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On the day after Anthony Rizzo's first HR (and 2nd game winning hit) as well as the first day of the month that Ron Santo finally gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame...

Patience young Jedi...

Ratso Rizzo (in Midnight Cowboy, 1969)Anthony Rizzo's career starts Tuesday night 7pm CST at Wrigley Field vs the NY Mets righty Dillon Gee. Rizzo was pulled after two at bats in today's Iowa Cubs 2-1 win vs. Round Rock, including a strikeout and a flyout to CF. He ends his Iowa  career, barring a future demotion (God Forbid!), with the line: .342/23 HR/62 RBI.

"If it's somthin' weird an' it don't look good..."

Letting Aramis Ramirez walk for the 2012 season was the easy part. The new Cubs braintrust loves supplemental round draft choices. Picking up the one year, $16 million option on ARam, with the expectation that he would decline and lead to a supplemental 1st rounder (which turned into pick #43, college pitcher, Pierce Johnson from Missouri State U.) was highly predictable.

The more problematic other side of the coin was to replace ARam for the near term. If the cliche' buy low, sell high... doesn't do it for you, at least Jedstein believes in buy low. Here's the checklist: 2003 1st round draft choice (10th pick), 2005 overall #4 prospect from Baseball America (after Mauer, King Felix, and Delmon Young), hitting setbacks because of injuries (knee contusion then left wrist) but with recovery possible based on medical reports, still young and relatively inexpensive, left handed bat, decent defender. OK, that all checks for Ian Stewart (no not that Ian Stewart, just checking to see if you use the links).

Here's where things jump the tracks. He's had a bad wrist for over a year and nobody in Colorado or Chicago has a diagnosis.

From the previous thread, I came upon Old and Blue's complaint that he hates the phrase, "rebuilding year".

It implies that there is some actual construction going on. So far, best as I can tell, the only brick laid down is a Rizzo block, and there are no guarantees with prospects. Shark has been a pleasant surprise, but no credit for TheoCorp there. He's been in the system for some time.  I know I'm supposed to give this time, but so far, I'm pretty underwhelmed.

Hmmm. Maybe he's got something there. This made me think of a metaphor regarding the Foodie Fad of cooking deconstructed style. Yep, that's what Jedstein is using as their modus operandi.

They are deconstructing the Cubs:

  • More hits than runs
  • Good starting pitching without wins

Here is a working definition of what is going on (thanks to the Foodie Buddah.com site):

At heart, any deconstructed dish (ball club) should contain all the classic components found in the “original.” The difference is in the preparation. When creating a dish (ball club) utilizing deconstructive techniques, the ingredients (players) are essentially prepared and treated on their own. It is during the plating and presentation stages that everything is brought together.

Based on the Cubs puny offense of late, it is apparent that we are not at the "plating" stage, and far from the "presentation" stage. So to make my point just a little easier to swallow, you can choose which of the following deconstructed vs classic options you prefer. Just make sure there is enough alcohol content, 2012 Cubs watchers are going to need it.


...and I just wanted to give props to Tim Souers Cubby-Blue site. Awesome "Ryan Dempster Can't Get Any Support" pictures (Even Mrs. Dempster could use a little support in these trying times). Plus he tells a Metaphorical story (thanks, Charlie) that only a 10 game Cub losing streak could force out of him.

Like a bad penny, the Cubs can't seem to catch a break. Here is the list of the broken catchers:

Steve Clevenger -Oblique rib cage strain. He is scheduled to return to the batting cage this weekend and might be ready to come off the DL by next weekend in Pittsburgh.

Geo Soto - Went on the DL with a knee meniscus tear and had it repaired/ trimmed on Friday. Out at least 3 weeks.

Welington Castillo - Had an MRI of his knee this am and has a mild medial collateral sprain. Out of action about one week if things go well.

So who is left, you ask? Hint: Blake Lalli isn't in the starting lineup tonight...

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I can see the Simpsons animating this one (with a guest appearance from heaven by Ricardo Montalbán).

byline, Nick Cough-fart-doo and Kent Brockman:

The Red Sox announced the completion of the Theo Epstein compensation package today.  The Cubs will receive as their PTBNL, the bone spur from Chris Carpenter's elbow in a jar of formaldehyde.

Would the Red Sox really refer one of their newest hurlers to (video link) Dr. Nick?

On a more serious note, it's not a good spring to be named Chris Carpenter. The Cardinals ace pitcher has a significant pinched nerve somewhere between his neck and pitching shoulder that has caused some weakness and discomfort. According to the St. Louis media his timetable to return to the Cardinals rotation isn't certain.

News broke out of Red Sox camp yesterday as fans were wondering why "the other Carp" had only thrown 2 innings all spring.  Former Cub, Chris Carpenter tweeted:

“Headed into surgery tomorrow with Dr Andrews to remove a bone spur in my elbow,’’  “Stayin positive and prepared to work harder than ever to come back as soon as I can this season.’’

I'm Spur-ed on to write just a little more, after the break...


Update: (Thursday noon, CST), per a Carrie Muskat tweet:

RedSox send 1B Jair Bogaerts to Cubs to complete compensation deal for Theo. Batted .288 in Dominican Summer League. He's 19.

Saturday's weekly "Talking Baseball" show on ESPN 1000 radio, hosted by Bruce Levine and Fred Hubner wrapped up with a Q&A session with Theo Epstein. Bruce Levine asked Theo up front if he wanted to talk about playing electric guitar or baseball, ...and baseball it was. A summary was posted in the CCO but as it turns out I had a recording of the program and was able to get together several complete quotes from Theo on multiple topics, including:

• Dale Sveum's camp, the bunting contest and the 9am meeting  with a daily player "roast." (I doubt the roast would have gone over well in the Milton Bradley era)

• Lineup construction (after Hubner wanted Theo's opinion of Soriano leading off):

"Lineups are overblown to begin with. As long as you adhere to some basic lineup construction principles, it's really hard to screw up a lineup and also hard to get too great of an advantage out of it."

• On acquiring starting pitching depth:

"Frankly, going forward looking at the next several years, we don't have a lot of starting pitching coming up in the upper levels of the farm system and we didn't have a lot of starting pitching under control on the big league team."

• Samardjiza's opportunity to start:

"A quality starter is more valuable even than a quality closer, which is significantly more valuable than a setup guy or a middle man"

• Talent acquisition and the new scouting and player development manuals

• Matt Garza and any contract negotiations

• Hitting, Ted Williams and the number one foundational principle of hitting

• Theo's best organizational surprise upon coming to the Cubs, the Dominican Academy

the full quotes, after the jump...

This was my original thinking, the only reason I'd read any book about the Red Sox would be to gain insight into Theo Epstein's approach to roster construction and player acquisition. Still, I'm a sucker for a good baseball story and I have to admit that learning about the Cubs sister AL team that suffered from the 'Curse of the Bambino' had it's appeal, if for no other reason than  this old Billy Goat's misery loves company.

Seth Mnookin's 2006 book, 'Feeding the Monster' is an in-depth look at the Red Sox, focusing on team management and the eventual 2002 ownership change as the reason their drought ended. The Red Sox truly overcame urban legends created by the Boston press with their constant harping on eight decades of Epic failures and generations of fan misery.

Something I understand (except for the "overcame" part).

Now with the Theo "Compensation-gate" mostly completed, this book is filled with insights into the personalities behind what should have been a simple and quick front office only transaction (with no compensation as you will soon read). Why it became a bollixed, vitriol filled, press inflated, word-slinging mess that only Boston is known for makes more sense to me after this read.

There is a lot of story to set up before Theo Epstein jumps in, so prepare for the first part of the world's longest book summary.  Most of Theo's story will be in part deux.  Part one, after the jump...

We still must not have any pitching prospects that are ready to be promoted. Jay Jackson, who's dog did you kick or what the hell happened to you in 2011? As recently as last January, Fangraphs had JJax ranked as the Cubs #5 prospect.

Cubs Insider reports:

The Cubs have agreed to terms with RHP Manny Corpas and RHP Andy Sonnanstine on non-guaranteed split contracts for the 2012 season.

We've had some time to discuss the many corpses that are being wheeled into the catacombs of Wrigley Field of late. The newest name added to that group is Andy Sonnanstine.

Rotoworld says:

Sonnanstine 28, was non-tendered by the Rays in December after posting an ugly 5.55 ERA and 12/12 K/BB ratio over 35 2/3 innings at the major-league level this past season. The soft tossing right hander will serve as insurance for the bullpen and starting rotation.

I'll dig deeper, after the jump...

Ronnie's in. Bittersweet but worthy of shedding a few tears for all Cub fans.

Here's the link to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's site announcement.

The "Golden Era" decision committee was changed to a 16 member group for this vote.  As in the usual Hall of Fame voting, 75% of the ballots were needed. Ron Santo got 15 of 16 ballots which is 94% and in Cub circles officially considered a landslide. He's the only candidate who got in this time. The next most ballots went to Jim Kaat who got 10 votes, Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso with 9 votes and Tony Olivo with 8.

Teammate, Billy Williams, was a member of the HOF voting committee, was quoted saying "we got it done."

The remainder of the committee:

The 16-member Golden Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired); and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Golden Era Committee.

Pat Hughes on WGN radio (as I type) says he envisions Ron with a maximally happy look on his face, "like a happy 10 year old kid".

His wife, Vicki Santo, during the same WGN radio interview said up in heaven he's pumping his fist saying, "I got there".

July 22nd 2012 will be Ron Santo's induction date. Heel Clicking optional.

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