Sustained Success and a Cubs Way

The Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc. moved into a new era and in the right direction Tuesday as Theo Epstein was officially named President of Baseball Operations.

Tom Ricketts introduced Theo Epstein to the Chicago (and Boston) Media and the Faithful by stating the organization is taking a major step toward creating a culture of winning with the hiring of Theo Epstein. Ricketts said he could not imagine a better person for the job.

Epstein talked about building an organization from the ground up with the goal being to build a consistent winner over time, one that will play consistently in October. Epstein acknowledged it will take a lot of work. There is a gap between where they are and where the Cubs want to be … and one person will not turn the organization around.

Epstein talked about developing a “Cubs Way” of playing baseball throughout the entire organization … just not at the Major League level. The Cubs will have a “Player Development Manual” with the appropriate way to play defense at every position that includes expectations that the Cubs have for players just not defensively but offensively as well. Epstein explained once the foundation is built, players up and down the system would be on the same page as to what the organization expects from them.

The Cubs appear to have a basis for a plan moving forward and how they want to build a winning organization …

As the Cubs front office continues to take shape as the World Series comes to a conclusion, here are the updates on the official second day of ‘Team Epstein‘ …

Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod
Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod are on their way to join Theo Epstein in the new Cubs front office. The hiring of both Hoyer and McLeod has been known for quite some time and should become official no later than Monday according to ESPN Chicago.

Hoyer spent three days in Chicago (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) before reportedly returning to San Diego on Tuesday night. Epstein is expected to name Hoyer the Cubs GM shortly after the completion of the World Series. McLeod will be named assistant general manager shortly after Hoyer’s press conference.

Mike Quade and Managerial Rumors
After Epstein and Hoyer are officially in charge, their first line of business is expected to be Mike Quade and his coaching staff. Epstein said Tuesday that he has spoken to Quade over the phone and is expecting to meet with him over the next week. Epstein said, “We’ll get together and decide where we go from there.”

Most feel that Quade will not return to manage the Cubs.

Bruce Levine mentioned Epstein’s statements regarding the Cubs defensive problems and the bad approach by the Cubs at the plate during the session with the media following the press conference. Levine thought Epstein’s statements were indictments of both Quade and his coaching staff and he doesn’t think Quade will be around much longer.

During the same session with the media, Barry Rozner (Daily Herald and 670 the Score) asked Epstein about Quade’s future. Epstein said that he and Hoyer would decide Quade’s future before he realized Hoyer was not yet the team’s manager.

Rozner got the feeling from Epstein that he would like Hoyer to find his Terry Francona …. Basically a younger manager that can grow with the organization and the GM. Rozner thinks the Cubs are looking to hire a manger that will stick around for more than just three to four years at a time. Rozner thinks there is a one percent chance that Quade remains as the team’s manager.

According to the Sun-Times, “many close to Ryne Sandberg believe he would not rule out a big league coaching job if he doesn’t land a manager job.”

The Blue Jays released a statement Tuesday concerning the John Farrell rumors. The Jays are no longer going to allow permission for teams to speak with their employees about lateral moves. Speculation was that Epstein and Hoyer could be interested in Farrell for the Cubs job due to the Red Sox connection.

Tidbits, Rumors and Other Info
According to Paul Sullivan, Theo Epstein plans on speaking with Carlos Zambrano before deciding on his future with the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs might be players in the free agent market according to the Sun-Times … but not necessarily interested in the big name, high dollar first basemen. Epstein said, “The free agent that requires a long term, substantial commitment – there’s a time and a place for that type of investment. And I think it is important to understand when that right time is.”

According to a report from the Sun-Times, sources have indicated the Cubs have moved their annual organization meetings back to February … a week before pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park.

Theo Epstein Video Links

Audio Link to the entire Theo Epstein Press Conference

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Charlie Chaplin

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  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Ownership and a front office committed to perpetual  success  !

  • Ripsnorter1

    WHAT?!!??!!!!

    YOU MEAN THEY ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO TEACH PLAYERS HOW TO PLAY??!!???????

    UNHEARD OF IN THE CUBS’ SYSTEM!!OUTRAGEOUS!

    My other comment:It only took 140 years. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY YEARS!
    The Cubs are one of only two teams of the original founding NL teams (Atlanta Braves being the other). And the survived (financially, if not on the playing field) without a manual to teach players! WHAT TOOK SO LONG????!!!??????

  • Tony_Hall

    It is sooooo hard to believe that this type of talk is coming out of Clark and Addison.  The concept that you have a way to play the Cubs Way, is truly a welcome site. This team has had no direction, except to just sign guys, and give them to managers in the minors to develop as they wish, to pass them on to the next guy.  The result, was a farm system, that produced very few major leaguers, even the type that fit in, on our major league team.

    I can’t wait to see what’s next!

  • Tony_Hall

    “Bruce Levine mentioned Epstein’s statements regarding the Cubs defensive problems and the bad approach by the Cubs at the plate during the session with the media following the press conference. Levine thought Epstein’s statements were indictments of both Quade and his coaching staff and he doesn’t think Quade will be around much longer.”

    I wouldn’t think Theo is planning on keeping all that many guys from the old regime.  A couple here and there, but will any of them get what he is doing.  

    Can you see bringing Dusty, Lou, Q and all their coaches (Waving Wendall anyone) back and having them sit down in a conference room and have a training session on “The Cubs Way” of baseball.  

    I can just see Wendall raising his hand in his waving way.  

    Theo saying “Wendall, does your arm always wave like that”  Dusty reaches over to try and hold his arm down.  

    Wendall then asks “By reading this part about base running, you are saying it’s not smart to send a runner home from second on a line drive single, to their best throwing arm in right field, when your #3 and #4 hitter is coming up to the plate.”  

    Theo says, “That’s correct Wendall!  Good job!”  

    Wendall asks “How do I know which outfielder has a good arm?”  

    Theo: “You see Wendall, those advance scouting reports will detail all of that info for you.”

    Lucky Lou: “Of course it also depends on your #3 hitter”

    Theo: “Lou, what do you mean by that, your #3 hitter is your best hitter in your lineup, you can reference Section 3, Part B, Item 7, that states how to construct the 3rd batting spot in a lineup”

    Q sinks into his chair a little bit as Lou states “Did you see some of Quade’s lineups…Blake “bleeping” Dewitt batted 3rd – 6 times this past year” as Lou starts laughing.

    Dusty, laughing “Dewitt did”  putting his hand on Q’s shoulder “Dude, you didn’t really do that….dude”

    Q:  “Yeah I did, but he was playing 3rd, and that is Rammies spot in the lineup, so it made sense to me, that he was replacing him, so just bat him 3rd…”

    Hilarious laughter in the entire room, as Q finally gets how stupid he has been.

    Theo is clearly disgusted and just points at the door and stares at Q.

    Jed leans in and says to Theo “What the hell have they been doing here for the last 103 years….. let’s just fire them ALL”

    • Dorasaga

      There’s a little poet in you, Tony, the petite poet, Toni.

    • J Daniel

      AWESOME!  This just made my day!  I have to go get another cup of “THEO”!

  • Brian N

    In the completing odd comments department… It is no longer the “Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc.”.  That was the Tribune and I think Wrigley Family entity.  It is now “Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, LLC” that owns the Cubs.  Rickets Family owns 95% of that and Tribune 5%

    • Brian B

      Make that “In the completly odd comments department”

  • JimBo_C

    If

    1) there is a time and place to pay for big ticket free agents and
    2) with free agents you pay for future performance (not past) and
    3) players are in their prime from 26 to 31

    then

    I dont see how Ramirez and his multi year contract desires (probably at 15 mil or more per year) is going to be part of the Cubs Way.

    • Bill

      Might we be saying goodbye to Rudy J?  I don’t see how he fits into what Epstein was preaching.  Espstein says he wants guys who have a good OBP and who work the count to make the opposing pitcher throw a lot of pitches.  Epstein wants patience at the plate.  Rudy J’s philosophy has always been to be aggressive at the plate and to swing at the first good pitch you see.  I for one will be happy if Rudy J is out.  

      • cubtex

        A hitting coach can point out fundamental flaws and offer suggestions….but it ultimately up to the hitter. Do you think Jaramillo tells Colvin to swing as hard as you can in case you hit it?? Do you think he tells Byrd to swing at the 1st pitch every at bat? A hitting coach can only offer suggestions.

        • Bill

          It’s a philosophy.  Look at the Yankees and they take the approach of working the count, trying to get a starting pitchers pitch count up and making the other team have to go to their bullpen.  

          I’ve never heard patience and working the count when I’ve heard Rudy talking about his approach to hitting.  The Cubs have been notorious for having a hack, hack, hack, approach to hitting.  

          Let’s face it, the Rangers haven’t missed a beat since Rudy has left.  I think Rudy was over hyped.  In fairness, I think a hitting coach doesn’t have much of an impact beyond being a therapist.  They definitely don’t have the same impact as the pitching coach.    

          • Aaron

            I think you have a valid point there Bill….One of the reasons the Cubs landed Gerald Perry as a hitting coach was because he stressed OBP, etc. He was let go because the Cubs struggled in 2009 mid-season, then Joshua was the interim, then Jaramillo was hired.

            If you look at Cubs teams from 2007-2009 when he was with them, they took a LOT of pitches, and then all of a sudden Jaramillo comes on board, and the Cubs have the following results:
            2010-479 walks, 14th in NL, 1236 K’s, 4th in NL (reverse, obviously of walks, which is higher the ranking, the better you are)
            2011-425 walks, 15th in NL, 1202 K’s, 8th in NL

            Perry’s Cubs had:
            2007-500 walks, 15th in NL (…which was a little bizarre, but still better than any of Jaramillo’s years with the team), 1054 K’s, 11th in NL
            2008-636 walks, 1st in NL, 1186 K’s, 6th in NL
            2009-592 walks, 6th in NL, 1185 K’s, 6th in NL

            Not coincidentally, the Cubs happened to have winning records in 2009, 2008, and 2007.

            So all these people that tend to poo poo the importance of sabermetrics and objective data like OBP, OPS, etc., can eat it…..

            Over that same time period, I was curious how the Rangers ranked…and if it was a player specific sort of thing (in other words…he had better hitters in Texas than Chicago…which is true to some degree):
            2007-503 walks, 10th in AL, 1224 K’s, 2nd in AL
            2008-595 walks, 3rd in AL, 1207, 4th in AL
            2009-472 walks, 12th, 1253, 1st in AL
            *2009 was their only winning season

            I was also curious to see how those numbers stacked up with the Red Sox during the same period:
            2007-689 walks, 1st in AL, 1042 K’s, 9th in AL
            2008-646 walks, 1st in AL, 1068 K’s, 6th in AL
            2009-659 walks, 2nd in AL, 1120 K’s, 4th in AL
            2010-587 walks, 3rd in AL, 1140 K’s, 6th in AL
            2011-578 walks, 2nd in AL, 1108 K’s, 8th in AL

            The Red Sox made the playoffs from 2007-2009, and missed out the last 2 years with records that were still above where the NL Central typically is:
            90-72, 2011
            89-73, 2010

            When Theo was talking about building a consistent winner, THIS is what he was talking about:
            http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/

            The Red Sox averaged just under 94 wins during Theo’s 9 years, 6 playoff appearances, 4 ALCS trips, winning 2 World Series titles and ZERO losing seasons (actually, never had less than 86 wins), while the Cubs averaged just 80 wins and only 1 NLCS appearance, 3 playoff trips and had 5 losing seasons in Hendry’s 10 years (only 3 seasons above 86 wins).

            So you can take that data, and do with it however you like, but it sure seems to me that OBP matters….Guys that work counts REALLY matter in the team’s record, which I’ve been saying FOREVER on here. Just look at how inconsistent the Cubs have been under both Perry and Jaramillo. You can see that they were certainly better under Perry, but they’re even worse under Jaramillo.

            While Rudy can only make suggestions, his philosophy is so wildly different than Theo’s, that you can’t help but question whether or not his job is secure. In fact, Rudy stated that he likes the hitters to be aggressive, whereas Theo prefers that they take a diplomatic approach at the plate, given the circumstances in the game, as well as looking for their pitch to hit, while Rudy’s aggressiveness transfers to the hitters in that you see them swinging at the first pitch nearly every damn time.

            The biggest culprits in my mind for first-pitch swinging were:
            Byrd
            Soriano
            ARAM
            DeWitt
            Colvin
            Barney
            Castro (though he made a ton of contact unlike all but ARAM in the list above)

            You almost wonder if Theo might try to lure Dave Magadan to the Cubs to replace Rudy.

  • Griffnbell

    I was very impressed with Theo. Very well spoken and has a plan. I’m pumped and feel like this is a new chapter in my Cubs life. 

  • J Daniel

    I don not see the Cubs being players in FA for any major guys next year unless something wierd happens.  Probably some mid level guys.  Probably target a few in trades but they really do not have tradeable pieces on ML roster.  Don’t see them trading prospects yet.

    With all of that said I believe they will take a big step back on the ML payroll for next year.  Some of this money will be used to absorb all of the getting rid of guys that they still owe such as Q, Rudy, Sori, and any other bad paper.  But after next year the books should be back in order.  They will have had another draft along with another year of experience for the young guys – playing the game the right way.

    Also, if I were to bet (based on his comments on Comcast) Big Z will be back next year.  At least until he can trade him for value – which is what I have been saying all along.  Z will want another contract and I expect him to pitch well.  At that point, in July, someone will need a pitcher for the stretch.

    Trading guys for value when their value is high – Aaron states this all of the time.

    So, I expect guys like Cuddyer, Kubel – those types of guys to be the primary targets at first.  Also, he will be looking at those types of pitchers.

  • Bobby P

    Good interview with Theo on AM/ESPN 1000 this morning. Just finished.

    I would suggest checking out the Waddle & Silvy podcast later today when they release it. They had him on to start the show, so you don’t have to listen to the whole thing.

    • Aaron

      thanks for the tip, and here’s the link:

      http://espn.go.com/espnradio/chicago/play?id=7151401

      • Aaron

        TREMENDOUS interview, and I’m even more excited he’s on board now….little worried still about compensation, but whatever

        • Bobby P

          Yeah, I thought it covered a lot and they got some personal questions in too. Really well-spoken and knowledgeable. It’s so foreign to hear a GM/President of Baseball Ops so knowledgeable…

          The compensation should be okay, I think. I almost want Selig to arbitrate, since I have a feeling he’ll not want to set a major precedent, but I also hate not having full control of who we give up.

          If we could give them a Jeff Baker, we should be able to avoid any AA or AAA players. I really think it would be wiser to give them a major leaguer so that we don’t have to give up a Vitters or McNutt, for example. You know that I wouldn’t be too broken up if we do lose either one or both, but now that we actually have Theo, I’m getting greedy…

        • studio179

          Exactly, we can’t stress over compensation. Might as well say whatever to it. The Cubs are holding well their own so far. So long as they get it done before Uncle Bud gets involved. 

        • cubtex

          I agree. I have been very vocal on Theo being overhyped…but overhyped or not….he has a plan and direction for this franchise that was clearly lacking in past regimes. At least Cub fans can be excited that we have someone implementing a foundation.

      • Bobby P

        Thanks for the link, I was trying to find one, but couldn’t.

      • John G

        Thanks for the link Aaron. Great interview. He didn’t pull any punches when it came to Soriano. I gotta think that Sori is gone.

        Doogie Howser??? LOL!!

        • Aaron

          I was just about to post a recap and you took the words out of my mouth. He was diplomatic about it, just as he was with Quade, but you got the sense, just by his tone and word choice, that he’s as good as gone. 

          Basically, he was saying, “Soriano in theory should be a good player, but he’s too old, and regressing, and now I have to unload him somehow”

          • Anthony

            Good interview, more relaxed, and when he talked about Castro, hopefully listeners got a good dose of “patience” when it comes to daily concerns about defense, plate approach, and strike zone awareness. These things cannot be tracked in a daily boxscore recap for all prospects in the system let alone the MLB club, then some useless amateur internet evaluations follow with harsh criticism?

            Theo basically said Castro is the SS and referred to Jeter and his high error count at the same age in MILB. He also had to backpedal a tad when he used 3B as an example of a club need, and having one in the minors versus spending on FA.

            When the Comp is settled, my guess is any minor leaguers dealt will come from a list of players that have viable backups from the 2011 Draft. Since this crop can’t be traded(for current use), and using any as a deferred PTNL is unfair to the player and organization, chances are the Comp players will come from positions of depth, which is OF and 1B, on paper, and they will be either young, or near MLB ready.

          • daverj

            I had a completely difference interpretation of the Soriano portion of the interview.  I thought Theo was saying that Soriano is not what he used to be, but he’s on the team and untradable so we need to do what we can to get the best out of him.

            I’d be shocked if Soriano is not on the Cubs Opening Day.

          • Anthony

            I didn’t refer to the Soriano portion, I referred to Theo saying nobody should knee-jerk on Castro as a defensive SS and folks wanting him shifted to 3B. In general, he sounded that he will use due diligence on every player from the DSL to the Cubs ML roster.

            Each organization has a book on prospects for all affiliated teams, either through their own field scouting and/or the MLBSB prior to them being drafted.

            I would assume that the boys from SD as well as Theo have already ran these reports, as well as the minor league reports from within their past org’s as well as what the Cubs have written that past season on them.

            These reports serve the purpose for the owed Comp as well as prelim work for 2012 affiliate player assignments, and would also assume Fleita and Wilken are very involved with this task, the depth chart.

            Would love to see the past 5 seasons Draft board of Boston, and where our current farm guys appeared on them?

  • woody34

    With no 3B in the system who look like they are ready to take over for Ramirez, and really no options in FA – what options does Theo/Jed have for this new gaping hole?  What about signing Reyes instead of Fielder?  Signing Reyes now allows them to shift Castro to third base where he can develop into his power and the Cubs lineup is set at the 1 and 2 holes for the next 5 yrs.  There are some beast 1B in the system who need a couple years to develop still, so I can see Theo using either a stopgap like a LaHair/Cuddyer platoon. 

    • daverj

      $100+ million for an injury prone guy like Reyes .. I can’t see that happening with the new regime.  For third base in 2012, I think either Ramirez signs with the Cubs for less years than he can get elsewhere or the Cubs sign a 1 year stopgap like Kouzmanoff.

      I can’t see the Cubs being players for the big name free agents seeking long term deals like Fielder, Pujols, CJ Wilson, Rollins, Beltran and Reyes.    That would be a Hendry move.  It wouldn’t be enough for us to win this year and the long term deals would strangle the payroll in the future.

    • J Daniel

      No way on Reyes.  That money should be for a power guy.  You can get a fundamentally sound player for short  and second- the Cardinals do it every year.  Guys that are going to play the game right, hard, grind, and have a high obp.

      Spend for power at 3rd 1st and corner of but those guys have to be the right guys.

      Can move Castro to 3rd though.

    • Jay from sandwich

      I think the Cubs have alot of choices at thrid base (for at least a stop gap person anyways) We need PITCHING and Fielder (1B). But baseball is like realastate where location, location, location is most inportant for Basball its Pitching, pitching and pitching.

  • studio179

    LOL. Some of the Twitter jokes about Theo brought a smile all in good fun.

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/8409416-573/theo-reaches-legendary-status-on-twitter.html 

    • EqDoc

      “The most interesting man in the world calls Theo for advice.”  I love it!!!

      • John G

        Just wait till he switches from Dos Equis to Old Style.

      • studio179

        Yeah, that was the one that made me laugh the most.

  • Aaron

    You guys are going to love this quote:

    ********************************************************************************************
    Epstein was asked if Ricketts had given him the authority to release underproductive players, with Alfonso Soriano and Zambrano mentioned specifically.

    “Yeah, I believe so … I know so,” Epstein said. “It’s also a sign of a good organization to understand the concept of a sunk cost, and to move on. Understand sometimes you’re gaining by saying goodbye, when it is time to move on.”
    ******************************************************************

    It’s so refreshing to hear that coming from a club that would rather hang onto players well past their usefulness. I believe Epstein got in Ricketts ear, and said, “listen, I’ll take the job, if you realize you are going to have to make tough decisions regarding this roster, and that might mean eating all or significant amounts of veterans salaries to improve the team.”

    My feeling on Epstein’s way of thinking is that unless he’s getting a stopgap veteran to be a bench player, you won’t see him signing 32+year old free agents to multi-year deals. He also won’t stand for crappy production from players like that already signed to deals.

    Thus, that means the following players are in jeopardy of not returning:
    Hill (granted, he’d never be considered “high dollar” or “long-term” anyway, but still…)
    Pena
    ARAM
    Soriano
    Byrd
    Johnson (like Hill, would never be considered long-term, but doesn’t fit the Epstein mold it seems, because he’s a free-swinger)
    Baker (though I’m conflicted about this one, because the Red Sox wanted him…so does that mean Epstein was the one that wanted him?!? If so, I’m a little concerned)

    As for pitchers, there’s really not an age cut-off, other than perhaps 40+years old, so there’s no telling what he feels about the pitching staff, other than you won’t see crappy pitchers (their whole careers prior to one above average season) like Grabow signed to multi-year deals.

    If Epstein was here last year, I’m certain guys like Grabow, Ortiz, Lopez, Hill, and Byrd wouldn’t have lasted the year with the team (or been on it to begin with)….and that is VERY refreshing to know that

    • J Daniel

      Right on.  Also, guys like Soto, Barney, Colvin, are in jeoparday as well.  On the flip side, a guy like LaHair is going to get a legit shot.

      I don’t think we will see Pena due to LaHair – at a savings of 9+million.  Don’t think we will see Aram back and will have a much cheaper short term guy for a savings of about 13 million.  That money, about 22+ million will be taken to help absorb the dumping of Sori.  Also, B Jax will be a savings of a couple of million over Byrd (after including 2-3 million) in a trade of him.  Dempster is a tough call but if those moves can be made (and I don’t think they are difficult) there is basically a clean slate no budget allocated for 2013 season.

      • Aaron

        I absolutely agree with that…The problem is, if you look at it from Theo’s perspective…unless the Yankees decline Swisher’s option, which is an extreme LONG SHOT, then what other options does he have for the OF. Does he sign a 32 year old Cuddyer? Does he sign Kubel, who is 29, but coming off an injury riddled season? The reason it’s such a conundrum, is even though we all universally seem to agree that Soriano has to go…he still hit 26 bombs, 88 RBI. Who replaces that? Certainly not Jackson in my opinion, though he’d EASILY replace Byrd’s output. I guess LaHair could come close, but he’s better suited to be a 1B. 

        Aside from them, who is on the trade block in terms of high production outfielders?

        Here’s a short list of potentially available outfielders in trade:
        Melky Cabrera
        Andre Eithier
        BJ Upton
        Seth Smith
        Delmon Young
        Logan Morrison
        Jason Bay*
        Vernon Wells*
        Carlos Quentin
        Colby Rasmus (could be traded again, who knows?)

        *-would need to include off-setting high $$ contract like Soriano or Zambrano

        Depending on who the Cubs have to give up in trades for Epstein and Hoyer, I would say they might be better served just signing BOTH Cuddyer and Kubel, and trading for either BJ Upton or Morrison.

        I would recommend they trade Marmol, Soto, Barney, and Byrd, then use those prospects obtained to land Upton or Morrison. 

        I just don’t see any way it can work with the current OF of: Soriano, Byrd, and Colvin. 

        Additionally, as mentioned, I don’t see how it can work with Barney at 2B, even as much as Cubs fans seem to enjoy watching him play (I personally liked his hustle), he just isn’t an Epstein type of player that works the count. Guys like him, ARAM, Soriano, and ESPECIALLY Byrd are as good as gone.

        Soto has a chance to stay because he works the counts, and Castro certainly is staying based on what Epstein said, and even LaHair has a chance at sticking, because like Soto, he works the counts. Everyone else is up in the air, and that’s a VERY good thing.

        In light of what Epstein had to say, the guys that have the greatest chance of getting a look in Spring Training that are probably undervalued (in some cases) by most fans, are the following:
        Rebel Ridling-OF/1B-.309/.372/.515
        Ty Wright-OF-.322/.382/.479
        B. Jackson-OF-.274/.379/.490
        Clevenger-C/3B/1B-.319/.383/.475
        Lalli-C/1B/3B/OF-.287/.359/.433 *28 yrs old (but overall, remember what Epstein said about supposed 4-A players, and how he doesn’t believe in that. Lalli’s career line in the minors is .303/.367/.420 All he does is hit, just like LaHair. He’d make an excellent utility player kind of like Clevenger, where both can play catcher)
        Rohan-1B/3B/OF-.323/.378/.478
        Cerda-3B/2B-.283/.394/.357 (most importantly, 71 walks vs 71 K’s, following up his 2010 season in which he had 68 walks vs 68 K’s…making him a VERY interesting Epstein-type of player at just 21 yrs old)

    • Jay from sandwich

      Do not worry about Baker the Bsox want he so bad that the demans could easly be meet if the Cubs would include him as the Center pice to the THEO compansation deal (Which I would in a haert beat). He is expendable to the cubs. I also like the afe thing for freeagent signings that means only Fielder fits. a three or four year deal and say goodbye.

    • J Daniel

      Just think, if Theo plays his cards right, and I am sure he will, he can have (depending on how much money he spends this winter) have 80-120 million to spend in 2013.

    • Aaron

      you know what else is interesting about his interview? When he was talking about “building assets…” “whether that be small trades, waiver claims, etc.”

      Do you all remember what I was saying last offseason?

      I said we needed to go after the likes of Melky Cabrera, Franceour, Fields, Milledge, etc, because we could use them as “ASSETS”, and either they do well and you extend them, do poorly and you release them, or do well enough that they generate interest and you trade them at the deadline….That’s 2 of 3 that would work in a team’s favor.

      Lo and behold, all of those guys did well in MLB or the minors, and in Fields’ case, did well enough to get a look in Japan.

      The Cubs NEVER did stuff like that…it was always them picking up veteran scraps at the bottom of the barrel, when all 4 of those guys were in their 20’s, and two were in their mid-20’s.

      I’m so happy to see this organizational shift in philosophy, I just can’t speak enough about it…I’m excited….for once, to be a Cubs fan

      • J Daniel

        This is exactly what I think they should do with Z.  Right now he is on the clearance rack.  Why let him go for nothing and pay most of it when you have a chance to build an asset with him and move him at the deadline.  If he decides to be garbage this year then he can go to Boise.

        • Aaron

          I absolutely agree with you, but with one caveat….if they determine through conversations that it would be impossible to bring him back with his teammates not having his back, then you absolutely must move him. I actually liken it to the Milton Bradley situation. The Cubs would’ve lost the entire team if they would’ve brought him back the following year (not that it mattered anyway with their terrible season….but you get the picture).

          If Theo interviews the players, and he speaks with the coaching staff, and it’s universal that he’s got to go, then he’ll make the move.

          But I think you have to look at all of this from a successful GM’s standpoint…which is something the Cubs have NOT had since Dallas Green….and that’s the fact that Theo is not going to sit there and tell you what he really thinks, like Jim Hendry would often times do, thus ruining a player’s trade value….He’ll leave the door open for a return, as well as an exit, just as he said in the interview (he said the Cubs need pitching, and that Zambrano is a very good pitcher, and he wants to learn how to get the most out of him, as good organizations learn to do….then he left room for flexibility saying sometimes, you just have to cut ties, but that was a little anecdote at the end and not the bulk of what he was saying).

          The most important thing everyone has to realize that Epstein has already made clear, is the fact that he will NOT pay for past performance. Guys like Soriano, Pena, Zambrano, ARAM, and Dempster all fit into that category. All that Theo is doing now is trying to protect what little trade assets he has right now, and maximize their value. Teams are always looking for starting pitching, so there will be a market for Zambrano and Dempster out there…he just has to build one, and he’s doing it very tactfully right now.

        • paulcatanese

          OK, bring Z back, but only if they have a taser gun in the dugout that will reach the mound, and a manager that has a quick trigger finger.

    • Reggie

      When you compare Epstein’s approach to Jim Hendry it’s a momentous change.  I do admit however that I will miss Jim’s standard “he’s a team guy, sure he’d like to be playing better but he’s a clubhouse leader” line, they always gave me a giggle.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bruce Levine: Aramis Ramirez tells me he’s open to a return to the cubs now that Theo is in charge

    • J Daniel

      Ya, and he can go jump!

    • J Daniel

      That is their way of trying to create a market for him that may not be there.  Maybe they realize he might not get the 4-5 year deal he is looing for.  I used to be a big fan of his until this year when he wanted to stay then he doesn’t want to and test the maket to now he is open to??? ya right!  Theo can find someone else!

    • Aaron

      Maybe I’m bad at reading non-verbals, but watching the interview when he was asked about ARAM, I got the distinct feeling that he’d already made up his mind that he wasn’t going to bring him back.

      Again, I could be wrong, but when he kind of paused for a second, then talked about sitting down, and “…I already have my own opinion from afar…”, you kind of got the feeling that, like his response with Soriano, he was as good as gone.

      If he doesn’t re-sign ARAM, then you’d have to think one of 3 things is going to happen:
      a) they give the position outright to Vitters
      or
      b) they make a trade for a David Wright, Chase Headley, or Ian Stewart
      or
      c) they do a 3B by committe with Vitters, LeMahieu, and Flaherty all splitting time there at different points in the season

      • diehardcubfan

        This of course is assuming Vitters is not part of the compensation.

        • Aaron

          exactly

      • daverj

        Stewart seems like a viable option.  We don’t have the prospects to acquire Wright or Headley (who the Pads seem to really like).  I could see the committee of the trio you mentioned.  I also think Kouzmanoff is a possibility.

        • Aaron

          I really wouldn’t discount the Wright option….he’s struggled with post-concussion syndrome, and the Mets reportedly are conflicted about shelling out $16 million each the next 2 seasons. PLUS, they’re looking to re-tool for the future.

          Wright played in 102 games last year, and batted .254/.345/.427 and 14 hr, 61 RBI which is a far cry from his career averages of: .300/.380/.508, and 27 hr, 106 RBI

          I just don’t see any high quality 3B options out there in FA or available in trade. Sure, Sandoval would look nice, and I posted that the other day when considering 3B options, but he’s a long-shot, as the Giants are trying to get younger.

          And I’d love the Cubs to take a run at Longoria, but he’s signed to a team friendly deal in Tampa, and they have absolutely no incentive to trade him. I guess if the Cubs were smart, they’d try to get back Russ Canzler from the Rays (a player under Epstein who likely would’ve been valued far more than under Hendry…as he walks a fair amount, doesn’t strike out a lot, is versatile in the field, but not flashy in any facet of his game, etc.), but I doubt the Rays would even trade him.

          I guess DeRosa on the cheap would be an option, as he could supply veteran leadership, and a decent OBP. We can probably forget about Kouzmanoff, as his career OBP is dreadful.

          I guess what I’m trying to say is when we’re evaluating trades and FA options, we need to look primarily at guys that have .340 OBP’s and above (again, as I said before, I’m adjusting down from .350+OBP which was his gold standard in Boston because he’s in the NL now).

          • daverj

            I agree that the Mets would consider dealing Wright as they are trying to get younger.  I just think the price tag will be very high in terms of prospects and we don’t have top prospects to trade now … though hopefully we will have prospects to deal for star players in a couple years. In fact, I expect Wright to stay put because the Mets demands from all teams talking trade will be too high.

          • daverj

            Aaron – One more thing to add, I also agree with you on the type of guys we should target in terms of OBP.  I just don’t think we’re in a position to make those deals yet given our weak minor league system.  We don’t have the high upside guys that teams are looking for.

        • John_CC

          Ian Stewart is awful.  He has had plenty of opportunities and had failed in all of them.

          I still love Davey Wright. 

    • paulcatanese

      That is so two-faced by Aram,what has to be realized (and I’m sure Theo has) is that Aram only offers one half a season of performance. I dont think he will buy into that, maybe for half of what he has been getting.

    • diehardcubfan

      I called that the other day.

  • paulcatanese

    Only three things one can take to the bank, 1. Garza 2.Castro’s bat 3. Campana’s speed. Not much, but thats for real.

    • Aaron

      Sadly, I’d have to agree with you…but I’d also toss in Marshall’s consistency

      • paulcatanese

        Aaron, I’ll go along with that.

    • daverj

      I’d like to take Soriano’s salary to my bank!

  • John G

    Okay – Theo’s been on the job for over 24 hours now and no one’s been fired. WTH
    Our patience is growing thin.

    J/K

    • paulcatanese

      Love it John, maybe he’s waiting for his engraved pens to arrive, the ones that are on the handle side of an axe.

      • Reggie

        I think Theo is changing every available lock Mike Quade would use before the pens arrive, like the new “Cubs way” it’s a long process.

    • Jay from sandwich

      God I hope that maintaining the staus Quote for the Cubs do’s not mean like tge past 103 years because if it do’s we will known soon (early next week) If the new management teams retains Qua then it’s another 100 years. If not then let the new era begain.

  • paulcatanese

    I would not place any bets on the Cardinals for the rest of the Series. Looks to me that they are more messed up internally than the Cubs were this year. One hand dosent know what the other is doing.

    Which brings up Pujols again, he is only as good as who hits in front of him and behind him, they have 0 at this point. Would he not have the same problem if the Cubs were to bring him here? The answer with Pujols (ATTENTION QUA, DONT LET HIM BEAT YOU, WALK HIM EVERYTIME), and notice, he does not have the patience, and will go out of the zone for a pitch.

    • Dorasaga

      Sad. Adam Dunn was like that last year.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs in AFL (10/26): DJ LeMahieu (1B): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R; Chris Carpenter: 0R, 2H, 0BB, 3K, 2IP (39 pitches, 23 strikes)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs just announced Hoyer is the new GM and McLeod is VP of scouting and development, will post soon

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The Padres receive a PTBNL for both Hoyer and McLeod

    • Aaron

      I get the feeling that it will be just as significant as the Red Sox compensation, which means it will be a top prospect….just a hunch

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        According to a report from ESPN Chicago, the compensation from the Cubs to the Padres “will come in the form of a lesser player than the one who will go to Boston as compensation for Epstein.”

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    HOPE ETERNAL!