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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

As Chicago Cubs report to spring training, 2021 looks like the last hurrah for the World Series championship core: ‘That’s just the reality’

And yet, for the myriad questions and, yes, hopefulness surrounding the team ahead of Wednesday’s first workout for pitchers and catchers, there is a harsh truth: 2021 is the last hurrah for this iteration of the Cubs. Most of the key pieces responsible for the franchise’s winningest stretch in the last 80 years won’t be part of the organization after this season.

The uncertain futures of Bryant, Rizzo and Baez in Chicago remain impossible to ignore the closer the calendar moves to free agency. Bryant, 29, and Baez, 28, are earning $19 million and $11.65 million, respectively, in their final arbitration year. A cornerstone player for nearly a decade and the face of the franchise, the 31-year-old Rizzo is completing the second of two club options on his initial seven-year, $41 million extension.

Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer acknowledged Tuesday what awaits.

“These guys have been fantastic Cubs that did something historic together, and so, rightfully, Cubs Nation owes that group a debt of gratitude, and they’re always going to be legends for the Cubs,” Hoyer said. “We’ve said all along, pretty clearly, we’d like to keep some of these players. That’d be great. But it’s unrealistic to keep all of the players that were a significant part of 2016. And that’s just the reality.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 17, 2021 at 08:45 AM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 17, 2021 at 10:07 AM (#6005467)
It seems so odd that a team with the Cubs resources is heading for a tear-down, but that's sure what it looks like. Have they just been really poorly run during the last years of Theo, or are The Ricketts sucking them dry, a la the Wilpons?
   2. The Duke Posted: February 17, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6005469)
They’ve had a goofy off season. If you were going to bring back Arrieta why not being back Lester for a couple million. Fowler could have been had for less than 2 million. At least they could market a “nostalgia” year.
   3. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: February 17, 2021 at 10:31 AM (#6005472)
It seems so odd that a team with the Cubs resources is heading for a tear-down, but that's sure what it looks like. Have they just been really poorly run during the last years of Theo, or are The Ricketts sucking them dry, a la the Wilpons?

Little of column A (mainly the draft was poor for years and they traded away almost all the other minor league talent), little of column B (Theo spent like he had an unlimited budget before 2015/16 but has been pinching pennies since; he didn't spent all of that money wisely but it sure appears from the outside that he was surprised when the budget stopped growing so that obvious holes with the team in subsequent years were just never addressed; at the same time, it appears the Ricketts decided that winning the WS was a lifetime get out of bad press club and just don't seem to care anymore), and little of column C - bad luck and lack of development from the young core (maybe that also falls on Theo and/or the coaching staff, but almost every single one of their young stud prospects peaked in 2016 and/or have never been as good since - Baez being the main exception) or maybe they were just a lot luckier in 2016 that we thought at the time.
   4. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: February 17, 2021 at 10:34 AM (#6005473)
If you were going to bring back Arrieta why not being back Lester for a couple million. Fowler could have been had for less than 2 million.

Like I said in the other thread, I doubt the Cardinals would have paid as much for Fowler to come to the Cubs. The Lester/Arrieta one is weird; both are equally cooked but Lester has been the healthier of the 2. I guess if I squint I see a tiny more upside with Jake, but not enough to make up the money difference. The Arrieta signing honestly surprised me, and basically all of the signings in the last couple week have been spun with this idea of the Cubs have more money to spend that they'd planned.
   5. Rally Posted: February 17, 2021 at 10:53 AM (#6005476)
Of the key contributors, they still have half of the position players who had at least 1.5 WAR in 2016.

Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Contreras

Gone are: Fowler, Russell, Zobrist. Ross is still around, but not on the playing field.

On the pitching side, their top 5 starters accounted for 152 of 162 games started. A very impressive number. Hendricks never left and Arrieta is back. Lester is gone and Hammel and Lackey are out of baseball.

As far as I can tell, of the other 12 pitchers who had positive WAR for the 2016 Cubs, none of them are still with the team. Many are no longer active players. I might have missed somebody signing a minor league deal though.

2021 Cubs who were there in 2016 is down to 7: Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Contreras, Hendricks, Arrieta, Heyward. All but 3 are in the last year of their contracts.

   6. McCoy Posted: February 17, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6005477)
Obviously Heyward and his contract became a huge problem but really, what could the Cubs have spent their money on post 2016 to fill their holes and put themselves in a position to be a 92+ win team in 2021?
   7. . Posted: February 17, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6005478)
It seems so odd that a team with the Cubs resources is heading for a tear-down, but that's sure what it looks like. Have they just been really poorly run during the last years of Theo, or are The Ricketts sucking them dry, a la the Wilpons?


As was said here in real time the first go-round, the first teardown wasn't done for baseball reasons; it was done to make the Ricketts family a bunch of money. The "we're going to tear down so we can build a sustainable team" thing was just the rationalization and the suckers bought it. Luckily for the Ricketts family, Jim Crane, etc., there are enough people out there now who buy into that (there weren't pre-analytics) that they can get away with it.

The owners have taken advantage of the analytics revolution by using a number of its precepts to talk fans and observers into letting them do things they're doing not for baseball reasons, but to make more money. Like Hyman Roth, they've played it perfectly. The analytics types are too naive and unworldly to understand this and are at this point just aiding and abetting cheapjack, shitty baseball -- offering only a dripping with envy, wan, scattershot, "The owners should spend more money."(*) The game sucks on the field now and the game sucks in the front offices now. The Boston Red Sox traded Mookie Betts, FFS. Are you ####### kidding me?

(*) Oh, yeah, I guess they've offered up "bat flips," too -- LOL.
   8. DL from MN Posted: February 17, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6005479)
What's another 100 years?
   9. Rally Posted: February 17, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6005494)
Pedro Strop signed a minor league deal with them, so another member has rejoined the band.
   10. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: February 17, 2021 at 01:46 PM (#6005497)
How often do teams keep their championship rosters together 7 years down the road? The Giants did pretty well for a while with Bumgarner and Posey plus others I'm sure I'm forgetting.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 17, 2021 at 02:13 PM (#6005501)
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 17, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6005510)
The 2001 Yankees, who made it to the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 of the World Series, still had 11 players - Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, Scott Brosius, Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Orlando Hernandez, Ramiro Mendoza, Mike Stanton & Mariano Rivera - from the remarkable 1996 team that kicked off the Yankee Renaissance that featured 4 World Series wins in 5 years.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: February 17, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#6005513)
Stanton, Brosius and Hernandez were not on the 1996 team.
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 17, 2021 at 04:02 PM (#6005518)
Neither dynasties nor memories last forever. My error.
   15. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 17, 2021 at 05:19 PM (#6005525)
Obviously Heyward and his contract became a huge problem but really, what could the Cubs have spent their money on post 2016 to fill their holes and put themselves in a position to be a 92+ win team in 2021?

Not just money, but I'll just point out the obvious:

Heyward
Quintana trade
Trade Schwarber near peak value

Mainly just draft and develop better. The title was driven by developing stars, then it stopped.

   16. Buck Coats Posted: February 17, 2021 at 06:49 PM (#6005534)
Quintana trade is right - if this team had Eloy Jimenez (and Gleyber Torres!) it would sure look a lot better
   17. Buck Coats Posted: February 17, 2021 at 06:51 PM (#6005535)
And with the Gleyber trade - hey, flags fly forever. But that and Eloy makes two young top talents that the Cubs traded away, and they have nothing still on the team from those trades now.
   18. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 18, 2021 at 08:42 AM (#6005592)
I think the Cubs' first problem was that they got too good too early. The scouting and player development system they inherited had to built from scratch (if you want to talk about how TERRIBLE the system they inherited was, that's a whole other story -- I don't think anyone is going to disagree with me on this point). In order to do the mid-season finishing work on the legit contender teams they were fielding, they had to over-spend their minor-league talent, and the coffers could not sustain that, not to mention that they were acquiring FAs and weren't getting the best draft spots any more. So regardless of whether they maximized their picks and their player development, it became harder and harder to keep the major league roster top-notch.

The second problem is that after the first couple of years of success and sort of breaking the bank in 2016, the ownership became less willing to spend on FAs, and apparently has cut back on support for the organization.

I'm not interested in blaming Epstein/Hoyer for this trade or that FA -- some of their moves worked out brilliantly, some didn't, and there's a lot of luck in that. They did most things right, and I think it kind of makes sense that they find themselves in a decline phase. The question now is whether they are in a position to get out of it in a short- or mid-term window, and whether the ownership is going to go along with that in a reasonable way. But overall, where they are in this moment doesn't really bother me, it's where they're going that's the concern.

   19. McCoy Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:12 AM (#6005600)
They really didn't have to overspend via trades. They chose to do that despite knowing that their prospects were extremely valuable.

   20. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6005606)
the first teardown wasn't done for baseball reasons; it was done to make the Ricketts family a bunch of money.

What an odd thing to say. That teardown led to a six-year run that included 6 winning seasons, 5 playoff appearances, 3 NLCS appearances and one World Series championship. In other words the best stretch of Cubs baseball in any of our lifetimes. There have been many well-documented draft and development failures in the past 5 years along with some questionable trades and free agent signings, but complaining about the first four years of TheoJed didn't make any sense then, and in retrospect, it is even sillier now.
   21. . Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6005607)
And yet again, Theo has ditched the sinking ship just as it's about to sink. Good career management, to be sure, but one would hope that the fanboy contingent would finally begin to be a little less fanboy.
   22. . Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:27 AM (#6005608)
What an odd thing to say.


Only to those in denial of the obvious. What happened in baseball terms the next few years has nothing to do with the first-instance motives of ownership.
   23. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:35 AM (#6005610)
Why should I, as a fan, give the first #### about the motives of ownership? The management team was very clear about what they were doing. Their strategy was a clean break from the Hendry regime in terms of method, resource-management and transparency. And it led to the greatest 6-year run of our lifetimes. The entire Ricketts family, other than Laura, is a cancer on the American landscape, but I have no complaints about how they managed the first four years of the TheoJed tenure.
   24. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:17 AM (#6005618)
Why should I, as a fan, give the first #### about the motives of ownership? The management team was very clear about what they were doing. Their strategy was a clean break from the Hendry regime in terms of method, resource-management and transparency. And it led to the greatest 6-year run of our lifetimes. The entire Ricketts family, other than Laura, is a cancer on the American landscape, but I have no complaints about how they managed the first four years of the TheoJed tenure.

Stop being such a fanboy!
   25. McCoy Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:20 AM (#6005620)
No issue with the Heyward signing and trading away Torres?
   26. . Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:30 AM (#6005623)
Why should I, as a fan, give the first #### about the motives of ownership?


I'm not sure why someone who doesn't care about the motives of ownership would step into to argue with someone's theory of the motives of ownership. If instead you're asking, "Why did you write about your theory of the motives of ownership," that was because of snapper's original comment wondering the same thing.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:32 AM (#6005624)
It's funny, Theo's overall performance in Chicago was mediocre, but because all the good and/or lucky moves came at the beginning, and all the bad/unlucky moves in the middle and end, he's a hero. With different timing, it could be a very different story.
   28. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:35 AM (#6005626)
Epstein was hired in October of 2011. I am pretty sure both of those transactions were after October of 2015. I'm not saying everything was perfect (Ian Stewart, anyone?), but those four years were a magical time if you were a fan of franchise-building.
EDIT: This is a response to McCoy's post # 25.
   29. McCoy Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:45 AM (#6005629)
Re 27. Virtually everyone will look good when starting from the bottom. Having said that the Cubs became amazingly good for a period time. Not a lot people could have done that.
   30. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 18, 2021 at 11:09 AM (#6005631)
It's funny, Theo's overall performance in Chicago was mediocre,

He won a world title with the club. That's not mediocre.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2021 at 11:16 AM (#6005634)

He won a world title with the club. That's not mediocre.


That's a facile argument, unless you hold that Brian Sabean is the greatest GM of the last generation.

After building the core of the title team, Epstein made a slew of horrible decisions that are the reasons the Cubs stink right now. You can't hand wave that away.
   32. . Posted: February 18, 2021 at 11:28 AM (#6005639)
It's funny, Theo's overall performance in Chicago was mediocre, but because all the good and/or lucky moves came at the beginning, and all the bad/unlucky moves in the middle and end, he's a hero. With different timing, it could be a very different story.


Theo is very adroit at career and brand management. One has to give him kudos for that one, to be sure.
   33. Froot Loops Posted: February 18, 2021 at 11:33 AM (#6005642)
After building the core of the title team, Epstein made a slew of horrible decisions that are the reasons the Cubs stink right now. You can't hand wave that away.


The Cubs won their division last year and haven't been under .500 since 2014.
   34. McCoy Posted: February 18, 2021 at 12:06 PM (#6005650)
The view is that the Cubs are likely to stink in 2021.
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 18, 2021 at 12:56 PM (#6005659)
They kinda stunk in 2020. It's just that the other NL Central teams stunk worse.
   36. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 18, 2021 at 01:24 PM (#6005663)
The Lester/Arrieta one is weird; both are equally cooked but Lester has been the healthier of the 2.


Arrieta's career year was so spectacular in comparison to the rest of his career. By my count, 20 consecutive Quality Starts to end the season, in 11 of them he gave up no runs (DeGrom and Bob Gibson have the record at 26). The other pitcher I can think of who went on such a roll was Santana in 2004 (I count 21 straight QS's, followed by a 5 IP/1 ER in his last game).
   37. Rally Posted: February 18, 2021 at 01:35 PM (#6005666)
John Tudor just missed 20 in a row in 1985 by a single unearned run. He had 19 out of 20, but one start was 6 2/3 with 3 unearned runs, and one unearned.

From 6/8 to the end of the season he went 22-3 with a 1.32 ERA in 205 innings. Yes, he pitched enough innings from just June to the end of the year to probably be a league leading total in 2021.

Edit: 22-3 is the team record. Tudor's was 19-1.
   38. Rally Posted: February 18, 2021 at 01:50 PM (#6005668)
After building the core of the title team, Epstein made a slew of horrible decisions that are the reasons the Cubs stink right now. You can't hand wave that away.


I cannot imagine there is a Cubs fan out there who thinks like this. It's all about expectations. This is not a Yankee-like franchise where 3 tanking years, a championship, and then a contending team that disappoints in the playoffs sums up to mediocre. I don't think any Cubs fan would trade the 2016 season plus what came before and after for any kind of do-over.

As was said here in real time the first go-round, the first teardown wasn't done for baseball reasons; it was done to make the Ricketts family a bunch of money. The "we're going to tear down so we can build a sustainable team" thing was just the rationalization and the suckers bought it. Luckily for the Ricketts family, Jim Crane, etc., there are enough people out there now who buy into that (there weren't pre-analytics) that they can get away with it.


I'll judge it by results. If the team starts by tanking and builds a championship winner, as a fan I would definitely prefer that to having a 75-85 win team over a decade that never does anything in the playoffs. So you've picked the wrong examples of franchises who made that decision. Only so many championships to go around, maybe you can find a better example of the evils of tanking. A team that tried the same strategies and didn't follow up with a run of success.

I find it much more frustrating to watch a team that goes half-assed into trying to contend every year, has the best player in baseball on it, and still can't end up with more than 80 wins.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6005677)
I cannot imagine there is a Cubs fan out there who thinks like this. It's all about expectations. This is not a Yankee-like franchise where 3 tanking years, a championship, and then a contending team that disappoints in the playoffs sums up to mediocre. I don't think any Cubs fan would trade the 2016 season plus what came before and after for any kind of do-over.

The point is they should be a Yankee-like franchise. Their financial position vs. their division competition is as good as the Yankees.
   40. McCoy Posted: February 18, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6005678)
Flags fly forever and all but virtually everything the Cubs FO did after the 2015 season made them and their future worse. I would think fans of any team would find 5 years of bad decisions to be incredibly frustrating.
   41. . Posted: February 18, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6005679)
Two propositions:

1. Tanking is the best and wisest baseball franchise-building strategy that ever strategied.

2. Owners of tanking teams can choose to tank for the sole reason that tanking makes them more money.

Both of these things can be simultaneously true.

Does this clarify the point?
   42. Red Voodooin Posted: February 18, 2021 at 07:41 PM (#6005721)
Epstein made a slew of horrible decisions that are the reasons the Cubs stink right now. You can't hand wave that away.


I would think fans of any team would find 5 years of bad decisions to be incredibly frustrating.


Did Theo really make horrible/bad decisions, or did a handful of completely reasonable moves that actually seemed good at the time just not work out? That's an important distinction in my mind.

Obviously the Heyward signing didn't work out but at the time it felt like a 'mic drop' signing. Not only were the Cubs brining in a still-young stud RF, they were swiping him from the division rival that had edged them in the division the year before. The narrative after that signing (and the Zobrist acquisition) was that the Cubs had clearly "won the offseason". Everyone knew the Chapman for Torres trade was an overpay, but FFF, etc, and that's one that is pointless to relitigate now. Eloy for Quintana was a perfectly reasonable 'win now' trade, it just so turned out that a guy that was a 4-5 WAR pitcher cratered to a 1-2 WAR pitcher in his four seasons on the North Side.

What else? Soler for Wade Davis, eh another win now move and Davis was good, closed out a tight deciding game in the playoffs. The Yu signing didn't really work out, considering that his implosion in 2018 can be construed as the reason the Cubs failed to win their division outright, and the Cubs weren't in much of a position to capitalize when he got good again, but the jury will be out on that move until we see how Davies does this year and follow the development of the basket of lottery tickets they got for him. The Kimbrel signing looks really bad in hindsight, particularly because it now appears that was the last bit of free spending money the Cubs would have for years. That's a significant bad decision, IF Theo knew that was the end of his financial flexibility, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the rug was pulled out from under him sometime thereafter.

The moves that were made in 16/17/18/19 weren't designed with the best interests of the 2021 team in mind, the point was to "win now". They largely did win - the 2019 disaster notwithstanding. That they didn't win MORE was partially because some of those moves didn't pan out like expected, but is just as much a function of the randomness of the playoffs (especially 2018).
   43. McCoy Posted: February 18, 2021 at 07:47 PM (#6005723)
The Heyward signing was the classic "OHMYGODWEGOTTHEFREEAGENTEVERYONEISTALKINGABOUT" fandom silliness. Nobody thought he would crater immediately but pretty much everyone knew it was a huge overpay. The hope was it would be a Alfonso Soriano type signing he'd be good for a few years before becoming an albatross.

But yes virtually every move was a win now mindset and of course outside of 2016 they didn't win. So when you don't win that is incredibly frustrating. The Torres - Chapman trade was a win now, everyone recognized it as such, also recognized that it really hurt to do it, and was disappointed when Chapman left after the season.
   44. Rally Posted: February 18, 2021 at 08:18 PM (#6005729)
I guess the silver lining on Heyward is he was super young for a free agent. He was terrible his first 3 years, usually when that happens the signing is a total loss. But he got to average as a hitter in 2019 and last year was one of their 2 best hitters. He might even be worth the money the next 2 years, still only 31.

It’s the best 7+ year free agent gold glove outfielder contract Theo ever gave out.
   45. The Honorable Ardo Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:06 PM (#6005734)
I witnessed the 2014-2018 Cubs up close. Capsule thoughts:

- While Schwarber, Russell, Bryant, and Almora all regressed, Contreras, Baez, Soler, and Happ developed on or ahead of schedule. Rizzo kept on being Rizzo.

- The World Series winners had unsustainable pitching; they allowed 556 runs all season playing in Wrigley Field. The team let Jason Hammel walk, rightly so. They traded Soler for Wade Davis to get a Proven Closer. Then, in a weak market for starting pitching, they bet on Brett Anderson, who flopped.

Theo, with his superior analytic abilities, could've had Charlie Morton instead. In midseason, with Anderson gone and Kyle Hendricks injured, two-fifths of the rotation were Mike Montgomery and Eddie Butler.

- That led to the Quintana trade, which I regarded as a panic trade at the time and didn't age well.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:18 PM (#6005737)
Did Theo really make horrible/bad decisions, or did a handful of completely reasonable moves that actually seemed good at the time just not work out? That's an important distinction in my mind.

Five years of poor drafting and development has to be laid at the feet of Theo.
   47. Red Voodooin Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:34 PM (#6005738)
But yes virtually every move was a win now mindset and of course outside of 2016 they didn't win. So when you don't win that is incredibly frustrating.


I think you need to be realistic about what "winning" means. They won a lot from 2016-2020. Were your expectations really multiple titles? Is that ever realistic for any team in a five year period? The only year that the Cubs failed my expectations was 2019. 2020 was obviously weird, and I don't think the Cubs would have won the division if the season would have been normal, but they did in fact win the division.

but pretty much everyone knew it was a huge overpay.


That's just not true. There was a lot of discussion at the time that the Cubs had a steal, and that the Cards or other teams had offered him more, and he took a discount to come to Chicago. You may have been saying it was an overpay, so take a deserved victory lap, but that was absolutely not the consensus here or elsewhere.
   48. Red Voodooin Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:35 PM (#6005739)
Five years of poor drafting and development has to be laid at the feet of Theo.


Okay lay it there. But that's very different than "a slew of horrible decisions".
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2021 at 09:39 PM (#6005740)
Okay lay it there. But that's very different than "a slew of horrible decisions".

Well, five years of terrible drafting is a slew of horrible decisions. Dozens of them. Add in the Heyward signing, the Chapman-Torres trade, the Kimbrel signing, the Quintana trade. That's a lot of bad decisions.
   50. Red Voodooin Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:02 PM (#6005745)
That's a lot of bad decisions.


No it's not. It's some decisions that didn't work out as expected (Heyward, Quintana), some that did work out precisely as hoped (Chapman-Torres) and a bunch in which it is too early to really tell, or really know what the reasonable expectations for an average team should even be (the drafting part).

That leaves you with what, the Kimbrel signing? Okay.
   51. The Honorable Ardo Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:04 PM (#6005746)
Chapman for Torres won them the World Series. They certainly wouldn't have won without Chapman. It took balls to make the trade.
   52. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 18, 2021 at 11:53 PM (#6005765)
The Kimbrel signing looks really bad in hindsight, particularly because it now appears that was the last bit of free spending money the Cubs would have for years. That's a significant bad decision, IF Theo knew that was the end of his financial flexibility, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the rug was pulled out from under him sometime thereafter.
Come on. Ricketts could have gone to Theo and said “Your payroll for the next five years is $300 million per year, and, a la Brewster’s Millions, you’ll be fired if you don’t spend every penny of it,” and the Kimbrel deal still would have been terrible.

However, I more agree than disagree with you about the rest.
   53. McCoy Posted: February 19, 2021 at 07:28 AM (#6005768)
Chapman for Torres did not win them a WS.
   54. McCoy Posted: February 19, 2021 at 07:31 AM (#6005769)
Re 47. Yes post 2016 the Cubs were disappointing. 2017 was probably the last year of "well, that wasn't too bad".

And again the Heyward hype had a lot to do with fans being excited the Cubs actually what was considered the best FA of the year.
   55. Rally Posted: February 19, 2021 at 08:44 AM (#6005776)
They don’t win without Chapman. Sure, he almost blew game 7, but without him it would have been over in 5. Now I don’t know if other relievers would have given up runs in the last 2.2 innings of the 3-2 Cubs win, but I sure would not want to take that chance.
   56. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: February 19, 2021 at 09:44 AM (#6005784)
Two propositions:

1. Tanking is the best and wisest baseball franchise-building strategy that ever strategied.

2. Owners of tanking teams can choose to tank for the sole reason that tanking makes them more money.

Both of these things can be simultaneously true.

Does this clarify the point?

Your point was never unclear. The response from this Cubs fan, and I think many others is:
1. Yay! We want the best and wisest baseball franchise-building strategy that ever strategied.
2. That's may be true, but so what? Baseball owners have been profit-driven greedheads since the sport was professionalized.
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2021 at 10:04 AM (#6005790)
They don’t win without Chapman.

How can you possibly claim to know that? 15 IP of a 3.45 ERA (over three series) isn't exactly prime Mariano Rivera.
   58. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: February 19, 2021 at 10:24 AM (#6005794)
As good a prospect as Torres was, and as good a player as he's turned out to be, keep in mind that in 2016 he was surplus. The Cubs had two very young proven major league stars in their middle infield. If Russell's personal life doesn't completely implode*, leading to his professional implosion, the Torres deal doesn't look nearly as bad. Without more info, I can't lay that one at Cubs management.
*I don't use the passive voice to minimize Russell's contribution to this implosion. It was just the clearest way I could phrase it. I would put Russell's share of blame for the implosion at approximately 100%.
   59. McCoy Posted: February 19, 2021 at 11:41 AM (#6005805)
Russell was never going to develop into a great hitter and his fielding wasn't so otherworldly that would be much more than an above average player at best during his prime. Baez was also on the same track in 2016 and he wouldn't break out until 2018.
   60. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 19, 2021 at 11:55 AM (#6005809)
Flags fly forever and all but virtually everything the Cubs FO did after the 2015 season made them and their future worse.

They won the World Series in 2016, right? I'm pretty sure that part of the "future" after the 2015 season was not "worse".

They don’t win without Chapman.

Considering they almost LOST because of Chapman (and Maddon)...
   61. McCoy Posted: February 19, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6005811)
Yes you can win a championship and still do things that makes the organization worse.
   62. McCoy Posted: February 19, 2021 at 12:03 PM (#6005812)
Like if I was able to have a crystal ball that would show you the Cubs win 4 WS between 2016 and 2020 without the 2016 transactions you could most certainly say the 2016 decisions made the Cubs worse.
   63. SoSH U at work Posted: February 19, 2021 at 12:07 PM (#6005814)
Considering they almost LOST because of Chapman (and Maddon)...


Fortunately for them, Tito was matching Maddon in the other dugout.
   64. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 19, 2021 at 12:33 PM (#6005822)
The Cubs have been in the playoffs in 5 of the last 6 years, with 92-win seasons (prorating for last year) being the floor for those playoff teams. Even in the year they didn't make the playoffs they won 84 games.

Every FO has made regrettable decisions in the last several years. Have the Cubs made more than the average? I don't know, but there are a lot of fanbases who wish their teams were mismanaged so poorly.
   65. Rally Posted: February 19, 2021 at 01:10 PM (#6005839)
Sure, we don’t know 100% that they wouldn’t have won without Chapman. But he definitely moved them closer to a series win. +.23 WPA for the series. It’s + .415 for game 5, and -.29 for game 7. There’s a very good chance game 6 and 7 never happen without him.

   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 20, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6005978)
As a Yankees fan I heartily approved of that Chapman rental in return for Torres. Whether or not the Cubs would've won in 2016 without him goes into the category of WGAF. I've got nothing against the Cubs.
   67. Howie Menckel Posted: February 20, 2021 at 12:00 PM (#6005981)
Fortunately for them, Tito was matching Maddon in the other dugout.

worth noting,

easily the collectively worst-managed Series of my lifetime - almost comical at times, for those of us with no dog in the hunt.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 20, 2021 at 12:20 PM (#6005983)
worth noting,

easily the collectively worst-managed Series of my lifetime - almost comical at times, for those of us with no dog in the hunt.


Concur. That ####-show made letting Jeff Weaver lose the World Series, with Mariano Rivera, in the pen look reasonable.
   69. McCoy Posted: February 20, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6006001)
I think the worst managed playoff series I ever saw was the 2001 Arizona vs St. Louis matchup.
   70. McCoy Posted: February 20, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6006002)
Re 64. The Cubs through 2015 built an awesome core. They've been living on that for 5 years.

Any team's fanbase wishing they had the past 5 years of Cubs front office performance better be praying to God they also had the previous 5 years of Cubs front office performance.

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