Rambling While Wondering All Things GM

Good day everyone. Please note that I will try to stay facing forward during all important parts of this article. However, you must note, I really enjoy sunflower seeds, so my goal is easier said than done.

It is Friday, the Cubs are below .500 and Carlos Pena is still a Cub. With all of that said, how about we go rambling. I think everyone knows how it works. I spew a bunch of thought from my random stream of consciousness, and then you do the same below. Cool?

Let’s get to it.

  • It is amazing how one simple move, like relieving a general manager of his duties, can change the view of a large cross-section of fans regarding the team’s owner.
  • I know it has been said by many, but let me say it as well. Due propers to Jim Hendry for acting like a class man, assisting in getting players signed and departing with dignity.
  • Here is another topic that has been discussed quite often, but it appeared that Starlin Castro his apology was sincere, and that he will work hard on his concentration.
  • Friedmans, and Epsteins, and Cashmans and Beanes and Collettis oh my.
  • This is going to be one very interesting October for the Cubs. At least a more interesting October than years past.
  • My apologies if you consider six playoff losses interesting.
  • I ask this question honestly: Why is Rick Hahn so coveted? Sure, he has a very impressive pedigree with degrees from Harvard and Northwestern. But why should we go after him instead of established GMs?
  • Again, I am asking that in a serious manner. Please educate me on this.
  • Susan Tedeschi sang the 7th-inning stretch. During her interview, she said, “I really like watching your guy Castro hit.” She seemed to have a decent knowledge of baseball.
  • Also, Ms. Tedeschi’s husband Derek Trucks’ grandfather’s cousin Virgil Trucks pitched for the Tigers in the 1945 World Series at Wrigley Field. And that may be the most useless, but interesting, fact I have ever delivered in a ramblings column.
  • The Cubs had four errors on Thursday. Another great way to sum up this season very accurately in seven words.
  • Marlon Byrd is batting .200 with runners in scoring position.
  • The Cubs team batting average is .262. That ranks eighth in the Bigs. This really shines a spotlight on pitching and defense being the huge problem.
  • Braves outfielder Jose Constanza was 0-for-4 on Thursday. He should start taking the opposite approach. It worked for someone else with a similar last name.
  • So, here it is: who do you want as the Cubs new General Manager?
  • At least Matt Garza is consistent … or not. The guy can go out and straight shut down the opponent and then just look plain bad five days later.
  • However, I must say that he has continually improved throughout the season, and I am somewhat excited to see how he improves next season.
  • Selig appears to be giving some serious thought to award the 2014 All-Star game to Wrigley Field. I would very much like that. In fact, it would be great.
  • I honestly thought Darwin Barney would have fallen off more by now. I am very impressed with his 2011 campaign. I really hope it is a sign of things to come.
  • If I had to decide at this very moment, I would choose Andrew Friedman as the Cubs next GM.
  • However, I think I will be okay with a few of the names being mentioned by the national pundits.

Let’s hear it. What do you think? Who should be the next GM? Why am I wrong? Or, if you are feeling generous, why am I right?

I want to have some fun with this. I look forward to it all.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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  • Ken Hubbs

    Thanks Brian,
          I may be missing something, but my biggest question at the moment is Zambrano.  Asssuming that he has pitched his last game as a Cub, how much is he going to cost ‘us’?  I remember Colorado getting out of a Contract a couple of years ago, but I believe that that involved legal/criminal charges.  I’m guessing that ‘we’ are going to have to settle with him.  Hope that I am wrong. How much is really going to come off of the payroll? How much will Ricketts spend on  major league salaries next season?  Ramirez has the call on an option for next year, right?  We needed two starting pitchers before what better be Zambrano’s final melt down.  If we sign two free agents, we will most assuredly have to overpay, and that probably still doesn’t mean that we will get an ace.  No minor league phenom knocking at the door, especially if you consider Cashner’s health concerns.  Do we trade ‘valuable’ chips for starting pitching?  
          On a related question, alluding to other concerns, both financial and competitive, are the Cub’s going to spend money just to keep Carlos Pena?
    All of a sudden, reality has overwhelmed me.  Great start on a new direction, Mr. Ricketts, can’t wait to see your next moves.

    • J Daniel

      Getting out of Zambrano’s contract is not going to cost “us” anything.

  • J Daniel

    Here is how I believe the next GM would be, and I say no to Colletti and Hahn yes to Friedman.  I would trade Z and Sori for whatever the best offers are and including as much money as needed.  I would be patient for another year and evaluate the landscape of the organization.  At that point most of the contracts will be off the books with the exception of what is owed to Sori.  It will be imperative to resist the urge to “buy” more players unless sound moves are made such as K.C. did with Melky.  At that point they would know where they stand with the system due to opportunities given to young guys next year.

    The problem I see with that plan is that the Cub fans could crush some of the young guys if they are not performing at HOF levels immediately.

    If they come in and try to do it instantly the ups and downs will continue with mostly downs.

    The only way I would go against this plan is if I am 100% certain that the top prospects in the organization will not make it.  Then I would trade them all, sign a couple of free agents, and try to find the magic. 

    Tough decisions ahead.

    But the way PK has operated so far I bet that this is going to be a very slow process and a complete budget driven operation.

    I assume Friedman would love to operate with an 80 million dollar payroll. . . 

  • J Daniel

    And since it is a ramble Friday, it is very funny to me how when Bobby Valentine gets on Castro he is a right on and when Q gets on him he does not know what he is talking about and everyone is up in arms????

    I do realize it is Q but come on Cub fans?  

    Is the manager going to make Ramirez and Pena hit better in April and May?  Can he make Demp pitch better early on?  I know he is over matched but the problems are much deeper than the guy filling out the lineup card.  

    I don’t think they all turned on Q already in April?  They loved him in September.  Players that fail have to point the finger at somebody, just ask Big Z – he will tell you – “we stinks”.

    Maybe Big Z reads all of the comments here and he is just as pissed as we are?

    • Bryan

      Quade has to rank in the top 3 of worst Cub managers of all time, and perhaps could be #1.  The guy has shown time and time again that he is overmatched, can’t manage a pitching staff, won’t play youth (consistently), has a team that is abysmal in baseball fundamentals, and has created an national embarrasment relative to “team” chemistry.  This guy doesn’t get “a pass” at any level. 

      And why do you think the Cubbie vets loved him last September…because Quade doesn’t demand any accountability from his vets…so for guys like Ramirez and Soriano it’s like playing in the house as kids without a parent around. 

      Quade has done “ZERO” to improve this team and franchise over the last year.  The sooner he’s gone, the better. 

      And while ranting a bit here, do we really care that Hendry was a “class act” in his departure.  The same Hendry that hired Quade when the obvious choice was Sandberg (or even better, make a push for Girardi), signed the likes of Bradley, overpaid big time on Soriano, overpaid on Zambrano even when all the emotional signals where right in front of him, and so on, and so on.  He put on the “corporate face” in the end only for media purposes as he seeks his next gig.  For a guy that had the hightest NL payroll for years, his results were sad.  As fans, let’s not get “played” by media stuff. 

    • paulcatanese

      Because when Qua got on Castro it was after the fact and had been going on for a while and not being addressed.
      I was one of the ones that were not enamored with Qua last September as in was clear he was manageing for a job in playing the vets and not the younger players to see what the Cubs had for this year.
      Never liked Qua,never will and the sooner he is gone the better.
      Are you saying that the lack of fundementals are not Qua’s fault? The lineups that are out there not his fault?( the positioning of players in the order) The lack of pitching expertise? (his)The poor coaching on the bases?
      Valentine got on Qua with Castro because Valentine is lobbying for a job and
      that is obvious. Brenly does the same thing in analysing each and every game.
      Qua is stuck with what he has, I agree, but the lack of attention to the nuances of the game are his and no one elses. The fact is he is overmatched and has been fom day one of his tenure. You see it now with the end of the season in sight when vets push for their contracts and you saw it last September as they did the same thing. And in spring training when Qua said “fundementals will be stressed, Bunting will be stressed, etc.) well its almost September, when will all of this take place? I guess my point is, I didnt turn on Qua now, in April, in Spring training but last fall and his lack of playing time for younger players and the future. He has gone to some younger players this year, but only out of neccessity and nothing else, and you know what ? the younger kids have for the most part have panned out, Shark, Colvin,Barney, Castro, Campana, and the ones that didnt were put in a position to fail. Qua needs to go.

      • Brp921

        Well said. Nothing to add.

  • Chuck

    Neil, do you recall when I talked with you a couple of years ago at the Cubs Convention that it was set that the Cubs would move to Naples, FL?  Then I told you after the convention that my sources in Naples told me the Cubs would stay in AZ after a talk with Selig?  According to my source there were two reasons Selig gave Ricketts to stay in AZ:  1.  Cubs were a top draw in attendance and it would not look good having the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Cubs all in FL.  2.  Supposedly Selig said he would consider Wrigley Field for an all-star game to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Field if the Cubs stayed in AZ.   For GM, as I have mentioned in previous posts, Ned Colletti.  He is local and grew up with the Cubs.  He probably would bring in Ryno as mgr.   We should have a very interesting Cubs Convention this year.  Again, a big thanks to you for another terrific job you have done this year.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Chuck, thank you and yes I remember our conversations about that. The 100th Anniversary of the Cubs moving into what is now Wrigley Field is good timing.

      With that said, I cannot agree with Ned Colletti being the GM. It is time for this organization to move away from the same type of leadership.

  • Chuck

    Second choice for GM is Andrew Friedman; only if he brings in Joe Maddon as mgr.  Friedman and Maddon are on the same page just as Dombroski and Leyland of the Tigers are on the same page.  It was Dave Dombroski and Jim Leyland that put together a winning Marlins team (1997) and look what they have done with the Tigers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    You know I am trying to understand where this “won’t play youth” stuff is coming from. Was Barney in your starting lineup in Febuary? Was Shark going to be in the Bullpen coming into spring ? Was Russell? I do not think it is a will not play youth thing as much as will stick with the old guard thing. And there is a huge difference.

     Colvin should have played more early but Fuku was our leadoff man and we did not know if Castro could do it yet.We found out and Fukudome was moved. No one wanted Reed Johnson here yet he has put together a very good year as the 4th OF’er . Should he have been moved? Probably but like I have said I understand why they stayed at the deadline now. Injuries happened and Quade didn’t play the kids that were brought up. It was not like they were setting the world on fire. The kids that were brought up had to earn playing time and DJ eventually did but then every one was on Qball for putting him at a position he had never played before.

    As much as everyone is complaining about this guy or that guy in the lineup daily the Cubs actually score some runs. It is not consistent and that has been an issue for the last 3 years with the team. But scoring in general is not the problem. Approach at the plate is the problem in a lot of cases. Bad fundamentals are the problem all the time. Those are Quades fault and he will be held accountable for it.

    The biggest issue this year has been starting pitching …….PERIOD. The start of the Season for Dempster was not where it needed to be. Garza has been good/bad/good but we at least know he is going to scratch, claw, scrape, and  fight to win the game. He is a keeper guys. Cashner killed our staff early. We did not have a back up plan in place when he went down and that is totally on Hendry. Everyone thought Coleman would eventually “get it” well he hasn’t. I think he is probably a longman at this point unless he starts to put it together towards the end of this year. Z I am not even going to discuss because we have beaten that horse. In Spring I said that good teams have at least 8 to 10 reliable arms to get them through the season. Well guess what we did not. Hendry thought that our young guys would be able to step in and take up the slack of those guys and they laid an egg. So again on Hendry.

    My question is why does it seem like Riggans has gotten a pass on all this? His one job is to get the starter ready to start. Our ERA in the first inning is the worse in baseball. That tells me that our pitching coach is not getting the guys ready to go. Hopefully the next GM has a chopping list and Riggans is the first name on it.

    Byrd is not a starting CF’er anymore (was he ever really?). He is so up and down but his effort is always there. Good guy to have as a corner OF’er 6/7 hitter when you have a centerfielder that has power or an unconventional power spot like SS or 2nd base. On our team we can’t play him there because he needs to be in a none run producing spot. There are a couple guys on this team that you question their hustle but Byrd will never be one of them. We just use him wrong. I could see him on a team like the Dodgers being a big time producer for them because they can put him into a comfort spot with Kemp and Eithier already in the OF.

    We lead the league in errors. To look at that the right way you have to look at the idea we have a SS/2nd baseman combo that had played 155 games combines coming into the season. A 3rd baseman that should be at 1st at this point. A CF that should be a corner. A catcher that is decent behind the plate. A LF’er that should be a DH. Yeah our defense is brutal. The reasons for it are self evident. Oh I forgot a pitcher that has more errors (9) as out first baseman (7). Yeah defense=brutal.

    I am not saying that Quade isn’t horrible and needs to be replaced. What I saying is that there needs to accountability for the crap shoot all across the board. Hopefully the new guy will be better than the old guy. But unless there is a fundamental change at every level of how we build a team we are still going to be flawed. 

    • paulcatanese

      Wow Richard, a lot to read first thng in the morning. Reading it once thru, I agree with you 100%. Very good rant,precise and to the point. I will refer to
      it often, good post.

    • Brp921

      This is the team with the 140 million dollar payroll that Jim Hendry put together over the last nine years. This is what happens when year after year you try to patch up the team with aging veteran free agents and trading young players for guys at the end of their careers, instead of admitting that you need to rebuild. I hope they do bring in a GM who is willing to have a couple lean years and build through the farm system. I’ve said this before, I think they should wait to sign free agents till they have a solid foundation established at the major league level. Then they can pay the money to the free agents that they believe can put them over the top.

      • Anonymous47701

        130 million dollar payroll, it’s been downgraded.

        • Brp921

          My bad.

    • Brp921

      Speaking of Coleman. I think back to the first couple years of Greg Maddux’s career where he would cruise along and be untouchable and then all of a sudden he would lose concentration or something and boom, boom, boom, give up five runs. I am by no means comparing Coleman to Maddux, I just see that in Coleman sometimes. The other night he was going along great when all of a sudden he just lost it. I just keep hoping, like you alluded to, that he will just somehow wake up and get it.

      • T_Leise

        If I remember right, it was after Ramirez tried the bare handed play. I thought it was a very makeable play that Ramirez rushed. If he would have made the play and they would’ve been out of the inning with no runs. It doesn’t give Coleman an excuse for breaking down after that though.

        I blame a good part of the pitching problems this year on the bad defense. It seems like almost every game there are plays that aren’t considered errors but are very makeable plays. To me as good as errors. They inflate ERA’s, add to pitch counts, and are overall demoralizing for the pitchers when it routinely happens .

        • Brp921

          You make a good point. Part of “getting it” is to be able to pitch through those situations. Part of the difference between being an average player or a good player is playing or pitching well through difficulties. 

        • diehardcubfan

          I think it is more of a combination of both poor pitching and bad defense.  Good pitching were pitchers stay ahead in the count and do not walk the opposition keeps the defenders on their toes.  This leads to fewer errors and poor decisions. 

          On the other hand bad defense causes pitchers to have to make more quality pitches in an inning which the Cubs have not done a good job at all year as you pointed out with Coleman. 

          Both have been feeding off each other all year for the Cubs and they have not corrected any of the fundamental problems that continue to plague this team. 

          That to me is why they continue to lose.  This team is just not prepared or focused.  Evident by the sometimes aloof play of Castro and the inattentiveness and lack of hustle at times by Ramirez. 

          They are not the only ones though that suffer from this. 

          This team in general lacks focus, concentration and determination. That is a product of the manager.  He does not set the tone or demand accountability from the veterans.  He needs to equally punish everyone but the only one’s who seem to get punished our Castro and Barney.

          I haven’t seem him bench Soriano or ARAM for poor decisions or play.

          The team needs to get their heads screwed on straight and stop pointing figures. 

          • Bryan

            I remember a few years ago Andruw Jones (then playing for the Braves in the height of his career) passively went after a fly ball that landed for a hit.  Bobby Cox, in the middle of an inning, went out on the field, waved Andruw into the dugout, and inserted a replacement.  Needless to say, Andruw didn’t pull that again.

            But that’s a sign of proactive and respected leadership. 

          • paulcatanese

            Like that Bryan, and have commented the same way a while ago. I would love to see Qua do that instead of gathering everyone on the mound and putting his arms around them, this guy thinks he is a real buddy.

          • Brp921

            I remember that play, though in my recollection, he one handed a fly ball and dropped it when he was a rookie. The main point is Bobby Cox showed needed leadership by replacing him immediately. Jones had to suffer the embarassment of being replaced and having to exit the field during the inning.

    • diehardcubfan

      To say the Cubs have been plagued by poor defense and pitching is an understatement but the team’s hitting is as much to blame. 

      Pitching,when comparing to other NL teams the Cubs are abysmal.  The team is 15 in staff wins (57), second in staff loses (74), 15 in ERA (4..54), 15 in earned runs (581), 13 in HRs allowed (133), 16 in BBs (472).  That is the start of the problem.  Agree much blame should be directed to Riggans.  Dempster, Z, Garza, Marshall, Marmol and Wood (the core of the staff) have for the most part been healthy so our stat lines should not be near that bad.  This despite the fact that Cashner got hurt and Wells has been ineffective. 

      Everything starts with pitching and that translates into good defense.

      Now let’s look at fielding compared to other NL teams.  The Cubs are 1st in errors (108), 15th in DPs turned (268), and 16th in fielding percentage (.978).  Much of that in my opinion from the lack of solid pitching and the ability of Cubs pitchers to effectively stay ahead in the count and keep the other team off base.  I agree with you that as Barney and Castro mature our DPs totals should go up and our errors should go down and an improvement in the pitching will also help that.

      Now the 3rd culprit why the Cubs are so bad, offense:

      The Cubs compared to other NL teams are 15th in SBs (51), 16 in BBs (317) and 14th in Sacrifice Flies (SF) (27).  Now for the key statistics, compared to MLB the Cubs rank 22nd with a .254 average with runners on base and only 24th with a .236 average with runners in scoring position. This is a true indictment of the team.  At least the Runs scored is respectable with a NL rank of 9th (533).  If our defense and pitching were much better the lack of effective production would not be magnified so much.  This team though still does not have good situational hitters.

      There is not a facet of the game the Cubs even remotely excel in and on all key stats we are near the bottom.

      That is a true reflection on the manager and why Quade needs to go.  There is too much money spent and to many veterans on this team to be so bad. 

  • Cloycub13

    Brian,

    A week ago during one of your Ramblings the Cubs made the best move they have made in my time! Now on to who to replace. I vote Kim Ng. But she is getting no pub so I doubt it. My next choice is Friedman. This guy knows how to develop talent, knows how to draft, knows how to commit to kids, knows how to land a solid manager, and aparently knows how to trade guys who are going to get expensive for a haul of minor leaguers with talent. Y’all have convinced me that he is the choice.

    Whoever it is…I hope they make a swift and definitive stance on who manages this team from the top to the bottom. Bring in Ryno!
    Sandberg-Manager
    M. Maddux-Pitching Coach
    Rudy the Jam Man-Hitting Coach
    Dernier-1B coach
    ANYONE OTHER THAN PRESENT-3B Coach
    Larry Bowa-Bench Coach
    Andre Dawson-Some capacity

    With the draft and this news… Ricketts could save the fan base with right moves.

    One of those moves- DO NOT RESIGN PENA.

    All speculation on player movement and signings and dumpings and trades is moot at this point. We do not have a GM. When we do we can speculate. Noone knows at this point. It is fun, but Moot. We are taking the same mindset that a new GM would follow Hendry’s model. I think it is very Critical that we understand that there is no chance in hell that the same model is followed. So I withhold present judgement and speculation on player moves.

    My guess, this Chicago Cubs team looks Very VERY different next season. Here’s hoping.

    Go Cubs!

    • John G

      Kim Ng would be an awesome choice. A fresh face, someone who knows baseball and an historic choice as well. She has the experience too. I could really go for that.

      Can she sign Roy Hobbs to that one year contract?

      • Cheryl

        Agree on Kim Ng. But likelihood of her being picked is very low. She might not sign Roy Hobbs but she’d have a strong staff around her including a good manager.

    • jiba11

      100% agree that Pena should not be resigned. I think one of Hendry’s biggest mistake was not going after Adrian Gonzalez harder. We would have been set at 1B for a very long time. But that has passed and now there is a chance that two elite 1B will be on the market. It’s not often that these type of guys hit free agency. I think we need one of these guys for the future of this team.

      • Bruce Bauer

        Can someone explain to me why we would not trade Pena to the Yankees for prospects and the sign him in winter if we want him back? Do we need him the rest of this year?

        • diehardcubfan

          There are a bunch of us here wondering the same question.  You are not alone.

        • paulcatanese

          I agree as the only thing Pena does well is stir up the air around home plate on hot days, three times to be exact.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

          As I have mentioned repeatedly Sandwich Pick Value as a class B FA. That is a huge hall to try and get for a 6 week rental. He is worth more to us right now to walk away.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        A lot of people at the time of the trade said that the Cubs offer was better for Gonzalez just didn’t have that almost ready 1st baseman. The problem was that the whole SD front office came from Boston and worked on the player development side mostly so they had an intimate knowledge of what it was that Boston actually offered.

    • Anonymous47701

      I would try and go after Chip Hale as 3rd Base Coach.

    • BCT082002

      I agree with all of the above.

  • John G

    I saw Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi at the Eric Clapton Guitar Festival a few years ago at Toyota Park. They can really lay down some hot tracks. And wasn’t it nice hearing someone who can really sing doing the 7th inning stretch.

    As far as the next GM … Anyone who can bring us Pop Fisher as manager and sign Roy Hobbs to a one year contract.

  • Dorasaga

    Brian, I’m all with you on this final hire. And Andrew Friedman it is, Amen.

    Since he took over as VP and GM for 2006, he brought the Rays two division titles within the most wicked of baseball helm: AL East. That topped the Red Sox, which made one title (but two Wild Cards and each stirred them to a World Series), in the last 15 years. He marveled at player development, which I’m sure Tom Ricketts recall that slogan. He signed Evan Longoria to a 9-year deal that costs a third of Fonzi Soriano’s. He made Jim Hendry look worse than mediocre with the Garza deal, among many other deals and no-deals he made*.

    *One I love to talk about: He traded for Rafael Soriano from the Braves with Jesse Chavez (now a mediocre pitching prospect) and made him the saves leader of 2010, but let him go with arbitration declined. Rafael knew he got some big contract coming from the Rays rival. But guess what, it worked out beautifully for the Rays, as the first round pick the Yanks gave up to them garnered Friedman M. Mahtook, one of the best college hitting prospects from this year’s draft.

    It was Richard or someone else who reminded us the fact that Andrew Friedman is working without a contract. How the Rays convinced him to work underpaid is beyond me (sources like tampabay.com mentioned his Wall Street ties with which Friedman worked closely over at the Rays’).

    Imagine how a competitive Rays GM can do with the resources Chicago offers. The Ricketts have all the time in this World to court Mr. Friedman as October comes, or maybe not, since it’s been 103 years.

  • Ira Rosenberg

    Friedman.  I agree on the Hahn thing….totally.

    • BBAZ

      Does Hahn get any credit for acquiring the Rios and Dunn? Hendry like moves?

  • twentytwo

    I agree with your questioning of Hahn. Being an assistant GM, wouldn’t he also have voiced his approval for obtaining/acquiring Peavy, Rios, & Dunn? What rookies have we seen come up through the system that Hahn might have had something to do with? Im not sold on this guy at all. If the Sox showed more consistency over the past 10 years, then I would say he might have been a part of that, but that hasnt been the case….

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      I like Hahns bio and he has the respect of everyone that has ever worked with him but this is not the Marlins or KC or put your small market team here. We need a guy that is a GM or has been. We are not a promotion spot because it is way to easy to get in over your head with the media and sideshow atmosphere at times.

       That being said Theo Epstein was a first time GM in a bigtime market and that worked out historically for Boston. I just do not know that Hahn is a Epstein type guy.

      • Anonymous47701

        Do You Believe the Cubs are better off hiring Andrew Friedman as General Manager over every announced candidate, because I’m Hoping they do.

    • paulcatanese

      Anyone from the White Sox, including the guys that clean the stands after a game, I would not want, period.

  • diehardcubfan

    Brian, another good rant.   You are so right on several points.

  • Aaron

    Great ramble as usual….

    I have a couple things:

    1) Hendry earned some respect by doing what he did (staying on for a month after being fired), HOWEVER, it does not absolve him from the awful decisions he made, and crippling contracts he put into place that have hand-cuffed this team from moving on. No-trade clauses, back-loaded deals, etc. has killed this team. And the thing that bothers me most about Hendry, is he seems to blame former bosses through his minions in the press (Levine, Miles, etc.), saying McDonough, Kenney, and Zell made him spend too much. I’m pretty sure NONE of them made him give Bradley a 3 yr, $30 million deal. I’m pretty sure NONE of them made him trade Ceda for Gregg, or sign Miles to a 2 year contract worth nearly $5 million when no other team was offering more than 1 year. He can blame everyone he wants for Soriano, Zambrano, etc., but if you look at all the other deals he’s shelled out after he supposedly had more autonomy, they are right in step with those ill-advised deals, leading you to believe he was looking for a scapegoat the whole time, and a guy like McDonough was the perfect one, because he left the organization. I don’t deny that he or Kenney had something to do with any of the deals….just that they probably didn’t have as much sway as Hendry would like you to think.

    2) FRIEDMAN-no way is this guy coming to the Cubs. He is a Texas guy, and Houston has been reserving the position for him. That’s also why he didn’t demand a long-term contract in writing from the Rays, because he had his heart set on the Houston job…and Hendry was firmly entrenched with the Cubs at the time, and nobody really thought Ricketts had the balls to fire him. Does that mean he won’t consider the Cubs? No, but he’ll use it as leverage to get a better deal from the Astros.

    EPSTEIN-This one is the most laughable of all. He enjoys a great working relationship with the owners…it’s been his somewhat on-again, off-again relationship with Lucchino that has some worried. But why would he ever leave Boston when he broke the curse, and won 2 championships in a decade? Plus, they’ve built a great farm system, have one of the best statisticians on payroll (Bill James), one of the best managers in the game, and an exciting, young lineup that could make a run for another decade. The Chicago Cubs are completely broken from top to bottom, and Sandberg hit the nail on the head when he said there is virtually no communication from Chicago to the minors, and that is NOT the case in successful organizations. There would be a lot of cleaning up to do in Chicago for Epstein, and there’s almost no chance he’d risk tarnishing his legacy for that.

    CASHMAN-This one is almost as laughable as Epstein, especially when people were saying it might be a package deal with Girardi. When I read that, I LMAO….First of all, Cashman enjoys the largest payroll in the league to cover for any mistakes he might make. If the Cubs were the Yankees, he’d have parted ways with Soriano, Zambrano, Fukudome (prior to this year), ARAM, Dempster, and Grabow all this year, or like Fukudome, prior to this year already. The Steinbrenner family takes a no-nonsense approach, and not a single one of them would’ve lasted due to inconsistencies, egos, and underperformance issues, and they wouldn’t care about salary….As a GM, you know you have the backing of ownership to cover for your mistakes, because of that no-nonsense approach. That would not happen with the Cubs, and furthermore, Girardi didn’t even give Hendry the time of day, returning the favor to Hendry when he tried to land the job before Piniella and Hendry didn’t give him a true shot.

    BEANE and COLETTI-I’m lumping these two together, as they make the most sense (NOT because I want them, but based on history). They both are involved with difficult ownership issues. Wolf is said to be selling the team if they can’t get approval to move to San Jose. If that happens, Beane is gone. Similarly with the McCourt’s situation, Coletti is equally on shaky ground. But what scares me about Coletti is he is an almost exact replica of Jim Hendry. He was hired at the beginning of the 2006 season, and check out these acquisitions:
    Saito
    Schmidt
    Pierre
    Andruw Jones

    Trades: Izturis for Maddux; Bradley for Ethier (VERY good); and Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake

    TEAM RECORDS:
    2006-2nd place, Wild Card, lost LDS 3-0
    2007-4th place
    2008-1st place, lost NLCS 4-1
    2009-1st place, lost NLCS 4-1
    2010-4th place
    2011-4th place

    There’s NO consistency there, just like the Cubs under Hendry. Winning organizations make winning decisions, and over time, are very consistent. Look at the Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and even the Twins (though this year notwithstanding), and you’ll see that they make good decisions, which puts the team in contention every year, which means they have a greater likelihood of winning a championship, unlike the Cubs, who haven’t even been to a World Series since 1945. The more often you’re in the playoffs, the greater likelihood you’ll win, and those teams have clearly figured that out. Look at the core of each of those teams, and you’ll also see that a majority of their big-time players came up through their own system.

    3) The Cubs might be ranked 8th in batting average, so you’d say that’s not a problem, and defense and pitching are the problems, but when you consider the shutouts, the 1 run games they’ve lost, and Marmol blowing 10 games or whatever….it’s clear that situational/clutch hitting is the problem, and the manager is the problem, because he doesn’t put people in position to succeed, and he had blind faith in Marmol while he dropped 5 mph in velocity, couldn’t find the plate, and when he did, was hammered….Moving Marmol alone to set-up to clear his head could’ve put the Cubs at a 67-64 record right now (granted, you can’t assume victory in all save situations, so let’s just say it would put them at .500 right now….pretty significant, eh?) And believe it or not, the Cubs’ pen is NOT the main problem, especially Marshall, Wood, Russell, and Marmol (for the most part), but the rotation aside from Garza has been incredibly inconsistent. Even so, the Cubs have remained close in games, and could’ve won if they could score a damn run with the bases loaded, no outs, or the bases loaded, 1 out….It’s ludicrous to suggest the main reason is pitching and defense, because the Cubs’ offense the past 3 years has been horrendous.

    4) As far as the GM goes…it’s NOT about who I want (as that would be Epstein), but who I think the Cubs will go after.

    Here is the criteria per Ricketts himself:
    STRONG TRACK RECORD-this would seem to indicate a current, winning GM…This list would include Friedman, Cashman, Epstein, Amaro Jr., Riggins, Wren, and possibly Daniels (if he wants a small sample)

    STRONG ANALYTICAL BACKGROUND-this would seem to include Friedman, Daniels, Epstein, Beane and Wren

    STRONG PLAYER DEVELOPMENT-this would seem to include Friedman, Wren, Epstein, Daniels, Beane (past, but not recently), Doug Melvin, and Smith (or could reach back to Terry Ryan)

    Friedman-Astros
    Cashman-staying with Yankees
    Epstein-staying with Red Sox
    Wren-no way he leaves Braves
    Daniels-no way he leaves Rangers and their strong front office
    ….those guys aren’t coming, so that leaves:

    Beane
    Melvin
    Smith

    …..or so you’d think. But then Ricketts interjected a comment a few days after outlining the criteria, in which he stated that the next GM needs to “understand the history of the Cubs”, which basically indicates he was thinking about Coletti or Hahn, but since Hahn has no “track record”, he could only be talking about Coletti, as there are no other current GM’s out there with strong ties to the Cubs.

    Coletti as GM would be the greatest mistake ever…akin to hiring Mike Quade. Remember how that worked out?!? After all, upon choosing Quade over Sandberg, Hendry remarked how Quade “gets the history of the Cubs, and day baseball, blah blah blah, and grew up a fan”.

    But in typical Cubs fashion, expect them to go with someone like Coletti.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Just a quick question about Friedman and Houston. Why is it when he was asked about the that job he stated very public”do not see that happening anytime soon”, When he was asked about the Cubs job he falls back to his standard “I will not talk about any opportunity now. We are concentrating on this year.”

       I do not think until there is an actual sale of the Astro’s you can say beyond just lip service that he is in the mix there.  There is talk that the sale of that club may take as long as the Cubs sale did. Meaning almost 2 years to get approval before anything is final.

      I am not saying you are wrong just wonder about weather your time table is accurate.

      • Aaron

        I can’t really speak to that since I have no knowledge of his comments. What I’ve read recently is he’s reluctant to leave Tampa unless it’s Houston, his hometown team.

        Yes, the sale could be dicey, but no matter who the owner is, they’ll retain him because he’s one of the hottest names on the market right now.

  • woody34

    Epstein would be #1 choice if we could get him.  #2 would be his right hand man Cherington.  They were there to eliminate the “drought” for the Red Sox, and have turned them into competitive year in and year out.  Even with a bad signing or two (Lackey, JD Drew), the team is infused with young talent every year (Ellsbury, Pedroia, Reddick) and still have the capability to trade for the Adrian Gonzalez’s while remaining as contenders.  

    SInce taking over the Red Sox before 03 season Epstein’s record as GM is 829-597.  They have won 2 World Series in there, have not had a losing season while he was in control.  HIs worst season at the helm was 06 with record of 86-76.  Hendry was a lousy one game over .500 during his tenure at the helm and he took over a season before Epstein and company.  

    Let’s take a look at a few examples of some moves he’s made.  He traded Nomar which we know very well, their most fan beloved player, the season they won the World Series.  He traded away Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez to get Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett.  He acquired AGon this past offseason.  

    His drafts include Papelpon, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Buchholz, Masterson, and many more. 

    I don’t know about you but that’s the resume I put at the top of the stack!!!

  • diehardcubfan

    Question for anyone. Has the Cubs been able to get in contact with Greg Maddux since JHs firing?  Haven’t heard anything new over the past few days.  I did not know that Greg was so close to JH.  I hope he plans to come back.

    • woody34

      I read other day that he is chilling at home in Vegas.  He said his job is easiest in the world basically.  Jim would call him up and ask advice.  Mostly it constitutes going to minor league teams and helping there.  I love Maddux, but all he wants to do is golf anyways would not be a huge loss unless he considered becoming pitching coach.  I know he is one of the smartest players ever to play the game, but the man is going to do what he wants to do.  

      • Bryan

        Like everyone here, I think the world of Greg Maddux (class guy)…but you wonder if JH just engaged him for a regular golf partner.  It doesn’t sound like Greg has really done much in his “consultant” capacity….seems like a wasted opportunity on JH’s part based on Maddux’s baseball IQ. 

      • paulcatanese

        He is one of the smartest for Maddux but dont really know how he relates to other players besides pitchers, and then its usually them picking his brain for tips.
        The idea of just wanting to play golf is a great one and if it were me, I would choose that over getting involved with the mess that is here with the Cubs right now.

  • cubtex

    Josh Vitters has drawn 5 walks in the last 9 games! Hopefully, he is starting to get it.

    • Bryan

      Wouldn’t that be great.  Let’s hope so. 

  • Ripken Boy

    We need to go and get Billy Beane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • paulcatanese

      You mean Brad Pitt dont you? That would be nice to see Angeline Jolie in the stands every game.

      • Brp921

        Then they would have to plant two lips…I mean tulips instead of Ivy on the outfield wall LOL

        • paulcatanese

          Great response, I’ll go along with that. and back to the days of Jane Fonda in the stands at Atlanta.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From ESPN Chicago: Cubs blog: Sources: Wrigley likely to host 2016 All Star Game

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/6225/sources-wrigley-likely-to-host-2016-asg

  • paulcatanese

    Typical platoon lineup by Qua again today. Baker in the four spot? Byrd .200 hitter with runners in scoring position in the six spot? And Johnson in the eight spot? What an imagination for a manager to put fear in the opposition.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Javier Baez making pro debut for AZL #Cubs. Beat out infield hit and stole 3rd in his 2nd AB, plus started two DPs early

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      What position did he play? SS?

    • Brp921

      Are there any projections as to how fast he may move through the system?

  • paulcatanese

    Campana LF,Barney 2B,Castro SS, Aram 3b,Colvin RF, Johnson CF,Pena 1B, Soto C, and let it go at that for a few games.

  • cubsklm

    How many GMs have the Cubs had over the years? Who was the longest tenured Cubs GM? A rant on the GM history would be very interesting.
    I have thought long and hard about who should be the new GM? Maybe the job is too big for one man. It’s been over 100 years and no man has ever led us to the promise land.

    That’s why I think we should just hire a chick! Over 100 years of male failure – how much worse could a chick do?

    Kim Ng for GM

    • paulcatanese

      Can she sing?

  • Lou Brock

    Keep Zambrano as insurance for Cashner having serious arm problem next year. Use Z like Micah Owings has been used the last few years by Reds & D-backs,
    Z can play some first base or LF & teach Garza – 7 errors – how to field his position.  Coleman offers some decent further looks, he can hit & field his position as well & has good movement on his pitches. Trade Soriano to AL team which needs a DH at $ 4-5 mil per year over the next 3 years – Cubs to pay the rest. Keep A-Ram 1 more year with Brenley as Mgr to ride his lazy ass.

    • Brp921

      You bring up an interesting proposition. How about asking Zambrano to go to A ball to learn first base. Of course he’ll have to accept an A ball salary.

    • Tony_Hall

      Would you sign Soriano to a 3 year – $12-$15 million dollar contract?

      I didn’t think so.

      Why would any team, trade away, even a bucket of balls to do that?

  • Tony_Hall

    Nobody took the bait about Garza being consistent.  “At least Matt Garza is consistent … or not. The guy can go out and straight shut down the opponent and then just look plain bad five days later.”

    This is who Garza has been so far in his career.  The dominant ACE in some stretches, that make people think he is a true ACE, and the mediocre pitcher for stretches who makes people wonder about him.  If (there’s that word again), he can every actually be consistent somewhere in between, and still have the ACE type stretches, he could become the Top of the rotation pitcher, so many believe he already was, upon arrival.

  • Eth

    Ive been a cubs fan for sixty years ,we need a fresh take charge guy that is in tune with every new methed used to build astrong organization for years.The guy from texas would be first thenEpstien second.