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Monday, March 12, 2012

Dusty to Sveum: Good luck, you’ll need it

The Fundamental Counting Principle: Ways for nothing to occur.

It will take years before Theo Epstein’s “scouting and player development machine” is up and running.

The buzz the Cubs generated with this hire will eventually wear off and everyone will see just how patient the fans will be with a rebuilding project.

“From my experience, patience wasn’t a real virtue here,” Dusty Baker said Monday. “They’ve been patient for a hundred years. That’s a hard sell in Chicago – more patience. They might be patient for a little while, but unlike any other place I’ve been, they count. People count. They can add real good in Chicago. Everybody – men, women and children.”

...It sounds like Sveum plans to be more insulated from the media than Piniella or Mike Quade, who seemed to take the pulse of the city. Sveum isn’t on Twitter, doesn’t follow blogs and won’t listen to talk radio.

“I don’t do anything like that now, so I’m not going to start,” Sveum said. “Basically, all I know how to do is get on the Internet and check scores on my phone and e-mail a little bit. But I’m not searching out articles. To me, that doesn’t even make sense why you would read good or bad (stuff). Obviously, we know there’s going to be more bad than good, so it’s kind of irrelevant to look at (that).

“I got better things to do than seek out articles on myself or the team. I’m living the team the nine innings every single night. (I) don’t have to look to find out what somebody else thinks. I know what’s going on.”

Repoz Posted: March 12, 2012 at 10:55 PM | 102 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, history, reds

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   1. Brian C Posted: March 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4079419)
"I know what’s going on.”

Well, that will be a nice change.
   2. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:08 AM (#4079440)
You can't say for sure how the fanbase will handle this total overhaul; the Cubs have never really done something like this. I think everyone but perhaps the most casual Cub fan is aware that the front office has all but said the team won't be very good for at least a couple of seasons. You'd like to think they'll be accepting of this reality and exercise some patience, since this is a genuine effort to make the franchise a perennial contender. This isn't a case of being shitty because the front office is content to plug the Steve Buecheles of the world into the lineup.

The headline is a bit misleading in that Dusty isn't overtly guffawing that Sveum is a dead man walking. He's just recollecting on his personal experiences in Chicago. I think what Dusty forgets (or at least appears to forget based on his comments) is that he was a pretty beloved guy in Chicago through most of the 2004 season until it became more apparent to the fans that his in-game decision making, favored players and general handling of the clubhouse left a lot to be desired.
   3. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4079446)
Somebody doesn't remember the Lee Elia tirade. Chicago has been through many many rebuilding plans.
   4. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: March 13, 2012 at 02:30 AM (#4079481)
One this extreme, though?
   5. Andere Richtingen Posted: March 13, 2012 at 04:03 AM (#4079490)
Somebody doesn't remember the Lee Elia tirade. Chicago has been through many many rebuilding plans.

Four years ago the Cubs won 97 games, and they have carried one of the higher team payrolls in the league for several years. 1983 was building from scratch -- four years before that they peaked at 80-82, and payroll wasn't much of a factor then. Anyway, if the 2012 Cubs somehow manage to feature the equivalent of young Sandberg, Durham, Hall, Smith and Davis, I'll take it! I am not holding my breath.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2012 at 05:21 AM (#4079499)
Not sure the Cubs really have been through many rebuilds, just lots of incompetence.

The early-mid 70s were a legit rebuild ... and I'd forgotten how legitimately promising that 74 team looked (post-Jenkins, Holtzman, etc. trades).

Banks out for Andre Thornton who could thump (as long as you didn't ask him to move)
Williams traded for Trillo the next offseason
Madlock in for Santo (retired after 74)
Monday in CF
Kessinger at 31 was the oldest position player starter (Williams on the way out)

A young rotation (26 the oldest) of Reuschel, Stone, Hooten, Burriss and Bonham. Bullpen needed help but Sutter and Hernandez were just a couple years away.

And they had no patience and started getting stupid ...

LaRoche (who had been good pre-Cubs) to the Indians where he became good again for Milt Wilcox
Hooton to the Dodgers for Geoff Zahn
Thornton to the Expos for Biittner and Renko
Understandably released Wilcox ... who turned into a pretty good pitcher
Understandably released Zahn ... who turned into a pretty good pitcher
Swapped Monday for two horrible OBPs (Buckner and DeJesus)
Swapped Madlock for the broken body of Bobby Murcer

By the miracle half-season in 77, the only bits left in place are Reuschel, Burriss and Bonham. Bonham was traded after 77.

Other than that -- yeah, the Green Cubs were rebuilt but largely by adding vets and/or ripping off the Phils. The 89 Cubs looked a bit like a rebuild but fell apart immediately. But generally the Cubs have always maintained in that middle -- haven't lost 100+ games in a long time.

I too am interested in how patient Cub fans will be. This team pretty well stinks and there's nothing to get excited about but Castro. Jackson and Rizzo might arrive mid-season but doesn't seem to be anybody else of note who's close to ready. The FA market over the next 5 years looks pretty bleak (a couple nice pieces for 2014), the new slotting and international rules would seem not to work in the Cubs' favor.

Seriously, talent-wise, the ML roster looks like a Littlefield Pirates team plus Castro. A couple of vets who should be average but will find a way to suck, some AAAA types who might click, one genuinely good player (Garza) and keeping my fingers crossed that Jackson isn't Chad Hermanson.

I do have a hard time seeing this team being good before 2017-18 and even that might be more "promising" than "performing." It could happen before then if they open the checkbook but, as I said, I'm not sure the high-priced talent is going to be there to spend on. Epstein/Hoyer have only just started to put into place their development system and haven't had a draft yet. And I see no reason to think Cub fans will be patient that long. I hope they will -- or at least that it's a situation where somebody else can come in and claim the glory from playing the guys developed by Epstein and Hoyer -- but I have my doubts.

Fully granting there's a good chance I won't be patient that long.
   7. Lassus Posted: March 13, 2012 at 06:15 AM (#4079505)
It will take years before Theo Epstein’s “scouting and player development machine” is up and running.

This premise sounds flawed.


I do have a hard time seeing this team being good before 2017-18 and even that might be more "promising" than "performing."

As does this one.
   8. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 13, 2012 at 06:48 AM (#4079507)
The new CBA hurt the Cubs almost as much as it hurt the Red Sox and Yankees. Actually it hurt everybody, didn't it? It hurt the big markets (limiting their major-league as well as minor-league spending and taking away their free ticket to the playoffs), the teams that are trying to rebuild, and the contenders in smaller markets who need to perpetually build. What a terrible thing, limiting spending on young talent . . . it basically turns the whole success cycle into one giant roulette wheel, based on whose veterans collapse and don't collapse and who has a bad enough record for enough years in a row to get a good farm system together. Bud may as well have just installed several rounds of televised ping-pong ball drawings in place of the season and post-season. I guess maybe it helps the big but not behemoth teams a little, because they'll have less competition from the middle and small market teams with the latter unable to continue accumulating talent on the farm but the former still able to patch major-league holes with veterans.
   9. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: March 13, 2012 at 07:42 AM (#4079514)
The new CBA hurt the Cubs almost as much as it hurt the Red Sox and Yankees. Actually it hurt everybody, didn't it?

It can't hurt everyone, it's a zero sum game. It's clearly a pro small market deal. They no longer lose any signability picks due to slotting. And the big teams can't splurge on FA's to buy their way out of trouble with the new harsher LT (ok, mostly the Yankees, but ww have seen how angsty the Red Sox are about going over the LT). And they now have a better shot at the playoffs, with the second WC, at the expense of the first WC. That's a win-win-win.
   10. bobm Posted: March 13, 2012 at 07:46 AM (#4079516)
FTFA:
Welcome to Chicago, where everyone questions the lineup, little things become big news and the interview room feels like a dungeon. Just ask Baker, who said the experience made him stronger.

“He’ll see,” Baker said. “That’s all I can tell you.”


Dusty concluded, "He better watch out for poop in his spot in the dugout."
   11. Andere Richtingen Posted: March 13, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4079540)
Anyway, it's good to hear what Baker thinks. I suppose Steve Stone, Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg are too reserved to offer their views on the current state of the Cubs.
   12. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4079547)
Somebody doesn't remember the Lee Elia tirade. Chicago has been through many many rebuilding plans.

Four years ago the Cubs won 97 games, and they have carried one of the higher team payrolls in the league for several years. 1983 was building from scratch -- four years before that they peaked at 80-82, and payroll wasn't much of a factor then. Anyway, if the 2012 Cubs somehow manage to feature the equivalent of young Sandberg, Durham, Hall, Smith and Davis, I'll take it! I am not holding my breath.


I don't know -- Gord Goldsberry did a pretty nice job rebuilding that farm team, but was the Green 84 team really a "rebuild"?

The Sutter/Durham trade was pre-Green/pre-Trib, IIRC. Sure - give Green the Sandberg trade, but let's be honest -- that was a DeJesus/Bowa swap with Sandberg as a toss-in. Beyond that one, I'm having a really, really hard time of any of the Green trades that didn't actually bring veterans back. Jody Davis was a nice rule 5 pick, IIRC -- but he traded two minor leaguers (who never amounted to anything, of course) for an aging Ron Cey. He dealt a fairly prime chit who Durham made redundant (Bill Buckner) for a veteran SP in Eckersly. Veteran reliever Bill Campbell fetched veteran OF Gary Mathews (and yes, not-a-kid-anymore-but-still-young Bob Dernier).

Green did a really nice job patching holes and making effective trades. Goldsberry did an excellent job scouting fringe talent on other clubs, a pretty nice job drafting, and built a solid farm system.

However, I'm not really sure that early 80s team was a "rebuild" in the sense of "let's blow it up and develop young talent"... Cey, Mathews, Moreland, Sanderson, Eckersly, Sutcliffe, etc... Green was acquiring a ton more veterans than he was prospects. Sandberg didn't count as one, really, when acquired... Who else? Porfi Altimirano?

   13. UCCF Posted: March 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4079597)
Sure - give Green the Sandberg trade, but let's be honest -- that was a DeJesus/Bowa swap with Sandberg as a toss-in.

Every story I've heard about this trade has been that Green (coming from Philly) knew Sandberg was a prospect and insisted he was part of the deal.
   14. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4079612)
I do have a hard time seeing this team being good before 2017-18 and even that might be more "promising" than "performing."


Good Lord.
   15. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4079613)

Every story I've heard about this trade has been that Green (coming from Philly) knew Sandberg was a prospect and insisted he was part of the d


Well, sure -- I mean -- Green certainly sought to make Chicago Philly West (Moreland, Mathews, Dernier, Bowa, Sandberg, etc). I'm not saying that Sandberg was some randomly selected kid. I know that both Green and Gord liked him - but I'm just saying that I think that even Dallas would agree that it's revisionist history to think that they saw him as the centerpiece on a rebuilt team. I think they thought he had the makings of a solid regular, so getting him as a bonus in a SS swap was a steal - any time you can get two legitimate starting lineup players for one, it's a steal.

All I'm saying is that getting a kid you thought was being underrated as a toss-in (and no matter how much G/G liked him, he was a toss-in) doesn't really qualify as "rebuilding" in my mind... To me - that would be more like what Cleveland got in the Sutcliffe deal, where Hall was considered a legitimate young comer, and Carter was a relatively well-thought of prospect. Note that's NOT saying Green was wrong to pull that trigger, either -- the Cubs looked legit and they needed starting pitching and had a surplus of OFers -- just that the Cubs Dallas built were more of the Trader Jack type hole-plugging (and very able hole-plugging) than they were a true "let's go young and hoard kids".

   16. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4079622)
I do have a hard time seeing this team being good before 2017-18 and even that might be more "promising" than "performing."




Good Lord.


I don't know --

Let's assume, just for a moment, that Rizzo pans out. Add him to Castro and you've two very good, perhaps star to superstar level players set, including one at SS. Add Brett Jackson (again, no guarantee, but let's just pretend). Now, you also got a 5 tool CF in the mix. Rizzo, Castro, and Jackson could very well be a nice core. Given the contract shedding - there's no reason the Cubs should have any concerns about being able to keep all three.

Now... perhaps Soto, being a catcher and all, isn't going to last long enough (at his current rate of play or some approximation thereof) to be a part of that good team. It would be nice if he were three years young - adding a legit + catcher to potential stars at SS and CF is a better foundation than anyone could hope for.

Sure, it's wishcasting to forecast Rizzo and Jackson, plus continued Castro development as stars -- but it's not completely nutso wishcasting.

If they work out, I think you can make the case that the offensive core is already in-house. Fill in a few minor league spare parts, maybe milk a few early/mid-30s seasons from Soto....

The question really becomes pitching. Is Garza a part of that good rotation? I think he's young enough that he could be - if I'm Thed, I'm in no rush to deal him, but I'd be listening to offers. You've still got another year to make a decision on a long-term contract. Does Travis Wood progress? Do you keep Marmol?

It's really the mound side of things that's weak, without a ton of top-shelf help that can be reasonably expected. Still, given TINSTAAPP, if my rebuilding plan is going to be weak anywhere -- I'd rather be weak on the mound.
   17. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4079638)
You don't know if it's hilariously unreasonable to look at any team likely to have the top payroll in their division and say they're 6 years away??

6 years away from being promising?

How long are you giving the White Sox Walt, a couple decades?
   18. Brian C Posted: March 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4079651)
I have a lot of respect for Walt's opinions, but he and McCoy have spent the whole offseason engaged in a weird pissing contest to see who can spin the decision not to sign Pujols into a bigger disaster.
   19. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4079653)
It's clearly a pro small market deal.


Then why is the small-market team I root for going to be capped at spending literally a third as much on the draft this year as they did last year?
   20. Randy Jones Posted: March 13, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4079655)
It can't hurt everyone, it's a zero sum game. It's clearly a pro small market deal. They no longer lose any signability picks due to slotting. And the big teams can't splurge on FA's to buy their way out of trouble with the new harsher LT (ok, mostly the Yankees, but ww have seen how angsty the Red Sox are about going over the LT). And they now have a better shot at the playoffs, with the second WC, at the expense of the first WC. That's a win-win-win.


No, it hurts any team that wants to rebuild, large or small market. The Royals and Pirates both made massive improvements to their farm systems in just a couple years by spending more on the draft and international free agents. They can't do that anymore. These changes help teams that don't care about winning, but just want guaranteed profits.
   21. JJ1986 Posted: March 13, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4079665)
The FA market over the next 5 years looks pretty bleak (a couple nice pieces for 2014)


Lincecum and Votto are more than that. They're two of the best players in the game. And next year, there's Hamilton, Cain and Hamels.
   22. Brian C Posted: March 13, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4079666)
These changes help teams that don't care about winning, but just want guaranteed profits.

I think it's probably more accurate to say that it helps teams who want to reap guaranteed profits but also don't want to be at a competitive disadvantage by doing so.
   23. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4079674)
It can't hurt everyone, it's a zero sum game.

No, I think Randy Jones is right. It hurts front offices in general, restraining all of them from doing what they want to do. It helps team owners in general make profits.
   24. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4079699)
Other than the White Sox, and their draft budget of $8.50, I can't definitively think of a team that it helped.
   25. TerpNats Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4079717)
Epstein is going to be unfairly compared to his first few years in Boston, although that was a team already in good shape that simply needed some fine tuning. The Cubs are a long way from that.
   26. Brian C Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4079720)
Other than the White Sox, and their draft budget of $8.50, I can't definitively think of a team that it helped.

But if that's the case, then who did it hurt? This is where Fancy Pants's "zero sum game" comment comes in - teams can only be "hurt" and "helped" on a relative basis. If everyone is hurt, then no one is hurt. If it hurts some teams more than others, then it helps those others even if they have to change their approach. Etc.

Not that I don't appreciate the White Sox gibe, of course.
   27. JJ1986 Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4079723)
But if that's the case, then who did it hurt?


The Royals and the Pirates for starters. They've been spending much more than their division rivals on the drafts because it's the only real way a team can compete without a large MLB payroll.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4079725)
But if that's the case, then who did it hurt? This is where Fancy Pants's "zero sum game" comment comes in - teams can only be "hurt" and "helped" on a relative basis. If everyone is hurt, then no one is hurt. If it hurts some teams more than others, then it helps those others even if they have to change their approach. Etc.


It hurts all GMs in the sense that it limits one of their options for team-building. But since it does so across the board, it doesn't really hurt organizations' ability to build quality teams.

   29. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4079737)
The Cubs are a long way from that.


On paper, yes -- but I still maintain that having a 21 wunderkind who looks like he will be a legitimate superstar at SS is a very, very nice core. Add the well-thought of Brett Jackson, who has 5 tools -- but unlike CP, knows how to walk -- and you might well be looking at having two core pieces at SS and CF. That's not half bad. Rizzo could become Justin Smoak, I guess... but he's a well-thought of bat at 1B.

I'm very much on the "yes, they're rebuilding" side of things (and the "I'm fine with that side of things") -- but I think it's important to keep in mind that the cupboard is NOT bare. By all rights, though he's had two fine seasons already -- Castro is of the age where most players would still be prospects in the farm system. I've come around to believing that Brett Jackson is a legitimate top 50, maybe even top 25 prospect - and he also plays a premium position.

I guess I'm just saying that if you're a long way away -- having potential premium players at SS and CF is probably as good a head start as anyone could expect.

I don't expect the Cubs to win 70 games this year and they probably won't next year, either.

Bad things will happen, I'm sure -- but so long as Castro stops assaulting women, keeps progressing, and Jackson arrives... I think there's a solid couple players in-house to build around. Add a good 1B prospect in Rizzo -- a few more interesting low level guys who are high risk to just flame out, but also high reward...

What they really need are some arms.
   30. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4079748)
I bet the Cubs never win less than 70 with the current front office. This year's team isn't good, but there's too much mediocre there to finish with 93 losses.
   31. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4079755)
Is there any actual data that would suggest that a young player that had a .755 OPS in year one and then a .773 OPS in year two is going to turn into a "superstar" any time soon? Is there evidence that his defense will improve?
   32. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4079764)
Is there any actual data that would suggest that a young player that had a .755 OPS in year one and then a .773 OPS in year two is going to turn into a "superstar" any time soon? Is there evidence that his defense will improve?


I might start with the list of players who were actually posting major league numbers as a regular at all age 20 and 21 -- it's a pretty darn small list. Sure, maybe he turns into Gary Templeton long-term... but no one expected Gary Templeton to stay Gary Templeton at that age, either.

What's the data for players leading the league in hits at age 21?
   33. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4079773)
IIRC, ZIPs had Jeter, Yount, and Brett as Castro's comps -- even with expectations for a slight regression from his age 21 season in 2012.
   34. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4079800)
If we use Jeter and Yount as examples it means we got another 3 seasons of around average performance for Castro before he might breakout. Plus his defense will need to improve significantly along the way.
   35. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4079822)
Using raw numbers seems misleading considering what's going on with the run environment.
   36. Brian C Posted: March 13, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4079840)
If we use Jeter and Yount as examples it means we got another 3 seasons of around average performance for Castro before he might breakout.

Except that Jeter was still just breaking into AAA at 20 and Castro was putting up a 100 OPS+ in the majors. Yount's probably a better comp, since he was in the majors so early. He had his first 4 WAR season at age 22, before taking a step back at 23 and breaking out for good at 24.

If you believe dWAR, both of those guys were poor defensively when they first came up. Actually, regardless of whether or not you believe dWAR, I don't think that anyone will really argue with that outside of maybe the NY press in Jeter's case.

Castro will be 22 this year. I think you can make the case that he's ahead of where Jeter was at this point of his career and probably Yount, too. He's not far away from being an elite SS right now, really.
   37. Bob Evans Posted: March 13, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4079850)
Is there any actual data that would suggest that a young player that had a .755 OPS in year one and then a .773 OPS in year two is going to turn into a "superstar" any time soon?

Yarrrr, who's that a rap-tap-tapping on my bridge? Yeah, a 21-YO SS with an OPS+ of 111, that sounds around average.
   38. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4079871)
Look - all projections systems are limited, but as Szym notes in the Cubs ZIPs post (where the long-term for Castro was discussed extensively), he's also got 40 years of minor league numbers. SS's -- even below average defensive SS's - putting up OPS+ of 100 and 111 at the major league level are just pretty darn rare. Sure - I'd love him to walk more and it would be great if the power kept progressing upward at a straight line.

ZIPS could be wrong, just as all projection systems could be wrong. Castro may turn into a headcase... He may become Templetonesque and start a long slide into mediocrity in his late 20s.

But the fact remains - he just led the league in hits at age 21. His power numbers took a nice bump. Few players even play in the majors at age 21, much less provide quite positive offensive contributions.

Here's Castro's prime per ZIPS from the projection thread --


Year BA/OBP/SLG WAR
2012 301/343/432 3.5
2013 308/352/464 4.4
2014 310/356/475 4.8
2015 311/359/479 5.0
2016 310/359/487 5.2
2017 309/360/483 5.1
2018 304/357/479 4.8
2019 304/357/479 4.7
2020 302/354/471 4.3
2021 300/351/466 3.9

That's a cornerstone you can build around, especially if he can just get to average or even slightly below at SS.

Here's the extended comp list:


Derek Jeter
Robin Yount
George Brett
Paul Molitor
Hanley Ramirez
Steve Sax
Alan Trammell
Garry Templeton
Troy Tulowitzki
Carney Lansford
Zoilo Versalles
Roberto Alomar
Jim Fregosi
Adrian Beltre
Edgar Renteria
Chris Speier
Cecil Travis
Robinson Cano
Joe Thurston
Buddy Bell
Lou Boudreau

There are a few flameouts, sure -- but there are also half a dozen+ guys that are either in the HoF or should be. Even the ones who never took the next step (Fregosi, Renteria, Templeton... maybe Hanley depending going forward) - it's only hindsight that let us down... Gary Templeton at age 22 sure looked like a HoFer.

Castro will be just 22 this coming season... He's already got 1200 big league PA's with a slash line of 304/343/422 -- good for a career OPS+ of 106. If he was 25 - I might concur that he might have reached his ceiling (which is still a darn fine 3 WAR player) -- but he's 21.

EDIT: And just to be clear - I'm a relatively recent Castro convert... Until he came up, I was thinking his ceiling might be a Rafael Furcal sans agegate, trading some walks for a bit more power. That's all well and good, but at this point -- I really do think he's got a much higher ceiling than that.
   39. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4079886)
As a projection I'm just not all that impressed by it. I mean I'm glad he would be doing that as a SS but it just looks like having a worse defensive Jimmy Rollins-level SS on the team.
   40. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4079906)
As a projection I'm just not all that impressed by it. I mean I'm glad he would be doing that as a SS but it just looks like having a worse defensive Jimmy Rollins-level SS on the team.


Well, I'd have to agree with SSR -- I think you're completely ignoring different run scoring environments.

Jimmy Rollins has had exactly one 5 oWAR season and exactly one season with an OPS+ as good as Castro posted last year.
   41. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4080066)
I'm not ignoring the run scoring envirnment. Last year he put up a 111 OPS+ with atrocious defense and posted a 2.6 WAR. That is a slightly good starting SS. The view is that he will improve. ZIPS thinks at his best he'll double his output. I don't know if I can go along with that or think he will get to a high level soon. I can see him hanging out in the 3 WARS for a bit before moving up to possibly 4s and maybe a 5.
   42. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4080079)
[41]Why do you expect that?
   43. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4080084)
His defense sucks, he isn't a walker, and he isn't a slugger.
   44. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: March 13, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4080092)
What's the data for players leading the league in hits at age 21?


As far as I can tell, there's only 2: Castro and Ty Cobb, and Kaline did it at 20. Only five 21 YO's with 200 or more hits: Castro, DiMaggio, Hal Trosky, Garry Templeton, and Lloyd Waner. Throw in younger players as well and you pick up Alex Rodriguez, Vada Pinson, Al Kaline, and Buddy Lewis.
   45. Brian C Posted: March 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4080101)
ZIPS thinks at his best he'll double his output.

That also seems like a fairly conservative projection, FWIW, given that ZIPS also gives his top 3 comps as Derek Jeter, Robin Yount, and George Brett.

I'm not sure what your basis is for such skepticism. Obviously what you describe could happen, but Castro was the second-youngest position player to play in the majors last year. The youngest (by about 1.5 months) was Jose Altuve, who had an 81 OPS+ in 234 PA while playing 2B for the Astros.

I think you're overrating Castro's flaws and seriously underrating how impressive his accomplishments to date have been. He makes a bunch of errors - so what? Lots of young SS do. Otherwise, what's not to like? He's already a plus hitter at 21!

   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4080121)
His defense sucks, he isn't a walker, and he isn't a slugger.

Are you aware of the offensive context for an MLB SS today?

You don't need to walk or have that much power to be way above average. Not to mention that patience and power tend to develop later, and Castro is 21 freaking years old.
   47. Brian C Posted: March 13, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4080127)
Are you aware of the offensive context for an MLB SS today?

In case he's not: Castro's sOPS+ at shortstop last year was 121. His offense is very good as is. Moderate gains in OBP and power - which is reasonable to expect given how young he is - will make him much better than very good.
   48. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4080160)
I'm aware that he is 21 but I don't think that means he'll be ARod at 26. He isn't a slugger and he isn't a walker. He'll be a nice plus on offense but his output will not be the centerpiece of the Cubs offense or if it is the Cubs offense is going to be lousy.

Fine, he'll be above average but again we are not talking about ARod level of above average and yes his defense still sucks. It is costing him and the Cubs massive amounts of runs. He hasn't shown any improvement with his defense yet and doesn't look to be improving in the near future.
   49. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4080179)
If your standard for way above average is Alex Rodriguez, I don't even know how to finish this sentence.

Just for fun, A-Rod's sOPS+ in his age 21 season was 1 point better than Castro's.
   50. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4080180)
What is your standard for "superstar"?
   51. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4080182)
Something lower than top 2 player of his era
   52. Brian C Posted: March 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4080197)
I'm aware that he is 21 but I don't think that means he'll be ARod at 26.

Um, ARod? That's not a ridiculous strawman or anything. Again, the three comps that are being bandied around here are Jeter, Yount, and Brett, none of whom had anything like ARod's prime.

Hell, I don't think anyone's even said that he'll be "the" centerpiece of the Cubs' offense. He's a very impressive, rare talent for whom a HOF-caliber ceiling is a possibility. No one's saying he's ARod.
   53. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: March 13, 2012 at 08:14 PM (#4080235)
I've got nothing against McCoy personally, but it's getting a bit tedious how every Cub thread devolves into drawn out pissing matches because he seems to have assumed the contrarian role for anything Cub related.
   54. zonk Posted: March 13, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4080248)
I just think people need to get over Pujols and Fielder.

It took 10/254 to sign Pujols -- no possible way in the world would I have wanted to be the team that went 10/255.

It took 9/216 to sign Fielder -- no possible way in the world would I have wanted to be the team that went 10/230 or even 8/240.

We can say it's Ricketts' money all we want, we can talk about Cubs resources all we want, but at the end of the day - I am convinced those are bad deals. Given the more recent success of both the Angels and Tigers and given what they had in house - I can see the argument that flags fly forever - but with those as the baseline minimum pricetags, I can honestly say that there is no way I sign either of those contracts... as the GM for any team.

   55. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4080280)
I've got nothing against McCoy personally, but it's getting a bit tedious how every Cub thread devolves into drawn out pissing matches because he seems to have assumed the contrarian role for anything Cub related.

I'm sorry that so many of you have drank the Theo Kool-Aid. But I'm not sure how I am being contrarion about Castro. Saying he is going to be a 3 to 4 WAR player soon is going against the grain? What, do you think he'll be a 6 WAR player next year or something?

The Cubs are going to be bad and they are going to be bad for awhile. I'm not sure why I should be cheery and upbeat about that.
   56. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4080300)
Drinking the Kool-Aid = thinking the Cubs could have a "promising" future sometime before 6 years from today.
   57. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2012 at 10:29 PM (#4080302)
Well, that and "I'm fine with that" on pretty much every single decision Theo has made.
   58. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 13, 2012 at 10:39 PM (#4080308)
I don't think anyone was "fine" with the pointless SYTH signing.

The decision on 3B received mixed reviews.

Personally, I would've been ok with signing Pujols at those #s, but the Cashner/Rizzo heist softened that blow.
   59. Brian C Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:13 AM (#4080364)
I don't think anyone was "fine" with the pointless SYTH signing.

I was "fine" with it in the sense that there was nothing to get agitated about. He won't play if he sucks, because the Cubs have a lot of outfielders, so what the hell.

I've got nothing against McCoy personally, but it's getting a bit tedious how every Cub thread devolves into drawn out pissing matches because he seems to have assumed the contrarian role for anything Cub related.

Yeah, sorry, I know I'm a big part of those pissing contests and I'll try not to get so caught up with McCoy's act going forward.
   60. Walt Davis Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:53 AM (#4080374)
It took 10/254 to sign Pujols

Well, maybe. Yes, I know that's what he went for but that seems to have been a last-minute swoop-in offer. To that point, the best deals were roughly 10/$200. I had suggested way back that I'd go 8/$200 for Pujols without blinking an eye. If the Cubs had offered 8/$200 while the Cards were offering only 10/$200 (and presumably that's not where they started), Pujols might (I said might) have signed well before the Angels made their offer.

But I agree that 10/$254 is probably above my breaking point for Pujols (especially since I think it has a chance to be 10/$300) and the Fielder contract was too much.

And that definitely won't happen with Votto or Lincecum or ...

Yes, it's certainly true that in the world where Castro, Rizzo and Jackson all turn out well and the Cubs are able to sign all the top FA pitching talent on the market and Ricketts is willing to spend up to the luxury tax limit and they pull off a couple of trades for Zobrist types ... they could be good as soon as 2014-15.

Realistically ...

Epstein/Hoyer haven't had a single draft yet -- the players they will draft are 3-5 years from the majors which means 5-7 years from being good
Goldstein ranked the Cubs current system #20 -- yes, counting Castro moves it up a lot but it's not a powerful system
Almost all of the good young position talent in MLB is tied up in long-term team-friendly contracts, you won't be able to buy offensive talent
Some substantial subset of Lincecum, Hamels, etc. will get extended by their teams and not hit the market
The Cubs will likely only land one major FA because, y'know, the Mets, Phils, Yanks, Sox, Sox, Dodgers, Tigers, Rangers ...
At least one of Castro, Jackson, Rizzo will be a flop (simply the nature of prospects)

And the Cubs just sat out -- didn't even make a play for -- an FA market of Pujols, Fielder, Reyes, CJ Wilson and a flotilla of relievers. There is no better FA year coming and sitting out that market is not what you do if your plan is to win in 2014.

All I'm saying -- you might want to sit down for this -- is that the Cubs are going through a genuine rebuild. They are rebuilding from the ground up. They are going to develop most of their talent from within not buy it. That's supposedly what you guys were saying and now you're telling me they're going to be good as soon as 2014 following the Hendry method (and relying heavily on Hendry's farm system). Take your pick cuz you're going to be some of the disappointed fans if you think 2014 is the year.

And would somebody please tell me where the $30 M in payroll savings is going if we can't spend it in the draft or internationally.

   61. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 14, 2012 at 02:04 AM (#4080375)
Take your pick cuz you're going to be some of the disappointed fans if you think 2014 is the year.


My math might be off here, but it seems there might be some middle ground between "2014 is the year" and "hard time seeing this team being good before 2017-18 and even that might be more 'promising' than 'performing.'"

   62. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 02:28 AM (#4080377)
Why Goldstein's rankings and not BA's that put the Cubs system at 12?

Does every farm system below the Cubs have to undergo an 8 year rebuilding process too?

How do you know what the Cubs offered Pujols, Fielder, Wilson?

What the hell did you want Jose Reyes for?

What the hell did you want relievers for?

How low do you expect the payroll to go?

Since when does it take 6 years to build a 12th(or even 20th) ranked farm system into a promising one?

Not a believer in the Jorge Soler rumors?
   63. Ron J Posted: March 14, 2012 at 02:48 AM (#4080382)
#22 I hadn't really thought about it, but the comments in the thread now has me leaning towards, favors those who want a better return on investment.

Not a surprise when you think about it. An awful lot of teams are (sort of) answerable to bean counters.
   64. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 02:55 AM (#4080383)
The following jumps were made in Goldstein's list from '11-'12

Padres +10
Cardinals +18
Athletics + 12
Mariners + 6
Pirates + 9
D-Backs + 11
Red Sox + 7
Orioles + 10
Mets + 7
Marlins + 8

That's 10 teams that made a jump in rankings, that if the Cubs did, they'd have an above average system NEXT YEAR.(Again, notwithstanding that Callis said the Cubs will be ranked in the top half THIS YEAR) But because they're ranked 20th, and now have a payroll 5.8M below the high in their division, you've written them off for SIX YEARS
   65. Ron J Posted: March 14, 2012 at 03:01 AM (#4080385)
#32 Bill James in his study on aging estimates a 40% chance at a HOF career from a player good enough to play regularly at 20. (Much higher if you separate out players derailed by injury, but of course that's cheating)

Also worth noting the top 3 comps Dan came up with: Derek Jeter, Robin Yount, George Brett

He's not there, and the odds are actually against him improving substantially in 2012 (and holding it). It's just that given his age he has multiple chances to take that next step.

Defense? Generally speaking it peaks fairly early. Still, if there are coachable problems he has time. He'd not likely to be at his defensive peak for a couple of years yet, and the decline from is generally graceful (given reasonable luck with injuries)
   66. billyjack Posted: March 14, 2012 at 08:08 AM (#4080417)
On the bright side, it will only take 72 wins to win their division. ;o)
   67. zonk Posted: March 14, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4080473)

All I'm saying -- you might want to sit down for this -- is that the Cubs are going through a genuine rebuild. They are rebuilding from the ground up. They are going to develop most of their talent from within not buy it. That's supposedly what you guys were saying and now you're telling me they're going to be good as soon as 2014 following the Hendry method (and relying heavily on Hendry's farm system). Take your pick cuz you're going to be some of the disappointed fans if you think 2014 is the year.


Which, again, I think is a good thing...

My main point here is that going through a genuine rebuild with a 21 yo wunderkind at SS is a nice luxury that most genuine rebuilds don't have. It takes a lot more than even a ZIPS+1 projected Castro to make the rebuild a success and the Cubs a legitimate contender, but if you look at all of the various 'rebuilds' teams other teams and past Cub iterations have gone through -- having that 21 yo who just led the league in hits in his sophomore year is damn nice start.

Don't forget - during the great FA debate - I was one of the people saying point blank that I wasn't expecting them to contend in 2014 (and was told I was being foolish in accepting that as a baseline)... it was the primary reason that I didn't have much use for this FA class, despite having some fine players in it.
   68. Brian C Posted: March 14, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4080484)
Does every farm system below the Cubs have to undergo an 8 year rebuilding process too?

This.

We have no idea how that process went - for all we know, the Angels came in with 10/254 to beat the Cubs' offer of 8/200. At any rate, saying that the Cubs could have had Pujols if only they had offered less money and a shorter term seems like really desperate wishful thinking.
   69. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4080515)
Does every farm system below the Cubs have to undergo an 8 year rebuilding process too?

It is going to take about 5 years for the talent drafted now to start contributing in a meaningful way at the major league level.* Which means of course that rookie-A ball will start to be rebuilt in a year or two. Double-A in two or three, so on and so on. Now please note that I said start to be rebuilt since it isn't like the Cubs are going to draft 5 starters this June. Out of this year's crop they might, might, get 1 or 2 players that will contribute at the major league level and then next year they might get 1 or 2 more so on and so on. So that in 5 years time or so you might have 4 or 5 youngsters on the major league team.


*That is if they turn out good in the first place. If you draft Brooks Kieshnick types they'll never contribute.

Here is when the 2008 Rays acquired their biggest contributers:

2002 Draft
2006 Draft
2000 Draft
2004 Trade
2005 Draft
2007 Draft
2007 Trade
1999 Draft
2006 Trade
2006 Trade
2006 Trade
2008 Trade

Those are all the players who played at starter level or better for the Rays in 2008. Now of course the players that got traded to the Rays were quite obviously drafted by another several years before they were traded. So here was a team that was built by using primarily young players and for the most part the players that contributed entered into the system about 5 years or so beforehand. For the Cubs to be a contending team by 2014 or 2015 a lot of things have to go right and/or they have to pull off some great FA acquisitions. They could have done that this year but they didn't which makes it all the more harder to contend by 2014 or so.

Do I think it will take until 2018 for the Cubs to contend? No I don't. I would say somewhere in the 2015-16 range if things work out well. But I will say that the fans shouldn't expect to see anyone that Theo drafts to do anything meaningful at the major league level until 2016 or so. If you want to see a prospect turn into a major leaguer then you have to pin your hopes on a Hendry draftee making it or Theo trading for someone that is in someone else's system.
   70. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4080545)
Luckily the Cubs don't have the 2008 Rays payroll, nor are they competing with the Yankees or Red Sox.

Still looking for the reason the Cubs system will take 4 years to bear fruit(be it through contributions or trades), but 1/3 of MLB teams were able to make a jump that would put the Cubs in the top half of baseball. And it's not like they were all teams restocking their system by dumping stars for prospects.

-The Padres had the Latos and Adams trades, but they also traded for Quentin, and for no apparent reason gave up Rizzo for Cashner. They had a worse draft pick than the 2012 Cubs.

-The Cardinals traded prospects for Furcal. They had a worse draft pick than the 2012 Cubs.

-The Pirates neither gave up/nor traded for any prospects of note. They had the #1 pick.

-The D-Backs gave up a couple middling middling prospects in-season, and gave up good prospects for Cahill/Ziegler. They selected 3rd.

-Red Sox traded some prospects of varying value. They had a worse draft pick than the 2012 Cubs.

-Orioles traded for some nothing prospects. They drafted 4th.

-Mets traded K-Rod for some middling prospects. Had worse draft pick than the Cubs.

-Marlins added/lost nobody of significance. Had worse draft pick than the Cubs.

The point of all this, is that the greatest gains within farm systems over the past year have been through instruction and development, something the Hendry era Cubs were stuck in the stone age on. The players that Hendry brought in were a small part of the issue(obviously some particulars like Hayden Simpson are a problem), the greater failing of the Cubs farm system over the past however many years have been the idiotic approach they've taken with the players.
   71. Brian C Posted: March 14, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4080549)
Oh whoops, I see that I blockquoted the wrong sentence in my #68, and the edit function seems to be gone. What I meant to quote was SSR's "How do you know what the Cubs offered Pujols, Fielder, Wilson?"
   72. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4080556)
Luckily the Cubs don't have the 2008 Rays payroll, nor are they competing with the Yankees or Red Sox.

So what are the Cubs going to spend their money on? Secondly it wasn't like the Rays were an 80 win team for years before getting to the next level. They were a crappy team until 2008 and they would have been a crappy team in any division until 2008 so that point is moot.


How about the 2008 Brewers?

2008 Trade
2001 Draft
1999 Draft
2008 Free Agent
2002 Draft
2005 Draft
2008 Free Agent
2003 Draft

The CC trade had the Brewers sending a 2006 draftee, a 2007 draftee, a 2005 tradee, and a 2005 draftee to the Indians.

I have no idea what the point of arguing about the ranking of systems is. We're talking about a system producing players here.
   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4080557)
It is going to take about 5 years for the talent drafted now to start contributing in a meaningful way at the major league level.*

Why do you pretend the entire rebuilding consists of drafting raw 18 y.o.'s and promoting them through the farm? It's so far from reality that it's painful.

College draftees can easily contribute in 1-2 years. Top talent like Trout and Harper before their 21st birthday. Free agents contribute immediately. Young prospects can be traded for MLB or MLB ready talent.

Under your logic, if a team had every top-100 prospect under age 20, and a 70 win major league squad, and a $180M payroll, they couldn't possibly compete for 3+ years.

In reality, that much young talent could be traded for enough major leaguers to build two pennant contenders.
   74. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4080560)
So are the Cubs planning on being one of the three worst teams in the game the next few years?


Again, history has shown that it takes about 5 years for a youth movement to reach critical mass at the major league level. I am not saying that every single person you draft is going to take 5 years to reach the majors.
   75. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4080569)
I have no idea what the point of arguing about the ranking of systems is. We're talking about a system producing players here.


Because the entirety of yours and Walt's arguments seem to be Cubs farm is ranked 20th by Goldstein + didn't sign Pujols = 70 wins for the next 5 years.
   76. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4080570)
I mean honestly, you think Tom&Theo;&Jed;&Jason; are going to let the payroll drop to ~65M over the next few years and assume they won't lose the fanbase over it.

1. How dumb of a businessman do you think Tom Ricketts are?
2. How dumb do you think Theo&Jed;&Jason; are for being sold on Ricketts's plan to lower payroll to an embarrassing level and not competing for 5 years?
   77. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4080573)
Because the entirety of yours and Walt's arguments seem to be Cubs farm is ranked 20th by Goldstein + didn't sign Pujols = 70 wins for the next 5 years.

I don't give a fig where the Cubs are ranked. It means absolutely nothing.

Why do you think the Cubs will be contending in 2014?
   78. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4080579)
Why do you think the Cubs will be contending in 2014?


Because they have the best front office in the division, have the most financial resources in the division, and have a decent farm system.
   79. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4080581)
Is it your view that any prospect outside of Jackson or Rizzo being a contributor in the next couple years is unlikely?
   80. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4080583)
I mean honestly, you think Tom&Theo;&Jed;&Jason; are going to let the payroll drop to ~65M over the next few years and assume they won't lose the fanbase over it.

Again, what are they going to spend it on?

They have already slashed the payroll significantly and the actual team itself has something like a 90 million dollar payroll. For 2013 they lose Dempster and Byrd's salaries. Byrd possibly gets replaced by Jackson and salary increases for Maholm, Garza, Marmol, Soto, Wells, Castro, and others will likely keep the Cubs at the same 90 to 100 million dollar mark.

So no I don't think they will drop the payroll to 65 million because in reality they can't. Not unless they trade Marmol and Garza and not pick up Maholm's option.
   81. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4080584)
Is it your view that any prospect outside of Jackson or Rizzo being a contributor in the next couple years is unlikely?

Who are these magical beans?



Because they have the best front office in the division, have the most financial resources in the division, and have a decent farm system.


So nothing concrete then? Just hope?
   82. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4080604)
Is it your view that any prospect outside of Jackson or Rizzo being a contributor in the next couple years is unlikely?

Who are these magical beans?


Probably anywhere from A+ to AAA. Do I have to go through and list every non top 50 prospect who turned into a productive major leaguer?
   83. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4080610)


Probably anywhere from A+ to AAA. Do I have to go through and list every non top 50 prospect who turned into a productive major leaguer?


How about you just identify some of these guys that are currently in the Cubs minor league system?

This is just wish-casting on your part. All nebulous nothing concrete. Hey, they'll be good in 2014 because something along the way will happen that will lead to the Cubs being good in 2014. Well, that is great to wish for but not much of an argument.
   84. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4080646)
You want me to definitively name who out of a sea of 20 guys will wind up contributing to the major league roster?

Somebody(and likely more than somebody) of Struck, Cabrera, Parker, Gaub, Jackson, Mateo, Rusin, Hatley, Loosen, Beliveau, Rhoderick, Searle, Whitenack, Beeler, Dolis, McNutt, Antigua, Kurcz, or Rhee will be a contributor from the pitching side.

Somdebody of Castillo, Clevenger, LaHair, Lake, Ridling, Vitters, Szczur, Ha, Cerda, or Watkins will be a contributor from the hitting side.

The majority of these guys won't even touch the major leagues, but that's how the minors work. To look 2 years in the future and say, well we'll have these 2 guys, and nothing else just isn't realistic.

Something along the way? The front office is in place. The revenue streams are in place. An average farm system is in place, as is a future elite 21 year old SS and a very good SP.
   85. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4080650)
Is it your view that any prospect outside of Jackson or Rizzo being a contributor in the next couple years is unlikely?

Who are these magical beans?


2 years ago, Matt Moore, an 8th round pick, was a 21 YO in A ball with a 3.36 ERA

3 years ago, Jeremy Hellickson, a 4th round pick, was a 21 YO in AA with a 3.94 ERA

In 2009, Ivan Nova put up a 5.10 ERA in AAA

In 2009, Vance Worley, a 20th round pick, put up a 5.34 ERA in AA

Gabby Sanchez, a 4th round pick, was a 23 YO in a ball in 2007 where he hit .279 with 9HR in 133 games. In 2010 he put up a 108 OPS+ in the majors.

In 2009, Johnny Venters, a 30th round pick, was a 24 YO in AAA and put up a 5.62 ERA. In 2010 and 2011, he put up ERA+'s in excess of 200 in the majors.

Guys come out of nowhere all the time.

   86. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4080654)
Guys come out of nowhere all the time.

That's a nice list Cubs' players currently in their system.
   87. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4080656)
why do I feel like this is the fourth or fifth time I've read a thread with pretty much the exact same central argument as this one?

seriously, reading Cubs threads on here is becoming a chore and that's sad, because this is one of the few places I like to go to read Cubs stuff.
   88. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4080659)
An average farm system is in place, as is a future elite 21 year old SS and a very good SP.

For now.
   89. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4080665)
[86] On that note, I'm tapping out...for now
   90. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4080671)
Guys come out of nowhere all the time.

That's a nice list Cubs' players currently in their system.


On this subject, you're worse than SBB, and that takes some doing.
   91. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4080673)
Um, what SSR et al appear to be saying is that it's likely that someone will come out of nowhere regardless of what system you look at. What's less clear is whether this is actually the case. Data?
   92. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4080676)
So here was a team that was built by using primarily young players and for the most part the players that contributed entered into the system about 5 years or so beforehand.


Looks to me that 8 of the 12 were acquired within the prior three years. Which is about what I'd expect -- given the amount of turnover in the average MLB team, it is easily possible to go from worst to first in three years. Not that that should be expected, of course -- many teams try and fail. But it's not at all unusual. So I don't know where the 6-year time frame comes from.

If the Cubs aren't at least competitive in 2015, I'll be disappointed.

   93. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4080681)
Um, what SSR et al appear to be saying is that it's likely that someone will come out of nowhere regardless of what system you look at. What's less clear is whether this is actually the case. Data?


I don't know if I'd quite describe it as "out of nowhere." He's saying the Cubs have a decent system. Even if most of those guys stall before ever contributing at the big league level, it's likely that one or more of them will develop into players that can be contributors on the big league club. That seems like an perfectly reasonable position.
   94. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4080694)
On this subject, you're worse than SBB, and that takes some doing.

Is your argument that all 30 teams every single year will have productive non-prospect players or that you hope the Cubs will be one of the lucky teams that will have one of those players?

You guys are arguing two things really. One, that it is possible to be a non-prospect and become productive at the major league level. I don't deny that. Two, that the Cubs will have this player on their team. And this is where I quibble with you. I do not rely on this actually happening and one cannot rely on this happening. This isn't how you plan for the future. You don't cross your fingers and hope for a surprise. You build your team around what you think you know. I mean what are the Cubs to do? Are they to leave second base vacant in the hopes that one of these years some non-prospect will come along and be productive? No, they try to develop a player that projects to able to man second base for them, or they trade for a second baseman or sign one. What they don't do is cross their fingers and hope one falls from the sky.
   95. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4080696)
I don't understand why people assume that since the Cubs didn't make a splash on the FA market this year, they won't next year. I think it's the exact opposite - since the free agent market didn't swing the Cubs' way this year, they're more likely to go after some more expensive talent next year. They're not cutting payroll down to $60M or something.

The Cubs have ~$65M in payroll locked in for 2013, including arbitration payments. Do you think the payroll won't be at least $100M in 2013? They're going to be buying talent.
   96. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4080702)
Looks to me that 8 of the 12 were acquired within the prior three years. Which is about what I'd expect -- given the amount of turnover in the average MLB team, it is easily possible to go from worst to first in three years. Not that that should be expected, of course -- many teams try and fail. But it's not at all unusual. So I don't know where the 6-year time frame comes from.

If the Cubs aren't at least competitive in 2015, I'll be disappointed.


Like I said in that post of the trades for players those players were drafted several years before that.

Grant Balfour was picked up in 1997. The Rays sent a 1999 draftee to the Brewers for him.
JP Howell was drafted in 2004. The Rays sent two 2001 draftees over for him.
Dioner Navarro was picked up in 2000. The Rays sent over two 1997 draftees for him.
Edwin Jackson was a 2001 draftee. The Rays sent over a 2004 signee and a 2002 signee for him.
Gabe Gross was a 2001 draftee. The Rays sent over a 2006 draftee for him.
   97. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4080705)
I don't understand why people assume that since the Cubs didn't make a splash on the FA market this year, they won't next year. I think it's the exact opposite - since the free agent market didn't swing the Cubs' way this year, they're more likely to go after some more expensive talent next year. They're not cutting payroll down to $60M or something.

The Cubs have ~$65M in payroll locked in for 2013, including arbitration payments. Do you think the payroll won't be at least $100M in 2013? They're going to be buying talent.


Who are these free agents?

Those have to be some extremely conservative arbitration numbers to get the Cubs payroll to just 65 millionish. The Cubs are at 42 to 43 million if they pick up Maholm and Wood's options. Garza is making 9.5 million right now. Soto is making 4.3 million, Wells 2.7 million, and Castro will be hitting arb. BRef has them at about 100 million for next year with the players currently on the team and they were pretty accurate with the ways things went for this offseason. I'd say barring any major moves the Cubs have players on their roster this year that they will bring back and have them cost around 80 to 90 million in 2013.
   98. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4080706)
I'm weak.

One, that it is possible to be a non-prospect and become productive at the major league level.


Or that it's possible to still be a prospect without being ranked in the top 50.



   99. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 14, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4080707)
The only guys given up by the Rays who were worth a damn at the time of the trade were Mark Hendrickson and Danys Baez. It's your contention that the Cubs couldn't possibly make those acquisitions the Rays made because Mark Hendrickson and Danys Baez, those guys don't grow on trees.
   100. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4080712)
Or that it's possible to still be a prospect without being ranked in the top 50.

Fine, who are these guys for the Cubs?

It's your contention . . .

No it is my contention that it is going to take about 5 years to rebuild the Cubs from the ground up and that they'll have to be very bad for a very long time in order to get the really good players like the Rays did.

It has been my view since the beginning that the Cubs have never ever needed to follow the Rays or Brewers method. It has been my view that the Cubs can rebuild the farm system and sign free agents. At this point Ricketts and now Theo have decided against that. It appears that Theo at the very least wants to totally scrap the major league team and get as many prospects as he can for some future date. Garza is likely to get traded during the season and there simply isn't going to be a lot of FA that will be as good as the FA were this year.

Is it possible that the Cubs win 92 games in 2014? Sure it is possible but it doesn't look likely at this point. Does anyone here think the Cubs will be good in 2012? Does anyone think they will be good in 2013? So why will they be good in 2014? The answer it appears is because of faith.
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