pick on at this point. The fans already dislike him. It’s a lot like Zambrano. Many fans didn’t like him so the media could bash him all they wanted and get away with it. And they did.

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  33. jtsunami

    [quote name=mb21]You’ll see that side more. He genuinely cares about kids, but I think that was the first time we saw it.[/quote]Didn’t we see him care for his kid brother when he took the blame for the pot in the house? That was season 1 right?

    Also he got really upset with the kids running drugs (and killing his partner) for those dealers, but I think that was the end of season 2.

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  34. mb21

    [quote name=jtsunami]Didn’t we see him care for his kid brother when he took the blame for the pot in the house? That was season 1 right?

    Also he got really upset with the kids running drugs (and killing his partner) for those dealers, but I think that was the end of season 2.[/quote]Yeah, you’re right. We first saw it with his brother and then I think it was that kid that had essentially been abandoned by those two scumbags he was there to kill. (dying laughing)

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  35. mb21

    Only the Indians had fewer players in the league top 20 prospects that Baseball America did than the Cubs. The Cubs had only 2. They were tied with the White Sox, Twins and A’s.

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  36. mb21

    CHICAGO CUBS
    Graduates: 0
    Full-season prospects: 2
    Short-season/Rookie-level prospects: 6

    • Brett Jackson (ranked 8th in Pacific Coast League, 4th in Southern League)

    • Matt Szczur (ranked 8th in Florida State League, 9th in Midwest League)

    • Reggie Golden (ranked 10th in Northwest League) • Ben Wells (ranked 12th in Northwest League)

    • Pin-Chieh Chen (ranked 14th in Northwest League)

    • Zeke DeVoss (ranked 17th in Northwest League)

    • Marco Hernandez (ranked 6th in Arizona League)

    • Gioskar Amaya (ranked 9th in Arizona League)

    Jackson is knocking on the door, but after that the Cubs’ talent is a ways away. The team traded three of its top 10 prospects from last year’s Prospect Handbook to acquire Matt Garza and several pitching prospects in the system had disappointing seasons. Shortstop Javier Baez, first baseman Dan Vogelbach and righthander Dillon Maples are the key draft picks that signed too late to qualify for a list this year, and the Cubs will continue to bolster the system by picking sixth in the 2012 draft.

    Might be subscription only: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2011/10/padres-rays-post-most-top-20-prospects/

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  37. Rice Cube

    Now here’s a question…let’s assume that Theo’s signing is finally final and that he plans to retool rather than flat out rebuild. If the plan is to contend by 2013, with an eye on a partial rebuild, do you keep Aramis Ramirez knowing that the 3B crop out there is crap, or do you let him go and pocket the pick?

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  38. mb21

    8. BRETT JACKSON
    OF, IOWA CUBS
    Age: 22. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 210. Drafted: California ’09 (1).
    In a season where not much went right in the majors or minors for the Cubs, Jackson was an exception. He arrived in Iowa in July and put up the best numbers of his three-year pro career.

    Jackson is a quality athlete who does a little bit of everything. He has a quick bat, solid power and a knack for driving the ball in the gaps. He’s patient enough to draw walks, though he tends to expand his strike zone against lefthanders, and some PCL observers considered his swing too mechanical.

    Jackson has a plus speed and shows aptitude on the bases. He also gets good jumps and tracks balls well in the outfield, with enough range to play center. He has average arm strength and makes accurate throws.

    I’m not sure people realize how true that (bolded part) that is. When I looked over the top 20 from Sickels I found only a couple guys who had improved on their ranking. Most had dropped off the face of the earth while some only fell a little.

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  39. ACT

    I’ve said this before, but I really think Aramis should consider moving off third base. He should make a quality DH for some team.

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  40. 8volumesthick

    [quote name=ACT]3B is definitely a dilemma next year. I take some consolation in that the position is down all over the league.[/quote]
    I could see this being a place where Theo looks more toward defensive value, and lets Aramis go. He’s not his guy so it’s probably not that big of a deal for Theo.

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  41. Rice Cube

    [quote name=8volumesthick]I could see this being a place where Theo looks more toward defensive value, and lets Aramis go. He’s not his guy so it’s probably not that big of a deal for Theo.[/quote]I think Theo wouldn’t mind the sandwich pick either.

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  42. ACT

    [quote name=8volumesthick]I could see this being a place where Theo looks more toward defensive value, and lets Aramis go. He’s not his guy so it’s probably not that big of a deal for Theo.[/quote]Yes, but the problem is that the third base market is poor this year, and the farm system has no available replacements.

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  43. Rice Cube

    [quote name=ACT]Yes, but the problem is that the third base market is poor this year, and the farm system has no available replacements.[/quote]Josh Vitters is da bomb, we don’t need no lazy A-Ram…

    /Cub fan’d

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  44. mb21

    [quote name=Rice Cube]Now here’s a question…let’s assume that Theo’s signing is finally final and that he plans to retool rather than flat out rebuild. If the plan is to contend by 2013, with an eye on a partial rebuild, do you keep Aramis Ramirez knowing that the 3B crop out there is crap, or do you let him go and pocket the pick?[/quote]I think you let him go. The difference between Ramirez and say a platoon of Baker and Flaherty isn’t worth paying Ramirez the kind of money it would take to keep him.

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  45. Mish

    Bryan LaHair, 1B, Cubs (VEN Navegantes): 4-for-4, 2B, 2 HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI. I generally abhor ‘Free Player X’ movements; but I’m on board with this one. The guy can hit.

    /KG

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  46. mb21

    If the Red Sox don’t allow Epstein to take anyone with him, that’s bull shit. Lucchino took almost all of his guys with him to 3 different teams.

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  47. Dick McCheesedoodle

    [quote name=mb21] There one purpose in writing about the Cubs is providing information that you and I can’t find elsewhere. They can’t even do that. .[/quote]
    I love that if you read the Trib’s Cub page on their website there is exactly 0 original news content. There are a bunch of columns and then every single news story is sourced from either the Boston Globe, Herald or WEEI.

    One would think someone at the Trib has to have asked, “do we really only have purple shirt guy?”

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  48. Rice Cube

    Jeff Buttikofer (Los Angeles)

    Is there any chance that we can move Zambrano and/or Soriano without paying all of there remaining salaries?

    Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)

    Yes and yes. Zambrano is going to look a lot better to teams than you might imagine. He’s 30 years old, healthy and experienced. Not many people have a fourth or fifth starter that compares to him. By the time the winter meetings are over, numerous teams will be interested in Zambrano if he hasn’t been traded before that. He’s an erratic player on the field but he’s not the anti-Christ. I know Ozzie thinks he can still pitch.

    It’s nice to know that some people still have faith in Z.

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  49. WaLi

    [quote name=Rice Cube]http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2011/10/13/1013-cubs-red-sox-talking-re-compensation/

    Tom Ricketts is on the case with Cherington and Randy Bush turning the wheels.[/quote]

    five-year deal to join the Cubs, worth between $15 million and $18.5 million.

    I’m assuming it’s $15 mil over 5 years with another $3.5 given to him because of some deal he had with the Sox already, right?

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  50. Rice Cube

    [quote name=WaLi]I’m assuming it’s $15 mil over 5 yeras with another $3.5 given to him because of some dealhe had with the Sox already, right?[/quote]Yeah, I think the extra stuff was severance pay when his time with the Red Sox expired.

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  51. Aisle424

    [quote name=mb21]I think you let him go. The difference between Ramirez and say a platoon of Baker and Flaherty isn’t worth paying Ramirez the kind of money it would take to keep him.[/quote]This is especially true if they think of it as not replacing Aramis Ramirez AT THIRD BASE. They need to replace his numbers in the lineup, but does it have to come at 3rd base?

    Maybe they go get Brandon Phillips to plug into 2nd who would be a huge upgrade to Barney thus negating the drop-off Aramis to the platoon.

    Maybe they get J.J. Hardy as everyone is salivating over Reyes and Rollins and either move Castro to 2nd or play Hardy at 2nd.

    I don’t know how feasible any of that is, but there are more answers to constructing a halfway decent lineup than simply replacing Aramis Ramirez at the 3rd base position because we’re afraid of another decades long search for his replacement.

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  52. GBTS

    [quote name=Berselius]Ken Tremendous killed it today

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7095696/the-collapse-red-sox%5B/quote%5D

    I’d like to briefly address the complete moron in the Red Sox organization who insinuated to a reporter that Terry Francona had a problem with prescription pills.

    Dear Moron,

    Congratulations! You have just (a) attacked the best and most popular manager your team has ever had while (b) displaying a complete lack of institutional loyalty, which (c) pretty much guarantees that no one in his right mind will want to manage your team now, and (d) turned everyone against each other causing (e) massive paranoia which will undoubtedly lead to (f) a thousand more stories about how dysfunctional your organization is, which will only intensify the ill effects of (b,c,d,e). You are the worst person in the world. Quit.

    (dying laughing)
    (dying laughing)

    LSA

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  53. 8volumesthick

    [quote name=Aisle424]

    Maybe they get J.J. Hardy as everyone is salivating over Reyes and Rollins and either move Castro to 2nd or play Hardy at 2nd.
    [/quote]
    Hardy got extended this summer, is he on the trading block?

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  54. Aisle424

    [quote name=8volumesthick]Hardy got extended this summer, is he on the trading block?[/quote]That’s right. I pulled up an old Top FA list. Re discredited.

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  55. ACT

    [quote name=Aisle424]This is especially true if they think of it as not replacing Aramis Ramirez AT THIRD BASE. They need to replace his numbers in the lineup, but does it have to come at 3rd base?

    Maybe they go get Brandon Phillips to plug into 2nd who would be a huge upgrade to Barney thus negating the drop-off Aramis to the platoon.

    Maybe they get J.J. Hardy as everyone is salivating over Reyes and Rollins and either move Castro to 2nd or play Hardy at 2nd.

    I don’t know how feasible any of that is, but there are more answers to constructing a halfway decent lineup than simply replacing Aramis Ramirez at the 3rd base position because we’re afraid of another decades long search for his replacement.[/quote]Good point. RF is another place that could use an upgrade.

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  56. Aisle424

    There is also room to work in the outfield if Theo decides Soriano is a sunk cost. Under Hendry, we pretty much knew that roster spot was occupied. Now maybe not so much.

    That allows for Brett Jackson’s ascension, but also opens up roster flexibility to add offense in the outfield whether through trade or Free Agency.

    The short version is that there is probably nothing that is completely off the table, which is as it should be.

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  57. Rice Cube

    After seeing the previous posts about how awesome Brett Jackson is I really hope he’s not in the compensation package.

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  58. Aisle424

    I think it would also be good to point out that Theo must see some possibilities for the team, or he wouldn’t have come on board. I doubt he is interested in a pure rebuild, he probably also wants to get things turned around on the Major League level as soon as possible. Maybe not World Series contender right away, but the building of a basic core.

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  59. ACT

    For what it’s worth, left fielders are really, really crappy these days. Their overall OPS+ this year was 102 (worse than CF) and of course they can’t field at all.

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  60. WaLi

    [quote name=Aisle424]There is also room to work in the outfield if Theo decides Soriano is a sunk cost. Under Hendry, we pretty much knew that roster spot was occupied. Now maybe not so much.
    [/quote]
    Is there anything that can be done with Soriano that is somewhat redeeming? 3rd base? 1st base?

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  61. Rice Cube

    [quote name=WaLi]Is there anything that can be done with Soriano that is somewhat redeeming? 3rd base? 1st base?[/quote]I sorta want to see them try Soriano at 1B before releasing him but I think the general consensus is that he’d probably suck at it.

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  62. Rice Cube

    [quote name=ACT]Unless he has a much better year with the bat than this year, first base would be a disaster for Soriano.[/quote]The hope would be that if you can increase outfield defense by not having Soriano be an immobile statue out there, and save his legs, maybe the offense will pick up, but that’s reaching.

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  63. Aisle424

    [quote name=WaLi]Is there anything that can be done with Soriano that is somewhat redeeming? 3rd base? 1st base?[/quote]DH. And even then his bat probably doesn’t project well there anymore.

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  64. Aisle424

    In an ideal world, Soriano would be the right-handed version of a platoon that is lifted in the late innings for a defensive replacement or pinch runner.

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  65. mb21

    [quote name=Dick McCheesedoodle]I love that if you read the Trib’s Cub page on their website there is exactly 0 original news content. There are a bunch of columns and then every single news story is sourced from either the Boston Globe, Herald or WEEI.

    One would think someone at the Trib has to have asked, “do we really only have purple shirt guy?”[/quote]It’s hilarious.

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  66. mb21

    [quote name=WaLi]/just learned that the gorilla suit thing really did happen[/quote]Didn’t he try to avoid the media after quitting in 2005 by wearing a gorilla suit?

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  67. Rice Cube

    [quote name=Aisle424]I wish we had Cubs players who use Twitter like Brandon McCarthy does to pwn reporters:

    http://aeryssports.com/the-pulse/twitter-thursday-when-reporters-attack/%5B/quote%5DKerry Wood and Z were the only players I know who had Twitter, but Z’s was probably through his charity. It’d be kind of cool if Wood had Twitter parties with his teammates to just fire back at Paul Sullivan and friends in mega Twitter wars.

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  68. Berselius

    [quote name=mb21]http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2011/10/compensation_ta_1.html[/quote]
    I hope the Cubs send them Jon Johnson (dying laughing)

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  69. Rice Cube

    [quote name=Berselius]I hope the Cubs send them Jon Johnson (dying laughing)[/quote]Just send them Jay Jackson and Jeff Baker and call it a day!

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  70. WaLi

    [quote name=mb21]Didn’t he try to avoid the media after quitting in 2005 by wearing a gorilla suit?[/quote]
    Yeah. I thought it was a joke brought up on here a few days ago, didn’t know it was a real incident.

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  71. Aisle424

    [quote name=Rice Cube]Kerry Wood and Z were the only players I know who had Twitter, but Z’s was probably through his charity. It’d be kind of cool if Wood had Twitter parties with his teammates to just fire back at Paul Sullivan and friends in mega Twitter wars.[/quote]Randy Wells did too, but he didn’t use it much and I think he deleted it. Otherwise, Fernando Whatshisface that we got in the Garza trade had his Twitter account and smacked down Ace at Bleacher Nation with it.

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  72. binky

    I think it would be interesting to have one guy who is the manager, a Lou Piniella captain-of-the-ship type screamo type, and his assistant who was a stats guy, basically feeding him info on win probability and using his own analysis to determine substitutions, when to bunt, and so forth. Like a little nerdy sidekick. Just to see if it would work to let those kinds of decisions play a more blunt role during games.

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  73. Rice Cube

    [quote name=Aisle424]Randy Wells did too, but he didn’t use it much and I think he deleted it. Otherwise, Fernando Whatshisface that we got in the Garza trade had his Twitter account and smacked down Ace at Bleacher Nation with it.[/quote]I am sad that I missed that. That’s what I get for not Twittering.

    [quote name=josh]I think it would be interesting to have one guy who is the manager, a Lou Piniella captain-of-the-ship type screamo type, and his assistant who was a stats guy, basically feeding him info on win probability and using his own analysis to determine substitutions, when to bunt, and so forth. Like a little nerdy sidekick. Just to see if it would work to let those kinds of decisions play a more blunt role during games.[/quote]

    Let’s see what happens.

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  74. binky

    It doesn’t have to be a whimsical, precocious 8-year-old, but that certainly wouldn’t hurt the season’s marketability to film makers.

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  75. Rice Cube

    [quote name=josh]It doesn’t have to be a whimsical, precocious 8-year-old, but that certainly wouldn’t hurt the season’s marketability to film makers.[/quote]They would need to get her one of those IBM laptops that have the metal covering so it can deflect foul balls while she’s busy analyzing WPA and percentages and what not. Or build a Plexiglas house like an NHL penalty box between the dugout and the bullpen. This can work!

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  76. ACT

    [quote name=josh]It doesn’t have to be a whimsical, precocious 8-year-old, but that certainly wouldn’t hurt the season’s marketability to film makers.[/quote]We need to sign a kid with a broken arm to be the new closer.

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  77. Rice Cube

    [quote name=ACT]We need to sign a kid with a broken arm to be the new closer.[/quote]In real life I think he’d have to be at least 16 or so and isn’t allowed to deceive the opposing baserunners with obvious balks.

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  78. mb21

    I didn’t even know Kerry Wood had a twitter account. I follow some former Hawkeyes, but other than that the only athlete I follow on twitter is Brian Wilson. He makes me laugh.

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  79. mb21

    [quote name=Berselius]I’m glad to see that someone is noticing all the hard work I put in writing on those blackboards.[/quote]I noticed. I only watch porn for the math formulas.

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  80. Rice Cube

    [quote name=Berselius]I’m glad to see that someone is noticing all the hard work I put in writing on those blackboards.[/quote]It’s rather impressive, but are you sure you used chalk, or something else?

    /dirty

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  81. GW

    [quote name=RJ Anderson]Favorite Epstein story is still the one @jonahkeri shared about him responding to a trade proposal via text with “(dying laughing)”.[/quote]
    .

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  82. mb21

    [quote name=Aisle424]There’s another reason?[/quote]I didn’t think so, but there’s a lot of porn being watched and some clueless people when it comes to math. I’m thinking those people are watching it for the wrong reason. It’s educational and should be shown at middle school.

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  83. Aisle424

    [quote name=mb21]I didn’t think so, but there’s a lot of porn being watched and some clueless people when it comes to math. I’m thinking those people are watching it for the wrong reason. It’s educational and should be shown at middle school.[/quote]I’m intrigued by your beliefs and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

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  84. mb21

    [quote name=Aisle424]I’m intrigued by your beliefs and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.[/quote]I get that a lot.

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  85. binky

    [quote name=The Wreckard]I love that over-the-shoulder camera angle. I’ve never seen that done before, and it makes you realize how much movement a throw like that has on it, and how fucking hard he’s throwing that thing.[/quote]Yeah, that was very cool. I was wondering how he knew where to aim it, since it sliced from the catchers’s left down to the catcher’s right. I guess just years of muscle memory. Pretty cool to see.

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  86. The Wreckard

    [quote name=josh]Yeah, that was very cool. I was wondering how he knew where to aim it, since it sliced from the catchers’s left down to the catcher’s right. I guess just years of muscle memory. Pretty cool to see.[/quote]We have a guy on our softball team who was a pitching prospect and has a cannon for an arm. His outfield throws curve naturally like that as well, and one of the most glorious things is when that throw comes in from left and literally curves around the runner into the catcher’s mitt.

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  87. WaLi

    [quote name=The Wreckard]We have a guy on our softball team who was a pitching prospect and has a cannon for an arm. His outfield throws curve naturally like that as well, and one of the most glorious things is when that throw comes in from left and literally curves around the runner into the catcher’s mitt.[/quote]

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  88. Aisle424

    [quote name=The Wreckard]We have a guy on our softball team who was a pitching prospect and has a cannon for an arm. His outfield throws curve naturally like that as well, and one of the most glorious things is when that throw comes in from left and literally curves around the runner into the catcher’s mitt.[/quote]I don’t have a cannon or anything, but my throws have a natural tail like that. You just get used to compensating for it after seeing your throws tail up the 3rd base line all the time.

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  89. The Wreckard

    [quote name=WaLi][/quote]That’s deserved. Rec softball stories probably rank somewhere between fishing and golf stories on the list of things no one gives a shit about hearing.

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  90. Rice Cube

    A first inning bunt with no outs and a man on second with Josh Hamilton on deck? Good lord.

    Or at least an attempt, but still…two wasted strikes.

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  91. WaLi

    [quote name=The Wreckard]That’s deserved. Rec softball stories probably rank somewhere between fishing and golf stories on the list of things no one gives a shit about hearing.[/quote](dying laughing) nah I’m just an asshole.

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  92. binky

    [quote name=The Wreckard]That’s deserved. Rec softball stories probably rank somewhere between fishing and golf stories on the list of things no one gives a shit about hearing.[/quote]I actually thought it was a cool story, if that helps.

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  93. binky

    [quote name=dylanj]also, i shot a 72 yesterday and caught a 10 lb bass[/quote]Why did you shoot it? Was it trying to break into your house? You’re nothing but a anti-72-ite aren’t you!!?!

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