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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Wittenmeyer: Theo Epstein’s major remodeling of Cubs raises red flags

“We’re not trying to hide the ball,” Epstein said in the final days of the season. “We’re trying to be honest with [the fans]. There might be some tough things we have to tell them along the way. There might be another trade deadline in our future where we trade away about 40 percent of a really good rotation.’’

The idea, he has said repeatedly, is to build a strong and steady pipeline of homegrown players that will assure that “sustained success,” supplemented only then by flexing the big-market muscle to add any lacking piece or two needed to get over the top in a given year.

For the customer being asked to pay an average of $46.30 for a ticket — especially those who bought in the afterglow of Epstein’s hiring last fall — it’s a risky proposition.

Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, scouting boss Jason McLeod and the rest of the front office knew amateur-signing restrictions were coming when they took their jobs, but it wasn’t until they settled into their new offices that they learned how draconian the draft and international free-agent spending limits would be.

By their own accounts, the Cubs expected to spend more than $20 million on over-slot talent deep in the draft — as Epstein and Hoyer had in Boston and San Diego before. But MLB capped the Cubs’ draft allotment at less than $9 million — under penalty of lost future picks. And limits on international signings went into effect in July, just after they inked Jorge Soler to that nine-year, $30 million deal.

McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 10:52 AM | 123 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4253801)
Seems to me if you can't spend the money on prospects then you spend the money on major leaguers.
   2. The District Attorney Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4253808)
the Cubs expected to spend more than $20 million on over-slot talent deep in the draft — as Epstein and Hoyer had in Boston and San Diego before. But MLB capped the Cubs’ draft allotment at less than $9 million — under penalty of lost future picks. And limits on international signings went into effect in July, just after they inked Jorge Soler to that nine-year, $30 million deal.
I'm sure it's true that they didn't expect the Cubs to have to play by the same rules as every other team, but that's not a terribly sympathetic argument...
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4253829)
Seems to me if you can't spend the money on prospects then you spend the money on major leaguers.
Yup. The Cubs have to leverage their advantages, and now they really can't do it without significant spending on the MLB payroll. I am interested in how far they can push this - would it be possible to trade for a good player on a bad contract, eat the contract and trade him for prospects? You'd be pushing up against the bounds of Selig-approval, but it seems like a game they should try to push as much as they can.

It'll be interesting to see how they adjust this season. The level playing field in amateur acquisitions really hurts deep-pocketed rebuilding clubs. They're going to need a new model.
   4. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4253854)
The level playing field in amateur acquisitions really hurts deep-pocketed rebuilding clubs. They're going to need a new model.


They're going to need a new commissioner.
   5. SteveM. Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4253866)
They need to find some ####### pitching. They essentially neglected the major league team until the trade deadline, and then brought in a collection of AAA arms. If the talent in Iowa is lacking, then go spend some money and get some real MLB pitchers. They are the Cubs, not the Royals. I should never have to suffer through seeing Chris Volstead in a Cubs uniform starting again.
   6. zonk Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4253867)
Well, you could also get better at scouting -- I mean, Mike Trout didn't slide to 25 on signability, did he?

Yup. The Cubs have to leverage their advantages, and now they really can't do it without significant spending on the MLB payroll. I am interested in how far they can push this - would it be possible to trade for a good player on a bad contract, eat the contract and trade him for prospects? You'd be pushing up against the bounds of Selig-approval, but it seems like a game they should try to push as much as they can.


I'm not against spending Ricketts' money by any stretch... but I just think it needs to be a planned fashion, not a "best guy available at whatever it costs" fashion. I have confidence that Thed will do just that.

The cupboard right now isn't bare -- they have legitimate plus players at SS and 1B, even if Castro stalls out right where he is. Both are years under 25. Both are under team control for another, what... 5 years?

What they desperately need is pitching... which is problematic because that's usually the riskiest sort of spend there is. Other than Greinke, there's just not a lot out there I'd be interested in at the top of the market...
   7. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4253878)
If somebody gave me decent odds I'd put 10 bucks down right now on the Cubs losing more games next year than they did this year.

Soriano is going to be a year older, Barney is still going to be Barney, the Cubs have no third baseman, their RF'er is meh and would be a year older, Castro isn't a superstar, Rizzo is Lyle Overbay, no CF'er, no bullpen, Garza will get traded, and not much else one the team besides a hopefully good Castillo and BPJ coming back as a starter again.
   8. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4253883)
“We’re trying to be honest with [the fans]. There might be some tough things we have to tell them along the way. There might be another trade deadline in our future where we trade away about 40 percent of a really good rotation.’’

Well, that's good to know. We went 61-101 for absolutely no reason in 2012 and we might go 61-101 in 2013 or 2014.

But, hey, at least he's honest!!!

The cupboard right now isn't bare -- they have legitimate plus players at SS and 1B

Too early to say that about Rizzo. 119 OPS+ isn't bad, but it's certainly no guarantee he's a plus 1B.
   9. philly Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4253884)
By their own accounts, the Cubs expected to spend more than $20 million on over-slot talent deep in the draft — as Epstein and Hoyer had in Boston and San Diego before.


I'm not sure the Sox ever cleared 12M in total draft spending, not much more than that anyway. Pretty sure the Padres never did.

McLeod had a great reputation in Boston and I think the overall productivity of his drafts will end up being quite good in comparison to the draft slots available, but not necessarily all that impressive in comparison to the amount of money spent. He has always been described by Epstein as an excellent talent evaluator, but minus the money advantage I don't think the emprical case that we can make as outsiders is all that compelling.
   10. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4253891)
“We’re trying to be honest with [the fans]. There might be some tough things we have to tell them along the way. There might be another trade deadline in our future where we trade away about 40 percent of a really good rotation.’’

Well, that's good to know. We went 61-101 for absolutely no reason in 2012 and we might go 61-101 in 2013 or 2014.

But, hey, at least he's honest!!!

The cupboard right now isn't bare -- they have legitimate plus players at SS and 1B

Too early to say that about Rizzo. 119 OPS+ isn't bad, but it's certainly no guarantee he's a plus 1B.
   11. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4253896)
Re Soriano: What you do with a guy who's had big years and has a very tough contact to move is, you don't doom and gloom and piss and whine, you work into your projections the distinct (though far short of certain) possibility that he's going to have a nice year. Epatein failed to do this, and thus wasted very good LF production.
   12. OsunaSakata Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4253907)
Well, that's good to know. We went 61-101 for absolutely no reason in 2012 and we might go 61-101 in 2013 or 2014.


And you get to play the Astros only three times next year.
   13. BDC Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4253940)
They need to find some ####### pitching

Want Dempster back? :)
   14. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4253943)
There was talk that he will sign with the Cubs this offseason.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4253953)
Re Soriano: What you do with a guy who's had big years and has a very tough contact to move is, you don't doom and gloom and piss and whine, you work into your projections the distinct (though far short of certain) possibility that he's going to have a nice year. Epatein failed to do this, and thus wasted very good LF production.


I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about here. Are you saying that Epstein should have tried to throw together a contender last offseason purely on the off-chance that Soriano would play well?
   16. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4253954)
Well, that's good to know. We went 61-101 for absolutely no reason in 2012

There's one excellent reason for it: a great draft pick. Growing up the Cubs delivered a long string of 77-85 ballclubs that weren't good enough to contend but weren't bad enough to snag a top 5 draft pick either. It seemed pointless back then.

Now their predecessors weren't idiots. 100 loss seasons were avoided precisely because they wanted to avoid having to face the sorts of questions from the fans and media that Theo and Jed face now. But if the goal is for the Cubs to contend for a title within six years or so, this is the right course of action given what was on hand to begin with. It's ugly, but there was little shot at immediate contention with a different plan, so what choice did they really have?
   17. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4253968)
It's ugly, but there was little shot at immediate contention with a different plan, so what choice did they really have?

A shot at contention right away with a shot at contention down the road? Hell, if it didn't work the Cubs could still have traded away their players and tanked the second half of the season. Or worst case scenario they finish something like 77-85 this year and then tear the team apart this offseason and get their high draft pick in 2014. The Cubs had no real reason to head into this season with the mindset that they weren't going to compete. There were no time-sensitive decisions that needed to be made that couldn't also be made at a later date.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4254022)
The Cubs had no real reason to head into this season with the mindset that they weren't going to compete.


McCoy, over the offseason: "I can't see how this team might contend unless every piece that has to fall in place includes two are three other Central teams dying in plane crashes, a few Cub scrubs turning into Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, and the league letting the Cub pitchers throw from 45 feet away." Link.

In a post complaining about how it was dumb to waste $5M by signing Maholm, no less.
   19. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4254038)
There were no time-sensitive decisions that needed to be made that couldn't also be made at a later date.

There were a couple, with Sean Marshall probably the biggest one. They get significantly less for him if they move him at the deadline with just a few months left on his contract.

And they weren't a 77-85 team. They went 71-91 and were losing their best hitter without any chance of re-signing him. The only other player they lost from 2011 who would have made even the slightest difference was Marshall and there the Cubs got a decent young infield prospect and a guy who actually _did_ help a little this year for a guy who was gone by 2013.

Furthermore, what you suggested they do is actually what the Cubs did. The Cubs were 43-59 on July 31 and went 18-42 after they traded away everything with any value left: they traded Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm (two guys acquired cheaply this offseason) for two pretty good prospects (though both with issues). They traded a badly struggling Soto for a random arm. They traded Dempster at the very height of his value for two pretty good prospects.

The Cubs gave contention the best shot they could afford (Maholm, DeJesus, Stewart, Johnson, Volstad and Wood were acquired to use this year and Soto, Byrd, Dempster, Garza and Marmol were holdovers). But it was simply a bad team, and then when they traded away any non-young player with any value it became an awful one.
   20. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4254068)
McCoy, over the offseason: "I can't see how this team might contend unless every piece that has to fall in place includes two are three other Central teams dying in plane crashes, a few Cub scrubs turning into Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, and the league letting the Cub pitchers throw from 45 feet away." Link.

In a post complaining about how it was dumb to waste $5M by signing Maholm, no less.


Well, that is nice but you're taking my post out of context and out of the general theme of my posts this offseason. I advocated that the Cubs try to compete this season by signing premier FA. When it was clear they weren't going to do that nor even try to field a competitive team I questioned the wisdom of that and the point of signing the players they did sign.

There were a couple,

Well, let me restate my view then. There were no real time-sensitive decisions of real consequence that need to be made that couldn't also be made at a later date.

With Marshall if they were trying to compete he would have been a valuable piece and holding on to him and even resigning him could have landed them either the same level of players, slightly less or higher quality players. The Cubs are a large market team with a lot of resources. They could have resigned Marshall and then if they tanked they could have traded him and ate some of his contract to make him even more valuable to teams.

The Cubs gave contention the best shot they could afford

I simply don't believe this is what the Cubs could afford.
   21. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4254071)
This is going to turn into another bickering match about why the Cubs should have signed both Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson and re-signed Aramis Ramirez.
   22. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4254079)
I simply don't believe this is what the Cubs could afford.

Maybe. But that's awfully hard to know. The opposite approach didn't seem to work for the Marlins though.
   23. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4254091)
I advocated that the Cubs try to compete this season by signing premier FA.


And then when they signed a 2 WAR SP for a bargain price, you complained about it and said it was a stupid waste of money.
   24. SteveM. Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4254102)

There were a couple, with Sean Marshall probably the biggest one. They get significantly less for him if they move him at the deadline with just a few months left on his contract.


They got back a 5th outfielder type and a lefty with mediocre stuff, who might one day, be as good as Marshall. This is not a haul justifying the trade.
   25. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4254107)
It's ugly, but there was little shot at immediate contention with a different plan, so what choice did they really have?

Improvement from 71 wins to the 85-odd that would have meant wild card contention. That's obviously what they should have done and there was enough to build on to get there. Get in the crapshoot with a "Band Aid" team, get into the crapshoot with a team built for "Sustained Success" (TM), you're still in the crapshoot.

I simply don't believe this is what the Cubs could afford.

Of course it wasn't.



   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4254132)
There's one excellent reason for it: a great draft pick.

They've picked top 10 seven times since 2000. Top 3 three times, and a fourth when they took Patterson in 1998. They've drafted top 3 as recently as 2007.

And they can't pay over slot anymore.



   27. zonk Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4254146)
I agree wholeheartedly with Voros in 19...

The Marshall trade was puzzling at the time and it looks worse now. Marshall was bound to be a much more valuable chit at the deadline than he was in the offseason and it's not as if the market for him was going to vanish. Hell, for that matter, he might have been worth keeping if only to save as a rotation possibility.

The other trades were perfectly fine -- especially given that you simply cannot clean out a system like you once could. He got hosed by some NTC exercises, too -- but I have no problem with what he got back for what he dealt, I'm happy with it, even... at least, once I get past my OOTP-ish "why didn't you add Rusin, DeWitt, and Clevenger so the Rangers would include Profar!" silliness.
   28. zonk Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4254160)

They've picked top 10 seven times since 2000. Top 3 three times, and a fourth when they took Patterson in 1998. They've drafted top 3 as recently as 2007.


I count 6 -- and two of those are still very much well-regarded prospects (Baez and Almora). Another was Prior, who was a no brainer that Dusty ruined, but it wasn't a bad pick. Beyond that, there's Vitters -- who probably isn't going to be much beyond Gary Scott, but might one day still become (a poor man's?) Shea Hillenbrand. Ryan Harvey was a raw HS that was probably a reach at 6 and Luis Montanez was a signability pick (also out of HS).

Of course, their history with "projectable HS bats" doesn't bode well for Baez and Almora.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4254161)
The Marshall trade was puzzling at the time and it looks worse now. Marshall was bound to be a much more valuable chit at the deadline than he was in the offseason and it's not as if the market for him was going to vanish.


This can't be assumed. Good relievers lose trade value all the time by being ineffective and/or injured.
   30. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4254179)
Improvement from 71 wins to the 85-odd that would have meant wild card contention.


So at a market price of $4.5M per marginal win, that's a minimum investment of $63M in 2012 dollars on the FA market, assuming perfect efficiency of resource allocation and no injuries, for a chance at scraping into the postseason as the final Wild Card.

What part of that is a good strategy, again?
   31. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4254180)
Re 23

Yeah they signed him to play on a team that was going to lose 90+ games. If all they did was resign aramis i would have said it was a waste as well.
   32. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4254190)
The level playing field in amateur acquisitions really hurts deep-pocketed rebuilding clubs.
The opposite is true: It hurts smart, low-revenue rebuilding clubs more because it's easier for deep-pocketed clubs to get better via FA.
   33. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4254193)
Re 30.

How much did Aramis cost milwaukee? How much did willingham cost? Soriano was already an expense in the books.
   34. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4254199)

So at a market price of $4.5M per marginal win, that's a minimum investment of $63M in 2012 dollars on the FA market, assuming perfect efficiency of resource allocation and no injuries, for a chance at scraping into the postseason as the final Wild Card.


This isn't how the real world works. Oakland improved by 20 wins and they didn't pay $90 million for those additional wins.
   35. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4254207)
Of course, their history with "projectable HS bats" doesn't bode well for Baez and Almora.

But it's a different organization who picked Almora, and that might make a difference (or it might not).

Also they got Ronald Torreyes in the Marshall deal as well, and I think he's a pretty decent prospect. I think moving Marshall was the right move, though I suppose theoretically they could have gotten more back.

Finally the Angels went 86-76 in 2011, added the top FA hitter in Pujols, the top FA pitcher in C.J. Wilson and added a rookie who should win MVP, and they won 89 games and finished in third. The Cubs weren't getting Trout, their first basemen hit better than any other position and only 60 points of OPS behind Pujols, and Wilson had a 99 ERA+. If the Cubs had broke the bank and signed the top FA hitter and pitcher, they probably still would have been a sub .500 team.
   36. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4254219)
Yeah they signed him to play on a team that was going to lose 90+ games.

And then flipped him at the deadline for two pretty good prospects (albeit the best one rehabbing from TJ).
   37. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4254221)
Were the Cubs barred from making trades to help their 2012 team? You know, a "transaction" wherein you send one team some players and get back some ... better players?

Was there a memo on that?

People are acting as if it's impossible to improve from 71 wins to mid-80s. For a big budget team. That's silly.
   38. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4254222)
And without pujols, trout, and wilson how many games would they have won?
   39. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4254225)
Re 36. I'll believe it when i see it
   40. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4254226)
Re 36. I'll believe it when i see it


you don't believe the trade happened?
   41. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4254229)
It should be said here that Dale Sveum doesn't exactly evoke images of John McGraw or a sober Billy Martin. There were probably 5 wins to be had from replacing Quade with a talented manager.
   42. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4254233)
Beyond that, there's Vitters -- who probably isn't going to be much beyond Gary Scott, but might one day still become (a poor man's?) Shea Hillenbrand.


Vitters may have been the worst player in the major leagues in 2012.
   43. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4254242)
This isn't how the real world works. Oakland improved by 20 wins and they didn't pay $90 million for those additional wins.


Oh this is some bullshit right here. Oakland got to where they are doing exactly what the Cubs are trying to do now -- develop young talent through the farm system. The A's are the famous all-rookie team. The teams that actually tried to buy their way into success in an offseason are the Marlins and the Angels. But trying to use the A's as an example FOR trying to buy up a ####### of free-agent wins is so blisteringly dishonest that if you're capable of feeling shame at all you should look into it.
   44. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4254243)
Re 40

My statement I'd pointed at the view that the cubs got two good prospects.
   45. zonk Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4254246)
The Marshall trade was puzzling at the time and it looks worse now. Marshall was bound to be a much more valuable chit at the deadline than he was in the offseason and it's not as if the market for him was going to vanish.



This can't be assumed. Good relievers lose trade value all the time by being ineffective and/or injured.


Yeah, but he was still an MR -- one of the best MRs, but still an MR -- so it's not sitting on say, a market value Zack Greinke and then seeing him get hurt. He gets hurt or goes down the toilet, he's no longer a chit... Oh well...

But it's a different organization who picked Almora, and that might make a difference (or it might not).

Also they got Ronald Torreyes in the Marshall deal as well, and I think he's a pretty decent prospect. I think moving Marshall was the right move, though I suppose theoretically they could have gotten more back.


Oh sure - though - I have not heard of much great turnover in the Cubs farm system instruction... Picking the right projectables probably matters most, but I think instruction matters, too.

As for Torreyes, my take on him is that he's got an upside of Henry Cotto.
   46. zonk Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4254248)
Beyond that, there's Vitters -- who probably isn't going to be much beyond Gary Scott, but might one day still become (a poor man's?) Shea Hillenbrand.



Vitters may have been the worst player in the major leagues in 2012.


Isn't that a poor man's Shea Hillenbrand?
   47. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4254250)
Re 43

When was the last time a billy beane team lost 100+ games. The a's have done the be good for a long time and then go 77-85 for awhile and yet they have occasionally contended and built for the future.
   48. Brian C Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4254252)
Vitters may have been the worst player in the major leagues in 2012.

It's possible, but I'm not even convinced Vitters was the worst player on his own team, especially if you include pitchers in your definition of "players".
   49. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4254253)
Oh this is some ######## right here. Oakland got to where they are doing exactly what the Cubs are trying to do now -- develop young talent through the farm system. The A's are the famous all-rookie team. The teams that actually tried to buy their way into success in an offseason are the Marlins and the Angels. But trying to use the A's as an example FOR trying to buy up a ####### of free-agent wins is so blisteringly dishonest that if you're capable of feeling shame at all you should look into it.

The baseball world is not set up in a way that, to improve by a win, you must spend $4.5 million dollars. That isn't how it works.

And Oakland didn't expect to win 94 games this year; things just broke right for them. As they could have for a better-constructed Cubs roster.
   50. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4254260)
It's possible, but I'm not even convinced Vitters was the worst player on his own team, especially if you include pitchers in your definition of "players".


I missed that Vitters got a hit on the last day of the season to lift his slugging percentage above .200. Last I had looked, he had an OPS+ of 0, but that hit and two walks against the Astros that day raised it to 9.
   51. TomH Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4254270)
Is the loss of pick a big thing?
Let's say MLB allocates $9 mil for slots of rounds 1-3.
My team spends $14 mil going over slot on 3 guys we want. An extra $5 mil.
We lose the first pick next year.
So in year+1, what do we get to spend on rounds 2&3? Say it's only $4 mil. So we draft 2 guys and spend 4 mil. Savings over nomral $9 mil is $5 mil.
We got 5 guys instead of 6, but they were really guys we wanted, and spent the same bucks.
Looks like a win if you don't go voer slot every year.
   52. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4254287)
The Cubs got 9.8 extra WAR in 2012 from 5 internal guys -- Castro, Barney, Samardzia, Soriano, and Dempster.(*) None of which was wildly surprising. That takes you to 81 wins right there. A better manager and you're at 83-84 wins and in the hunt.

(*) Garza regressed, but his 2.5 WAR in 2011 was certainly attainable, if not improvable upon. No Cub had a 2011 from which significant regression was the most likely 2012 result.
   53. Tricky Dick Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4254334)
Is the loss of pick a big thing?
Let's say MLB allocates $9 mil for slots of rounds 1-3.
My team spends $14 mil going over slot on 3 guys we want. An extra $5 mil.
We lose the first pick next year.
So in year+1, what do we get to spend on rounds 2&3? Say it's only $4 mil. So we draft 2 guys and spend 4 mil. Savings over nomral $9 mil is $5 mil.
We got 5 guys instead of 6, but they were really guys we wanted, and spent the same bucks.
Looks like a win if you don't go voer slot every year.


I know it's just an example, but it's likely that the hypothetical would entail the loss of two first round draft picks, and the "cost" would be 10 million, not $5 million. If the team exceeds the pool amount by 15% or more, the penalty rises to 100% of the excess amount and the loss of two first round picks.
   54. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4254337)
The baseball world is not set up in a way that, to improve by a win, you must spend $4.5 million dollars. That isn't how it works.


McCoy was talking explicitly about signing big-ticket free agents in order to contend, so yeah, that is how it works. If anything, assuming that you can get that kind of player at $4.5M per win on the FA market is probably grossly optimistic.
   55. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4254345)
McCoy was talking explicitly about signing big-ticket free agents in order to contend, so yeah, that is how it works. If anything, assuming that you can get that kind of player at $4.5M per win on the FA market is probably grossly optimistic.

I didn't think that was his only suggestion; it certainly wasn't mine. You can get better without spending money on FAs, though I'm not sure what relevance that has to the Cubs, who aren't hurting for money. They didn't need to add $60M in payroll to have a team capable of competing for the postseason.

The Cubs benefitted from significant internal improvements from 2011 players in 2012, as outlined in 52. That's one way of improving.
   56. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4254358)
And without pujols, trout, and wilson how many games would they have won?

The same as they did with them: not enough to make the playoffs.
   57. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4254376)
The same as they did with them: not enough to make the playoffs.

The question wasn't whether or not the Angels would have made the playoffs but how many wins would they have won without them.

Saying the Angels won 89 games and fell short of the playoffs is kind of meaningless in this discussion. The Angels did in fact contend and had a shot at getting into the playoffs. The argument has always been that the Cubs could have contended this year and still built for the future. Saying the Angels fell short this year doesn't dispute this view.
   58. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4254383)
McCoy was talking explicitly about signing big-ticket free agents in order to contend, so yeah, that is how it works. If anything, assuming that you can get that kind of player at $4.5M per win on the FA market is probably grossly optimistic.

Willingham-3 WAR, $7 million
Aramis-5 WAR, $6 million
Pujols-4 WAR, $12 million
Reyes-3 WAR, $10 million

35 million for 15 WAR. That comes out to about 2.5 million per win. Hell, there is sizable room in there to even figuring in outbidding the teams that did get these players.


   59. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4254388)
Well if you retroactively cherry-pick the free agent deals that were the most fruitful in their first year, it seems even the Astros should have gone all-in for 2012...

edit: and I'm not sure how the Cubs were supposed to get those prices in #58?
   60. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4254392)
Well if you retroactively cherry-pick the free agent deals that were the most fruitful in their first year, it seems even the Astros should have gone all-in for 2012...

Isn't it part of a GM's job to go into the free-agent market and make the most fruitful deals? Since when does Epstein just get to say, "I'm not going to risk signing another Carl Crawford, I'm just sitting out free agent season"?

   61. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4254393)
I didn't think that was his only suggestion; it certainly wasn't mine.

My view was that there was enough talent on the Cubs and the division/format was weak enough that the Cubs had a shot at contending in 2012 by adding talent that was ready now to the major league roster. They could compete in 2012 while also building for the future because they were a large market team with a lot of resources.




The difference between Aramis Ramirez this year and what the Cubs put out there at third is about 7 wins and by the way those 7 wins would have only cost the Cubs less than 4 million than they had already committed to third base.
   62. cardsfanboy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4254394)
As a Cardinal fan, I hope the panicky Cub fans win out, and they get rid of Theo as soon as possible, so that the team can go back to it's old ways and attempt to put up 80+ wins every year. Theo and his revamp the entire system philosophy is the best thing to happen to the Cubs in 70+ years, hopefully he is forced to stop before he finishes fixing everything.
   63. Ron J2 Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4254396)
The baseball world is not set up in a way that, to improve by a win, you must spend $4.5 million dollars. That isn't how it works.


No but that's the going rate for free agent talent. Now that includes the really bad signings, but ...

Zimbalist found that only ~11% of free agent signings were great $/win values and that under half of them broke even in a financial way. The study is nearly two decades old, but color me skeptical that much has changed since then.


   64. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4254399)
Well if you retroactively cherry-pick the free agent deals that were the most fruitful in their first year, it seems even the Astros should have gone all-in for 2012...

edit: and I'm not sure how the Cubs were supposed to get those prices in #58?


I have no idea if they were the most fruitful deals or not. I do know that those were guys I wanted the Cubs to go and get this offseason. I also know that I said there is plenty of room between 2.5 million and 4.5 million for the Cubs to outbid the teams that did get these players and still have the Cubs under 4.5 million per win. I'll also state that I think the Cubs could have gotten Aramis at a similar price that the Brewers got him at.
   65. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4254402)
Willingham-3 WAR, $7 million
Aramis-5 WAR, $6 million
Pujols-4 WAR, $12 million
Reyes-3 WAR, $10 million
This is just blisteringly dishonest accounting.

Aramis Ramirez was signed for 36M over three years that happens to be arrange 6 / 10 / 16 / 4 (buyout). Pujols signed for 10/240 with a cheap first year. Reyes signed for 6/106 with two $10M seasons to begin and then a bunch of $22M years to close out the contract.
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4254412)
This is just blisteringly dishonest accounting.

Aramis Ramirez was signed for 36M over three years that happens to be arrange 6 / 10 / 16 / 4 (buyout). Pujols signed for 10/240 with a cheap first year. Reyes signed for 6/106 with two $10M seasons to begin and then a bunch of $22M years to close out the contract.


Is that what that post meant? I read it a few times but figured I was missing something.

I guess the Cubs should have also offered a posting fee of unlimited amounts for Yu Darvish as long as that first-year salary was low...
   67. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4254419)
Theo and his revamp the entire system philosophy is the best thing to happen to the Cubs in 70+ years, hopefully he is forced to stop before he finishes fixing everything.

Oh, Lord.

There's no such thing as a "revamp the entire system philosophy." And you can revamp the system and put competitive teams on the field at the same time. Saying you can't is a false choice, if not a flat-out con.
   68. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4254424)
This is just blisteringly dishonest accounting.

Um, Vlad stated that in order for the Cubs to get the wins necessary to compete this year they would have to add 63 million dollars to 2012's payroll. The contracts are proof that they wouldn't have needed to add 63 million dollars to 2012's payroll to get those wins.

Future costs are not sunk costs.


But anyway what is 12 million divided by 5? Is it 4.5 million?
   69. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4254429)
Aramis Ramirez was signed for 36M over three years that happens to be arrange 6 / 10 / 16 / 4 (buyout). Pujols signed for 10/240 with a cheap first year. Reyes signed for 6/106 with two $10M seasons to begin and then a bunch of $22M years to close out the contract.

So the Cubs are never going into the free agent market again?

When you go into the free agent market, you spend money in the out years -- years in which you might not be any good. See, e.g., the money the Red Sox (*) spent on John Lackey and Carl Crawford in 2012. (Which isn't to say I would have signed Albert Pujols at that money; I woudn't have. Willingham, Ramirez, and Reyes were all decent deals. McCoy's accounting also doesn't count the WAR you could have got back from a Castro trade if you moved him post-Reyes.)

(*) Both contracts entered into in the Sustained Success (TM) portion of Epstein's reign.
   70. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4254433)
The argument has always been that the Cubs could have contended this year and still built for the future.

And the Cubs won 15 fewer games than the Angels last year. There was no reasonable expectation of contention for the Cubs this year, regardless of what possible moves they could have made. The Cubs already had a big payroll this year, the problem was it was a _bad_ high payroll team:

Soto = $4.3 million
Soriano = $18.0 million
Byrd = $6.5 million
Dempster = $14.0 million
Garza = $9.5 million
Zambrano = $18.0 million
Wells = $2.7 million
Marshall = $3.1 million
Marmol = $7.0 million

That's $83 million dollars owed for what amounted to around 7.2 WAR. Between Soto, Byrd, Zambrano, Wells and Marmol the Cubs owed $38.5 million on players who produced nothing of value in 2012.

This was not a team in need of some patchwork, it was an epic mess: it was an expensive team likely to lose 85 to 90 games and with an extremely weak farm system to bolster it. To spend this team into contention would have required them to go absolutely nuts on payroll obligations, not just in 2012 but well into the future. And Ricketts has given no indication that's something he's willing to do, particularly on a team who only _might_ contend if you do so.

They could have spent madly on Reyes, but then shortstop isn't really the problem. They could have done the same on Pujols or Fielder, but then of course first base is also not the problem right now. They could have spent a bunch of money on Willingham for right field (where either he or Soriano would have been a severe defensive liability), but then the right fielder they did get cost a lot less and was only a little worse. They could have spent a ton on C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish but that would have been extremely expensive and neither one was exactly lights out. Granted Ramirez would have helped a bunch, but we have no idea whether there was any chance of him staying. It just wasn't there for the Cubs.
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4254439)
There's no such thing as a "revamp the entire system philosophy." And you can revamp the system and put competitive teams on the field at the same time. Saying you can't is a false choice, if not a flat-out con.


I'm just going by everything I remember reading. If Theo isn't instituting his own coaching philosophies in the minors, instructing his scouts on what to look for and how to grade players and what information he wants on his reports, clearing out the players who were liked by the old regime, then I'm sorry for saying I think a revamping of the system is happening.

The Cubs were not going to compete this year, and going after corner position players who have maybe 5 years of all star performance left in them, at a ridiculously high priced, just to make the fans feel good about winning 75 games, isn't a good philosophy, provided that the team is instead using the saved money on other aspects of the team. As Cubs fans, you might feel they aren't using their money on other aspects, and that is your right, but it's also a long term philosophy they are going for, give them three years to see what happens.

   72. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4254446)
I'm just going by everything I remember reading. If Theo isn't instituting his own coaching philosophies in the minors, instructing his scouts on what to look for and how to grade players and what information he wants on his reports, clearing out the players who were liked by the old regime, then I'm sorry for saying I think a revamping of the system is happening.

Oh, I'm sure he's changing things around; I'm just not going to bless that kind of relatively quotidian thing with the moniker "philosophy."

Nor is there a "choice" presented between doing that and putting a good team on the field in a weak 2012 National League. That's the fallacy. They didn't gain anything tangible by insituting the "philosophy" of losing 101 games in 2012. Their chances of "sustained success" made no perceptible movement and losing 101 games wasn't the proximate cause of what little movement there might have been.

   73. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4254452)
i researched this and barring a significant injury ramirez may already be the best free agent signing by milwaukee in terms of war generated. kevin seitzer or maybe larry hisle are the possible leaders but not by much.

ramirez was tremendous this season

though he did say that playing in miller park was preferable to playing in wrigley in april, may and september. not that it helped his production in those months. aramis is a warm weather kind of guy
   74. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4254454)
And the Cubs won 15 fewer games than the Angels last year.

And you're stating that you just knew that all of the Cub players from 2011 were either play just as badly or worse in 2012 and that there was absolutely nothing the Cubs could do to improve in 2012?

I think that is false. Hell, the difference between the Ian Stewart mess and Aramis Ramirez was 7 wins this year and what would that have cost the Cubs besides some cash in 2012? Soto was a question mark but he was cheap and the Cubs did have Castillo in the minors so I don't see how the catcher spot would be a mess. The Cubs would have Dempster, Garza, Wilson, Maholm, and BPJ as the starting rotation. I don't see how that would be a mess. Sure it would have question marks but that isn't a disaster of a starting rotation. The Cubs would need to keep Marshall in the pen and probably pick up another arm for it. Soriano is questionable in left but the Cubs have already shown that they could have picked up DeJesus cheaply as insurance. CF is tough and probably involves a patchwork of players and is likely a hole with at best being a question mark.

So yeah, would the Cubs be guaranteed to win 95 games going my route? No, but would they be hurt long term by signing good FA players to positions they have no real talent at? Absolutely not. Signing Aramis Ramirez would not hurt them long term or even short term. Signing Willingham would not hurt them long term. Signing Pujols would not have hurt them long term. Signing Wilson would not have hurt them long term.
   75. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4254455)
It just wasn't there for the Cubs.

Five core internal guys improved by 9.8 WAR in 2012. There's a reason they actually play 162 games on the field every year.
   76. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4254456)
They didn't gain anything tangible by insituting the "philosophy" of losing 101 games in 2012.


I don't know if they are valuable enough to make it worth it, but the players received in the Dempster, Maholm, Soto, and Marshall deals are certainly tangible, as is a high draft pick.
   77. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4254459)
Five core internal guys improved by 9.8 WAR in 2012. There's a reason they actually play 162 games on the field every year.


Wait, you told us WAR was useless and we couldn't trust any of the components of it.
   78. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4254465)
I don't know if they are valuable enough to make it worth it, but the players received in the Dempster, Maholm, Soto, and Marshall deals are certainly tangible,
as is a high draft pick.


And if they turn out to be close to as good as any of those guys, or anyone else the Cubs could have picked up between 2012 and the times they see the major leagues (save Wood), we'll talk. Dempster, Maholm, Soto, and Marshall were tangible, too.
   79. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4254468)
Five core internal guys improved by 9.8 WAR in 2012. There's a reason they actually play 162 games on the field every year.

And if they had kept Aramis it would have been 6 internal guys improving by 12.7 WAR.

Then there is Tyler Colvin who improved by 3 wins and doubled his playing time.

Geo lost wins but Castillo picked them right back up so that is a wash.

There was a lot reasons to suspect that 2011 was a bit of a down year for a bunch of the players on the team and that it wasn't their true talent level going forward.
   80. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4254470)
Dempster, Maholm, Soto, and Marshall were tangible, too.


no one ever said they weren't.
   81. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4254471)
I don't know if they are valuable enough to make it worth it, but the players received in the Dempster, Maholm, Soto, and Marshall deals are certainly tangible, as is a high draft pick.

And again, the Cubs could have tried to contend this year and if it had failed they could have traded all those players for prospects. Trying to win doesn't mean the midseason trades couldn't have happened.
   82. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4254475)
no one ever said they weren't.

Then where are the net tangible gains?
   83. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4254484)
Then where are the net tangible gains?


I don't know much about the players they got, but presumably the gain is in the future when the players develop and the team has contractual control over them ... like, y'know, every other veteran-for-prospects deal.

They may not even realize a net gain from the moves, but either way they got some tangible things in return for the crappy season.
   84. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4254488)
. Trying to win doesn't mean the midseason trades couldn't have happened.

It almost certainly would have cost them Soler however.
   85. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4254494)
It almost certainly would have cost them Soler however.

Well, as you said to me earlier that is awfully hard to know. But even if it somehow did cost the Cubs Soler that still doesn't mean much. Soler is a risk that might pay off some time in the future.
   86. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4254500)
They may not even realize a net gain from the moves, but either way they got some tangible things in return for the crappy season.

But the crappy season didn't cause the tangible things to come to the Cubs and it ignores the things the Cubs lost by having a crappy team. Less wins now, less wins tomorrow. Less revenue taken in. Possible midseason trades that netted the Cubs major league ready players for Cub "prospects".
   87. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4254502)
Cespades should be added to the list of available free agents.
   88. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4254508)
Well, as you said to me earlier that is awfully hard to know. But even if it somehow did cost the Cubs Soler that still doesn't mean much. Soler is a risk that might pay off some time in the future.

Well Ricketts' pockets are not limitless. At some point the cash spigot would be shut off. And the only contention option the Cubs had would have been to take an expensive 91 loss team and turn it into a really expensive team and then hope it all broke right for them. And nothing I've seen suggests that Ricketts was willing to sign off on that. _I_ wouldn't sign off on that even if I was backed by Qatari oil money. It's a bad plan.

It was time for a re-build. Now you can certainly argue with the execution of that re-build, but I really don't think there's a good argument against the strategy itself.
   89. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4254515)
Wittenmeyer: Theo Epstein’s major remodeling of Cubs raises red flags

Ahem, those are called red gonfalons.
   90. SteveM. Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4254516)
Given that Josh Vitters is still far from being a MLB caliber player, I have yet to see a good reason why they didn't attempt to resign Aramis. 3B is such a glaring hole that they will have to go out this offseason to try and fill it.
   91. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4254524)
Well Ricketts' pockets are not limitless. At some point the cash spigot would be shut off. And the only contention option the Cubs had would have been to take an expensive 91 loss team and turn it into a really expensive team and then hope it all broke right for them. And nothing I've seen suggests that Ricketts was willing to sign off on that. _I_ wouldn't sign off on that even if I was backed by Qatari oil money. It's a bad plan.

It was time for a re-build. Now you can certainly argue with the execution of that re-build, but I really don't think there's a good argument against the strategy itself.


The thing is is that the money spigot was going to turn off by itself anyway. The Cubs had reduced their payroll by 35 million since 2010 and would have had Zambrano, Dempster, and Byrd's contracts coming off the books after this year. That's another 40 million coming off the books and after 2013 Marmol's 10 million comes off the books. The Cubs have a tremendous amount of payroll flexibility and also have cheap young players that can play at the major league level so it isn't like the Cubs have to man every position with a guy getting 15 million a year.
   92. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4254529)
Given that Josh Vitters is still far from being a MLB caliber player, I have yet to see a good reason why they didn't attempt to resign Aramis. 3B is such a glaring hole that they will have to go out this offseason to try and fill it.

They also got a sandwich pick by letting Aramis walk.
   93. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4254538)
They also got a sandwich pick by letting Aramis walk.

Which the Cubs used to get a pierced johnson. Will that ever amount to 7 wins? I have a feeling that the difference between Aramis and whatever the Cubs puts at third in the next two seasons will come to a difference of about 15 wins when it is all said and done and that doesn't even factor in the amount of resources the Cubs will waste trying to get someone to man third. I doubt any pick in the supplemental round is going to give the Cubs 15 wins over their career.
   94. valuearbitrageur Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4254551)
When was the last time a billy beane team lost 100+ games. The a's have done the be good for a long time and then go 77-85 for awhile and yet they have occasionally contended and built for the future.


Beane would have probably done significantly better if he slipped in a few 100 loss seasons in the last decade. Continually drafting 15th or worse in every round really makes it harder to find the best talent in the draft.

The difference in value from drafting 10th-20th and 1st-5th is pretty significant, and the discrepancy probably increased with the new spending limits. There will likely be fewer draftees falling due to sign-ability, and fewer sitting out a year.

But since Cubs fans apparently thing that Epstein should be able to draft a Mike Trout as late as the 24th pick and magically pick the most successful free agents out of the market, I think my point is wasted.
   95. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4254566)
But since Cubs fans apparently thing that Epstein should be able to draft a Mike Trout as late as the 24th pick and magically pick the most successful free agents out of the market, I think my point is wasted.

Only if by Cubs fans you mean strawmen.


The difference in value from drafting 10th-20th and 1st-5th is pretty significant,

You know what other differences are pretty significant? Drawing almost 3 million customers to the park year in and year out while having one of the top 5 highest ticket prices and being able to have a top 5 payroll, that is pretty significant.

But for the record the A's were able to on a small budget draft in the middle to bottom of the draft for many many years and still field competitive teams that even on their downswings occasionally competed and would have done even better in the NL central.
   96. Walt Davis Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:26 PM (#4254574)
If the Cubs had broke the bank and signed the top FA hitter and pitcher, they probably still would have been a sub .500 team.

I roughly agree with this. Even with the big FA signings I was advocating, the Cubs probably would not have been major contenders.

In 2012.

But I know I'd much rather be building for 2013 starting at, say, 77-85 than at 61-101. Where are the 20 wins that the Cubs need to get back to 500 coming from?

Where did this idiotic attitude come from that you only sign good players to long-term contracts to compete immediately. You sign good players to long-term contracts because you expect them to be good for a long time. "We probably won't compete in 2012" is a dumb reason not to sign Pujols. ("We won't compete 2012-15 even with Pujols" would be a valid reason not to sign Pujols.)

And now there are few Pujols or Wilsons or Fielders or Reyeses or even Aramises coming down the track. If you were reluctant to sign on for Pujols' mid-30s why would you want any part of Josh Hamilton's or Robinson Cano's mid-30s?

As to payroll? Seriously? The Cubs couldn't afford stuff?

The San Diego Padres just sold for $800 M.

The San Diego Padres.

The valuation on the Cubs right now has to be at least $1.5 B. And, what, Theo didn't know the MLB TV contracts were up for renewal? He didn't have a clue there might be another $20-30 M per year coming into the Cubs?

Draft picks ... what set the Sox apart from other teams is their ability to produce with low draft picks. They picked late every round but still produced plenty of good players. Maybe that was sheer luck but hopefully that was skill. And if that's skill, the value of a high draft pick is minimized.

On Rizzo ... I'm pretty optimistic. He's not gonna be Pujols or anything but I can see him becoming a Derrek Lee (in his non-Pujols years). There's nothing particularly extreme in his production -- nice K-rate, reasonable BABIP, etc. So there's room for growth and nothing I see that screams out fluke.

There's a huge influx of young talent at the moment. Looking at 2012, at least 250 PA and age 22 or under ...

Trout and Stanton (why do we never talk about this guy?) are way ahead of everybody; Harper at 19 put up the same OPS+ as Rizzo and is obviously a better prospect. But after that ...

Rizzo 119
Heyward 117
Perez 117 (good catch Royals)
Freeman 113
Castro 105
Altuve 102
etc.

The Cubs have two of the top 6 22-year olds or 2 of the top 8 22 and unders. Neither one of them has been particularly flukish in their production ... and both of them need to add some walks! Rizzo did as well as anybody but the superstars. Rizzo might never get better than this but he's as promising as any young player outside the big 3.

Back to Theo et al ... I'm not pissed at Theo. I would not have followed the strategy he followed (although we might have ended up in the same place) but, given his strategy, I don't have any particular problems with the moves he's made. And I have a lot more faith that he can turn this mess around than I've had in any other Cub GM of my lifetime. But there is a long way to go and there's not a lot more he can do now except wait and hope he drafts, signs and develops well.
   97. SteveM. Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:05 PM (#4254680)
They also got a sandwich pick by letting Aramis walk.


Odds are that whoever you pick will never have as much value as three years of Aramis. I just understand this almost NBA philosophy that you need to become really terrible to become really good. I am as big of a Cubs fan as you will find-I will admit to naming my oldest Ryne. I took my kids on vacation to Pittsburgh this summer so we could catch a series against the Pirates. I am fine with the concept of developing your own prospects. I wasn't upset with not pursuing Pujols when they went and got Rizzo. I am willing to watch a team of prospects with a future. But, I don't want to watch dreck for three straight years with the promise the kids are comings, someday. Once they shut down Shark, the Cubs rotation may have been the worst collection of arms I have ever seen. Why the hell should I watch a team that trots out Chris Volstead every five days?
   98. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4254682)
Hey, I'd pay to watch Chris Volstead pitch but there is no way I'd pay to see that child-killer Chris Volstad pitch.
   99. SteveM. Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:38 PM (#4254699)
Hey, I'd pay to watch Chris Volstead pitch but there is no way I'd pay to see that child-killer Chris Volstad pitch.


I tried that fix that once you pointed it out, but the edit function didn't work. Volstad was so bad, I am trying to forget him, beginning with how to spell his name.
   100. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:45 PM (#4254706)
In other news the Cubs will move the wall behind homeplate 3 feet closer to the plate to add 56 new seats to the park. Plus parts of the wall will be movable to apparently allow other kinds of activities at that park.
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