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   1. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: July 01, 2010 at 07:05 PM (#3576252)
I know a lot of people still aren't happy with Castro's performance, and he does need a lot of work. But he's still something worth watching.
   2. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2010 at 10:30 PM (#3576444)
as long as castro doesn't look or act lost out there I see no reason not run him out there everyday.
   3. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: July 01, 2010 at 10:43 PM (#3576452)
The play Castro made today on that bad-hop grounder was pretty damn outstanding.
   4. ursus arctos Posted: July 01, 2010 at 10:48 PM (#3576456)
It can only get better. We're almost done playing the Pirates.
   5. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 02, 2010 at 04:40 AM (#3576675)
It's a frustrating team to watch. I've linked them to being more like the 2006 Cubs: offensively-challenged squad that plays the game apathetically. Last year's team was more like the 2004 squad: Should've been serious contenders, but underperformed and were a bunch of unlikeable schmucks en route to pissing away the season.

I can't bring myself to actively root against the Cubs, but at this point, wins are strictly superficial and at best, only help gloss over how horrible this team has been. More losses prevent Hendry from wishing upon a star that his team is in the race and get him dealing the pieces he can. When you look at last season and where this one seems to be heading, you have to wonder just how safe Jimbo's job is. Hopefully not very. He's been a pretty unlikeable and inept GM for several years.

It's embarrassing to think that this offense is under the guidance of the highest paid hitting instructor in MLB history. Ramirez is coming around, but at this point, it's probably smart to just play him sporadically. Lee looks cooked without that turnaround in him that we saw last year. Soriano isn't awful, but that's small consolation when you consider what he's being paid. I list Castro and think he's a cornerstone for this team in the coming years. Byrd's a blast to watch, even if he's too impatient at the plate. Theriot's awful and I wish he were playing better, because then maybe the Cubs could pawn him off on the Phillies.

Right now, I say these are the guys on the current roster you hang on to and try to build around:

- Castro
- Cashner
- Marmol
- Soto (just don't expect him to repeat 2008)
- Colvin (I could see him being a respectable fourth outfielder)
- Marshall (I really like him in the bullpen. He's seen less deserving guys go into the rotation, but he's been probably the second most reliable arm in the pen the last two years)

Everyone else is expendable. You're stuck with some of these guys, but here's a short list of guys they should try to move before the end of this month:

- Silva (cash in on him while his stock is high)
- Lily (he gets NO offensive support, but has pitched well)
- Lee (probably wouldn't get much for him, but I don't see them re-signing him)
- Theriot (probably not much of a market for him, but he can't be part of the future)
- Howry (people love veteran relievers at the deadline)
   6. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 04:49 AM (#3576678)
Howry already got released once this season so unless he turns into "good" Marmol I don't see much of a market for him.

I can't see how Soriano has been awful this year. He has a 130 OPS+. June wasn't so hot for him but he had a pretty darn good run there once he got out of that first week slow start. I see him staying in the 120 to 130 OPS+ range for the season. That isn't awful at all.
   7. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: July 02, 2010 at 03:53 PM (#3576894)
No, it's not awful, but he did link his performance to his salary. And there's always the unsaid portion that he's here for 4 more years. Also, the defense.
   8. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 04:25 PM (#3576937)
AS of right now his OPS+ is actually understated due to using last year's PF numbers. Last year Wrigley played as a much more hitter friendly park than this year so Soriano's numbers shouldn't be adjusted as much as they were. Right now Soriano is listed as having the 21st best OPS+ in the NL at 129. If you ignore PF his OPS+ is 136. If you take the top 35 hitters in the NL and ignore PF then he moves up to 15th place.

Most of the players don't see there numbers change dramatically but there are a few that do. Olivo, Soriano, Adrian Gonzalez, Seth Smith, Tulo, and Soto. The Rockie players are playing in an environment that is around what there PF says it should be but the Cubs players are not. Adrian is the unique player on this list since he gets a huge boost to his OPS+ because of the view that PETCO park is a big time pitcher's park. But this year PETCO has favored the hitter at this point the PF would be around 105 instead of the 86 that is listed on BRef. That is a pretty huge spread.

I'd say that Alfosnso's OPS+ this year is around 135 if you were to use this years PF for him. Perhaps that isn't worth 18 million dollars when you consider defense and all but it isn't really that bad of a contract (for this year anyway) when you consider the Cubs' budget.
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 02, 2010 at 04:43 PM (#3576960)
In some respects 2008 was the worst thing that could have happened to Cubs management. They had a bunch of guys all have good years and leadership was fooled into thinking this was sustainable.
   10. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 04:53 PM (#3576976)
What wasn't sustainable about 2008? The Cubs are in the position they are in now because Aramis is putting up a .549, Theriot is putting up a .624, Lee is putting up a .699 and there bench besides Colvin is dreck. Yeah sure one could say that Theriot wasn't a long term answer but nobody would have suggested moving Aramis and Lee nor would anyone have had a reason to say that. On the pitching side the Cubs jettisoned Marquis, Hill, Harden, Gallagher, Wood, Wuertz, and Cotts (plus Howry but then they brought him back). I can't see why any GM would want to push out Zambrano before this seasons started but even with his collapse the Cubs have a ton of arms. What they did in 2008 should have been sustainable in that I mean the Cubs should have been able to win 90+ games in 2009 and this year.
   11. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 02, 2010 at 04:58 PM (#3576986)
Totally agreed, Harveys. I view 2008 as the window closing on this iteration of the team to win a championship. It was not likely that the performances of several teams would be replicated in 2009 and beyond, so it was crucial for the Cubs to get it down in October 2008. They didn't and relatively few moves were made after. In Hendry's mind, why should you tinker with a 98-win team?
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 02, 2010 at 05:07 PM (#3576999)
What was not sustainable:

Mark DeRosa being excellent
Soto was excellent, stayed healthy and played well behind the plate. He has not recaptured all three of those things since.
Jim Edmonds being very good that second half
Fontenot great off the bench
In fact, the bench was a strong suit in 2008. Ward had his moments. Reed Johnson held his own.

You cannot sustain an offense on everybody being 90 OPS+ or above consistently. You will always have some frustrating gaps. The Cubs did not have an uber player then on offense and don't now.

I am a believer in 'stars'. Stars can sustain. Stars can carry a team within a season.

The Cubs had a slew of good players. And stuck with that formula.

And then some of them slipped and that was that.
   13. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 05:19 PM (#3577018)
Mark DeRosa being excellent

Derosa was gone before the next season started

Soto was excellent, stayed healthy and played well behind the plate. He has not recaptured all three of those things since.


That maybe true but why would anyone think that wouldn't have been sustainable?

Jim Edmonds being very good that second half


Gone before the next season started.

In fact, the bench was a strong suit in 2008. Ward had his moments. Reed Johnson held his own.

And like most benches the Cubs change theirs almost every year.


Fontenot great off the bench


Don't disagree. I think Hendry took a gamble on Fontenot being an everyday player and that gamble failed.

The cubs made changes, the Cubs made big changes. To say that the Cubs' brass thought the 2008 team was sustainable into the next couple of years is to be simply wrong. They didn't simply bring everybody back year in and year out. Having ARod on this team or Manny wouldn't change the Cubs predicament.

The 2008 team had a lot of things go wrong for them probably go more wrong than usual and yeat they still won 83 games. Aramis doesn't have his freak injury the Cubs are playing for 90 wins not fighting to stay above .500.
   14. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3577025)
They didn't and relatively few moves were made after. In Hendry's mind, why should you tinker with a 98-win team?

Relative to what?

DeRosa moved. Bradley brought in. Bradley shipped off. Marquis moved. Hill moved. Harden let go. Gregg traded for. Byrd signed. Edmonds let go. Wood let go. Dempster resigned. Trade Felix Pie. Traded Wuertz. Gorz and Gabow traded for. Traded Fox. Signed Nady. Installed Fontenot at second. Brought up Castro. Moved to Theriot to second.

You simply can't change to change. Keeping Dempster and Lilly have been good things. Should they have gotten rid of them? Should they have gotten rid of Aramis and Lee? Soto? Fukudome? Marmol? Wells? Marshall? Wholesale changes for no reason when nobody has the benefit of hindsight is folly.
   15. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 02, 2010 at 06:10 PM (#3577078)
Post 13:

We are speaking past one another. The Cubs assumed the same model of expecting all players to be at typical norms without accounting for variance. Hence, when they replaced a DeRosa they did not work to upgrade significantly or seek dramatic improvement. They looked for more of the same.

It was the classic, "Well, if these guys do X and these guys do X as well we should be right there".

Milton Bradley was not an attempt of seeking serious improvement over Edmonds, it was seeking similar output.
   16. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 06:42 PM (#3577119)
How does one seriously improve over what Edmonds gave them? You cannot. Fontenot for DeRosa was not an attempt to upgrade the second base spot. It was an attempt to get some production out of second base as cheaply as possible thus allowing them to spend their money elsewhere. They were able to pull it off with SS and Theriot but were not as effective at second base with this option. Plus it hurts that the option they went for, Bradley, failed miserably.

And the thing is the Cubs were right there. Even with this player taking a step back and this player getting hurt it was a fluke injury to Ramirez that kept them from challenging for a playoff spot.
   17. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 06:44 PM (#3577123)
For all the talk about Lou playing with Soto's playing time ... look, he's a catcher. Like most catchers, he doesn't play everyday. But Soto's still getting the playing time due a starting catcher; there are only 2 catchers in the NL with significantly (i.e., >8)more PAs (Martin and McCann). In fact, I think Soto ought to be in the consideration for an All-Star spot; he's third in the NL amongst catchers in WAR. I think he's pretty close to replicating his 2008 season, to be honest. He hasn't been great behind the plate but I think his struggles there are overstated, especially relative to what Koyie Hill's been providing. And it's not like he was Johnny Bench back there in '08 anyway.

Anyhow, since they're a bad team, it would be criminal to take Castro out of the lineup, but then I don't see any signs that's about to happen. I actually think Lou's done a great job with him so far, running him out there regularly but spotting him on occasion during his slumps. It's going to be a hell of a long season for the kid, and while he needs to play he'll need a day off now and again.

If Lilly's still here August 1, it better be because the Cubs won 25 games in July. And they only have 25 games left.

The big problem with 2008 as it related to today is that it seems to have convinced management (and media and fans) that their core was much better than it really was and is. Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, Theriot, Fukudome, and Soto - that's 6 of 8 lineup spots that are the same as they were that year (allowing for Theriot's move to 2B), when the offense was terrific. It's easy to point to all the changes since then, but they've been mostly at the margins. This is basically the same offense now as it was then, minus a couple of journeymen who had big years (DeRosa and Edmonds).

But already then Lee and Ramirez were beginning to slip. Ramirez's isolated slugging took a big hit in 2007 and remained more or less at the same level in 2008, before taking another big hit in 2009 and then of course this year happened. Not too many people really noticed this, because his OBP jumped and his overall numbers were still respectable, but 2008 should have raised some warning signs re: Ramirez, because it was the second year in a row his power was down. I don't think anyone could have predicted that Ramirez would have been THIS bad, but the signs were there was he was in decline.

Lee, meanwhile, didn't have a very good year in 2008 to begin with, and was at that time already 32 years old (and an old 32, at that). The big surprise isn't so much that he is struggling this year - it's that he was so good last year. His 2005 season aside, he's never really been a superstar-level player, and his power has been inconsistent his whole career. His higher OPS+ years have all coincided with BA spikes, but he's not a consistent .300 hitter (like, say, Mark Grace at a comparable time of his career). It's hardly suprising that at his age he'd be having issues.

Then we have Theriot, who was an obvious one-year wonder at the time - with that one year hardly being all that great in the first place - and has since been proven thus. That he's still being given everyday playing time, especially somewhere other than SS, is unconscionable. And Fukudome's case speaks for itself.

So yeah, it's clear to me that 2008 has negatively affected the Cubs' decision-making. Just the other day, I heard Santo befuddled that the same group who were so good in 2008 are having such trouble scoring. Now, Santo obviously isn't part of the braintrust (as far as we know!) but still I think it's clear that the front office feels about the same way. They've clearly been unwilling or unable to see that a year like this was coming, and I'm not about to let them off the hook just because the crash is worse than we expected. The point is, it was clear this team was going backwards and not forwards, and the indications are that they didn't really see or understand that point.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 02, 2010 at 06:52 PM (#3577137)
Post 16:

I have worked to explain how I believe you need real star quality players as the core versus the very good players that Hendry relied on to be the anchor of the team.

If a Star player has an 'off season' it is still ok. If a very good player has an 'off season' it is below average.

Derrick Lee is a very good player. His off season is unacceptable relative to his position. If Derrick were a star player taking a step down he would be performing at an acceptable level relative to his position. That is what star players afford a team. A cushion. And if they do WELL they can offset the gaps elsewhere just as Adrian Gonzalez is doing with the Padres and how Albert has helped sustain the Cardinals over the years.
   19. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: July 02, 2010 at 06:59 PM (#3577147)
I have worked to explain how I believe you need real star quality players as the core versus the very good players that Hendry relied on to be the anchor of the team.

It wouldn't be such a big problem if Hendry didn't insist on paying all these very good players like they're some of the best players in the league. There's nothing wrong with bringing in Fukudome and Soriano and Bradley, or keeping Zambrano and Lee and Ramirez. But when you overpay for all of them, blowing your budget in the process, then you don't have a lot of flexibility to make changes or add pieces when you need them.
   20. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 02, 2010 at 07:08 PM (#3577162)
Dewey:

Absolutely not. But unless everyone has a typical year you are going to have issues. I don't know how else to describe it unless folks want a WAR number or OPS+ as reference. Having a slew of 100-135 OPS+ players can work in a given season but if the usual things happen all of the sudden your top tier talent cannot carry the load.
   21. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: July 02, 2010 at 07:16 PM (#3577174)
Having a slew of 100-135 OPS+ players can work in a given season but if the usual things happen all of the sudden your top tier talent cannot carry the load.

Well, of course everyone wants Albert Pujols. But Albert Pujols usually isn't available, unless you get lucky and find him in your minor-league system.

But perhaps that's what you're getting at - the Cubs haven't been very good at developing position players (I believe the last above-average position player to come out of the Cubs minors was Mark Grace), and have been forced to go to the market to find them. And that's when you're forced to overpay for guys that are merely above-average. And when that happens, you don't have the money to get into the chase for the real stars when they do become available.

But perhaps things are changing - Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro seem like they might turn into legitimately good players. Once they get out from under some of those contracts, with the resources they have, the Cubs can get good again quickly. I don't know if Hendry is the right guy to guide the Cubs through the long-term, though.
   22. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 02, 2010 at 07:20 PM (#3577178)
Hendry has a good trade record. Doug Melvin's system tosses out a decent or better player a year. Can we morph them?
   23. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: July 02, 2010 at 07:35 PM (#3577187)
Harveys, would you consider Aramis a "Star" player? I know you predicted HOF possibility a couple of years back. Maybe the better question is, would you have considered him a star in 2008?

---

Not only that, Dewey, they overpay for guys like Soriano all the way down to Grabow. Nearly every player on the roster (post-arb division) is overpaid.
   24. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 07:45 PM (#3577202)
If you could meld Hendry's ability to construct a rotation (his one true skill) with Melvin's ability to construct an offense, you'd basically have a Super GM. The same would be true if you melded Hendry and John Hart, but then you'd also get the world's biggest a-hole. So I'll stick with Hendry-Melvin.
   25. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: July 02, 2010 at 07:47 PM (#3577205)
Nearly every player on the roster (post-arb division) is overpaid.

Right. Even most of the success stories from this year (like Silva, Dempster, and Soriano) aren't bargains by any of the stretch of the imagination. The only real bargain on the team is Marlon Byrd, and Byrd isn't really a spring chicken.
   26. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 08:22 PM (#3577234)
so who are these "star" players the cubs could have gotten after 2008? It is a nice concept in theory but it doesn't mesh up well with reality.
   27. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 08:38 PM (#3577255)
if pujols puts up a 120 ops+ the cardinals are in serious trouble.
   28. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 08:46 PM (#3577263)
so who are these "star" players the cubs could have gotten after 2008? It is a nice concept in theory but it doesn't mesh up well with reality.

Not to speak for HW, but I think the point is that 2008 was somewhat of a fluke, because they didn't have any superstar-level players. That season's surprising output depended on a lot of good-to-very good players having good years at the same time, which is unusual.

I think this point is impossible to argue against. The Cubs were a bad offense in 2006. They were a bad offense in 2007. They were a bad offense in 2009. They are a bad offense in 2010. Their excellent offense in 2008 is clearly an outlier.

It's not about who they could have acquired after 2008. It's just an explanation of how the Cubs got themselves into the situation they're in. Basically, it appears that one good year fooled the front office into thinking the core of their offense was much better than it really was.
   29. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 02, 2010 at 09:02 PM (#3577278)
Nine runs?

It's ugly times like this that get managers fired.

Not saying it's Lou's fault. Just teams need a scapegoat

Bejeebus
   30. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 09:22 PM (#3577334)
re 28

okay, say the cubs win 70 games in 2008 and it opens up the cubs eyes. Who are they going to get? If 08 fooled them then you are stating that after 08 the cubs should have made changes. What are these changes.
   31. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 09:23 PM (#3577337)
My brother-in-law and his ten-year-old son were in town from Texas last week, and since the Cubs weren't in town they decided they wanted to take the Wrigley tour. So we did, and honestly it was pretty cool. You go through the clubhouses, the Cubs dugout, and up into the press box, stuff like that. It's much more expensive than comparable tours I've taken at other parks, but as far as it goes it's not a bad way to kill a couple hours.

As it happened, while we were in the press box, I found myself sitting in Carrie Muskat's chair. And a funny thing happened. For just a moment, I felt compelled to start writing stuff like this:
<a href="http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100702&c>"Jaramillo has faith hitters will turn it around"</a>

Having since regained my senses, though, it hardly makes me happy to think that the hitting coach professes faith in his players. What on earth would anyone expect him to say?

But the kicker - the ultimate banality - is when the House Organ tells us that "Jaramillo isn't giving up, either." Saints be praised, folks! Things may look bad, but he's a fighter! HE ISN'T GIVING UP!
   32. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 02, 2010 at 09:24 PM (#3577338)
Not too many people really noticed this, because his OBP jumped and his overall numbers were still respectable, but 2008 should have raised some warning signs re: Ramirez, because it was the second year in a row his power was down. I don't think anyone could have predicted that Ramirez would have been THIS bad, but the signs were there was he was in decline.


Fine, but what should they have done? Trade Aramis? And get who to play third?
   33. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 09:42 PM (#3577354)
in regards to the offense the cubs in 09 even with aram's injury and complete collapses from soriano, bradley, and others had basically around averae offense. The 2010 offense sucks but it sucks because at any one time they have 7 or so players not hitting.

the cubs don't need the league's best offense to win games or even top three. What they need is an average to above average offense to contend.
   34. Spahn Insane Posted: July 02, 2010 at 09:43 PM (#3577356)
9 runs allowed in the 7th, on 3 hits. Impressive.

And of course, even those 3 hits are more than the Cub offense managed in the entire game.
   35. Cabbage Posted: July 02, 2010 at 09:53 PM (#3577370)
These guys stink.
   36. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:05 PM (#3577380)
okay, say the cubs win 70 games in 2008 and it opens up the cubs eyes. Who are they going to get? If 08 fooled them then you are stating that after 08 the cubs should have made changes. What are these changes.

How the hell would I know? In a parallel universe where the 2008 Cubbies only win 70 games, we're looking at a similar situation to what we have now. Basically, it would mean that a lot of their ostensibly had underperformed to the point that little could be expected in terms of trade value, and some of the contracts that look bad now (e.g., Soriano) look even worse then. And while it's hard to know exactly what the Cubs should do now, I don't think that "continue on the current course" is an valid option in any of our eyes.

But more generally, you're still missing the point. Again, it's not about specific moves the Cubs shouldn't have made (besides a few obvious ones, I mean). The complaint is that they've built a very expensive team around a bunch of players who are good-to-very good players, without any true stars.

Most of the moves they've made over the years in building the current team are defensible taken on their own. I don't remember anyone saying that giving Aramis Ramirez 5/75 back in 2007 was a bad move. I don't remember too many complaints about Derrek Lee's 5/60 back in 2006. Everyone thought that Soriano's contract was horrible, but I think most of us thought that he'd at least be an asset for the first few years of the deal. Signing Fukudome might have been a question mark, but at least he was an OBP guy, and the Cubs needed that. And so on, and so on.

But the problem is that, while all those deals can be defended individually, in the aggregate what they give you is just not good enough unless everything goes exactly right, as they did in 2008. And when things aren't going well, you don't have the flexibility to make the changes you need to make. And the Cubs' problems are exacerbated by the dearth of prospects they have ready to play at the major league level even now that things have been blown to hell. The I-Cubs have very little offensive talent and while the Smokies are scoring pretty well, the actual prospects are playing at all well and the guys who are playing well are older guys who aren't much in the way of prospects (though we'll see how Jackson does now that he's there).

Basically, this is an organization that's almost completely devoid of offensive talent at the upper levels, which is a fireable offense if there ever was one for a GM. But even that would be bearable, if the team weren't mostly full of older guys on the downside of their careers. And your implication, intentional or not, that it was somehow fated to be that way is ... very generous to the Hendry regime.
   37. Frisco Cali Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:06 PM (#3577381)
Fine, but what should they have done? Trade Aramis? And get who to play third?

Casey McGehee
   38. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:11 PM (#3577387)
in regards to the offense the cubs in 09 even with aram's injury and complete collapses from soriano, bradley, and others had basically around averae offense.

Not really. 88 OPS+, good for third from last in the NL. Basically, they were "around average" in terms of runs scored (but still tenth in the NL), but with a very generous park factor.

They were bad. Not disastrously bad, but still bad.
   39. Gamingboy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:17 PM (#3577394)
I'm sorry, I heard the word "Doom", so I had to just give a quick post in here.
   40. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3577399)
re 38 yes they were slightly below with almost everything going wrong. Not many gms could field an above average with almost eveything going wrong.

re 36 okay go back to 2006. What should the cubs have done? Who are the players they should have gotten? It is pretty easy to speak in vague generalities but it doesn't mean much if you don't really have a alternative.

devoid of talent at the upper levels?
castro
soto
colvin

then you had guys like fox, murton, dubois, and mcgehee.
   41. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:35 PM (#3577401)
the cubs don't need the league's best offense to win games or even top three. What they need is an average to above average offense to contend.

This is the perfect way to describe the Cubs' philosophy over the last who knows how many decades. "We don't need to be good - we just need to be average to above average, and maybe things will break our way!"
   42. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:41 PM (#3577406)
of course you are ignoring the other side of the equation which allows that statement to be true. Which is that the cubs pitching has been veey good for a long time.
   43. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 11:22 PM (#3577449)
devoid of talent at the upper levels?
castro
soto
colvin

And?

Look, I liked Soto and Colvin as much as anyone. But can you honestly tell me that you expect Soto to be one of the league's better catchers in 3 years? He's already 27 years old, and while he's having a fine year, he doesn't scream "long-term answer" to me (few catchers do). I'll tell you right now, if he keeps up his current pace for the rest of the year, he's a guy that I'm looking to trade in the offseason.

And can we really say that Colvin right now is better than Murton heading at this point in 2006? That was Murton's age-24 season, as 2010 is for Colvin, so that's a wash. Murton certainly had a better minor league career, although Colvin has more power and can play CF (though how well is not yet clear). I think that's a draw right now, and might even give the edge to 2006 Murton; his 160-PA audition in 2005 was more impressive than Colvin's 160 PA so far this year. Colvin's one extended slump away from being right back to the "fourth outfielder" ceiling that we all saw in him to start the year.

Castro, of course, could be very special indeed. But he's the only one of those three that you could legitimately conceive of building a club around.

What should the cubs have done? Who are the players they should have gotten? It is pretty easy to speak in vague generalities but it doesn't mean much if you don't really have a alternative.

I don't have to have any alternatives, because this club is a ******* disaster. The results speak for themselves. And again, as such it's ridiculous to suggest that Hendry made the best moves he could, whether I can name specific better ones or not.

But, I'm not a big believer in free agency to build a club, and god knows who would have been available in a trade. So, hard to say. To me, the big question isn't so much who they should've gotten. It's why so many of their decent prospects at the time didn't pan out. You downplay the young talent they had at the time but Murton, Pie, Fox, Cedeno ... all had good track records in the minors. In retrospect, it's easy to say that they all failed with the Cubs but at the time, that looked like a fair amount of talent. Why did they all bomb?

And that's to say nothing about the Pattersons (both), Harveys, Chois, Hills, Dopiraks, and who knows who else, that all bombed out under Hendry's watch as well. I would suggest that all of those failures are the real reason the Cubs are in the bind they're in now. Some of those, of course, are inevitable. It happens to every team. But cumulatively, they represent a terrible hole.
   44. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2010 at 11:25 PM (#3577454)
of course you are ignoring the other side of the equation which allows that statement to be true. Which is that the cubs pitching has been veey good for a long time.

I'm not ignoring it - I've already acknowledged that building a rotation is Hendry's one true skill. And I haven't been criticizing his handling of the pitching staff at all, despite his obvious question marks with some decisions he's made in the pen over the years.

Obviously, the offense will be his undoing.
   45. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2010 at 11:56 PM (#3577473)
And?

And what? How many teams can routinely fill their upperl levels of the minors with legit prospects? The last three or four years the Cubs have called up, traded away, or tried out at least 7 legit positional players. That isn't devoid of anything, that isn't a dearth of anything.

What is your standard for catchers? Mike Piazza? Ivan Rodriguez? The guy has an .855 OPS and even if he puts up a .800 OPS from here on out where are the Cubs going to get that kind of production out of the catching spot so that they can trade Soto?

I don't have to say Murton is better or Colvin is better. That isn't the point. The point is that the Cubs have had them.

Castro, of course, could be very special indeed. But he's the only one of those three that you could legitimately conceive of building a club around.


So Hendry should be fired because Hendry hasn't developed an Alex Rodriquez or Johnny Bench yet? That is an awfully high standard you are placing on the Cubs minor league and player development system.

It happens to every team. But cumulatively, they represent a terrible hole.


What terrible hole? Homegrown catcher, had a homegrown SS replaced by another homegron SS. That homegrown SS moved over to secondbase which in the month or so that he has done it he hasn't hit diddly but the guy hasn't been a hole for the Cubs. Third base and First base have been cheap or not a bad price for many years. Byrd is cheap. Fukudome and Soriano are expensive. Colvin is cheap. They have had three winning seasons in a row and gone to the playoffs twice because of this "terrible hole".

Lots and lots of teams have prospects that fail. If they didn't we wouldn't have 30 teams we would have 60 teams with all the talent that would be available.

I'm not ignoring it - I've already acknowledged that building a rotation is Hendry's one true skill. And I haven't been criticizing his handling of the pitching staff at all, despite his obvious question marks with some decisions he's made in the pen over the years.

you may acknowledge now but your comments in 41 ignore it. There has been what 2 teams in the last 10 years that have been able to consistently put out a top 3 offense and pitching staff? I'm not sure why the bar for the Cubs would be set that high. The Cubs have X resources. they spend some of it on pitching and some of it on positional players.

The results speak for themselves
Okay but the results also speak for themselves in 2007 and 2008. You can't retroactively punt away 2007 through 2009 because you want the team to be better in 2010. Those years happened and just because the team has inexplicably cratered this year doesn't take those wins away.
   46. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2010 at 12:37 AM (#3577517)
I'm not sure why the bar for the Cubs would be set that high. The Cubs have X resources.

"X resources?" Give me a break. They have the fourth-highest payroll in the majors this year, and by far the highest in the Central. You make it sound like they're Cincinnati (who's kicking our tails with the #20 payroll, by the way).

Let's be straight here: the Cubs' resources dwarf that of the other teams in the Central. Don't give me this "X resources" crap. Compared to their closest competition, they're the freaking Yankees.

And yet, you seem to think that one legitimately good team, an 85-win playoff team who would have never made the playoffs had they been in another division, and last year's mediocre 83-win team are something to celebrate, despite being the class of their division resource-wise, instead of the minimum acceptable performance. You seem to think that a perpetually struggling offense are simply beyond their means to figure out how to fix. You seem to think that effective, homegrown offenses like Milwaukee's and Cincinnati's are just too fantastical for the Cubs to aspire to.

I'm sorry to sound personal, but what a freaking joke. This team has the resources to dominate the Central year-in and year-out, and you're happy that sometimes they luck into the playoffs ... or at least scrape out a winning record.
   47. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2010 at 12:46 AM (#3577522)
Again, pick me out some winners. You have the payroll now build me a winner.
   48. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2010 at 05:39 AM (#3577600)
What's your point, exactly? I could name an team of players made up of guys better than what the Cubs have that were acquired by their teams after Hendry was installed as GM. I'll actually even keep Aramis because I do think that was a spectacular deal, and Geo because, hey, why not, he's a good catcher*:

1B - Adrian Gonzalez (traded 2006)
2B - Dustin Pedroia (drafted second round, 2004)
3B - Aramis Ramirez
SS - Hanley Ramirez (traded 2005)
LF - Josh Hamilton (traded 2007)
CF - Franklin Gutierrez (traded 2008)
RF - Shin Soo-Choo (traded 2006)
C - Geovany Soto

Now as you can see, that was an profoundly stupid exercise. Neither you nor I know whether any of those specific players could have been had by the Cubs, except for Pedroia who was drafted in the second round (the Cubs lost their first round pick that year after signing LaTroy Hawkins ... whoops). The same would be true of any specific players, for the most part.

But as I've said repeatedly, the point isn't "the Cubs should have got this player, and that player." The point is that Hendry and the front office have obviously failed, and that this appears to be because of a misguided outlook that they have employed. But for the most part you're too busy trying to goad me into playing at revionist history to respond to what I'm saying.


*Responding to your earlier question about Soto ... I just don't think that catchers are good long-term bets, in general. I'm happy to credit Hendry for Soto's development under his watch. But building a team around a catcher, unless it's Joe Mauer or Mike Piazza, sounds like folly to me. That's all.
   49. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 03, 2010 at 05:46 AM (#3577604)
What?!? "Month of doom"? The Cubs actually beat the Pirates this month!
   50. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2010 at 05:54 AM (#3577607)
Now as you can see, that was an profoundly stupid exercise.

Yes, but not because you nor I know whether or not they could get these players. We know the Cubs couldn't get all these players. We know at best they might have been able to land one of them. The point of saying name me some options is to make it clear that there wasn't a whole lot of options out there. I once got into an argument (ok I got into it a lot) about the Rangers and ARod and about how because of his contract the Rangers couldn't sign anybody else. For starters it was bunk because they did sign a lot of players but it was also bunk because I would reprint the FA class from around ARod's time as a FA and ask them to pick out the winners that would have made the Rangers better at a comparable cost. You can't really do it. Now we have a terrible Cubs' team and everybody is running around saying the Cubs failed. Ok, that part is easy now what? The 2006 season has just ended the Cubs clear house and fire Baker and Hendry. They name you the GM can you come up with a plan that will create a better 4 year run than the one we saw?

You say the point is that Hendry failed and while you can go into specifics on what failed within the Cubs this year you can't even begin to describe what the Cubs should have done besides saying get better players.

*Responding to your earlier question about Soto ... I just don't think that catchers are good long-term bets, in general. I'm happy to credit Hendry for Soto's development under his watch. But building a team around a catcher, unless it's Joe Mauer or Mike Piazza, sounds like folly to me. That's all.

Which is why it is nice to develop and have under contract for 6 years your very own catcher who is also an above average hitter.
   51. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2010 at 04:21 PM (#3577851)
The point of saying name me some options is to make it clear that there wasn't a whole lot of options out there.

This is just dumb. In the 8 years (almost to the day) that Hendry has been GM, there isn't anything he could have done to build a better team? There just weren't enough options? I guess the Twins, with their 5 division titles in that time on a fraction of the payroll, took all those options? Or the Cardinals, with their four playoff appearances and a chance for another this year? Or the Dodgers? Or the Angels? Or the Phillies, who have built back-to-back World Series teams? Or the Rays, who have built one of the most impressive young teams in the majors out of nothing over the past few years? Or the Braves and their 15-year run of dominance in the NL East, and who now have already reloaded with a good young team? Or the Red Sox, who can go head-to-head with the Yankees on a yearly basis without having any apparent advantages that the Cubs don't have?

Where do those teams find their options? Why should I sit back and accept that those teams can do it but, oh, Hendry just doesn't have any options?

This is Cubs defeatism to the Nth degree. I think it might even qualify as Stockholm Syndrome.
   52. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2010 at 05:05 PM (#3577870)
So again you have no options other than "there has got to be something better"?

In the 8 years that Hendry has been the GM the Cubs have been to the playoffs 3 times and have had 5 winnings seasons. Only 7 other teams in the majors have gone to the playoffs 3 or more times during that same span. Only 11 other teams have had 5 or more winning seasons.
   53. Brian C Posted: July 04, 2010 at 03:49 AM (#3578313)
Seventeen runners left on base in only eight innings? That actually defies belief. Glad to see that Wells looks back on track though.
   54. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2010 at 09:42 PM (#3578948)
The Cubs biggest strength this year has been their pitching and so who gets selected to the ASG?

Marlon Byrd


Silva, Marshall, or Marmol would probably have been a better pick in terms of picking the best players on the team rather than filling a position.
   55. McCoy Posted: July 10, 2010 at 11:27 PM (#3585247)
Very quietly Aramis Ramirez has knocked the shiite out of the ball this week. I'd be surprised if he isn't the NL player of the week. He has raised his OPS by almost 115 points in 6 days and has 4 homers, 2 doubles, and a triple. Hopefully he can continue this, well, obviously not this but something like .380/.500 from here on out.

In other news Gorzelanny looked good again today. The Cubs have a plethora of SP talent in their organization and they really should be trading off Silva and Lilly by now. Granted Lilly isn't helping it with his inconsistent starts. How about this for an out there suggestion, Carlos Silva, Ted Lilly, and Carlos Zambrano to LAA for, well, anything really. We'll do it for Abreu.

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