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Monday, August 01, 2011

Sullivan: Carlos Pena believes Cubs’ chemistry could be better

It’s Quaderupolarizin’!

While the Cubs’ clubhouse is relatively calm and quiet compared to years past, Carlos Pena surprised the media on Sunday by expressing a desire to improve the team chemistry.

“When you have the right kind of chemistry, it’s just magical,” he said. “That’s exactly what we’re trying to build toward — that chemistry that really just makes incredible things happen. … It’s not something you can just turn on a switch. I know that for a fact. But it does happen. It’s a cultural change.”

So the Cubs don’t have good chemistry?

Pena said they “get along well,” but that they need to get into a mode where “everything clicks” between them.

“It goes beyond just grabbing dinner together, even though that’s a start,” he said. “When we say the chemistry looks good, that’s a good sign. But before we reap the benefits, it may take a little bit. We must be patient and optimistic.”

Repoz Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:41 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:10 AM (#3890044)
This is a useless article with useless quotes on a useless topic. Don't ever change, Sully!

Also I blame Starlin Castro, why not.
   2. Spahn Insane Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:14 AM (#3890048)
And a topic that could've been mooted if the Cubs would stop stepping on their own dicks and hold a fire sale...
   3. Spahn Insane Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:15 AM (#3890050)
As for Pena's point, though, I have no doubt that better chemistry would've been worth at least 25 games in the standings to the 2011 Cubs.
   4. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:20 AM (#3890053)
He's right, really. This season has certainly not been "magical."
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:24 AM (#3890055)
But Avada Kedavra is magical.
   6. Mash Wilson Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:29 AM (#3890058)
You can't blame Carlos for being a little bitter he's still playing for the Cubs.

You know something went horribly, horribly wrong when your first baseman is annoyed because he would rather be playing for the Pirates or the Indians or the Diamondbacks or whoever right now.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:56 AM (#3890067)
When you have the right kind of chemistry, it’s just magical,”


Paging Mr. Conte...Mr. Victor Conte....
   8. Knock on any Iorg Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:59 AM (#3890068)
You know something went horribly, horribly wrong when your first baseman is annoyed because he would rather be playing for the Pirates or the Indians or the Diamondbacks or whoever right now.

I think the team you're searching for is the...Rays.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:15 AM (#3890075)
Hmmm ... I took it differently. I took it as "Please, Mr. Hendry, sign me to a long-term contract so I can collect millions ... er, I mean so I can help build team chemistry."

And, yes, it's clear the main problems with team chemistry are Starlin Castro and Carlos Marmol. Not Jeff Samardzija -- if we could, we'd give him Avogadro's number on his uniform.
   10. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:57 AM (#3890081)
I take it as, "Sully asked me a dumb question and I have to say something."

Note that Pena isn't actually quoted as saying that chemistry on the team is bad, despite Sully's desperate attempts to make it appear otherwise.
   11. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:12 AM (#3890085)
Hendry returning next season is going to force me to consider taking off the 2012 season. His refusal to trade any but one player despite the Cubs' current standing shows he's only out to preserve his employment for next season. At this point, he probably sees that the only way to do that is to have the Cubs finish as a merely bad team and not a historically bad one.
   12. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:18 AM (#3890087)
Agreed but i take it a step further, crane kenny on down need to go
   13. The District Attorney Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:45 AM (#3890097)
Summing up the Cubs' strategy:

? Add "a few more pieces", without giving up anything meaningful
? Hope that guys in their mid-20s who weren't much good in the minors become major impact players
? Magical chemistry

Sounds like a plan!
   14. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 01, 2011 at 11:17 AM (#3890116)
I still don't understand why the new ownership didn't clean house and bring in their own people. I'm assuming Selig is behind that--stability!--but it doesn't make much sense. Why Bud continues to let weak ownership groups buy teams is inexplicable. You can't take MLB with you when you die Bud!
   15. Millon deFloss Posted: August 01, 2011 at 11:27 AM (#3890117)
That'w what you think, Shooty.
   16. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 01, 2011 at 11:44 AM (#3890120)
That'w what you think, Shooty.

Are you saying we'll only be so many terra cotta warriors buried with Bud in his tomb to serve as his unholy army of darkness in the afterlife? You know, I always kind of suspected...
   17. just plain joe Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:44 PM (#3890133)
You can't take MLB with you when you die Bud!


Let's face it, Bud is never going to die. I think he is some kind of cyborg, created to cause angst among MLB fans.
   18. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:25 PM (#3890154)
I'm not sure exactly what the Cubs could have accomplished at the trade deadline, but yeah, they have a few players they should have got something for.

It's hard for me to believe Hendry won't be gone. If he isn't, then I am. Hell, I already am for the most part. I can't imagine getting excited about the 2012 Cubs unless they are going in a completely new direction.
   19. rr Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:59 PM (#3890182)
I can't imagine getting excited about the 2012 Cubs unless they are going in a completely new direction.


The ESPN radio guys said last night that there was a guy in the park in STL wearing a #5 Cubs' jersey with PUJOLS on the back.

I am generally opposed to crappy teams signing megabucks FAs in that they have too many problems to solve to make it worthwhile, but in the case of the Cubs, I'd make an exception. They should be all over Pujols and Fielder IMO and try to get one.
   20. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3890230)
They should be all over Pujols and Fielder IMO and try to get one.

Any chance that Pujols would be capable of playing third for the next 10 years? He's done it in a pinch for the Cardinals this year, and he seems to be over his foot and elbow issues. Sign Fielder and Pujols!
   21. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#3890270)
Even if you think the Cubs can't contend next year(they can), you sign Pujols or Fielder. It's not like these guys are going bust after 2012. Plus the Cubs have about 45M to spend in the offseason, what better way to spend it?

When you have 130M payroll, you don't start over from scratch. You find pieces that work for today and years after, and as the dross starts falling off the payroll, you spend that money too. In the NL Central, Fielder/Wilson/mid-level starter(Or Ramirez if you structure properly) is more than enough to contend.
   22. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3890312)
When you have 130M payroll, you don't start over from scratch. You find pieces that work for today and years after, and as the dross starts falling off the payroll, you spend that money too. In the NL Central, Fielder/Wilson/mid-level starter(Or Ramirez if you structure properly) is more than enough to contend.

I think it's time to stop thinking of "enough to contend" in any context. More years than not under Hendry, the Cubs have been able to reach that level, more or less the same as one or two other teams in the Division, while spending a whole lot more money than their rivals. At their payroll level they should be annihilating their opponents, not ekeing out 89 wins in one of their better seasons.

Signing Fielder or Pujols would be easily the greatest (on paper) FA acquisition in Cubs history. Obviously, it isn't quite as simple as wanting one of these players and thus getting them, nor is it impossible that such a signing could turn out badly, both in the near- and long-term. Of course they should go for it, but if I had to put my money somewhere, it would be on neither player being a Cub in 2012.
   23. Bob Evans Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:58 PM (#3890342)
Even if you think the Cubs can't contend next year(they can)

You wouldn't think catching up to the Pirates would be difficult.
   24. Weeks T. Olive Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3890345)
Of course they should go for it, but if I had to put my money somewhere, it would be on neither player being a Cub in 2012.

Same here. I've never really seen Pujols as a legitimate target for the Cubs, if only because I don't see him leaving St. Louis. The Cubs should, of course, basically write Pujols a blank check should he actually hit the market.

On the other hand, there is no excuse for not going after Fielder. I think it would be a somewhat risky signing and likely to look bad toward the end of whatever contract Fielder gets, but the Cubs are one of the few teams that can absorb that kind of risk. And I should say that I think the reward for signing Fielder well outweighs the risk.

That being said, Ricketts has shown no indication of actually wanting to improve the team's on-field performance, either through changes to the team or the front office. The team could always stumble ass-backwards into a playoff spot as they did in 2007, but I wouldn't expect anything to happen until Hendry is gone and his successor is given 1-2 years to clean up the mess.

Edit: My prediction for Cubs 1B next year is that Hendry signs Pena to a 2-year/$25M deal.
   25. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:23 PM (#3890364)
Andere, I agree that "enough to contend" is unacceptable for a 130M payroll, but that can't be done overnight with the current team. So you make short-term improvements that serve as long-term as well and you try to contend in the worst division in baseball next year. As money continues to free up, you keep building on what you have. The Cubs can't become an elite team overnight, but the choice isn't between become an elite team now, or punt the next 3 seasons with the hopes of being elite then.

[24] My prediction is Jim Hendry won't be signing anyone to any contracts this offseason. This year's been a ####### disaster, the fans are pissed and aren't showing up. He's gone.

And I don't understand why all of a sudden there's this sentiment that Pujols is a lock back to St. Louis, I've seen it in multiple places. He gave a HUGE discount to St. Louis when he signed his current deal, the guy's gonna go get paid and I don't think St. Louis is willing to do it.

This past offseason was really the first chance for Ricketts to "prove" anything to anyone. I think he should've canned Hendry then, but it's not completely indefensible to have kept him on for this season. He's at least proving to make good with this past draft, sounds as if they're going to get deals done with a slew of overslot guys, including Maples who few expected anything to get done with.
   26. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:25 PM (#3890368)
In the NL Central, Fielder/Wilson/mid-level starter(Or Ramirez if you structure properly) is more than enough to contend.

In addition to what Andere said, there's no reason to think the NL Central will always be this way. The Brewers seem suddenly eager and able to spend money to supplement an impressive farm system. The Cards aren't short of resources, even if they can't match the Cubs's finances, and at any rate have consistently shown themselves capable of executing the Cubs' strategy as well as or better than the Cubs themselves. The Pirates have been patiently building talent and are being taken seriously by most observers as a potential long-term threat. The Reds are both younger than the Cubs right now and have more impressive front-line talent. Hell, even the hapless Astros succeeded where the Cubs failed this weekend, getting some legitimate prospects in trades.

In short, if they #### up this offseason, it may well be harder to dig themselves out of the mess than it has been the last two seasons.
   27. The District Attorney Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#3890382)
The Brewers seem suddenly eager and able to spend money to supllement an impressive farm system.
I don't follow this stuff closely at all, but I thought that after the Greinke and Marcum trades, the Brewers now have the worst farm system?
   28. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#3890402)
I don't follow this stuff closely at all, but I thought that after the Greinke and Marcum trades, the Brewers now have the worst farm system

I dunno about going forward, but even if they lose Fielder, they'll still have Weeks, Braun, Hart, and Gallardo next season, all still in their primes and all products of their own system. They'll also have Lucroy, who's been pretty decent.

Looking briefly at their farm system, they have Mat Gamel, who's a little old for a top prospect but crushing AAA pitching. They have Taylor Green at AAA also, who frankly looks due for a callup right now as McGehee flounders. Caleb Gindl's having a very nice year at AAA, and is only 22. Pitching looks pretty thin at the upper levels, but then again it's still a Doug Melvin organization.

No doubt Brewers fans and prospect watchers can paint a fuller picture, but apropos to this discussion, it looks like they have more upper-level talent than the Cubs.
   29. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3890433)
The Brewers have nobody on BA's midseason top 50, while the Cubs have Brett Jackson at 32 and Matt Szczur at 48.

Mat Gamel is in his 3rd year at AAA and is still a DH. It's also important to note that the league OPS for the PCL is 813.
   30. Eddo Posted: August 01, 2011 at 08:06 PM (#3890510)
Signing Fielder or Pujols would be easily the greatest (on paper) FA acquisition in Cubs history.

Even if they gave Fielder something like $160M over 6 years?
   31. Mash Wilson Posted: August 01, 2011 at 08:23 PM (#3890529)
If Pujols does hit the market, who's going to be in the running for his services besides Chicago and Anaheim? It's hard to see the Yankees or Red Sox finding space in their lineup for him. Suddenly it looks like the Mets and Dodgers don't have money. Could the Giants afford it?

It really looks like the market for Pujols is pretty much the Cardinals, Angels and Cubs, and then the Orioles and Nationals trying to lure a big free agent like they do every year (and probably not the Nationals, after the Werth contract).

If the big money teams wanted to go after him, that's one thing. But with them apparently out of the running I see no reason to think Pujols is going to leave St. Louis, unless someone makes a ridiculous offer (which we can't rule out Arte Moreno or Darth Angelos doing, I suppose).

Seems likeliest to me Pujols stays put and Fielder heads to Anaheim.
   32. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 01, 2011 at 08:38 PM (#3890546)
Why are the Cubs not a big money team?

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