My secret Cub Fan reason for loving the Anthony Rizzo for Andrew Cashner trade

So the Cubs traded flamethrowing Andrew Cashner for a real first base prospect, Anthony Rizzo of the Padres
Sure, young Andrew has tremendous potential.
Last year, he was one third of the whole reason we were supposed to be excited about the Cubs.
The other two thirds... well one got traded and the other accused of sexual assault (but that's another story or a hundred, just wait).
The point is the Cubs got a seriously fabulous chance at a real first baseman, and I no longer have to worry about Cashner's shoulder.
As a Cub Fan, pitchers and shoulders and elbows and MRIs and towel drills - those things make me want to set myself on fire.
No can deal any more.
When Cashner went down with the shoulder last year, that was all I could think about.
When was the Big Disaster gonna happen?
You know the one.
It comes after he secures an important role in the starting rotation.
He's cruising along about the 5th inning of a game against the Cardinals in July and you've got the fire going and some burgers on the grill and a frosty cold brew and suddenly Pat Hughes says, "Uh oh. Something's wrong with Cashner..."
I can't do those things any more.
So yeah, it's great the Cubs got Anthony Rizzo.
But I'm telling you, the other reason I'm happy is Cashner's shoulder ain't on my list of concerns.
Hopefully, he never has another issue with his arm at all and pitches like the stud he's supposed to be.
I'd be happy as a clam if it worked out that way.
I'm just sayin'...

PS: I don't mean to be mean to Scott Maine, but his performance against the Red Sox last year... Yeesh!
PSPS: Yeah, I know there were other guys in the trade. I ignored 'em to simplify.

Comments

Awesome! I love it!

Thanks, Bud!
That means my work is done and I can hit the sack.
What an absolutely head-spinning day today!

+1 hahah

Awesome animation

Sickels' top 20 Cubs prospects

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/1/6/26888...

http://www.utsandiego.com/padres-chat/

It sounds like Cashner is going to get significant 7th inning duties in 2012, setting up Gregerson and Street.

One of my favorite animations, Tim...especially when you made your eyes bleed!

Great job, always unique, funny and great addition to this site.

The circle of life (adding a Cubnut appearance to the TCR reunion):

http://www.thecubreporter.com/2008/03/16/grea...

and Phil Rogers reinvents the wheel (after his 3rd Martini, 9:55pm Friday 1-6-11):

A reasonable deal could have the Cubs sending Soriano and $9 million (half of Soriano's 2012 salary) for Roberts and a prospect or two.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Love it. Takes me back a few years to Wood and Prior (obviously). It especially takes me back to Prior's collision with Marcus Giles and when he had his elbow broken by a linedrive. WTF Universe.

It seems the press is perplexed by the off-season moves being made by the Cubs. However, I think they are thinking about things the way McPhail/Hendry thought about things and not the way Theo/Jed think about things. To the MSM, signing Fielder made all the sense in the world. I don't see big contracts going to players with obvious downside risk, in this case Fielder's weight. No, the new Cubs are signing young talent (Rizzo, DeJesus) and low cost vets with some upside potential and who cost virtually nothing (Volstad, Wood, Sonnanstine, Sappelt, Corpas). The later acquisitions confound the MSM. However, the goal is not to be competitive with these players. The goal is to bet that at least one of these players breaks out this year, and then can be traded at the deadline for players in the former category. For instance, let's say that Sonnastine has even a decent first half out of the bullpen. Bye-bye for two real prospects; its been nice knowing you, I hope you do well in the Rangers organization. But have no fear, I predict there will be a least one big signing in the next two weeks. The Cubs have shown the willingness to give big contracts to young foreign talent. Hence, the Cubs will sign one or both of the big name Cubans: Soler and Cespedes. In my mind, the real target is Soler who is 19 and will need significant time in the minors, and that was the real reason for signing Balaquert and Martinez, who provide Soler some degree of home cooking in Class A. Things are looking up at Clark and Addison.

One clunker in yer post. David DeJesus just turned 32.

my bad. thanks for the catch.

Bruce Levine on his sat am talking baseball show...

said he expects Samardzija will be in the bullpen ("we haven't been told that yet") now that Cashner is gone. Shark was told he would get a shot at starting, but these moves make more sense to keep him in the pen

also said they are still working on adding a starter aka Paul Maholm (or another trade) and expect that action to be resolved one way or another next week.

and mentioned the remaining Cubans as targets still

some discussion on the remaining possibilities of trading Garza (but no names mentioned) or giving him a "John Danks" type contract...vs the value of going for a 100 loss season and upgrading the 2013 draft picks.

I think they've gotta trade Garza, his trade value will never be higher than right now. If you can score two top prospects for him, how can Jedstein pass that up?

I'm also holding out hope that Marmol and Soto still get traded and they can net one high quality prospect each.

Agree with others on Soler, seems to fit into Jedstein's master plan perfectly. Cespedes is too old and and several have pointed out his skill set and deficiencies seem to match a young Alf without the speed.

I'm beginning to feel like I'm out of touch with what the Cubs are or should be doing. I don't understand the desire to sell off Garza, Marmol, Soto, etc for prospects. It may strengthen the farm system, but the major league team will be the KC Royals, circa 2009. Why do the Cubs have to be the Royals?

I am of the opinion that the Cubs can improve the farm system while also fielding a competitive team. It's not an either/or proposition. It seems to me that some people are so enamored with building the minors that they lose sight of the fact that the #1 goal is to have a strong major league team.

The problem is that there is NOBODY in the system. It is a key reason why the pitching collapsed last year when two starters went down. The Cubs will be buyers at some point, but with exception of the Yankees, all teams that are consistently good consistently have young players from their farm system on there MLB roster. Moreover, there just wasn't that much FA talent available this year.

I see a lot of people saying we shouldn't punt 2012. I don't think not signing Fielder/Wilson/Darvish/etc is punting. Keep in mind that only 4 teams in baseball had a worse record than the Cubs last year, so bringing back Pena or upgrading to Fielder, resigning Ramirez, and getting a Kuroda added to the rotation isn't going to fix this team. I believe that this "punted team" will have a better record than last years team, even after the front office turned over a huge portion of the dead weight on the team. The real benefit is that not going "all in" for 2012 like Hendry did year in year out will not fuck next years team in the ass. Maybe we'll only improve onlast years record by 5-10 games, but going the FA rout wouldn't do much better without screwing future teams the way this one is screwed now.

I am of the opinion that the Cubs can improve the farm system while also fielding a competitive team.

I am definitely interested to hear any more specific thoughts on how they would do this.

It's been discussed numerous times already.

Nobody has convinced me yet.

Maybe nobody will; just as nobody has convinced me why the road they are taking is so exciting and worth waiting for.

Because until now, it's the road not taking. I'm excited, not because I'm certain they know what they're doing, but because they're doing something I haven't seen before (and with the Cubs, that's always a good thing). Ok, I'm also excited because I think I know what they're doing and agree with it.

Signing veterans to long term deals (most of the FA's this year) to 'compete' this year just seems pointless because the team has too many flaws. The one and two year deals (DeJesus, etc) don't bother me because they won't cripple the team when they are ready to compete. Likewise, I'm happy to trade away guys who have value now (which won't really help us) for higher upsides who are a farther away from the majors...especially if it's a 1B for a RP.

I'll be happy if they sign younger FA agents (the Cuban dude or Fielder) but won't be breaking my balls if they who are smarter than me decide not to.

I also click shlenny's point that the signing of all of these high(ish) potential guys gives us a greater chance that at least one or two will do well and can be traded immediately upon success.

Well I'm in the minority, but I've said before the Cubs were closer to .500 than many say. A better coaching staff and 4/5 starters (replacements) were arguably the difference. So I agree with Hoyer's recent comments about that.

Now as mentioned, we'll keep the veteran contracts short to allow for young players. Oswalt/Bedard/Beltran would've been targets, while I'd go for Fielder longer. I would prefer to keep ARAM over Stewart, but am okay with the Z trade. That would give us:

Oswalt, Dempster, Garza, Bedard, Volstad, Wells
Castro, Barney, Fielder, Beltran, ARAM, Soriano, Byrd, Soto

We could still complete the other trades & free agent pitchers we did to acquire some depth, with the exception of Rizzo, off course. I'm not saying this is it, but at least this keeps us a chance to compete (especially with the Brewers/Cards taking steps back) while letting the kids grow for 2 or 3 years and stay within a reasonable budget.

presuming no Marshall trade either then...

rough payroll on that of...
Bedard $4.5m
Beltran $13M
Ramirez $12M
Fielder $25M
Oswalt $8-$10M

subtract Stewart's $2M, DeJesus $4.25M from the estimated current $100M payroll and I get around $160M.

and presuming those players would sign with the Cubs for the same deals they signed elsewhere, which is well, presumptuous.

Probably finagle that down a few million here or there...

it might work, you might end up with Beltran, Ramirez, Soriano, Byrd, Oswalt and Bedard all on the DL a lot.

Headley Arbitration 2
Fielder 7/154
Kuroda 2/20
Beltran 3/39

Could have probably all been done with a 140-ish commitment this year.

I'm glad that the Thoyer regime is here. I think we are in much better hands. I'm also not convinced that this is the plan that THEY WANTED to put into place this year. My feeling is its from ownership.

We shall see what payroll is going forward. Obviously it will be under 100 million this year. Is this the new norm going forward?

so they left their jobs to not be able to do what they want and in Hoyer's case, essentially took a demotion?

let's see what Kuroda and Fielder sign for first, but at those numbers you're around adding $48M and I don't think the Cubs subtracted $48M from the payroll.

oh backload you say? so you're making it harder to compete in later years even though those deals are an attempt to make a superficial run at it this year?

and who is going to play RF?

i see 8-10m per thrown around a lot by people for kuroda , but i'd be surprised to see less than 12-14m for the guy.

Theo came here as a promotion to President. He was also possibly on the way out because of that Boston collapse. It could have been a case of him getting out why he had the chance. Especially because his relationship with Luchino was allegedly really strained.

Hoyer was also possibly losing his job to Byrnes according to some reports. So Chicago is kind of a new lease on life in a bigger market. Also a chance to join a front office with a couple of close friends. So the upside was there for him.

LOL - right, Theo came to Chicago because it was his only option, and he wouldn't have gotten a gig elsewhere. Are you kidding me?

You are getting as bad as TRN about Jedstein...

I'm a fan of Jedstein. I am glad they are here.

I don't think they CHOSE to not have money to spend this year. I'm saying they are playing the hand they are being dealt.

Maybe buying McDonalds is coming out of payroll? Maybe Joe Ricketts is making the kids pay him back for the money he kicked in on the purchase?

Or maybe they don't think spending the money on old, injured players on a very bad team is a wise investment.

It could have been a case of him getting out why he had the chance.

it could have been a case of him taking a job that he felt was better for him than Boston because he had more control and allegedly one of the few organizations he would have moved to. So you're theory is that Theo moved his entire family just to get out of Boston and didn't bother to ask or was dooped about the payroll?

what a numbnuts that Theo is...and his drinking pal Jed.

Hoyer was also possibly losing his job to Byrnes according to some reports.

I missed that, got a link?

Beltran plays in RF.

but who plays? because he'll be on the DL.

I guess we'd still have Tyler Colvin.

And Beltran at 120 games is still better than David Dejesus, IMO.

120 might be optimistic.

But Beltran also cost significantly more than DeJesus. I'm sure if salaries were equal, Theo would've been just as happy with Beltran (backed by Johnson, Sappelt, and Campana) as DeJesus.

How are you coming up with a payroll less than $100M in 2012? I mean, unless you don't count money still being paid to Pena, Silva, and Z. Even if Theo unloads Soriano, you can count on most of his $18M salary being paid by the Cubs this year.

I'm at $110M+ for 2012 right now, and can give you the breakdown if you need that. Obviously, if they trade Garza, Marmol, Byrd, and Soto for prospects, that would subtract over $26M but that hasn't happened yet.

Since Leo Durocher and John Holland, I've watched a collection of owners, GMs, and Managers tell Cubs fans, 'We've got a plan'. Maybe Theo does and maybe he'll fail too, but I'm inclined to see how this all plays out for the time being. If Baseball has proven anything since the Free Agency Era, the team with the highest payroll doesn't win the World Series every year or even makes it to the Series.

Also, I don't give a damn about being 'competitive' and/or 'contending' for the NL Central title. I've been waiting decades for the Cubs organization to put together a consistent contender that would win the Series. I'm in the camp that you can't effectively build/re-build to that end, and spend to make the playoffs in Years 1 and 2 of that plan.

Right now we are at 68 Million before arbitration and non guarantees to guys like Corpas and Sonnastine.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tt7Hj...

that's missing more than $20M in arbitration, another $5-7M in auto-renewals and $5 in Pena off the top of my head.

Numbers are out there, no reason to distort the truth.

http://www.thecubreporter.com/2012/01/03/your...

Does Pena count against this year? I got that Spreadsheet from Cots. So I assume it to be accurate.

Either way, even if you backload a couple of deals. No reason you can't field a competitive team in 2012.

We just decided not to. I'm curious why that decision was made.

I'm told he does not count against this year.

$5M didn't disappear into nothing...it was due this month.

backloading, which can be effective, makes it harder on the organization in later years and harder to move the players. No reason to penalize future years because they're grasping for straws this year.

Even if he does count against this year. It kind of proves my point that ownership is putting the screws to management.

What big market organization needs to backload a 1 year deal?

one that runs a billion dollar business and has expenses to pay?

one that didn't want Hendry fucking up anything anymore?

just because the number is higher, doesn't mean they don't have bills to pay and they should bust their budget just for kicks.

sometimes when you really feel your close, you throw a little extra in, but it's pretty dumb coming off a 75-win season.

and for those thinking that the Cubs were just a few moves away from competing...

wins since 2007
85, 93, 83, 75, 71

kids call that a trend...

But yeah there is a huge reason you can't field a competitive team. It requires signing old, injured players to a bad team and if those players end up on the DL the very real possibility exists we end up worse than last year with more crippling contracts and without as much future possibility.

I'm not sure why it's so hard to get why Theo wouldn't want to sign players like Beltran to this team without it being forced on him by Ricketts or something. If this were the Red Sox with a lot of good players already then sure he'd probably be all over it but we are not anywhere near the Red Sox.

Theo is a very young, egotistical dude who won 2 World Series with the Red Sox and has a chance to go down as a legend if he does so with the Cubs. This dude is not here to run a Royals team in the long term. I dunno if everything he does is going to work out. I'm sure he's going to make mistakes and maybe in the end moves like Rizzo won't work out.

Overall though what he is doing is what we should have done the offseason we signed Soriano. Imagine if we had built up a base of good, young players then and been able to sign Fielder this off season with that base? It'd be done already and this off season we could be epically excited instead of having to shed those (dare I say it again) old, injured players that Hendry signed just to seem competitive despite having to give too many years and too much money. Let's not keep repeating history.

The Red Sox didn't even sign Beltran and they lost Drew. Cards wouldn't have signed him either if not for Pujols leaving.

But yeah there is a huge reason you can't field a competitive team. It requires signing old, injured players to a bad team and if those players end up on the DL the very real possibility exists we end up worse than last year with more crippling contracts and without as much future possibility.

One of the reasons we keep going around and around on this subject is because of comments like this one. Why does fielding a competitive team in 2012 require "signing old, injured players?" Do you honestly believe that is the only way the Cubs can be competitive in 2012?

What I (and others) have been saying is that we see the need to improve the Cubs farm system. What I don't see is the requirement that it be done by punting the 2012 (and maybe future) seasons. Start the rebuild now. Sign two or three FAs who are good enough to build around and young enough to be around for a while.

Nobody is suggesting that the Cubs do everything necessary to be competitive in 2012 and to hell with the future. There is a way to be more competitive in 2012 and still build for the future.

if hold-til-kids-arrive is the view, this team isn't getting anywhere in 2013 based on FA market aside from some SP.

team is banking hard on the gamble-pen pulling through some 2013 7/8 inning pitcher talent, too...and 3rd base...and 1st base...and RF to some people who don't trust the jesus.

the entire team's 20+ HR production for 2012 is based on gambles...hope at least 1 works out.

This is exactly how I feel as well. Even if all the kids DO pan out. They aren't going to be here for several more years. So at some point we ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SIGN FREE AGENTS.

Might as well do it now and be good as opposed to waiting 2 years and then doing it.

The only difference is how many bad seasons we want to live through between now and then.

Start the rebuild now. Sign two or three FAs who are good enough to build around and young enough to be around for a while.

Pujols and Fielder play the same position and I think the Cubs have a SS.

Who are the other magical build around FA's out there? I guess Darvish at $18M a year if you include the posting fee. That one's a bit risky to me.

Seems a better plan to find a core of young players and then add the free agents and more expensive players via trade to that as you see fit.

I don't think they have that core yet, but that seems to be the plan. Also a good idea to build up assets so your in a better position to trade, when the elite players become available.

Fielder
Headley
Kuroda or Saunders or Edwin Jackson
Beltran or Kubel or Cuddyer

Would have all been acceptable bridge guys to the next crop of young players.

or very expensive flop

Ricketts handed Theo the keys without his interference, told him the approximate budget (about $200M per year for all baseball operations) and said see you in 5 years. He probably gave him permission to carry over saved money one year to another as well as I recall that Theo did that in Boston and thinks its a valuable tool.

I'm sure Theo also took it as a challenge and opportunity to build a team the way he always envisioned without Leisure Suit Larry meddling.

I think Theo deserves the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he's doing the first few months, I'll probably give him the first season.

Not that I won't question some of his moves, nor should others, but I certainly like the overall philosophy so far.

Find guys that make pitchers work, trade guys when their values are high, find long-term assets, try to build a young core, improve the defense.

we really don't know how involved or not involved ricketts is with the loot.

that said, theo's been a near-disaster playing with the FA market aside from a couple of guys while he's pretty good with trades and extensions.

that said, that doesn't mean much...

it'd be nice if there was more stability to these gambles even if what was given up warrants taking those trades.

we know Theo took the job, we know he's not going to leave the 2nd highest payroll and high profile Boston to get micro-managed again.

Without actually seeing the spreadsheets, we know the baseball operation budget is in the $200M range, we know Ricketts doesn't really involve himself in baseball decisions.

Fielder: What are your limits on years/total dollars?
Headley?
Kuroda?
Saunders?
E Jackson?
Beltran?
Kubel?
Cuddyer?

Headley: Would you give up Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt, and Junior Lake for him?

I figured Cashner, Szczur and another minor prospect would be enough to get Headley.

I'm kind of curious to know what you think would get these FA deals done.

he posted it earlier...

7/154 for Fielder
2/20 Kuroda
3/39 Beltran

Fielder at 7/154 (what Agonz got)

Kubel got 2/14 Beltran got 2/26 So either guy could have been had in that range

Kuroda, Saunders or Jackson in the 2/18 to 3/30 range. Surely you can get one of them for that price.

Either way you are looking at anywhere from 25 to 40 million in 2012 salary. Depending on how you decided to structure each deal.

I'd be cool with back-loading all of them considering all the money leaving the payroll post 2012.

Just less shopping we need to do next winter IMHO.

'backloading all of them'

Soriano laughs, Hendry cries. You really haven't been paying attention.

2 things: 1. The only guy worth signing this year for the Cubs is Fielder, and maybe Darvish (although once bitten twice shy for Theo). And 2. They could have signed every fucking free agent out there and still not have competed this year, mostly based on lack of starting pitching.

Beltran vs. DD-- DD is cheaper and more reliable.

And as for the money, the team may very well be saying F Bud, we're spending on the draft every other year anyway, which (I believe) Az Phil talked about in an earlier thread. Theo's not spending money because even a 2007-Cub or 2011-Marlin spree WASN'T GOING TO BE ENOUGH. And even if it was, it would have MAYBE been one of the next 1-3 seasons, IF everything broke just right.

This entire franchise has been fucking flawed for a long time, and I for one am thrilled to see ALL of it (minors on up) getting evaluated/addressed.

DeJesus is more reliable. If you need a mediocre RF, he's the guy. .280/.360/.430 with 10 HR and 70 RBI, and maybe 5 steals....wooooo! I'm not saying that they should've un to sigh Beltran. I'm just not going to get real excited about signing a 32 year old "meh" OF.

War since 2005:
Dejesus
4.4
3.5
3.3
3.7
3.0
3.1
0.6

Had a shitty year last year, but otherwise has been remarkably consistent as at least a 3.0 WAR player. I think each WAR is supposed to cost $3 M on the FA market (someone here surely knows the going rate), which is why DD was generally considered a good move for the Cubs

I believe it is more like $5M for 2012 rather than $3M.

He was considered excellent in LF, mediocre in CF. Again....great....106 OPS+...32 years old..
M E H Lol..

OK. But if he's worth 3 wins next year, he was worth $15M and paid $4M. It'll pay for his whole contract. Maybe you prefer Beltran still, but I don't.

I do not prefer Beltran. I would like to wait and see whar DeJesus' defensive WAR is in RF compared to playing LF, and if he bounces back from his injuies of last year before I get excited in the least about signing this very average player to a 3 year deal.

before I get excited in the least about signing this very average player to a 3 year deal.
----
DeJesus was signed to a 2 yr $10M deal (actually 2/8.5, with a 1.5M buyout or 6.5M third yr option)

http://twitter.com/PWSullivan/statuses/141939...

Rob -- I'm not sure what you mean by

Pujols and Fielder play the same position and I think the Cubs have a SS.

Are you saying that Pujols, Fielder and Reyes (?) were the only FAs worth building around? I'm just not sure what you mean.

As an example, I'd like to see the Cubs sign Fielder, Cespedes and/or Soler. All three players are (or appear to be) the type of players you can build around.

I'd also like to see the Cubs add a pitcher, but I'm not sure that anyone available this off season fits the bill. CJ Wilson might have been the guy, but I'm not at all certain that he is worth what the Angels paid for him. Maybe Edwin Jackson. He's young enough, but I'm not sure if he is the guy (along with Garza) that you want around long term. Others are high on Darvish. I think he's way too expensive for a guy who is unproven, but he certainly is young enough to stick around a while. A FA pitcher (or two) may have to wait until next off season.

I think what you would like to see is for the Cubs to wait a year or two, and then introduce a core of young players at the big league level they can build around (BJax, Rizzo, ???). To me, that's risky because you don't know who's going to stick and who isn't. I would prefer to see them build around a core of FAs who are available now and next year, and fill any holes with prospects. It just seems less risky to me.

Are you saying that Pujols, Fielder and Reyes (?) were the only FAs worth building around?

yes, maybe Darvish and definitely Soler, possibly Cespedes, although both those are more projection than sure thing right now. Those other 2 aren't signed yet, are they?

I would have been all for Fielder(even Pujols but not at the money he got), but I understand not wanting to go 7-10 years at $23-$25M for a fat guy when you play in the NL that is known as a poor defender and baserunner.

I wouldn't mind Reyes either, but the Cubs have a SS and Reyes is injured a lot.

Wilson wasn't going to give the hometown discount to the Cubs.

From what little I know, I think I prefer Soler over Cespedes. Cespedes is probably looking at a Fukudome deal over 5-6 years cause of his age. What if he experiences the same tough transition? Don't know the history of Cuban position players but I don't get that he's a sure thing. Soler seems a safer bet, possibly the better player and a longer term asset.

I wouldn't have minded signing some long term free agent options, but you're always overpaying in those situations.

I don't think it'll take as long as people think to be competitive again. They have to know that they have 1, maybe 2 years at best of patience and big market teams can do it a lot faster than the smaller markets.

I agree. I think Theo is going to go crazy on the trade market over thenext 18 months to two years. I think that's a big part of why he keeps using the word "assets".

Also, I don't give a damn about being 'competitive' and/or 'contending' for the NL Central title. I've been waiting decades for the Cubs organization to put together a consistent contender that would win the Series.

That's like a politician saying that he doesn't give a damn about the primary, he only cares about the general election. It's a nice sentiment, but it doesn't work that way.

Before the Cubs can ever worry about winning the World Series, they have to build a team that can compete in the NL Central. This is especially true with the unbalanced schedule. If the Cubs can't successfully compete against their NL Central counterparts, they have no chance of making the post season.

Until the Cubs can be competitive in their division, the World Series is just a distant dream.

That wasn't really my point, so let me clarify. What I hear Dr. Aaron and Crunch saying is that the Cubs should have been 'in' on Fielder/Pujols, Beltran, CJ Wilson with the payroll coming off the books. I interpret their posts as the Cubs should be fielding a playoff contending team in 2012 while re-building the crap this organization became under Hendry. All this because they're a 'big-market' team and should have a payroll to match. If I got any of this wrong, I'm sorry and mean no disrespect to those fine posters.

What I am looking for Theo's group to do is produce a winning organization that does more than win the NL Central two years in a row and goes three and out in the NLDS. Obviously, you have to win your Division or the Wild Card to have a chance to play in the World Series. I'm shooting for an organization that is consistently in a position to make the World Series (e.g. like the Braves of the '90s). Eventually, like Atlanta you should win it all at least once.

If Theo's group can do that, well, that would be really great.

I think the playoffs are largely a crap-shoot. You need to build a team that can make the playoffs before you can worry about things past that.

(part of the Milton Bradley folly)

I agree that I want to see the minor league system to be more productive. I am thrilled that we are going to start focusing on plate discipline and fielding ability as well.

My contention is that we shouldn't need to lose 100 games at the MLB level to effect these changes.

Why can't we patchwork some short term contracts around what is at the MLB level and try to bridge a competitive team to these new prospects.

Waiting on the kids Theo/Hoyer drafts to develop before spending money just seems giving up for the next several years. And many of these "rebuild' fans will tire of losing quickly if things stay bad around here.

Winning or building a system should never have to be a choice in a big market. You can absolutely do both at the same time. Just as Boston, ANA, LAD, ATL and NYY have shown us over the last several years.

I don't think any of us are against the idea of building a dynasty. What our contention is that we shouldn't have to sit through 2 or 3 years of complete embarrassment to get there by not adding anything to better our team now.

No team should ever punt and not try to make their team better for the upcoming season.

so if the Cubs win more than 71 games in 2012, we're all good?

Yep. That would mean I've completely misevaluated the likes of Stewart, Woods, & and every other player he's obtained to play this season.

I hope it happens, and I'll be happy to eat crow if it does; but I just don't think so.

you just sat through two or three years of complete embarrassment doing it the Hendry way. You'll be singing a different tune when Cubs sign Cespedes and Soler.

Okay.. Good point.

Again, I have no faith they'll sign either at this point, but I would change my tune a bit if it happens.

"That's like a politician saying that he doesn't give a damn about the primary, he only cares about the general election. It's a nice sentiment, but it doesn't work that way. "

No, it's like a governor who only learns about his or her state's politics and fails to engage national issues or create any larger appeal. They may continue to win reelection for governor in their state, but have no shot at running for or winning the presidency unless they change their perspective.

I want the Cubs to be president.

Amen.

we all want the cubs to be president.

some of us would rather they use their talent and money resources to start higher on the political ladder than running for the county school board.

I'm sure you're talking about others as well, but I wouldn't describe my feeling right now as "excited." I think more like "patient" and "curious." Maybe "hopeful," but that one applies to nearly every offseason since 2003 or so.

If the Cubs wanted an immediate turnaround in 2012, they needed to sign one of Fielder/Pujols, one of Wilson/Darvish, Aramis, maybe Beltran instead of DeJesus, and Reyes to push Castro to 2B wouldn't have hurt. I don't think the Cubs could have done that. I certainly don't think the Cubs could have done that and improved the farm system in order to build toward sustained success.

I'm curious to hear specifics about what some think the Cubs needed to do to compete at the big league level and how they could've done that and improved the system.

What big improvements to the farm system were made so far? I mean, except for the Rizzo acquisition, which I do like.

Excluding major league players:
Weathers
Sappelt
Torreyes
Bianchi
Rizzo
Cates
Couple of Cubans

Lost:
LeMahieu
Colvin
Flaherty
Gonzalez
Na

you lost me after rizzo and cates....

If you mean "the Cubans", they signed a couple of Cubans. Didn't you know that? I could look up their names, but I'm sure it's been posted already

nah, i mean i the rest i consider cannon fodder filler for the system.

even the sexier options have some big issues...torreyes will seemingly swing at everything with little power to show for it and weathers makes cashner look like greg maddux with his control. both have a skill with upside, but have serious flaws.

This list would look better if Jedstein hadn't needlessly lost Flaherty and Gonzalez. Maybe they'll get returned.

In 3 years, people will talk about the loss of Marwin Gonzalez in the same way we all talked about the loss of Jason Smith.

In 3 years, people will talk about the loss of Marwin Gonzalez in the same way we all talked about the loss of Jason Smith Andy Sisco.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/s...

December 13, 2004: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals from the Chicago Cubs in the 2004 rule 5 draft.

Certainly possible. It just seemed completely unnecessary to leave him off of the 40-man. He seems like a logical pick to replace DeWitt/Barney as utility infielder.

Ok...so "improvements to the farm system?"
Weathers..TJS/not got his control bak
Sappelt- I like, but can he be a starter in the bigs
Torreyes had a great average. Let's see how that goes in A+ and AA
Bianchi is roster fodder
Rizzo I said I liked
Cates is a maybe

What's taking so long?!?! Can't we just trade Soriano and Barney for Montgomery, Duffy, Hosmer, and Giavotella?

I think the problem is Theo & Co are asking for Billy Butler too.

Rizzo is a big addition, which you noted.

Torreyes is pretty good too. Here's a comparison:

Player Age Level KRate BB Rate AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS
Player A 19 A+ 10.6 4.9 299/334/388/722
Player B 18 A 6.3 4.6 356/391/457/848

Player B is Torreyes fueled by a 375 BABIP
Player A is Starlin Castro with a 331 BABIP

Not massive improvements, I guess, but by next year I think our farm system will be in the top third at least.

By next year? By adding Rizzo and Torreyes..and then the draft?

Well..ok? I don't see it being that quick...but that's a positive outlook.

I'm making a few assumptions.

1. Some of these guys will be traded for some prospect return:
Garza
Soto
Marmol
Byrd
Soriano
Dempster (long shot)

2. Carlos Pena will sign with another club and get the Cubs another supplemental draft pick. The Cubs will end up with 4 picks in the top 75 or so, including the #6 pick.

3. Between now and next June or July when the CBA rules kick in for the international markets, the Cubs will spend a bunch of money grabbing up talented players for big money, boosting the farm.

4. The last crop of draftees/international signings will start making progress and at least some of them will provide positive returns.

5. The next offseason will produce more positive player turnover.

Part of my optimism comes from the major league players that were added. I couldn't list them on the improvements to the farm system, but filling a position at least capably on the major league team takes pressure off the farm to rush a player. For example, if Rizzo mans 1B for the next four years with at least league average production, Vogelback won't be looked at as a savior to the position. Instead he'll be another in a line of promising players who could be traded or upgrade the major league team. That's kind of a trickle down effect, but I think it's real.

the only problem i have with moving garza is the team needs 2, maybe 3 SP for 2013 for the 1-3 rotation slots...the 3-5/4-5 we can assume are pretty much taken care of...we hope.

trading garza for anything but a 2013 damn-near-sure-thing would be a step backwards in my mind...especially with the amount of money this club has.

I'm not necessarily saying the will or should - obviously if they got what they've been asking for initially it would be worth it - but some of the other guys will likely be traded and bring some talent back. Plus the other 4 things I said

Boise Bill Buckner!

Well 94% of Tribune readers polled are in favor of youth movement, over free agent rebuild (as of 11pm EST 1/07/12). That's amazing!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/poll/chi...

92% of those folks will be pissed when we still suck in 2013 and 2014.

Absolutely. Especially if the team is still below .500 in 2014.

72% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

60% of the time.....I'm right every time.

Well having been a statistician at the university of Michigan I can tell you these were pretty basic stats. Just yes or no and people responded. Meat. Potatoes.

Also I don't really care what cubs fans think ... Just found it interesting. Also I think they know the cubs are gonna stink.

Then you also know that there is huge selection bias with a survey administered to people who visit the website and click on the link. You are getting a specific sub-set of Cubs fans who are interested enough to be reading about the Cubs on a regular basis online. Not representative of larger Cub-dom.

Thanks for the schooling. I don't really give a crap, because I didn't really have a point. I'm not sure that popular = wise. And I would hardly cite an online poll to support something I did want to seriously argue. Also I said "of tribune readers polled" which was supposed to insinuate that there was selection bias. Also after doing stats for the UM for 14 years - I now have run a recording studio for the last 8yrs so if yr point is that I'm a dumbass, I whole hartedly agree. Running a recording studio is a dumbass business. Still 94% in favor of youth movement on a tribune poll is a huge cut. Reader polls are rarely that skewed. 100% of musicians are insane ...

Joe=Rarely Serious

as long as they're 2 really good prospects. Garza's young enough you can wait 2 years and he should still be pretty good if you sign him to a reasonable below the market extension.

they're probably hoping Soto starts off hot instead of coming off a 96 OPS+ season...same with Marmol.

I get why Theo is listening/shopping Garza, I really do. I only hope that the return is at least 1 MLB starting pitcher with TOR ceiling, and an almost ready position player (ideally an OF). If Theo can get that type of return, I'm OK with a trade given the off-season activity thus far. If he can't get what he wants by Opening Day, I would be in favor of a 4-5 year contract that works financially for both sides.

I'd like to see an extension as well. Now is really the time if you want to leverage his service time for a club friendly deal.

Rumor was that Hendry had Zambrano signed to a 5/55 deal that Zell nixed right after he purchased the team. Only to allow Carlos to be signed a year later for 5/91. The Grizzlies here in Memphis had Rudy Gay signed to a 5/60 extension that they backed out of, only to have to give him 5/82 the following offseason.

I figure you can lock up Garza in the 5/60-5/65 range if you do it now. The closer he gets to Free Agency the more that cost will rise.

where that 5/55 number come from?

I recall it more in the 5/75 range

As painful as it is for me, I'm going to have to support aaron b on this one.

Plus, Bruce Levine on Talkin' Baseball yesterday said it was worse than that. Before MacPhail left Zambrano & his agent were trying for 4 years $40 million. MacPhail wouldn't budge off of 4/38.5.

Then Z gets 1/12.4 in Feb of 2007 and 5/91.5 in Aug 2007.

That's two different time periods we're talking about though. I'll try and dig up the link.

from rotoworld, the original source links seem to be dead by this point.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs are working on a five-year contract worth between $75 and $85 million.
The deal would include this season, which has Zambrano scheduled to make $12.4 million. It seems somewhat unlikely that Zambrano would agree to what is essentially a four-year extension with free agency and a possibly six- or seven-year deal right around the corner.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Mar 28 - 9:01 AM

The Cubs and Carlos Zambrano are closing in on a five-year contract worth more than $80 million, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports.
Source: FOXSports.com
Apr 1 - 5:51 PM

Carlos Zambrano has extended his Opening Day deadline for a contract extension.
''Our discussions have progressed to the point that we are going to extend the deadline for an indefinite period,'' Zambrano's agent Barry Praver said. The contract is expected to be five-years for between $80-$85 million. Zambrano's agents and the Cubs are in the process of finalizing the incentive clauses and opt-out clauses to complete the contract.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Apr 2 - 8:44 AM

4/40 must have been before 2006 or even 2005, considering he made $12.4M just in arbitration and McPhail was still there.

Barry Zito signed his huge 7/126 deal on Dec 29, 2006.

So any thought of getting Zambrano so cheap probably went out the window then.

A Jan 20, 2007 article had this from Zambrano:

''You take less than Zito take and everybody talks about you, saying, 'Zambrano sign a bad contract,''' Zambrano said. ''You take more and everybody says, 'Zambrano is taking advantage.' I think the thing is to be around what Zito signed for, more or the same.''

I'm willing to concede that my memory of late 2006 may be off. But I'm pretty sure Levine's 4/40 comment from yesterday was made in reference to late in the 2006 season talks. Levine's memory isn't flawless either though.

well either way, 5/55 hasn't been mentioned anywhere.

I'll concede that before the Zito deal and in 2006, they probabyl could have signed him for even cheaper, but that had nothing to do with Zell and the Tribune deal nixing it.

So 5/55 is the opposite of 3/44?

Painful to support little ole me? I thought we were buddies QM?

No ill will towards you. We're good. I just don't always agree with what you're saying.

Things will change some more before March, certainly, but could you post the current depth chart for the minors? With all the movement of late, I'm curious where the Cubs stand at several positions, particularly at AA and AAA. If too much bother right now and holding off to later, no problem.....thx Phil.

go up to AZ Phil's Corner and click on Cubs Depth Chart, he's constantly updating it

http://www.thecubreporter.com/cubs-depth-chart

Geez, how long have I been here? I'm embarassed to say I never even noticed that link. Thanks.

AZ Phil:

Now that 1B issues are somewhat clearer (LaHair/Rizzo/Vogelbach) and if LaHair sticks he moves to LF (if not, maybe the bench)...what do you think Josh Vitters projects to? What are his chances that he shows enough defense at 3B? and if not then LF and backup at 3B? ...or if he isn't showing enough defense regardless of his bat, then off to another organization?

How long do you expect Hoystein and McLeod to have patience with Vitters future progress? None (he's being moved soon), Spring training, Mid-season, One more milb season?

Please comment on how the timing/patience issue will devalue his tradability vs whether he should be an organizational keeper. David Kelton comes to mind.

http://luolsdong.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-he...

Not AZP, but Vitters has been young for every level he's been in. Next year he'll be 22 in AAA. I think he'll have next year, and be up in September if nothing goes too haywire. He could even go back to AAA another year at least before I'd consider giving up on him.

Sat, 01/07/2012 - 1:14pm — Cubster

AZ Phil:

Now that 1B issues are somewhat clearer (LaHair/Rizzo/Vogelbach) and if LaHair sticks he moves to LF (if not, maybe the bench)...what do you think Josh Vitters projects to? What are his chances that he shows enough defense at 3B? and if not then LF and backup at 3B? ...or if he isn't showing enough defense regardless of his bat, then off to another organization?

How long do you expect Hoystein and McLeod to have patience with Vitters future progress? None (he's being moved soon), Spring training, Mid-season, One more milb season?

Please comment on how the timing/patience issue will devalue his tradability vs whether he should be an organizational keeper. David Kelton comes to mind.

===============================

CUBSTER: On a contending team, Bryan LaHair would be a 1B-LF-LHPH. I would have even platooned him with Alfonso Soriano last year, but Hendry was never a big fan of giving "4-A" guys much of a chance.

As for Josh Vitters, I doubt very much that he will play 3B at the big league level. And wherever he does play, he will have defensive shortcomings.

I would say his best defensive position would be either 1B (best) or LF (next-best). He did play some RF in the AFL and looked OK there, but I would rather play him at the less-demanding LF corner.

I doubt that the new regime will have much patience with Vitters. It wouldn't surprise me to see him included in a trade at some point.

BTW, I do think Vitters' bat will take him to the big leagues. He might not get there with the Cubs, but I believe he will be a solid MLB #5 hitter.

Vitters was constantly being challenged by the Cubs Player Development Dept because they wanted to keep him motivated (he gives the impression of being extremely laid-back), so he was never able to spend an entire season at one stop until 2011. As soon as he showed any sign of mastering a particular level, he was immediately promoted.

To get an idea of what Vitters can be, look at his numbers after he had a chance to adjust to each league (326/365/498 & the #1 prospect in the NWL as an 18-year old at Boise in 2008, 316/351/535 with 15 HR in 70 games as a 19-year old at Peoria in 2009, 291/350/445 as a 20-year old at Daytona in 2010, and 283/322/448 as a 21-year old at Tennessee in 2011).

I can see why some people might compare Vitters to David Kelton, but Kelton had a career-limiting chronic shoulder problem that affected both his defense and his hitting. Kelton also had a weird mental block where he could not make accurate throws from 3B to 2B (he would either bounce the throw, or sail it into RF).

I always assumed the quick promotions were an effort from the last regime to justify the draft pick. For all the moving around his numbers have really been about the same everywhere he has been.

I just don't see how that bat will work anyone other than 3rd base. It's barely usable there unless he takes a HUGE step forward,

I am very confident that he'll be the everyday 3B at third Iowa this year. His upside is definitely tied to his position, and as everyone has stated moving to LF/1B makes him look a lot worse. He can always improve on defense, and I believe he's made progress on it over the years (no basis for this statement other than random articles remembered)

I don't think they promoted him fast because he was a high pick, but to continue challenging him. His low strikeout/low walk numbers prove that he has exceptional contact skills. Regardless of why, he has been moving at an elite pace with respect to age at different levels throughout his entire minor league career. You have to acknowledge that this could make him look worse as a prospect.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

seminars on ... anti-misogyny

Some tcr posters could use the same seminar...

He treats objects like women, man.

A Jackie Treehorn production.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

A third-round pick in 2010 who signed for an over-slot bonus of $765,000, Cates had a 4.73 ERA in his full-season debut at Fort Wayne, but his peripherals were much better than that: He allowed just 107 hits over 118 innings and struck out 111. Cates is a converted catcher, and he still looks like a position player learning how to pitch. However, he has considerable potential based on his low- to mid-90s velocity. His control and command can waiver when he struggles to find consistency in his delivery, and his breaking ball is well behind his surprisingly solid changeup. Some scouts believe his power stuff and delivery are better suited for bullpen work, but he'll remain a starter until such a move is forced by need, injury, or continued inefficiencies.

Nobody has every questioned Cashner's arm; he can consistently ramp his fastball into the upper 90s. The only question is what San Diego can—and will—do with him. Cashner was the best college closer in the 2007 draft, but the Cubs converted him to a starter because he had both a slider and a changeup. Early returns were impressive, but his first big-league role was back in the bullpen, and after struggling with shoulder problems in 2011, there is plenty of reason to believe he's just not designed to pitch 200 innings per year. Cashner has pure closer stuff, but his command has always been an issue. Reviews of his Arizona Fall League performances last November were lackluster, as he fell behind in the count far too often, and while his fastball possesses plenty of heat and sink, it also tends to elevate.

This is great ROB G.

I believe I was reading something from his Junior College where Cates, who indeed was a catcher, was leading his team with strikeouts while also being a catcher.

So, one more emergency catcher for the Cubs.

I am curious what the "one more move" will be for this team prior to the Convention?

I cannot see them not getting the K Wood deal done at least.

fwiw, cepedes probably won't get his official citizenship before the convention ends...or right around it.

he's expected to become an official citizen by the 15th...but that was supposed to be taken care of before xmas at one point...

no one can tip their interest in the guy until he's "officially" out of Cuba.

Hmmm. That would make sense - however, didn't know automatic citizenship could take place. You sure about that? Green card - yes. "Citizenship", I wasn't aware in cases of "political asylum", if that is what is being claimed, entitles one to U.S. citizenship within two weeks. Regular folks wait several years.

he's still setting up citizenship in the dominican. it was expected to be done earlier, but things have been slowed for one reason or another.

if he attempted to become a US citizen first he'd have to go through the draft.

it's also against the law to recruit cuban workers to the US, and though it's grey area MLB doesn't like teams talking about cubans until they've set up citizenship elsewhere. the sooner he gets citizenship the sooner the "1/2 of MLB rumored to be interested" gets down to more serious talk.

[In response to CRUNCH on Cespedes] Hmmm. That would make sense - however, didn't know automatic citizenship could take place. You sure about that? Green card - yes. "Citizenship", I wasn't aware in cases of "political asylum", if that is what is being claimed, entitles one to U.S. citizenship within two weeks. Regular folks wait several years.

"According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Angels have reached a four-year extension with Howie Kendrick."

...and there goes the only 2nd baseman in the post-2012 FA market worth a damn aside from a 32 year old brandon phillips...unless kelly johnson has a bounce-back season.

The Cubs have an awesome 2B. He's just still playing SS.

snap.

Sure he'll go to second base...but all bets are off if you fall asleep.

He's going to second base and he isn't taking no for an answer.

*golf clap*

And this is an example why fans talking about acquiring free agents in 2 or 3 years to fill in holes may find themselves disappointed down the road.

don't forget trades and salary dumps
who were the cubs two best acquisitions in 2003 and 2004?

Geez Crunch, c'mon, Cubs will be able to move Castro to 2B once they call up Hak-Ju Lee for SS. Oh, wait....

Too soon!

Ouch.

Jesus, this is ridiculous. Let's just take a poll now. Who officially wants to go on record as claiming they are smarter than Theo and company? Seriously ... You think they haven't considered the options, now and long term? Honestly? Cause they are too busy playing fantasy Walmart Cashier to do what they're paid to do and what they've dedicated their lives to? But no, the cubs fans, we're frickin geniuses ...

"Who officially wants to go on record as claiming they are smarter than Theo and company?"

99% of the city of boston and redsox nation since 2009.

While I agree with your sentiment, repost the same thing in 5 yrs if we haven't won it all yet, you'll get a much different response (myself included).

Now, of course I don't think I'm smarter, just like I didn't think I was smarter than Hendry before the 2003 NLCS, but by golly, I'd have sworn I was after he handed Milton friggin Bradley 3/30.

The secret to life... is timing.

Love it!!!! Need to install a face guard on that grill brother.

Or root for another team I suppose?

LOVE IT!! I LOL'd

*edit I could hear the broadcast playing in my head. Only Zonk sounded a lot like Ronnie... :')

Phil Rogers in his "Whispers" column, throws this piece of spaghetti against the wall to see if it will stick...

The Rays will weigh interest in the Cubs' Bryan LaHair, who could be a low-cost option that fits their dynamic. …

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Castro article by David Haugh in the Trib including a Patrick Kane parallel...

During spring training with the Red Sox, Epstein invited professors from Northeastern University's Sport in Society Center to conduct seminars on violence prevention and anti-misogyny. Epstein plans the same for the Cubs.

Epstein is also bringing along the Red Sox's informal mentorship program which pairs young players with veterans. Next January, the Cubs plan to invite their top 12 to 15 prospects to Chicago for a two-week orientation on how to behave like a big leaguer.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

If only Z were still around to lead it.

Ugh I hope it works and I hope Castro is innocent. I don't want to stop watching the Cubs as soon as they start doing things I like:-(

Boston Globe's Nick Cah-fah-do and his Sunday Baseball Cub Notes:

2. The Red Sox don’t seem interested, but the Cubs should have a buyer for Alfonso Soriano, since they’re willing to pick up most of the $54 million he is owed. The Orioles and Cubs have had conversations.

5. I think Theo Epstein is having fun dismantling and rebuilding the Cubs.

6. How is that compensation for Epstein coming? CEO Larry Lucchino still insists that the Red Sox are getting a quality player. “We fully believe we are entitled to such compensation,’’ he said. And when will this happen? “This offseason.’’

13. Kerry Wood is closing in on a one-year deal with the Cubs. He might have been a good fit for the Red Sox.

and Cafardo has an entirely new section for the Cubs called...Updates on Nine

1. Bryan LaHair, 1B, Cubs - After years of being told that he lacked something for the big leagues, the 29-year-old Worcester native is going to get his chance to be the Cubs starting first baseman, according to GM Theo Epstein.

“I’m under the impression I’m going to get a chance to play every day,’’ said LaHair. “It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but when you get there, you don’t want to give it back.’’

LaHair hit .331 with 38 homers and 109 RBIs at Triple A Iowa last season and was Pacific Coast League MVP.

On Friday, Epstein and Jed Hoyer reacquired their old Red Sox first base prospect Anthony Rizzo (from the Padres for righthander Andrew Cashner), and he will start the year at Iowa. Rizzo hit .331 with 26 homers and 101 RBIs in 93 Triple A games last season, but in his 153 major league plate appearances, he hit only .141.

“It’s the right time for our organization to give [LaHair] the opportunity,’’ Epstein said.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/...

On another front...Phil Rogers didn't even have a "whisper" about the Redsox. Because he was busy making other stuff up?

imo...disgusting. seriously.

then again, i believe baseball reporting is for the fans, not a pissing forum for sportswriters who could have just as easily been assigned to cover local politics and Walmart openings earlier in their career.

The Chicago Tribune: Proudly Stupid Since For Freaking Ever.

That is pretty pathetic.

I've no idea who Ronan O'Shea is, but I like him so far!

And Beltran at 120 games is still better than David Dejesus, IMO.
----
I don't think anyone is saying that Beltran isn't a better power hitter than DeJesus, but the Cubs still don't have a leadoff hitter and Jedstein recognized this immediately and possibly that was why DDJ was their very first transaction. DDJ will have to do (unless Campana learns to hit the ball into the ground or Brett Jackson is deemed ready for mlb action)...therefore he does fill a current need albeit the Cubs needed upgrades everywhere with their 71 win power hitters (Pena and ARam, maybe Soriano too?) going away. Apparently the Cards GM/Mozeliak has said Beltran's batting 2nd so they don't need him in a 3-4-5 spot even without Pujols (so he's not really replacing Pujols in that context).

Hendry kept dropping the leadoff hitter ball over and over since letting Lofton go, muffing on Furcal, losing Nolasco (which would have been a significant long term asset) for one year of a crappy Juan Pierre, and it only got worse from there as in Soriano, even as his legs fell off. Fukudome's failure to drive in runs led to him becoming the default leadoff guy because he takes walks. What was next for Hendry, resigning Pena for the leadoff spot?

Fuk batting leadoff (2011): PA 399 (.251 .352 .351 .703)
Fuk batting leadoff (career): PA843 (.242 .354 .357 .711)
DDJ batting leadoff (2011): only had 52 PA in leadoff/2011
DDJ batting leadoff (career): PA 2930 (.292 .365 .437 .801)

DeJesus has one major advantage over Beltran other than a more reasonable price tag, Defense. Statistically (as in Bill James style) he's a pretty big upgrade over Fukudome both in RF and statistically better to Fuk in the leadoff spot.

Beltran based on bad knees is at best average these days in RF and is a Fukudome equivalent if they put him in CF.

DeJesus' is (according to Bill James newest handbook) the 2nd-3rd best RF based on:

Runs saved: JHayward (tied Best, +15), Tori Hunter (+15), DeJesus (+13)...Beltran (+2)...Fukudome (-1)...Pence (-5), Berkman (worst, -10)

Plus/Minus: Hayward (Best, +30), DeJesus (+21), Beltran (+2), Fukudome (-10), Berkman (-17), Pence (worst, -19)

at the least we should see what a better defense does to a less than high end pitching staff. Soriano playing in LF and Castro at SS are the weakest links at this point and at least Castro has some upside.

Significant defensive upgrades in RF and 3B.

ARam has been there for so long, it will be interesting to see what impact Stewart's glove alone has.
Anyone remember watching:
Theriot play SS? He didn't last the season there in Stl.
Soriano, Fukudome in CF anyone?
...Juan Pierre making throws from CF?

It will be interesting to see how Soriano is handled (if they have to handle him at all).

People sure have a high opinion of Carlos Beltran around here.

Is this the same Carlos Beltran that only played more than 81 games (half a season!) once in the past three years?

2/26 for beltran is pretty sweet, imo...even if he is going to be 35.

Theo doesn't have a good FA track record.
Hendry wasn't very good in the FA market either.
I'm thinking at least we're not Ned Colletti bad (Hendry might have been worse).

Current FA's remaining (worth mentioning): Fielder, Jackson, Kuroda, Saunders, Maholm

Rostered FA's:
Yankees: Sabathia, Burnett, Texeira, Garcia
Boston: Jenks, Lackey, Matsuzaka, Crawford, Ortiz (not signed yet)
Texas: Beltre, Darvish (maybe)
Angels: Pujols, Hunter, Abreau, CJ Wilson, Hawkins, GMatthews Jr (just a reminder)

Brewers: ARam, RWolf
Cardinals: Beltran, Carpenter (rehab project), Furcal, Berkman, Romero
Marlins: Reyes, Bell, Buerle
Dodgers: Harang, Lilly, Capuano, Uribe, Kennedy, MacDougal
Phillies: Papelbon, Rollins, D-Train, Polanco, Contreras

http://www.sportscity.com/mlb/top-25-2012-mlb...

Pedro Gomez gave Bill Mueller a Hall of Fame vote:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/hof12/story/_/id/74354...

Worse than the guy who voted for Surhoff last year.

speaking of one of the smart signings by theo in his hit/miss career doing so...he got a lot more right in his first few years vs. the later years.

Love the Gomez quote about the vote.

" He wasn't ever all that good. He doesn't deserve to be there. I just remember the time he shared that burrito with me. So he gets my vote over those other guys with all those stupid credentials."

HOF voting has become the shammy-est of shams over my lifetime. Maybe it was always this ridiculous?

What's the link to that, I've been looking for his justification.

It's a joke.

Well, wasn't completely sure, not that much different than Barry Stanton last year who said he told B.J. Surhoff in high school that one day he would be voting for him for the Hall of Fame and so did so to fulfill his promise/prophesy. If Gomez every does come out and say why, I'd be curious, probably something just as stupid though perhaps not a burrito.

Gomez voted for Jay Bell a few years back , he's an idiot let's just leave it at that .

myself, as a fan...i don't have a problem with the token votes for guys that everyone knows no one has a shot in hell of getting in...guys that aren't even 20%'rs. to some writers it's a way of tipping a hat to a good guy or a friend...or a local they covered for years.

some writers wouldn't do that out of respect for the process, and some probably hate other writers do it.

Assets, people, assets. Until opening day ALL Theo can be considered doing is building assets (including Ricketts' McDonalds, m-m-m-m-m).

Tossing around names as starters, like Vitters, LaHair is ironic since they were AA players until Theo took over! Other than Castro and Soto, MAYBE Steward and DeJesus, nobody has ANY idea what the line up will look like opening day. Heck, you cannot tell me if we will resemble the Yankees in power numbers or the Astros come April 1st. I'm enjoying the ride, and cannot wait 'til the next move. Remember the Cubs have (most years) 2 HOME seasons: wind blowing in and wind blowing out. Not only do we need better defense but 3,4,5 SP and 3,4,5 replacements in case of injury in AAA/AA. That's a long way to go even if Prince is signed, which I think he will, with the Cubs -all it takes is a phone call from Dale - well, maybe a bit more than that. Meantime, it's nice to know we have a GM that doesn't order Pepto by the case and they already have Boston, San Diego and other divisional match-ups in their experiences (like the Yanks, Giants, Rays...etc.). Since '76 it has been possible to FA victory THIS year while building a dynasty, and now...now we have a fan-owner who cares about winning, cares about his employees on and off the field, and cares about the fans. THE most interesting thing will be the Wrigley rebuild since it must be planned now and finished by opening day 2014, our 3rd STRAIGHT YEAR IN THE PLAYOFFS. Beyond that prediction, I shall not curse...

And maybe while they're at it they can replace the Wrigley Field ivy with daisies.

^ That is weird and kind of doesn't even make much sense. I have SOME optimism about this team and actually, besides not bringing back Pena, I agree with all the moves management has made (and, more importantly NOT made) so far. I just think you might be a little TOO optimistic in your assessment of this organization.

Was it when he predicted playoffs for 2012 2013 and 2014?

Let no man ever say artskoe was unwilling to go out on a limb.

For the record: You will be searching the archives for this after 3 blissville, glorious years of Theo hope and change!

~ARTSKOE

MacPhail wouldn't budge off of 4/38.5.
---
Close to the stupidity shown by Larry Himes in the Maddux "negotiation" circa fall 1992.

Stuff like that suggests that unless they come up with a killer prospect trade for Garza soon, they need to lock him up in a deal similar to what Danks got.

the only 3 prospect pitchers i'd even think of trading garza for is jacob turner (DET), shelby miller (STL), or tyler skaggs (ARZ)...i'm assuming OAK doesn't want to get rid of jarrod parker or i'd list him, too.

Manny Banuelos? Dellin Betances? I'd be expecting one of them if Garza goes to the Yanks.

I think he's saying those are the only 3 prospects worthy of trading Garza for...not that I agree.

Can Tebow hit a curveball?

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