Get Excited for Your 70 Win Cubs

The blog "Dodger Sims" ran a bunch of simulations using a variety of player projection forecasts. And what's the prediction for 2012?

to the tune of low to mid 70's win totals.

Baseball Prospectus and their PECOTA projections came up with something in the vicinity of 74-76 wins I believe and 4th place as well. We can probably argue over a win or two here, but at least heading into the season, it's clear the NL Central is the haves (Cardinals, Reds, Brewers) and the have-nots (Cubs, Pirates and Astros) with varying degrees of luck and injuries to determine the final order.

As much as I support Jedstein and what I think their plan is, it will make following the team in 2012 just about as fun as 2010 and 2011 were, which was just slightly above "not at all" for me.

***

Not much else to report in the land of Cubsville, players are slowly filtering into camp and you can catch some photos at "Boys of Spring". Jorge Soler to the Cubs report seemed to jump the gun considerably as now just about everyone but the Marlins seems interested. It'll just come down to how much is someone willing to pay and it very well may turn out that the $27.5M the Cubs reportedly are willing to offer will do the trick.

Finally, Hall of Fame catcher and Cubs killer Gary Carter(112 OPS+ for his career against Cubs and 41 HR's, second only to 45 HR's he hit against Phillies) passed away today from brain cancer. Here's a clip of the final hit of his career that just happened to be off the Cubs and Mike Morgan. Harry Caray and Steve Stone with the call.

Enjoy the holiday weekend....

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Comments

Well, if the team can get to the promised land of 75 wins, they will have improved by FOUR GAMES! So, there would be an "improved" team.

Jim Hickman's Bat: Where did you hear that Jay Jackson was compensation? I can't find anything.

I can tolerate a terrible young team much moreso than I can a terrible team full of highly-paid veterans. Bring it on. All I know is the regime change has me emotionally invested in this team for the first time since the glorious pants-pooping that was the 2008 playoffs.

well I agree with that, but I can only watch so much bad and meaningless baseball after awhile.

I can only watch so much bad and meaningless baseball

You should probably find yourself a new team to follow...

You're not the boss of me.

Just joshing you...but the above seems to describe most of my life as a Cub fan;)

stop flirting you two!

I agree with that, and fortunately I don't really watch many games. I'm more of a internet/box score follower anyway.

I get more of a thrill out of seeing a player develop through the minors and come up, so I'll be looking forward to the second half of the season watching Rizzo, Jackson, and any other new guys. Also intrigued to see if Stewart and the other bounce back guys can do something.

Draft in June, trade deadline in August, then September callups. Somehow we'll get through this

Yeah it's going to be bad, but for me I'm looking at big picture.

I remember Dallas Green frustrated by the Trib, McFail small market mentality and no home grown talent to show for it and finally Hendry who had the open check book that worked half the time.

Now I think they have a guy like Green but will get the money when needed and use it better than Hendry did.

Through the last 10-15 years I can think of two great every day players that every team developed and I cant do it for the Cubs. (hopefully Castro) But it will be fun when/if it comes together, it will be guys we can root for knowing we developed.

I'll be thrilled if LaHair pulls a Jeremy Lin.

I stared at this for about ten minutes and couldn't come up with a single LaHair name pun other than LaHairy. I am totally embarassed.

Air Hair?

with deference to Ronnie...

LaHair = Gamer

I am getting most excited about those great reports from Az. Phil at Fitch Park. I cant wait.

I like the attendance figures.

So no one is excited that Mr. Baseball & Mr. Allstate BOBBY SCALES is back from Nippon? Now we're talking 72 wins...

you have...no idea...how excited...

gonna happen for 2 prospects, Pirates on the hook for $13M of $31.1M owed.

P Diego Moreno allegedly one of the prospects.

Nice deal for Pirates, Burnett should do better in NL and certainly will give them innings. This was a team that was in first place in July of last year and is very young. Think this should firmly put Cubs in 5th place in most preseason predictions.

OF Exicardo Cayones is the 2nd prospect

I'd be trying to go for it, too. 87 or 88 wins might get you there this year.

DeWitt outrighted to AAA btw, I presume he'll still get an NRI to spring training.

they're really backed into a corner there. 1.1m bucks and no where to go.

hell, i think he could out-perform d.barney pretty easily...and i still think d.barney's D is overrated based on the amount of time it takes him to turn a play. he can get to it and throw, but he loses time doing it. i can't remember the last time the cubs had so many double plays they couldn't turn with 2 mechanically inclined middle IF'rs.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 1:54pm — Rob G. New

DeWitt outrighted to AAA btw, I presume he'll still get an NRI to spring training.

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

ROB G: Because he has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time (3+048), Blake DeWitt has eight days to decide whether to refuse an Outright Assignment and be a free-agent immediately, or accept an Outright Assignment and defer his right to be a free-agent until the conclusion of the 2012 MLB regular season. (He would have had three days to decide if he had been outrighted after the official start of Spring Training or during the MLB regular season).

This is the exact same decision Manny Corpas had to make when he was sent outright to the minors last month. (Corpas opted to accept the Outright Assignment).

If DeWitt opts to be a free-agent immediately, his contract (with the $1.1M salary) is terminated and he receives no termination pay. and the Cubs receive no compensation if he signs elsewhere, essentially just as if he had been non-tendered on 12/12.

If DeWitt accepts the Outright Assignment, he would be paid whatever salary his contract stipulates (a minor league "split salary" if he has one, otherwise he gets his $1.1M major league salary) while at Iowa (and he would be a VERY expensive AAA player).

If he accepts the Outright Assignment, he can be recalled and returned to the Cubs 40-man roster at any time during Spring Training or during the MLB regular season. If he is added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, he is not eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent after the 2012 season. (He would be eligible for salary arbitration, however).

Also, if DeWitt accepts the Outright Assignment and is recalled sometime during the MLB regular season (but not before the 20th day of the regular season), he burns a minor league option (which would be his third and final minor league option), even though he was outrighted (not optioned) to the minors.

My guess is DeWitt will accept the Outright Assignment and come to camp as an NRI, since no other club showed enough interest in him (and his $1.1M salary) to claim him off waivers. It is still possible that (with a strong showing in Cactus League play) he could make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster, and if he doesn't, he gets a nice salary to play at Iowa, and he would be insurance for the Cubs in case they need an experienced LH hitting bench guy later in the season.

And even if there is no room for him on the Cubs 25-man roster in 2012, he could conceivably be traded at some point during the season if another MLB club has a need for a player of his type.

And again, if he is not added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the 2012 MLB regular season, he can file for free-agency as an Artricle XX-D minor league free-agent starting on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up through October 15th. (Same goes for Manny Corpas).

Besides DeWitt and Corpas, there are presently 26 other Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be free-agents post-2012 per MLB Rule 55 (22 six-year minor league free-agents, plus four previously-released/second contract minor league free-agents who are eligible if they are not signed to contracts that cover the 2013 season).

BTW, a potential MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent cannot be a free-agent if he is added to an MLB 40-man roster by 5 PM (EDT) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series.

ELIGIBLE TO BE ARTICLE XX-D MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2012:
Manny Corpas, RHP
Blake DeWitt, INF

NOTE: A minor league player presently eligible to be a free-agent post-2012 per Article XX-D of the CBA is not eligible to be a free-agent if he is added to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the 2012 MLB regular season.

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

ELIGIBLE TO BE MLB RULE 55 MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2012:

SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FA:
Jim Adduci, OF
Alfredo Amezaga, IF-OF
Juan Apodaca, C
Justin Berg, RHP
Kyler Burke, LHP
Matt Camp, IF-OF
Marco Carrillo, RHP
Edgar Gonzalez, INF
Jason Jaramillo, C
Blake Lalli, C-1B
Rodrigo Lopez, RHP
Oswaldo Martinez, RHP
Joe Mather, OF
Mario Mercedes, C
Trever Miller, LHP
Jonathon Mota, INF
Blake Parker, RHP
Nate Samson, INF
Bobby Scales, INF
Kyle Smit, RHP
Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP
Matt Tolbert, INF

SECOND CONTRACT/PREVIOUSLY-RELEASED MINOR LEAGUE FA:
Adrian Aviles, LHP (previously released by LAD)
Dan Berlind, RHP (previously released by MIN)
Michael de la Cruz, RHP (previously released by TEX)
Carlos Figueroa, INF (previously released by COL)

NOTE: A minor league player presently eligible to be a free-agent post-2012 per MLB Rule 55 is not eligible to be a free-agent if he is added to an MLB 40-man roster by 5 PM (EDT) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series.

In other words, nobody wanted DeWitt for the major-league minimum. Fukudome is right at the major-league minimum for the White Sox. Are you guys sure this team isn't going to be better than last year's?

a claim on DeWitt would have cost the team $1.1M, not the major league minimum. Fukudome gets $1M after the buyout next year fwiw.

fuku turned out to be quite the deal...esp. considering how much d.dejesus got for being a similar outcome player. dejesus has a bit more speed, a slightly better eye, and 3 years of youth on fuku, though.

i thought fuku would at least snag a 3-4m deal.

Not better, but definitely cheaper. In my book, that's a small step forward.

Espn radio host, on with Bruce Levine today, told him that her "police sources" said that Castro will not be charged and criminal case will not be persued.

That's good, Now I'll bet Castro will be able to sleep comfortably...of course, no one else will.

You, sir, are a bad person. Funny -- but bad. :)

Muskat on unfinished Biz. Probably posted before Rob said DeWitt out righted to Iowa

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2012/02/17/217-unfi...

The Cubs are still waiting for word from MLB commissioner Bud Selig regarding what compensation the Red Sox will receive in exchange for Theo Epstein. Epstein, named Cubs president of baseball operations in late October, was to address the media on Saturday at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz. Maybe we’ll get an answer then.

Also, the Cubs are waiting for word from infielder Blake DeWitt, who was designated for assignment Feb. 6. If he clears waivers, DeWitt then has to decide if he will return to the Cubs as a non-roster invitee or test free agency.

KWood throws at Fitch Park...

http://yfrog.com/kgkf1mhj

The good news is that this is probably the last year we can finish 5th.

I think you meant 6th.

Wow 70 wins! haha... a sad, but necessary rebuilding year.

Just sad they pushed the rebuilding off the last couple of seasons.

i respectfully but completely disagree---hendry is not the guy i want doing the rebuild.

They could have fired Hendry as part of the rebuilding.

For all the bitching...mine included, the Cubs had more "success" under Hendry than under any GM in the last 50 years.

Agreed. I am not a Hendry hater, but IMO he made the mistake of beginning the rebuilding process a year to late instead of a year to early.

He was obviously trying to win and save his job.

I will agree he was trying to win, but Hendry seems like a pretty stand up guy so I am not sure I would attribute too many selfish motives to him. I think he believed that the Cubs had a shot in 2010 and 2011, as I believe you did too. So, he was unwilling to unload the team's high paid veteran assets in a rebuilding process. Given the backlash on this board to Theo's actions, I am not surprised that he took the path of least resistance.

I am of the opinion that Theo and Hoyer and probably very good front office people. I really liked the hire of both guys and the embracing a more numeric approach to evaluating talent.

My only real gripe this off season has been my feeling that ownership is trying to be cheap.

People made excuses for Frank McCourt when he bought the Dodgers without the actual money to buy the Dodgers. Nobody really turned on him until his wife spilled the beans on his plan to raise ticket prices and slash payroll to maximize his own profit.

Unfortunately I see too many of the same parallels going on here with the Ricketts kids. And the cynic in me thinks that Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf allowed this kind of ownership to happen over a Mark Cuban. Simply because it's better for the Brewers and White Sox to have cheap owners in Wrigleyville.

Awesome video on how baseballs are made...

http://www.reliableplant.com/view/25724/how-b...

Very cool. I remember "reverse engineering" one when I was a kid.

Just noticed how all the factory workers looked latino so this is probably outside of the continental US?

Was Haiti for years until they had problems.

Now in Costa Rica.

Fun pic outside the right field wall, circa 1932 World Series

The first roof(tree)top fans?

http://tinyurl.com/729o32d

awesome, love old time baseball pictures

This is an interesting article by Bill James, not so much because of his conclusion that Dwight Evans should be in the Hall of Fame, but for the process he used to come to that conclusion.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7555836/a...

I will be glad to stop following the boston bozo-media...

Gordon Eddes, ESPN

http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/red-sox/post/_...

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With the help of a major league source close to the situation, we can narrow down what the Boston Red Sox are asking for as compensation for Theo Epstein going to the Chicago Cubs.

At this stage, the source says, the Sox are hopeful of acquiring one quality minor-league prospect from the Cubs. They’re resigned to not getting a major leaguer from the Cubs, and acknowledge it probably won’t be one of the Cubs’ premium prospects, like a Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters. But the source says the Sox are insisting on acquiring a prospect with a legitimate chance of making it to the big leagues as a contributor.

The Red Sox expect a decision in the coming week, the source said.

The East Coast bias stuff is so disgusting. On XM this week Duquette-Kennedy said it would be a travesty if the RedSox didn't get one of the following: Brett Jackson, The Cubs 2012 1st round pick (they thought it was #3, but it's #6) or a swap of the Redsox-Cubs 2013 1st round picks. Sheesh.

The only uglier words I know: Nick Catharsis Cafardo

The Cubs saved Boston $2.9 Million in salary by taking Epstein off their hands. That's compensation enough...

and wakefield + veritek are finally out of a job.

i know tek is a team leader, but the 2 roster spots are almost more wasted than the 10m-ish tied up in them.

Send them a picture of Babe Ruth pitching...

Don't know why Gammons tweeted this

2002 top prospects:1. Beckett, 2. Prior, 3. Blalock, 4. Burroughs, 5. C. Pena, 6. Juan Cruz, Jose Reyes 34, M. Cabrera 38, Wainwright 42

No way Beckett higher than Prior.

Remember Juan Cruz?

2002 top prospects:1. Beckett, 2. Prior
---
seems wrong, Joe Mauer not on list?

Here's the list:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

Mauer was 7th.

per muskat tweet...

https://twitter.com/CarrieMuskat/status/17096...

Blake DeWitt has apparently cleared waivers, and has until Feb. 22 (next Wednesday) to decide whether to sign with Cubs as non-roster invitee

https://twitter.com/CarrieMuskat

No update on the Theo compensation

the mantra...

Theo: "Goal of 2012 Cubs is to win the World Series. Our goal is to build org that competes on annual basis in the postseason"

" Our goal is...blah blah blah "

Our result is gonna be another year in a row of suck.

Can you not understand that the goal of the 25 man roster is based on the current season only and the goal of the front office is to field a roster that is competitive every year?

I don't mean to speak for Navigator, but the thing that frustrates me about how things are shaping up for 2012 is that it is unnecessary. What Epstein and company are trying to do is somewhat unprecedented. What other large market team has given up a season (or more) with the intent of building up the minor league system? I'm unaware of any other large market team doing it.

So, while I understand what you are saying about the front office building an organization that can be competitive every year, it's not like JedStein is following a tried and true plan. It's an experiment and in the opinion of a lot of people (including me), it is unnecessary. It may work out in the long run, but that doesn't mean it is the best plan of action.

I wouldn't call what they're doing an experiment. They do have a spending limit, whether it's a hard limit from ownership or just a common sense budget from Theo and Jed. I don't know if the expenditures for the Dominican Academy and the McDonald's purchase come out of the formal baseball budget or not, but they're all dollars being spent or committed to for this year and beyond.

Long story short, I think they're doing the best they can to field a competitive team this season, but there's no question that they're keeping the long term goals ahead of this seasons goals.

What experiment do you think they're conducting?

As it has been reported, the McDonalds purchase was done by the Ricketts family, not the Chicago Cubs.

It has also been reported that the Cubs have a net revenue of about 200 million dollars, and all of that is put back into baseball operations. That would include not only the major league payroll, but also other baseball expenses such as the PR Academy, the new patio in right field, increased scouting and signing of overseas prospects, increased front office salaries, etc. Ricketts has said that his family is not taking any money out of the Chicago Cubs Baseball Team. And does not intend to do so in the near future.

Also of interest, it was reported that any money left over from a particular year's expenses will be held by the Chicago Cubs for future expenses. In other words, if they save 10 million dollars this year on salaries, they can spend it next year on salaries or other expenses or improvements.

Good information, thanks. I still don't know what the experimental front office strategy is.

I wasn't aware that they were conducting an experiment.

Punting a season in hopes of improving down the line, with a team with a top 7 payroll. It's not experimental, but it's not an everyday thing either.

It certainly isn't an every day thing, but that is mostly because it is unusual to have a top 7 payroll that is so bad. They entered into a lot of high priced contracts that are now coming back to bite them. They can either cut their loses and rebuild, or enter into more high priced contracts that will go bad at some point in the future.

It isn't an experiment. It is just common sense.

the team having 50m or so to spend next year is extremely crippling given most teams have 100m+. i think the angels had 500m to spend this offseason. mlb needs more parity.

I agree with what you said up until you said the Cubs only choices for this year were to either "cut their loses and rebuild or enter into more high priced contracts that will go bad at some point in the future." Why are those the only choices?

The Cubs had $20 million in payroll come off the books this year and another $50 million will come off next year. That's $70 million they could have used to build the big league team. To put that into perspective, one-third of the MLB teams have total payroll of $70 million or less. They could have chosen to spend that money to improve the big league club (especially during a year when the NL Central is winnable), but instead they are neglecting the big league club in order to concentrate on the minors.

Don't get me wrong. I want to see the Cubs built in a way that results in sustainable success. I just don't agree that the team has to basically sacrifice a year (or more) in order to do it. There's no reason they couldn't have competed in 2012 while also doing all of the same things they are doing to build the minor league system.

if they at least lock up garza for 3-4 seasons i'd be happy. i don't mind passing on the 1st basemen that were available given what they got...they were seemingly out of the cj wilson market before it began. almost every trade they made, though, opens up even more payroll for 2013...and as a fan i expect them to use it no matter how 2012 works out.

my love of garza+cubs goes beyond just garza and his abilities. though he can be a harsh personality and uber-competitive, he's a stable family guy who happens to love waking up at the crack of dawn and going to bed before 2am...hanging out with the family/kids, etc. he's not going to be a guy thrown off by day games or getting himself ready to play a day game after getting off a plane 10pm the night before.

He's a perfect fit, and if they're not getting a Jacob Turner type, then a long-term deal is the best move. I don't think anyone rational would disagree.

They had 20 million come off the books this year, but they also spend a substantial amount of money on Concepcion, and may spend even more for Soler. In addition, they beefed up the front office substantially, as well as adding scouts, improving the DR Academy and build the pavilion in right field. And I suspect that their new computer system for prospect evaluation has also been quite expensive.

And who could they have spend 20 million dollars on this year that would have made them competitive. If they are as bad as most people say, 20 million dollars would just be a drop in the bucket. Going after Pujols or Fielder would not have put them over the top this year, and would just have put us even further behind the 8 ball in a few years. Look how much better off we would be right now if we hadn't signed Soriano to a similarly foolish contract.

concepcion deal is supposedly backloaded...but 7m over 4 years *shrug*

money would be tight no matter what they did given the amount of needs...it's the huge flexibility they have in 2013 that opens opportunities up, even for 2012 if desired.

imo, they seem to be shooting for being 2013/2014 ready picking up guys like volstad/wood/stewart/rizzo rather than lower-lever/higher-ceiling types. a lot will probably depend on what gambles pay off in 2012. there's mid-season gambles/support for 2013 or minors prospects to come via trade, too.

"they also spend a substantial amount of money on Concepcion, and may spend even more for Soler. In addition, they beefed up the front office substantially, as well as adding scouts, improving the DR Academy and build the pavilion in right field. And I suspect that their new computer system for prospect evaluation has also been quite expensive."

I mentioned a half dozen expenditures, and you dismiss them ALL by mentioning only the smallest of them. The rest probably took up most of the 20 million even without the possibility of signing Soler (which WOULD be all at one time).

not trying to dismiss the other stuff, but it shouldn't be part of player payroll, imo...esp. since some are revenue builders and the ricketts aren't in poverty.

When the Trib ran the company, there was a strict (or not so strict) budget for every activity of the company. The GM had to keep expenditures within the budget for each activity, regardless of what was happening with other activities, or regardless of what was happening overall. Most large companies are run this way.

With Ricketts, Epstein had been told that his total budget equals total revenue, and he can divide it up any way he wants.

This is a MAJOR change for Cubs operations. There is no longer a firm budget for player salaries. Epstein can double it, or cut it in half, as long as he makes corresponding changes in areas. He can spend less on salaries, and more on player recruitment. Or he can put it into areas that will increase future revenue, such as the right field pavilion.

But the biggest change of all, and one that Hendry would probably have killed for - if he spends less that total revenue this year, he can save it for next year.

And if he can increase revenues in the future, his overall budget will increase by an equal amount in the future.

"With Ricketts, Epstein had been told that his total budget equals total revenue, and he can divide it up any way he wants."

Where did you get this info? I don't recall reading it.

I have read and seen dozens of interviews of Ricketts and Epstein. I have no idea in which one it was said, and can not give a reference. Feel free to believe that it is not true, but it is what I recall.

He made a really vague mention along those lines when he gave the interview with Al at BCB. However he was extremely non committal in how he said it. So I really have my doubts at this point.

He said that they count all the money that comes in. Deducts what he has to pay in expenses. Then lets the baseball people have what is left over.

However he didn't elaborate on what counts as his "expenses".

-Is it just payroll?

-Is it every day to day cost?

-Is it counting the loan repayment schedule?

-Is it counting the "Salaries and dividend payment" of the six Ricketts who own the team?

-Does it count the cost of McDonalds?

-The refurbish on Wrigley?

There is an awful lot that was left unsaid.

"He said that they count all the money that comes in. Deducts what he has to pay in expenses"

What Ricketts actually told Theo was that he would be given the same entire budget the Cubs had last year on the baseball side and have the discretion to use that total amount any way he saw fit this year. So Theo is dealing with a frozen budget this year which explains a lot.

I'm confused on the $70M number?

Ps-s-s-sh-o-o-t! There ya have it: moneyball!

Completely agree!!!

It's also unusual to have a team lose 2 of the starting 5 pitchers in April, and have a third Zambrano, pitch like he did. It's also unusual to have so many players not hit in April and May.
HAving Ramirez back at what he got I would have liked...Zambrano? He can go...Pena I understand too. I'm just looking forward to seeing some of the new pitchng. 75 wins. I'd be....mildly not upset with that from this team.

I'm calling what Theo & Co. are doing an experiment because it hasn't been done before. No other large market team has essentially shut down their big league operation in order to concentrate their efforts on building up the minor league system. It may work. I don't have any way of knowing for sure. But it certainly is not a tried and true plan they are following.

What are the mets doing this year?

Rob -- The Mets are not doing what the Cubs are doing. They are just trying to keep their heads above water due to Fred Wilpon's financial struggles. They really aren't trying to build anything. They are just trying to survive.

True, the Mets are a big market team, but the similarities end there

i'm just glad most of the gambles seem to be "quick turnaround" types. volstad, wood, stewart, and rizzo are "now or 2013" types.

i really don't want to know what the plan is if enough guys don't come through in 2012, though.

fine, how did the mid 90's Yanks, early 90's Braves, current Phils get good (etc, etc)?

built up a good young core of players...

everyone knows the roadmap for sustained success, why the resistance? could they have wasted $25-$30M on some players and squeezed out 4-5 wins this year? sure, but that money is gonna get spent on older veterans, you're gonna overpay and they may just end up on the DL or play like Fukudome (okay, but not worth their contract) Furthermore, due to their contracts they likely block giving time to the good young players.

Now if you want to talk about if they actually have enough good young players, I'm all ears. Cause I'm hardly sold on Brett Jackson, the ceiling is nice, but there's quite a floor there too. Adding Soler would help a lot, plus locking up Garza.

I'll agree with you that the Yankees, Braves and Phils were built with a good core of young players (although trades for vets and FA signings also played a huge role in their success). However, and this is the point I have made consistently, none of these teams purposely sacrificed a season (or several seasons) in order to build up their minor leagues so that at some point in the future, if everything worked out right, they would have a consistent winner.

I don't buy the "blocking" argument. Having options is a good thing. That's what allows you to make trades without dismantling the team. I'd rather have depth than to have only one MLB-ready player at each position.

Like you, I want the Cubs to build their minor league system so that at some time in the future, they have a core of young players they can build around. I think where we part company is in the need for the Cubs to sacrifice a season or more in order to accomplish that. I don't see any reason that the minors can't be built while also having a competitive team at the MLB level.

You know what? I'll bet you all my money that Theo did not wanna come into Chicago to punt a whole season just to rebuild the farm. But after inheriting this team with a depleted farm system, a roster w/ all its albatross contracts, under-performing veterans, and assets w/ poor trade value, the relatively slim pickings in FA this year and the potential hand-cuffing the new CBA puts on acquiring young talent then I don't blame him for doing what he did.

When he came in to Boston, he already had the nucleus of a good roster so that there was no need to punt a season. You'd have to be blind not to see the situation Theo inherited in Chicago and think that by throwing a lot of money around, you can rebuild this team w/o further creating bad future contract situations.

Who should they have signed? Which player from this offseason?

Agreed 100% You mortgage your future for a 1st baseman who may be on the downslide, or one who's really a DH, or a pitcher who doesn't quite have the track record commensurate with the dollars he's making, and you better be really, really close to winning it all.

My hunch is that Theo's hoarding his money for 2013, in hopes of getting at least one of the pitchers who are hitting free agency.

Definitely more than one pitcher. Next year, I'm thinking they sign 3 out of 4 of Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Brandon Phillips, and David Wright. Boo-ya.

Just say "no" to Brandon Phillips.

I don't understand your statement that the Cubs are sacrificing a season, and no other team does that.

Every other team does that at one point or another.

The Cubs team today is not very good. There is nothing reasonable that the Cubs management could do to make the team a lot better this year, without hurting performance in the future, as signing Pujols or Fielder would have done. And signing one of them would hardly have made the Cubs a 2012 blockbuster.

When Green took over the Cubs, he traded one of their best players, DeJesus, for a young kid and a broken down veteran. he then traded their best pitcher, Krukow, for a slow footed slugger without a position. The first two years under Green were terrible, largely because he made moves to improve the future, rather than the present.

Epstein is not conducting an experiment. He is following a tried and true management method.

Here's the way I remember it, Ivan DeJesus was pretty much done when the Cubs traded him .194 .276 .233 .509 in 460 PA's. Declining speed and super low OBP minimized his base stealing ability to just above room temperature. A minus WAR player.

But then you seem to be using sarcasm to make some point I'm not sure of.

Cubs play in a large market but the similarities end there with the other big market teams.

If the Cubs had the stadium with ad money from signage(fenway, yankees) and video screens, corporate boxes, parking and at least a fair tv deal for their number of viewership, they would be able to spend like the Yankees year in and and out and be able to survive turds like Soriano's contract.

Now for the first time in a long time, they are trying to run a team rather then produce a tv show, HOMERUNS!! KID PITCHER STRIKES OUT ALOT OF BATTERS!!! HALF NAKED WOMEN!!! SINGING CELEBRITIES!!!

It's like the Cubs have to win in a perfect storm, you have to win playing day baseball, in a decrepit park that you are not allowed to touch, and spend a shit load of money on fa's and you better play the kids too.

No sense to go overboard. Let's keep the half naked women.

Hey Rob, David makes a good point that I should have brought up in the "bitch about TCR" thread. We need more boobies on this site.
Bewbs
Bobos
Tatas
Need
Them
All

Need I remind you that this is a family-oriented site, bitches?

We DO need more bobos, though...

It's movie time, not booboo time...

Patrick Mooney @CSNMooney...
Theo says Cuban defector Jorge Soler has not been declared a free agent yet.

Theo expects Starlin to be in camp on time and says that his legal situation won't be a distraction.

https://twitter.com/csnmooney

Doug Padilla, ESPN Chicago Blog...

http://t.co/CoYyaUOJ

quotes Theo having no interest in seeing 'Moneyball'

“It’s not my cup of tea,” Epstein said. “It’s great that it sounds like they made a really good movie and a lot of people were entertained. That’s terrific. But it’s baseball time not movie time.”

we need a dozen TCR posters telling Epstein his business in response to this. this cannot stand untouched! *pounds fist on table*

I think we need to hear Theo's thoughts on subplots and the actor who played Carlos Pena even though he hasn't seen, nor has interest in the movie.

I'm particularly concerned about Theo's thoughts on the marketability of the movie.

Yes. And, was there much character development with Pitt's portrayal of Beane. Not to mention discussion of the editor's montage sequence of statisti s.

Goddamn you, Theo!

awww...someone else don't wanna see the film for some reasons me and others gave.

imagine that.

me and theo...soulmates at a romantic comedy.

When Theo wastes a bunch of my time posting here telling me how umarketable he thought the movie would be and how impossible he thought it would be to adapt the source material into an entertaining movie and then wallow away about what a bad movie moneyball is without seeing it...then I'll happily tell him what an uninformed douchebag he sounds like as well.

im totally not sharing our popcorn with you or your accusations...especially the ones that have already been sourced...twice.

leave me and theo alone. we're cuddling.

"It's baseball time, not movie time" = win * infinity

http://t.co/3MYOH1F5

Sveum's 'Give 'em Hell' tatoo

Aren't there a few season ticket holders hanging around here? Anyone here ever been a season ticket holder with the Cubs before? Opinions?

Anyways, I expect in the next few days that I will officially be a season ticket holder. Like I told my wife, this is a very long-term investment. But as bad as the last few years have been, I'm genuinely excited about the long-term direction of the franchise, and I'm very happy to become one of the preferred customers of one of my favorite brands.

This is a very exciting day in the history of my own Cub fandom.

Here Here!!!

Hear, hear!

How's your investment holding up? I know 2011 was probably a rough year, but was it kinda bad or really bad? I'm expecting to lose money in 2012, but I'm curious how bad it's been exactly.

Last year was my first as a STH. I would have totally lost my ass if I didn't sell 50% of them to friends before the season started. I ended up getting 75-80% of my money back, but only got to attend 6-7 games due to leg surgery. It's nearly impossible to squeeze into those seats with a gimp leg. Luckily my friends are coming back for another round of torture. It helps having a group to help offset costs, but they will also offset monster profits should the Cubs reach the promised land.

Season ticket holder appreciation day was amazing. We got to go on the field, run the bases, go in the clubhouse, press box. They will be doing that again in August. They also let you buy concert tickets before the go on sale.

I'm in this for the long term too. I've wanted them for as long as I can remember. I'm keeping them until I die, maybe longer. It's very exciting when you first get that giant box of tickets in the mail.

As most of you know, Been a STH for a while. This year I sold 50% of the package to a guy that was on our "list". Tried unsuccessfully to get switched to a Combo plan (eves/weekends), and stay in the same terrific seats. DENIED!

I will probably end up losing, after all is said and done, $1500. But never have I seen such poor response from my trusted mailing list of 60+ people!

2004, 2006, 2007-08 I was able to recoup my investment and go to 10-15 games.

Last year we lost probably $3000, and honestly, the team was so shitty to watch, I didn't even want to go, so I donated plenty of unsold games to charity.

It is going to be like this until the team turns it around.

Capt' Wrongway's "whispers" column is up...

While the Cubs remain front-runners to sign Jorge Soler, the White Sox might spend even more heavily to make that deal happen.

...and a mention that Milton Bradley is among the unsigned players still out there. (c'mon marlins, you can fit one more on the roster)

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

Maybe Rogers will write if some team wants to pay Soler $45M over 5 years, they'll have a real good chance to sign him.............the only thing more irritating than his writing is when he's on Mully & Hanley's morning show on WSCR or Chicago Tribune Live with the imbecile Kaplan.

Spring training has been going on for quite a while now, and still no reports from ArizonaPhil.

Must be getting old.

guys not wearing spikes are slowly jogging, tossing a ball around casually, doing infield drills, taking bp, and doing stretching exercises.

repeat until a week before games start.

if the cubs had a pitcher coming off injury things would be more interesting...i miss angel guzman and chad fox.

Attendance: 2

ha!

I was checking out pictures of the Cubs' old Westside ballpark today. Looks like erecting bleachers on top of rooftops across from National League parks is a long Chicago tradition.

1907 World Series

http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv217/Bill...

5:21
Comment From AJ
Who will end up getting the better deal in the Rizzo/Cashner trade. Is rizzo's wing too long to be abel to hit for avg and/or good power numbers in chi?
5:22
Mike Newman: I didn't understand that deal from SD's perspective. For Chicago, buying low on Rizzo for Cashner who seems like a closer (maybe) in the end strikes me as a steal.

Even though you can't judge a GM (and/or his cohorts) on one player, I think it's interesting they've basically gone after this kid 3 times now.

Speaking of kids, the Cubs signed another one yesterday.

http://articles.kwch.com/2012-02-18/mlb-draft...

o boy, more depth, this is exciting

Triple A filler, I hope.

One thing that *is* a little depressing is that we all sense this being a throw away year but two of the outfield positions are still filled by Byrd and Soriano. On a good team, I wouldn't mind Byrd too much, but if the Cubs are gonna be as bad as advertised, I'd rather see kids out there, even if they are suspects more than prospects. That's not a knock, even, on TheoCorp -- I can't imagine they haven't tried to move those guys. I don't imagine there are lots of teams clamoring for Byrd, and Soriano, well, he's just the gift that keeps on giving.

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120218/s...

“It’s behind the scenes, defining the vision for the organization, how we’re going to teach the game,” Epstein said. “I think we’ll talk about it from time to time.

“I think the public will know about it when players that we’ve drafted and signed come through our system learn the Cub way and come and play that way at Wrigley.

“They should hold us accountable. We should get good results since this is a results-oriented business. You should see our players playing the same way in the minor leagues and up here when they get to the big leagues.

“They should see a fundamentally sound team. They should see smart and aggressive baseball.

How refreshing.

We'll all see in due time.

BTW, did the Cubs sign Nate Robertson to a Milb deal?

he got a minor league deal...for some reason...he had a hell of a AAA season last year, for the worst reasons (93.1ip 135h)

Anybody else think that Samardzija winning a rotation spot is a real possibility? This seems like exactly the type of rotation that actually makes Samardzija look like a good #5 starter. He's got better stuff than anybody left in the rotation except for Garza and Dempster. I still think chances are better that he stays in the bullpen, but I could see him getting a shot if he shows some control or if Wells or Wood bombs.

they got a full rotation and a spare r.wells, already...anything could happen...esp. with t.wood.

garza/dumpster/maholm/volstad...t.wood...r.wells...ninja...coleman...sonnanstine

I had a dream that Jeff Samardzija went to Boston as compensation. I wish I was joking (only in that it seams like a waste of a good sleep to dream about BoSox compensation. Sheesh!) ... Any chance of that happening? What's his contract situation?

Most recent reports were that the BoSox would not be getting any major leaguers or top valued prospects. Samardzija a major leaguer, so I assume he's not going to be the compensation (never read any rumors that the BoSox wanted him, either).

I think that Samardzija would win a rotation spot if they give him a chance. But I think they have him destined for the bull pen this year. Except for the questionable Marmol, they really don't have a power arm in the bull pen unless Dolis wins a spot.

Carrie Muskat tweet five hours ago

//Samardzija to be stretched out. Says #Cubs Sveum: "He might wow us -- you never know. That's a power arm, power body, obv built to start."//

Yeah I was built to start, too. Doesn't mean you can do it.

Samardzija was a mediocre to terrible starter in the minors...he thrived in relief where he only needs two pitches. He still walks too many batters.
How is this not obvious? Bullpen, thank you.

#19: "Potential closer Carlos Marmol..."

Luckily, I didn't watch a lot of games last year, but what Sveum is saying seems to make sense based on what I've read - that he wants Marmol to rely less on his cut fastball and pound with sliders. My question is, were the sliders what got him in trouble with walks? I didn't see enough of his implosions to really know.

He was wild with sliders when they were not breaking over the plate he looked like Rick Vaughn

Marmol didn't throw a cutter in regular season games last year. He threw 64% sliders (84 MPH) and 36% fastballs (92 MPH).

Marmol was working on a cutter last season but the new regime wants him to forget about it because they think it was messing him up.

Thanks, guys. Well, that slider is devastating when it's on, needless to say. I hope he has a monster first half and if the Cubs are on a 70 type win season they trade him for some more pieces, because they won't need a really good closer if they are sucky.

Why in the world would Marmol be working on a cut fastball?

He just needs to be able throw that tailing fastball for strikes consistently. His problem last year wasn't that he missed with the slider--it was that he had even less control over the tailing fastball than he did over the slider.

I would prefer Marmol setting up a closer rather than closing.

Regarding your point about Marmol's repertoire, yes, I don't recall him throwing a cutter but once or twice.

Mon, 02/20/2012 - 5:58pm — Ryno

I would prefer Marmol setting up a closer rather than closing.

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

RYNO: Marmol is just following instructions.

It's ABC

AIDA

When someone tells you the Yanks are a class organization, show them this

http://thebiglead.com/index.php/2012/02/20/ya...

Imagine if they had Z

Comment at the bottom of the page was priceless:

"Wonder what the press release from the Pirates says about the acquisition. Probably has a different slant.

I thought we were done with the Lin jokes."

Sam Fuld wrote a nice piece at Grantland about the Rays' clincher:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7593528/s...

Well-written, self-deprecating. He'll have a Doug-Glanville-esque post-baseball career if he wants it.

DeJesus was pretty much done when the Cubs traded him .194 .276 .233 .509 in 460 PA's.
---
I think Ivan DeJesus hit better coaching 3B last year. At least he got more contact with runners getting thrown out at home.

DeJesus was 28 years old when he was traded, and was coming off an injury plagued year. There were very few at that time that thought he was pretty much done, which is why the Phillies gave up a highly thought of prospect for him.

Nor was Krukow through when he was traded for a young Kieth Moreland.

Moreland wasn't beating out Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Bob Boone, and they weren't going to put him in RF. At 27..he wasn't that young dude.
Bowa got traded because they didn't want a long term deal with him.

Blake DeWitt accepts!

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

no doubt this will be the topic of a thread of its own...

Good indicators of his real value-->"No one claimed him" and "He lost a battle for the starting second base job last spring to ...Darwin Barney(?!!)."

the topic of a thread of its own...
---
What would you do for $1.1M?

1) Work in Des Moines for 6 months
2) All of the above

Me? I would work in Des Moines for five years for $1.1MM

And LOVE it!

And I'd go see the I-Cubs a lot. I think my girlfriend would even be willing to move with me if I was making $220,000 a year in Des Moines. We'd live like royalty.

In case you never got to see the list--Please note where Theo's Red Sox are ranked compared to the Cubs, ahem, sorry-ass system.

Keith Law Farm System Rankings

1. Padres
2. Rays
3. Blue Jays
4. Cardinals
5. Royals
6. Diamondbacks
7. Rangers
8. Pirates
9. A's
10. Yankees
11. Mariners
12. Dodgers
13. Rockies
14. Twins
15. Angels
16. Braves
17. Orioles
18. Red Sox
//Keith Law's comments about the Red Sox minor league system:

This system is terribly thin up top given the money the Red Sox have spent in the past few years on amateur players. I do see a large group of prospects from low Class A and below that should produce a couple of breakout prospects in 2012, including Brandon Jacobs , Garin Cecchini , Henry Owens , Matt Barnes and Sean Coyle .//
19. Reds
20. Cubs
Keith Law's commentary
//An unfairly maligned system, in my opinion -- not a great system, but not a disastrous one. And I say that as someone who's relatively bearish on some of the Cubs' more famous prospects.//
21. Nationals
22. Mets
23. Brewers
24. Tigers
25. Phillies
26. Giants
27. Astros
28. Marlins
29. Indians
30. White Sox

Just to refresh memories, last year he ranked the Cubs 20th as well and wrote:

//20. Chicago Cubs
A top-10 system before the Garza trade, the Cubs probably would place more guys in the 101-150 range than any organization except the Royals. They're loaded with high-floor players who have the potential to be above-average or better big leaguers but aren't there yet. Considering all the picks they've given up to sign free agents, it's remarkable how strong the system still is after the giant trade with Tampa Bay.//

Between 2003 and 2010 the Cubs averaged 82 wins per season, the Red Sox 94 wins per season.

In that time it would be clear the Cubs would have higher draft pick and in turn have better farm system.

In that time the Red Sox won two world series and I think went to playoffs six times.

They played in arguably the toughest division in baseball.

And the Red Sox still have the higher ranking farm system?

COLOR ME EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!
Although the Astros are heading to AL, the Cubs will still have to fight off the big spenders like Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati to stay competitive.

Yes, because the only picks that matter are the higher 1st round picks..because those always turn out. Oh they don't? Oh...hmm..

2003 jacos? I don't think anyone drafted before 2007 still counts as a minor league prospect. And since 2007 the Cubs have finished 1st twice in their division. 2nd once.

They've only been awful since the Ricketts took over. In fact if projections are right and they win something like 70 games again this year, the first three years of the Ricketts regime will go down in Cubs history as the worst 3 consecutive seasons since the early 80's.

Correlation and causation much?

pick whatever time frame you want, I'll take the Red Sox farm system over the Cubs.

When you compare the number and cost of overslot signings by the Red Sox compared to those of the Cubs during that time period, it might make you wonder why the Cubs are as close as they are.

factor in cuban SS's who can't hit and japanese pitchers who can't pitch and it gets a little uglier for the RSox seeking unknown talents.

...well, h.okajima was a good reliever signing out of japan. dunno why he was burried in AAA last year when they were paying him nearly 2m, though.

Probably the same reason Okajima failed his physical with NYY.

i dunno his story...he was putting up a "numbers show" in AAA last year, though...and he put in nearly a full season lingering down there. i'm sure there's a reason, but he put a season in.

A's finally sign manny...because the other excess OF/1st/DH types aren't better than a near-40 year old roider. crisp is already making noise about not wanting to move from CF because he signed with the A's so he could play CF with them...could have played for TB.

Not that excited for this year's Cubbies? Here's what a certain pitcher said about your Hooston Astros, From The Chronicle: "That’s part of what drew so many to the Astros — the chance to do on a rebuilding team what their peers on established contenders could not.

“The thing that really attracted me to Houston was the opportunity,” said lefthander Zach Duke, 28, who comes to camp on a minor league deal to compete for a rotation spot after he was part of the 2011 National League West champion Arizona Diamondbacks. “When you hear the manager and the front-office people talk about it, they’re big on opportunity here.”

Duke also liked what he saw from the roster, which is young and unpolished.
“I see potential,” he said. “I see a bunch of athletes. When you have athletic talent on the field, once you can harness that, it turns into wins pretty quickly.”

It’s not the organization’s approach, but “pretty quickly” would be ideal for manager Brad Mills, entering his third year with 132 wins and 192 losses." -END of quotes

- Maybe 'opportunity' is why we have seen so much of Biggio already this year. But the big news is Milo can't take it anymore after this season. Let's all wave good-bye to the Astros. After all, we got the Brewers, didn't we?

comparing anyone to the astros is like comparing a special olympian to an olympian.

will anyone on the team even hit 20hr...and how many will actually hit double digits? will anyone on the team hit over .300? they got a decent 1-2 SP combo that would be a decent 2-3/3-4 combo on a lot of clubs...a couple of decent pen arms. that's about it.

You know what's better than winning gold in the special olympics?

Watching the director's commentary from "Boys on the Side"?

Not being "special" enough to qualify for the special olympics.

That's the tame version of it. But now I'm ashamed. Back when I used to work with tards, I learned a lot more from them than they from me.

Work with "tards"? Are we really doing that around here?

"Something about Mary"

Awesome.

But the other part was true. We loved our work and our 'clients' but all forms of political correctness quickly went out the window.

Happy 20th to a great Simpson's episode.
Too bad Ryno(the real one)

http://deadspin.com/5886723/the-making-of-hom...

so much awesome. i've always wanted to know more about that episode.

..and why hank scorpio hasn't come back to be awesome again...maybe someday...

my butt is for sitting not kissing

The Simpsons has definitely been on the air too long at this point, but they made some really great episodes in the early and mid 90s. Loved Homer at the Bat since I first saw it as a kid. Based only on great episodes like that, I maintained hope that the show would get better even as I lost interest in the early 2000s.

News Alert---

Cubs pitcher drinking on the bench during game -

Australian comedian drinking with "ginger pitcher" starts at 4:30
Nsfw language

http://smodcast.com/episodes/jim-jeffries-and...

Sounds like Dempster, I did not listen to whole thing.

Could be trouble if someone listens to podcasts.

like you don't drink to get through Cubs games

Is this not a big deal?
Gauging opinion.

My slider doesn't bite as much as Demps.

only a big deal if the Boston media finds out :)

I imagine if Cubs were any good, it would be a story.

Theo compensation is Jay Jackson, is this true? If so, count me as happy.

7:22AM, Gordon Edes, ESPN Boston (tweet)...
Theo compensation deal 'close,' with Sox receiving one quality minor leaguer in return from Cubs, according to MLB source.

and appropriate comment following tweet:
Tiffany Borst @pedroiar...
If I read this same report one more time I am going to poke my eyes out.

https://twitter.com/GordonEdes/statuses/17194...

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

"Reports from the Red Sox camp early Tuesday first suggested this, with WEEI’s Alex Speier saying that Boston is getting an unnamed pitching prospect off the Cubs’ 40-man roster. That would be someone like left-hander Jeff Beliveau or power right-hander Rafael Dolis."

http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/7597...

"The prospect from the Cubs is not expected to be on a par with such top prospects as outfielder Brett Jackson or infielder Josh Vitters, the source said, but is expected to be a legitimate big-league prospect."

Reports are that it's Chris Carpenter going to Boston.

Cue the outrage.

UPDATE:
Bruce Miles @BruceMiles2112
It's officially Carpenter and PTBNL for a PTBNL from Red Sox. #Cubs

Funny, after about 10 tweets about the agreement, Wrongway chimes in:

Phil Rogers @ChiTribRogers
If Rafael Dolis is Theo comp guy #redsox will rave after 1st bullpen session. Jeff beliveau won't dazzle but cld be very useful very soon.

Fuck. The one power arm.

I'm not super OMG PISSED LOL, but I am kinda disappointed. I liked Carpenter. Probably my favorite young arm in the system. But, I suppose you have to pay a high price for, you know, taking somebody's GM.

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