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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Theo Epstein to Step Down as Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein will step down from his role with the team later this week and leave the organization, the club announced Tuesday.

Epstein, who guided the Cubs to the 2016 World Series championship and oversaw a massive overhaul in the team’s baseball operations department, will officially step down on Friday, the team said in a press release.

According to the Cubs, General Manager Jed Hoyer will take over the role as the new president of baseball operations.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:15 PM | 69 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, theo epstein

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 17, 2020 at 01:02 PM (#5989286)
Probably wouldn’t be leaving if he thought another World Series run was in the offing.
   2. Adam Starblind Posted: November 17, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5989300)
The Mets have requested permission to speak to the Indians' GM, Mike Chernoff. Can Chernoff trade himself to the Mets along with Lindor and Carrasco?
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 01:44 PM (#5989301)

Probably wouldn’t be leaving if he thought another World Series run was in the offing.


Perhaps the organization had a Zoom meeting and Theo wasn't wearing pants.
   4. Itchy Row Posted: November 17, 2020 at 01:48 PM (#5989302)
Perhaps the organization had a Zoom meeting and Theo wasn't wearing pants.
He submitted his resignation by showing up on Zoom in a gorilla suit.
   5. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: November 17, 2020 at 01:53 PM (#5989304)
It is interesting that he is planning to take this year off. Once the Mets and Phillies fill their openings all of the big market jobs will likely be locked down for awhile. It has been rumored that he wants an ownership stake of a team and that is probably easier to get from a small market team.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 01:58 PM (#5989306)
There have been rumors about the Orioles being put up for sale. Theo's first job was with the Orioles.
   7. winnipegwhip Posted: November 17, 2020 at 02:07 PM (#5989308)
The Mets have requested permission to speak to the Indians' GM, Mike Chernoff. Can Chernoff trade himself to the Mets along with Lindor and Carrasco?


When dealing with NY would the Indians request for more than $24 this time for Lindor, Chernoff and Carrasco?
   8. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 02:40 PM (#5989320)
His place in the pantheon of execs is assured and nothing but warm memories and feelings for him as he moves on.

   9. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:01 PM (#5989329)
He's leaving $10M on the table. Damn. He must be sitting on a pile of cash to walk away from that.
   10. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5989338)
He's been on that contract for what, 4 years? 3?

Unless he has designs on something like buying a team (in which case, it's less leaving 10m on the table than it is failing to properly grow the prior millions), can't see "needing" another 10m.

Yeah, yeah... we've all had the discussion many times before (easy to say when you're not the one making 8 figures!)

But if it were me? I'd take a year off and enjoy, too. Well, unless you picked 2020... then I'd take 2 years.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5989340)
There have been rumors about the Orioles being put up for sale. Theo's first job was with the Orioles.
Could take a year to put together an ownership group if he wants to be a CEO type with an equity stake, not just a hired hand, assuming he hasn’t been already working on a side deal. If Covid vaccines come through in 2021, 2022 could be the time to sell if anyone wants, or needs, to cash in.
   12. Jay Seaver Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5989341)
I half-joked in another thread about Epstein as commissioner should they jettison Manfred a couple weeks ago, but... There are worse ideas, especially if Manfred is as inept in next spring's Covid negotiations as he was this year. He's talking a good game about knowing his limitations and that he's aware that the way the people running teams have incentive to act sometimes runs counter to making the game exciting.

He'd be an awfully good fit for the job - generally aligned with ownership, generally trusted by players, smart enough to see what might help the game in the long term. It'll therefore never happen.
   13. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:26 PM (#5989346)
I could see that... Theo as commish.

At this point, unless he wants to just be the Title Fairy for suffering franchises and end Cleveland's streak, give the Mariners a title, etc - not sure why he'd be interested in another team job.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5989351)
especially if Manfred is as inept in next spring's Covid negotiations as he was this year.

In what way was he inept? The owners got what they wanted -- costs below 40% and an extra round of playoffs.
   15. Rally Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5989353)
Not at Theo’s pay level, but I’ve known some people making very good money who always needed the next check. I worked a car dealership in Louisville in the 1990s. I remember one sales manager who was making well into six figures. Keep in mind, more than 20 years ago, and Louisville is not a high cost city. This guy had no need for a car payment, since he could drive any demo off the lot. He rented a small apartment not too far from where I lived, probably under $600 monthly rent. And he was always broke with collections coming after him. No idea where he spent it all. Well, i have some ideas, but no proof.

Theo definitely does not strike me as that type. He’s been making big bucks in front offices for at least 15 years. I’m sure he’ll be just fine not making money for a year. And he’ll probably make more than I will if he spends a few days of the year giving paid speeches.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:41 PM (#5989358)
Oh, and good luck to Theo. He brought us a title which is what he was supposed to do. I'm surprised he's leaving early but I suppose it makes sense in some ways. This makes it pretty clear he wasn't going to be extended (whether his choice or the team's) and the team is at a key transition point where, ideally for the team and the next GM, you want the next guy making the decisions. Of course whether that next guy is Hoyer or not ... so would have been nice to have this sorted back in Sept rather than now but so be it.

And good luck to Jed, especially if he is the next guy.
   17. base ball chick Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:50 PM (#5989363)
theo has made lots of $$$ and unless he got a gambling or slutting around problem or his wife got a credit card problem, he does not have to work another day in his life

   18. Rally Posted: November 17, 2020 at 03:52 PM (#5989364)
Nine seasons must be his idea of the right length of stay. Red Sox 2003-2011, Cubs 2012-2020.
   19. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:01 PM (#5989367)
His place in the pantheon of execs is assured and nothing but warm memories and feelings for him as he moves on.

This exactly. My first thought was maybe the Biden people had been in touch with him about a cabinet position. As Chicagoans go, better him that Rahm.
   20. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:09 PM (#5989371)
Not at Theo’s pay level, but I’ve known some people making very good money who always needed the next check. I worked a car dealership in Louisville in the 1990s. I remember one sales manager who was making well into six figures. Keep in mind, more than 20 years ago, and Louisville is not a high cost city. This guy had no need for a car payment, since he could drive any demo off the lot. He rented a small apartment not too far from where I lived, probably under $600 monthly rent. And he was always broke with collections coming after him. No idea where he spent it all. Well, i have some ideas, but no proof.

Theo definitely does not strike me as that type. He’s been making big bucks in front offices for at least 15 years. I’m sure he’ll be just fine not making money for a year. And he’ll probably make more than I will if he spends a few days of the year giving paid speeches.


Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything :-)

But yeah, setting aside the obvious things that can certainly run through big money quickly... I've walked by Theo's house - I'm sure it's at least 2m, probably more like 3m, but probably nothing close to the Gold Coast manse's or premier penthouses that I imagine get into the 10m range.

Either you need the money because you've got your eye on a venture that takes a lot of capital to start (unless you want someone else to own it), you've got lots of relatives and hangers-on that want you to buy them a restaurant or other business, or you're just not capable of any kind of even the slightest bit of budgeting (and no additional amount of money will ever fix that).

Theo's about my age and this is one (of many!) reasons I'm not in his financial position, but if it were me? I'd be ready to quasi-retire... Maybe still "work" - but more running some kind of endeavor I'm more passionate about (a charitable trust or somesuch) where I'd feel like I'm "doing good" but not relying on it for a living... happy that I can pay off a nice home, give the kids a good start, take nice - but not extravagant vacations, have a nice enough summer place somewhere, maybe even throw good money after bad a boat, but by no means some kind of ocean-going super yacht.
   21. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:10 PM (#5989373)
This exactly. My first thought was maybe the Biden people had been in touch with him about a cabinet position. As Chicagoans go, better him that Rahm.


Cosign the OTP thought! With a ####### damn right...
   22. Jay Seaver Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5989374)
In what way was he inept? The owners got what they wanted


"Inept" is probably not the right word, although I'm guessing they would rather he not have been clumsy enough (yeah, that's the better word) to expose them to a pending arbitration situation, (anecdotally) get the fans on the side of the players for the first time in a long stretch, and strengthen the players' resolve ahead of the next big negotiations. He got the job done, but he made himself and the league look bad along the way.

I don't think it's particularly likely that the owners will decide Manfred is a liability next year even if he makes a mess of things trying to get concessions from the players for the pre-vaccine part of the season. In a 2021 where he is, though, Epstein would be a really interesting replacement, especially if he's looking for a new, bigger challenge.
   23. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:23 PM (#5989384)
I do wonder though...

By my count, Epstein has *lived* in Chicago for 9 years, give or take. I'm cool with waiving what I've always considered the 12/20 rule (12 years in city limits, or 20 years in liar suburbs where people say "I'm from Chicago" but really are from Oak Park or Naperville, or whatever) on account of 2016... but I do think this requires a full council vote.

Dude's a New Yorker by birth... if he's going to be granted Chicagoan status - and I'll support an exception to the rule - we damn sure aren't going to just do it by unanimous assent. A formal request, a hearing, an a vote, please.
   24. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:30 PM (#5989388)
Nine seasons must be his idea of the right length of stay. Red Sox 2003-2011, Cubs 2012-2020.


There's an extended riff in his resignation letter about Bill Walsh's idea that no sports exec should stay with a team for longer than a decade.
   25. Tin Angel Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:46 PM (#5989399)
This exactly. My first thought was maybe the Biden people had been in touch with him about a cabinet position. As Chicagoans go, better him that Rahm.


Rod Blagojevich would listen if Biden called...
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:53 PM (#5989401)
Rod Blagojevich would listen if Biden called...

Can he get incoming calls in prison?
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:01 PM (#5989405)
Can he get incoming calls in prison?


Trump commuted his sentence. Blago's running free.
   28. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:02 PM (#5989406)
His sentence was commuted by a guy from his old reality TV show.
   29. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:21 PM (#5989412)
And good luck to Jed, especially if he is the next guy.

He is. I don't know if that's a good thing or not, Theo and Jed have been so intertwined this whole time that's it's impossible to assign credit/blame to one over the other.

There's an extended riff in his resignation letter about Bill Walsh's idea that no sports exec should stay with a team for longer than a decade.

He talked about it a lot when he left Boston to come here, so everyone expected him to leave next year anyway.
   30. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:26 PM (#5989414)
...and he has seamlessly transitioned into a new post-prison career as lucrative as his prior one, with potentially less legal jeopardy. Thanks to a friend who thinks it is humorous to put me on certain mailing lists, I was invited to an "evening with Rod Blagojevich" fundraiser for a candidate I won't name but whose alignment you can probably guess... $150 to get in, but a cash bar. I actually tried to RSVP, but couldn't do so without a credit card number.
   31. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:35 PM (#5989416)
He's leaving $10M on the table. Damn. He must be sitting on a pile of cash to walk away from that.
Assuming that he does take next year off, it seems likely that he is not leaving $10M on the table. He is probably taking a haircut, but it seems likely that he will still collect a significant piece of that.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:47 PM (#5989421)
I was invited to an "evening with Rod Blagojevich" fundraiser
If it was one of those events where the guests form a line and then one by one everyone gets to kick him in the nuts, I think I might pay the $150.
   33. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5989423)
By my count, Epstein has *lived* in Chicago for 9 years, give or take. I'm cool with waiving what I've always considered the 12/20 rule (12 years in city limits, or 20 years in liar suburbs where people say "I'm from Chicago" but really are from Oak Park or Naperville, or whatever) on account of 2016... but I do think this requires a full council vote.

Dude's a New Yorker by birth... if he's going to be granted Chicagoan status - and I'll support an exception to the rule - we damn sure aren't going to just do it by unanimous assent. A formal request, a hearing, an a vote, please.


He implied he wasn't going anywhere (mentioned wanting to go to Cubs games as a fan), and his kids are probably pretty established in their schools. He probably considers himself a Bostonian. So, I dunno. I'm not voting against him, if it comes to that.
   34. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:55 PM (#5989425)
Assuming that he does take next year off, it seems likely that he is not leaving $10M on the table. He is probably taking a haircut, but it seems likely that he will still collect a significant piece of that.

Nope. He's not getting any of it. Was a talking point today ("he's saved other jobs" or some other such bullshit).
   35. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 06:12 PM (#5989429)
He implied he wasn't going anywhere (mentioned wanting to go to Cubs games as a fan), and his kids are probably pretty established in their schools. He probably considers himself a Bostonian. So, I dunno. I'm not voting against him, if it comes to that.


Again, this is why we have a process.

We don't just grant this status willy-nilly.

Key and important questions need to be answered - whether he "considers himself a Bostonian" is one of them. None of these are absolutes; and the rules are not unyielding.

But look, if we start just skirting the rules for even a Theo... how long until our fine Vienna beef hotdogs are drowning in sugary, salty tomato sludge? Our pizza turned into greasy, foldable cardstock? Lawn furniture no longer has a place on winter curbs? Packer stocking caps are no longer worn ironically? Liz Phair decides to release a calypso album? Southside gets filmed on a Hollywood sound stage with Sinbad joining the cast as the wise neighborhood barber?

Weighty questions need to be answered. Competing considerations compared.

I, too, lean towards granting status... based on a cursory review of the case. But - a cursory review is unacceptable.

Breach this protocol and you might as well accept Chicago as just another Boston or Philadelphia or Houston.... a pawn in the LA vs NYC borg game, maybe allowed a funny accent or quirky differentiator.
   36. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: November 17, 2020 at 06:31 PM (#5989435)
Nope. He's not getting any of it. Was a talking point today ("he's saved other jobs" or some other such bullshit).
Not likely.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2020 at 07:19 PM (#5989444)
An ages ago conversation:

"Where are you from?"
"Chicago."
"Which suburb?"
"Chicago."
"I know but which suburb?"
"Chicago."

Perils of going to grad school.

I will confess that we lived in the kinda working class bits of Evanston for about 3 years of my pre-college life (my mom worked at Evanston Hospital).

But given I have now lived much more of my life outside of Chicago than in it and haven't lived there in over 30 years and it's changed heaps over that time, I can't get worked up about it anymore.
   38. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 07:29 PM (#5989446)
Look, Walt... Chicagoan cards are generally good for life... a special club, if you will.

But I feel like it's only neighborly to remind you that there are grounds for revocation... Just ask Harrison Ford.

Failing to "get worked up about it anymore" is one of the easiest ways for that to happen. My brother has been in Brooklyn for about 10 years now, but he keeps his Chicagoan status current by poisoning Metropolitans with Malort...
   39. The Duke Posted: November 17, 2020 at 09:45 PM (#5989467)
Isn’t this obvious ? The Cubs have agreed to let him interview in NY in exchange for leaving the team and $10 million on the table. Now they don’t have to non-tender Bryant. He was going to go next offseason so why keep paying him.

   40. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2020 at 09:55 PM (#5989470)
If it helps, I'm still Chicagoan about pizza which is to say I've never had a pizza that deserved better than a "it wasn't bad" outside of Cook County.
   41. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 10:11 PM (#5989474)
I'll have it added to your file, Walt... but I cannot promise you won't get some kind of warning or summons to explain your rather laissez faire attitude towards provincial outrage.

Hey, these aren't my rules... but rules are rules.
   42. Brian C Posted: November 17, 2020 at 10:26 PM (#5989477)
My immediate reaction is disbelief that Epstein got hired 9 years ago already. That went so damn fast. Wasn't I just complaining about Casey Coleman getting all those starts?
His place in the pantheon of execs is assured and nothing but warm memories and feelings for him as he moves on.

Agreed and I will add that it wasn't just 2016 for me. Watching everything come together starting with that first offseason in 2011 was really terrific fun, and of course 2016 was the culmination of everything. It's so rare that anything ever happens the way you dream it up, but everything just seemed to fall perfectly into place and just about every move worked out. We should have known, I guess, that they used up all their luck at once, and that the next few years could hardly result in anything but diminishing returns.

But man, those 5 years were the most fun I've ever had as a baseball fan and I doubt anything else could top it. I'll always be grateful for that.
   43. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2020 at 10:40 PM (#5989479)
The Mets have requested permission to speak to the Indians' GM, Mike Chernoff. Can Chernoff trade himself to the Mets along with Lindor and Carrasco?


Mike's father runs WFAN, easily the largest one-market sports radio talk channel in the U.S.

would not be awkward at all.
   44. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 17, 2020 at 11:05 PM (#5989480)
Agreed and I will add that it wasn't just 2016 for me. Watching everything come together starting with that first offseason in 2011 was really terrific fun, and of course 2016 was the culmination of everything. It's so rare that anything ever happens the way you dream it up, but everything just seemed to fall perfectly into place and just about every move worked out. We should have known, I guess, that they used up all their luck at once, and that the next few years could hardly result in anything but diminishing returns.

But man, those 5 years were the most fun I've ever had as a baseball fan and I doubt anything else could top it. I'll always be grateful for that.


Absolutely.

I think we all kind of knew of it at the time, but it's actually precisely what you'd have scripted if given some typerwriter of the gods.

The 2016 team wasn't a fluke or a backdoor... they were the best team in baseball and it really wasn't particularly close. The postseason - at least, the NL side tournament - wasn't exactly a cakewalk, but it had its drama, it had its memorable moments, and it ended up being what you might hope from a 106 win team.

Then, the WS had its allusions to the demons and dark places of 69, 84, 03, and the rest... those moments of "#### Here we go again".... and then Monty inducing a squibber to Bryant, who slips but doesn't throw the ball into the stands.

2016 was a perfect storybook... So many memorable moments that they even manage to overwhelm in quantity all the ones prior. A mountain climbed... and that's without getting into the magic of 2015 being ahead of schedule or even the 2017 and beyond still being fun, rather than the usual 85/04/etc hangovers.

I'm grateful to have been around for it all.
   45. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 18, 2020 at 12:01 AM (#5989484)
Yeah, I'm grateful and all that. I'm just not in the nostalgic and reflective mood these days. We had plenty of battles about his decisions over the years, and it was a lot easier to defend his moves and see where he was coming from a few years back. That's not to say it's been all bad, but the Chapman trade was a turning point; and if that was the cost of what came after, I guess it's only fair.

I'm still a little sour with how the last couple years have gone and how the good will has been squandered. That doesn't change how I feel about the highs of 2014-2017.
   46. Brian C Posted: November 18, 2020 at 12:47 AM (#5989485)
I don't think of the Chapman trade as the turning point. It was a high cost to pay but ultimately it made sense for where they were and what they were doing.

For me the turning point was more the Quintana trade. It made sense too, way more even than the Chapman trade did (although I remember being lukewarm about it at the time), but ... it didn't really work out. And so it's more symbolic to me of the last few years, a move that seems like it should have paid off a lot more than it did, like sticking with a core that seemed like it should have developed and cohered a lot more than it did. Signing Lester is the symbolic move for the buildup, and the Quintana trade for the slow fade that came after.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2020 at 03:23 AM (#5989486)
#22: that makes sense

On nostalgia: I think the 2nd half of 2015 may have been more fun. That had no downside since I wasn't expecting that team to peak. I'd have started freaking out if they'd made the series but even bowing out it held promise. 2016 regular season was definitely a romp but man the playoffs were tense and I'm not sure how I survived Game 7.

On moves past: at the time, I remember debating Chapman vs Andrew Miller. I preferred Miller because he still had time left on his contract. The Yanks got Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield (traded to Ms) for Miller -- both Frazier and Sheffield just had nice 60-game seasons but I'm confident Torres will still end up being better return. Of course we were also adamant that they not trade Schwarber for either guy -- we might want to rethink that. :-) I too was in favor of Q but I also thought he was due for a bit of a breakout. We'll see where Eloy's bat ends up (2020 was very good) but he's still more a DH so I'm not that worried.

If there was a major flaw, it was in not wrapping up more of the young players. Rizzo and Hendricks though and it's looking lucky to dodge Bryant ... and maybe Javy too and lord knows Russell so I'll stop whining now.

Anyway, at the very least, I never again have to consider whether Dallas Green was the best Cubs' GM of my lifetime.
   48. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:17 AM (#5989497)
There's an extended riff in his resignation letter about Bill Walsh's idea that no sports exec should stay with a team for longer than a decade.

Dang, he missed a great opportunity to mention local favorite George Halas who famously coached the Bears four times for precisely 10 seasons each time.



   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:22 AM (#5989500)
Dang, he missed a great opportunity to mention local favorite George Halas who famously coached the Bears four times for precisely 10 seasons each time.


He owned the team, right?
   50. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:56 AM (#5989513)
Yes, he owned the team forever. Gave himself the head coach position four times, and stepped down after the tenth season each time. Not the exact same situation but there are parallels. (and he was a former Yankee)
   51. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 18, 2020 at 11:37 AM (#5989544)
The Halas's still own the team... Virginia McCaskey - still kicking at 97! - is George Halas' daughter...
   52. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 18, 2020 at 11:57 AM (#5989556)
I don't think of the Chapman trade as the turning point. It was a high cost to pay but ultimately it made sense for where they were and what they were doing.

For me the turning point was more the Quintana trade. It made sense too, way more even than the Chapman trade did (although I remember being lukewarm about it at the time), but ... it didn't really work out. And so it's more symbolic to me of the last few years, a move that seems like it should have paid off a lot more than it did, like sticking with a core that seemed like it should have developed and cohered a lot more than it did. Signing Lester is the symbolic move for the buildup, and the Quintana trade for the slow fade that came after.


Maybe turning point isn't the right word, and maybe I should go back further. Starting with the Heyward signing and exemplified by the Chapman trade, they starting throwing around money and prospects like they were both unlimited resources. So by turning point, I mean they went from basically getting everything right (not everything, but the overwhelming majority of moves paid off, some in huge ways) to every move turning out poorly (even the "lesser" prospects they've handed out have all made it to the bigs while fewer and fewer of the ones they kept have). It doesn't mean they've gotten everything wrong, but even the successes have caveats and none are absolute clear wins.
   53. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 18, 2020 at 12:39 PM (#5989567)
It's really hard to wrap one's mind around/adequately classify "things that just didn't work out, but even in hindsight, seem like good ideas" vs "bad ideas".

We all have our biases, but even more than halfway through it, for the life of me - I cannot call myself an idiot for being super-excited about the Heyward signing... It felt like we were getting a discount Dwight Evans in his prime on what felt like an eminently reasonable contract.

I do still dislike the Chapman deal. Thought it was too much at the time, still do, but tend to agree with Walt that maybe Miller instead would have made it easier to swallow. I do still LIKE the QUintana deal, even if it turns out fairly meh if not mildly disappointing.

I suppose in hindsight, the real issue is that the trades that looked like real steals for the Cubs initially (Russell) turned out otherwise.. Hendricks aside, I guess. Meanwhile, there wasn't much "fleecing" happening thereafter... I joke about OOTP comparisons - and I do realize it's not realistic to expect to trade half a dozen spare parts for premium prospects and/or all-stars, but post-2015 - even with the title, it just feels like there were some bad deals I cannot wrap my head around... Even the Castro trade - I still struggle with grasping how he had so little value that he was basically a salary dump.
   54. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 18, 2020 at 01:33 PM (#5989575)
Let me put it this way - it sure feels like almost all of minor league guys traded away ended up turning into at least something (not trying to list everyone, but that includes guys like Godley, Candelario, Parades in addition to the big ones like Torres, Jimenez, Cease, etc) while the guys we got almost all underperformed (Quintana, Wilson...) or when they did perform as expected or better they weren't around long enough to feel like it was full value (Chapman*, Davis**, Castellanos; Hamels is the exception here). And yeah, the Russell stuff also retroactively soured a big "win" trade.

The Heyward one was exciting at the time for a few reasons, but from the start was questionable for the impact it had on the rest of the spending/OF setup. If they didn't sign him, would they have kept Fowler long term and would they have been better off if they had (plus the money difference they could have spent elsewhere)?

*No need to relitigate that one. I'm on the side that they don't win without what he provided, but it doesn't change that is was an overpay or he was the only one who could have done what he did (i.e. Miller).
**He was great with the Cubs, and they were absolutely right to let him go and not keep him. But that was still a high price for one year of a closer.
   55. Rally Posted: November 18, 2020 at 01:48 PM (#5989582)
*No need to relitigate that one. I'm on the side that they don't win without what he provided, but it doesn't change that is was an overpay or he was the only one who could have done what he did (i.e. Miller).


In a world where the Indians picked up Chapman and the Cubs picked up Andrew Miller, the 2016 playoffs probably play out just the same. But my guess is the Yankees asking price wouldn't have been different and either way they end up with Torres and Frazier. (From what I remember they really wanted Schwarber, but the Cubs seemed to view Torres as an easier loss to stomach.)

   56. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 18, 2020 at 02:25 PM (#5989591)
Giving up Torres for Miller would have been easier to stomach, because Miler was signed through 2018. In a world where the Cubs get Miller instead of Chapman, they don't then trade Soler for Davis for the 2017 season and maybe don't sign Morrow before the 2018 season (Theo seemed intent on having an actual "closer" during this period; if Miller doesn't stay the closer then sub out trading Candelario/Parades for Justin Wilson during 2017 since Miller is then the lefty setup guy, etc etc); maybe then Soler is part of a trade for a SP during 2017 (instead of Jimenez; or alternately maybe Soler makes Schwarber expendable).

The specifics can go many different ways, but the Chapman trade impacted other future moves. In alternate timelines, the Cubs also could have traded Russell (or Baez*) at a different point if they still had Torres and he was fast tracked here...the point being, it seems like the specific decisions the Cubs made - starting with the Chapman trade - seemed to end up not working out, and in ways that ended up impacting the next move that also didn't work, etc....the big *but* is that they did win in 2016 and that's the biggest caveat possible and I wouldn't trade any of this other second guessing for that.


*For what seemed like a couple of years in the 2014/2015 season there were lots of Cubs/Mets rumors and how the Cubs had a MI surplus (Castro/Baez/Russell) and the Mets had tons of SP and everyone wanted to match make a deal between those 2 teams. I don't know that it every got super specific, but I do wonder how differently the last 6 years would have gone for both those teams had something happened.

   57. Hugo Chavez crashing on Zonk's couch as he codes Posted: November 18, 2020 at 02:51 PM (#5989595)
Right -- Torres was seen as expendable because it sure seemed like in some form the Cubs were pretty well set anywhere Torres would play... They already had KB at 3B... Russell and Baez seemed mainly like a question of "who plays SS, who plays 2B'... plus - Ian Happ was drafted in 2015 - and while he was already being generally viewed as an OF, the Cubs were insisting he'd stick at 2B.... plus there's still Zobrist who was still valuable and needing PAs.

It was wholly logical that Torres would be traded for something... in the summer of 2016.

EDIT to add - I just wish it wasn't a half-season of a closer... even a premier one.
   58. base ball chick Posted: November 18, 2020 at 02:57 PM (#5989597)
Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2020 at 07:19 PM (#5989444)
An ages ago conversation:

"Where are you from?"
"Chicago."
"Which suburb?"
"Chicago."
"I know but which suburb?"
"Chicago."


- ima little confused here. i KNOW that people live in the actual city of chicago because jack vincennes grandparents did/do, so why did that person insist you live in some suburb?
   59. Adam Starblind Posted: November 18, 2020 at 03:39 PM (#5989607)
My brother has been in Brooklyn for about 10 years now, but he keeps his Chicagoan status current by poisoning Metropolitans with Malort...


Back in they day, they wouldn't let him be a Brooklynite either. Nowadays they let anyone in. They've got yuppies in Coney Island, for Chrissake.
   60. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 18, 2020 at 03:59 PM (#5989616)
i KNOW that people live in the actual city of chicago because jack vincennes grandparents did/do
Zonk and I are actual city dwellers too. And Spahn, before he moved to Kentucky. Speaking of, anyone seen him around here lately? I haven't.
   61. Meatwad Posted: November 18, 2020 at 04:08 PM (#5989624)
Not here but I have seen him on Facebook.
   62. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 18, 2020 at 04:30 PM (#5989634)
Zonk and I are actual city dwellers too. And Spahn, before he moved to Kentucky. Speaking of, anyone seen him around here lately? I haven't.

He made another move. I traded emails with him a while back when he was still getting settled over there, so I'm overdue in writing him again.
   63. Meatwad Posted: November 18, 2020 at 04:37 PM (#5989638)
Moses, the pandemic kind of ruined that move, he is back in Ky.
   64. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2020 at 10:08 PM (#5989784)
so why did that person insist you live in some suburb?

As I mentioned, a peril of grad school. The person, a fellow grad student, basically was assuming that white, middle class, educated = suburbanite ... which for the half of grad students who aren't children of academics who grew up in univeristy towns was probably correct about 75% of the time. (If I recall, the group that I came in with were from suburbs of Boston, Denver, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta (granted, Atlanta proper is very tiny))
   65. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2020 at 10:30 PM (#5989803)
On our trip down memory lane ... re Schwarber at the time ... I may have questioned him more than anybody in Gonfalon world because I figured his defense would be bad enough to be a drag on his bat. But I was also thinking that he would very likely be the player the Eloy has so far turned out to be -- a 130 OPS+ bat, maybe 3-WAR player. I gave him a pretty good chance of being an even better hitter, maybe even the next Thome. I still say it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he turned out to be the next Ortiz, Nelson Cruz, JD Martinez, Jose Bautista type.

I was reasonably comfy with Torres -- probably more than I should have been -- because he was just 19. Even if he didn't become the next big prospect that flopped, he was still probably only gonna be average-good and not really settle into whatever his prime would be until he was 24-25, a long way away. Obviously all those calculations change if I give him a substantial chance of being very good by 21. But I also agree that with Baez and Russell around, it was very likely Torres was gonna get traded sometime in 2016 or 2017. Russell, both as a player and as a human, was the big mis-evaluation but again I thought his bat would come around too.

That points to an area where the Cubs have really struggled. Why couldn't they make Russell a better hitter? Why didn't Schwarber's bat develop? Why couldn't they help turn Heyward's bat around? Cut down on Javy's Ks? Let's not mention the disaster that is Almora's approach at the plate and now it's not clear they can fix Bryant. Maybe no team/coach can really help much there but it also raises the question of evaluation -- we expect Russell, Schwarber, Heyward, Javy, Almora, Happ, Bryant, Rizzo to have these hitting trajectories over the next X years ... either they got a long wrong or they failed in making the moves necessary to address those issues.

Let me also say that of course I wouldn't un-do the Chapman trade (at least not in a baseball sense) -- I'm not tugging on that thread of the tapestry. I'm sure there are alternate universes where the Cubs won the WS anyway and are enjoying Gleyber/Eloy in the #2 and #4 lineup slots who are laughing at us but there are other universes we get to call idiots for not making that deal.
   66. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 19, 2020 at 12:16 AM (#5989856)
I lived through it all with my ex-wife (not a baseball fan, though her dad definitely was a Cubs lifer).

1) Yes, I was in the city. Addison and Pulaski. If you drew a line four miles due east from our apartment, you'd be standing on the playing field at Wrigley.

2) Chapman for Torres was the greatest trade in Cubs history. They won the World Series!

3) Theo, we will miss you. You did the impossible.
   67. Rally Posted: November 19, 2020 at 08:17 AM (#5989878)
Chapman for Torres was the greatest trade in Cubs history. They won the World Series!


Why not pick one that was integral to the WS and the Cubs won the value part, like Arrieta and Strop for Feldman? Arrieta won 2 of the WS games, and Strop had 2 scoreless innings in the series.
   68. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 19, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5990036)
That's a fair point.
   69. JJ1986 Posted: November 23, 2020 at 04:39 PM (#5990897)
The Mets are not hiring a top guy this year, so presumably they are all in on Theo for 2021.

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