Rambling for a New Cubs Manager

Happy Veterans Day from the CCO and a tip of the cap to all of the veterans that have fought for our freedom …

Hello again, everybody! It’s Friday, it’s probably snowing and it is time to ramble!

Cubs’ fans are downright giddy about the off-season and cannot wait to see what Theo and Jed have in their head.

The Cubs have Sandy Jr. coming in today and they may decide to have one or two more candidates come in, but I think it is fair to say that in less than a week, the Cubs’ brass will have made up their mind, and a new field general will be named. Beyond that, there is plenty to discuss, so, let’s stop delaying the inevitable. We need to get out of our ways and get down to business.

And away we go …

  • WGN’s next big hit, being filmed on-location in Chicago, “The Law Firm of Maddux and Maddux.” – That’s from Neil
  • I owe someone else credit for this, probably ESPN 1000, but Maddux is the best choice for one simple reason … I will give you a hint …
  • Ditka …
  • Phil Jackson …
  • Joel Queneville …
  • As we all know, in Chicago, the ‘stache always prevails! We cannot pass this up. Cowboy Mike Maddux must be hired. We need the young manager burping the big teddy bear.
  • And thanks to Waddle and Silvy for the “Cowboy” nickname. I can’t claim that as my own, but I love and I think it should stick.
  • I called-in to a teleconference today with Cubs management that was held for season-ticket holders. I will not bore you with all the details, but here are a few …
  • Theo said the Cubs are in the sixth inning of the manager search.
  • When asked about his initial analysis of the farm system, Theo said, “We have work to do. I am not going to sugar coat it.”
  • When asked about players in the minors that stand out, McLeod listed three …
  • Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur and Junior Lake. He mentioned it is very good to see Lake’s performance this fall.
  • I heard that Junior Lake has a lot of upside when you combine athleticism and strength with performance and age.
  • Theo mentioned that in order to learn more about the Cubs from the inside, he had lunch with Billy Williams. Later that day he had a meeting with Ernie Banks.
  • Two statements stuck out the most to me, both from Theo:
  • “We start every year trying to win the World Series.”
  • And …
  • “True success is when you win your last game in late October.”
  • I hope some of that insight was enjoyable to read. Now back to my ridiculous and random stream of consciousness.
  • I am pretty darn sure that Blake Dewitt and/or Jeff Baker won’t be on the team next year. Maybe one, but I don’t see both.
  • I mean, these guys are smart baseball people, right?
  • Hey, with Hendry out, at least we don’t have to expect another overrated middle infielder from the Dodgers at the trade deadline anymore.
  • So, is it me or did Dayton Moore clearly violate baseball rules by discussing Zambrano? Will Bud actually punish the lowly Royals? I mean, he has to, right?
  • I would pay $17 million of that salary to ship him to Kauffman Stadium. He thinks he is unhappy here. Oh, wow. Reality-show cameras should follow him around for that. Could you imagine that show?
  • WTF would be the funniest moment on that show?
  • WTF would he punch first in the locker room?
  • WTF did he just throw Mike Moustakas into the water fountain at Kauffman?
  • And I think we all get it …

Let’s hear all of your thoughts below and throw out every “WTF Zambrano in KC” you can think of!

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

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  • RynoTiger

    This is the second team to openly discuss Zambrano..the first being the Marlins through Ozzie.

    One of those teams has to be held accountable, right? 

    • Brp921

      Kansas Cities punishment should be to have to trade for Zambrano and take his salary. LOL

    • Roland

      I think it only helps the Cubs to have teams talking about willing to take Zambrano.

  • Tony_Hall

    “True success is when you win your last game in late October.”
    That should be our new motto.

    It’s not that teams can’t have a good year, without winning their last game in late October, but in this world where everyone walks home with a trophy, professional sports still only lets one team finish their year with a celebration on the field.

  • Tony_Hall

    I wouldn’t want to pay $17M, but as I stated when this came out about Dayton Moore’s comments, he should be punished by being forced to accept a trade for Big Z.  I actually think Z would accept the trade, if he could be promised to DH 3+ days per week and a small market team, for 1 year, might actually enjoy his act.

  • Tony_Hall

    An outfield of Junior Lake LF – Matt Szczur CF – Brett Jackson RF would be an incredibly young, fast, defensive team with lots of excitement on the bases.  

    The sad part is he couldn’t name more than 3 players, that stand out and Theo’s comment about the farm system ” “We have work to do. I am not going to sugar coat it.” says a lot about the lack of high level prospects in our system.  We have lots of players who could end up playing in the majors, but not that many that will play in the middle of July to determine home field advantage for the World Series.

    • Anthony

      Amazing how someone can evaluate 250-300 minor league players in such a short time, during the off-season, not watching them actually playing, but on paper and through a computer program?

      • Tony_Hall

        Not sure whats so hard to understand. They have their info from previous teams to go by and the Cubs own scouting reports and video. At a minimum they have done a high level look at each team and that would include a look at the top prospects at each level. With so many people who know this system just on here, I see no reason why they wouldn’t already have a pretty good idea of their players.

        • paulcatanese

          Tony, I would imagine the type of guy Epstein is that he took a “glance” at what the Cubs had as far back as August 2011, knowing their would probably be a spot open that he would be interested in. As you and I think, I dont think there was any grass growing under Theo.

      • daverj

        From being in Boston and San Diego, they likely have a good sense of the top 25 or so prospects from every major league team.  

        • J Daniel

          I would imagine some info on ALL of them.  Computers can do wonders.

      • Tony_Hall

        They also have cameras installed at every park, that allows them to have tons and tons of video to watch all these players.  

        Yes there are alot of them, but realistically, way more than half are not moving on past their current level, and don’t really take a lot of time to look over.

    • daverj

      Castro (and maybe Marmol and Garza) may very well be the only players in the entire system that will ever see an All-Star game from the field.  It is very sad … but hopefully will change. 

    • RynoTiger

      actually Tony I believe Lake is a SS and I believe defensively he has struggled on defense. 

      • Tony_Hall

        He is currently a SS that has absolutely zero chance of making the majors as a SS.  He is, most likely a 3B, if his bat can keep going, and he improves a lot with his glove.  Most likely, he gets moved to the OF.  I know I read a report that discussed this, not sure if it was Aaron or on another site.

        • paulcatanese

          If it wasn’t me, it should have been, I am always in favor of moving shortstops to 3b or the outfield, just ask Cubtex.

    • Tom U

      I understand where you are going with this, and agree on the position change, but Lake hasn’t played an inning in the outfield at any professional level.

    • J Daniel

      And that is probably why compensation still does not matter.  Don’t give up those guys and then who cares.

    • Brian

      Tony,

      In all fairness, the question posed to McLeod was to list two or three.  It was not that he couldn’t come up with more, but the question was asked that way.

      • Tony_Hall

        Ok – the way it read above was that he was asked to name guys that stood out.  I feel better if he was asked to name 2 -3 and named 3.

    • Calicub

      Junior Lake is a defensive liability the same way phonsie is.

      • Tony_Hall

        I think there are a lot of similarities in the 2, we can only hope that Junior turns into the hitter Soriano was for so many years, and can find a position he can actual play.

  • Tony_Hall

    Dewitt or Baker…I really don’t think this is a tough choice, Baker should be the one to stay, as he just hits lefties very well.  But, it wouldn’t shock me to see a whole new set of role players for our 5 man bench.

    • J Daniel

      Tony, really agree with you.  I think you will see a huge turnover.

  • Tony_Hall

    Some good articles on the managers search.

    Sandy Alomar Jr, is a very interesting candidate, he already lives on the north side.  – http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-1111-alomar-cubs-chicago–20111111,0,4636729.story

    Francona is still lingering.  I felt they would do their search, pick a winner, then do a side by side with Francona, to do a final choice.  I don’t think Francona is going to be their choice, but he is going to be an option, unless he gets hired by someone else, or we announce a new manager – http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-1111-francona-cubs-chicago–20111111,0,6017564.story

    We have a lot of very qualified candidates to choose from to run our team at Clark and Addison.  I am extremely confident that Theo and Company will choose the best one to lead our team on the field.

  • cmschube

    From MLBTradeRumors.com

    “Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona badly wants to manage the Cubs, a source very close to Francona tells Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune.
    Epstein has said that Francona probably wouldn’t have to go through a
    formal interview if the Cubs wanted to award him the job, but right now
    it is unknown whether Francona is being seriously considered for the
    position.”

    Please God, NO! You think Big Z in violent now!?! Wait til he gets a few beers in him during the game!

    • MikeT_2008

      Well maybe Big Z would be one of those people that calms down with an adult beverage, you know to take the edge off

  • Coolpdxcubsfan

    Some of our aging vets with declining skills would love it:
    Go down to the ball yard,
    Hang out with the guys and have a few beers.
    Don’t have to hustle every day.
    Boot the ball around a bit and joke around with the manager
    Pick up your big paycheck.
    (sigh)
    There is a reason for the greatest collapse in baseball history,
    Francona made lots of Quadelike decisions. (although that’s not the only reason)
    Dear God, please send Terry to the Twins.

    • paulcatanese

      Good move, send Francona to the Twins, and what would make that move complete would be Quade gets the job in AAA.

    • Tno13

      I’m ambivalent on Francona, but that is not what I consider an honest assessment of his managing style or career.
      The latest news is not always the most accurate news.

  • RickinMSP

    This posted in reply to Anthony above, don’t really know why it ended up here.

    I’m sure he has done it all himself without any input at all from the minor league staff or the scouting staff.  I’m also sure he never saw any scouting reports on any of the Cubs minor leaguers while he was in Boston since others teams never scout each other’s systems.  So your right, in the month or less that he has been there, he has travelled the Western Hemisphere evaluating each and every player in the Cubs system personally.  Just like when I was still in the Army and we’d get a new Battalion Commander, he would personally evaluate each and every soldier in his command and assess their fitness level, marksmanship, tactical proficiency, etc.  Or did he get that information in meetings with the people that knew those answers?

  • John G

    WTF is the best one? Arthur Bryant, Gates, or Jack Stack?

    Clue: You have had to spend some time in KC to get it.

    • John G

      I’m sorry it was supposed to have a Zambrano reference.

      WTF will Z put on more weight? Arthur Bryant, Gates or Jack Stack?

      • Rbmercer

        i love Jack Stack

      • texcubnut

        Sorry, John, I don’t want to get into a big thing about this but, Texas truly has the best BBQ. Just got back from K.C. and had both Gates and Jack S. and they were both very good, but……………By the way, usually, the best BBQ is not at the big names in the big cities, but the out of the way joints, roadsides, and small town places!!!  Mmmmmm

        • Tom U

          Sorry texcubnut. I’ve been a barbecue and chili judge, as well as a chili competitor. While beef brisket is considered the crown jewel of the individual categories, nothing beats Carolina Whole Hog-style for barbecue.

          • paulcatanese

            Thanks to you and texcubnut, I think I will go to lunch.

        • cubtex

          No Doubt! Texas has some great Bar B Que!

          • RickinMSP

            As a transplanted Texan, I have to agree with you on the Texas BBQ.  My favorite has to be the Salt Lick south of Austin.  Bring your friends and a cooler of beer and they supply the all you can eat BBQ.  One more reason I can’t wait to move back.

          • cubtex

            Salt Lick is good. County Line in Austin is also pretty good. Rudy’s for quick and convenience. Lockhart has a couple of really good joints too.

  • Roland

    W(here)TF are the fans?

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is an interesting trade idea for the Cubs.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/18353/trading-problems-to-help-cubs-mariners

    Zambrano for Figgins could actually benefit all involved.  Not sure if I really like Figgins, but he is a short term stopgap, that could have that resurgence in a new uniform.   He had an injury plagued 2011.

    • RynoTiger

      No thanks. I would rather keep Big Z because he has a greater potential for still offering something to a team.  Figgins is going to become the new Joey Gathright.  He does done nothing since leaving the Angels.

      • Tony_Hall

        I just don’t see keeping Z, so a trade is best route, versus just paying him to do nothing.  This would take the pay, that is already spent, and divide it over 2 season (a plus),  and give the Cubs an option for 3B.  Now, I didn’t like Figgins when he was a FA, so can’t say that I want him, but it could be an option.

    • cubtex

      Do you really think Z would approve a trade to the Mariners?

      • Tony_Hall

        Depends on what his other option is going to be?  If he was “seriously” going to be allowed to DH a couple of times a week, then I think he would do it.  Going to a lower level AL team, they may allow him to do that.  

  • Jason Douglas

    Hey Brian…
    Theo and the promise of commonsense in our farm system, our major league roster, and with respect to our mgr and GM, has lured me back to the CCO!

    I am finally excited again, and think there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    I do have to say that I do not want Zambrano traded.  He has 1 year left, and he is the best pitcher we have.  No Cubs pitcher, and almost no NL pitcher, has been as successful in the past 8 years. 

    I am not sure how competitive the Cubs will be this year, but roll Z out there for 14-15 starts, and if we are doing well enough to contend for a division title, keep him.  If the Cubs are still in transition mode, then a productive Z could yield an asset or two in a July trade to a contender.  I feel both those scenarios are better than paying him a bunch of money to be somewhere else.  

    He is a headcase…no question.  But he is a fierce competitor.  I will take the competitor over the complainers/whiners (good ol’ Milton, or Latroy).   I would rather dump guys like Soriano or not resign Aramis.  Whether it is just their personalities, they just don’t appear to care as much.  Big Z cares.

    Aramis puts up great numbers…when it doesn’t matter anymore.
    Soriano has been a huge disapointment.  Decent his first year, and crappy since.  Send him to Texas…maybe they will pick up $5m/yr of his salary at least, and we can eat the rest.

    I would like to see the Cubs go after Mark Buerhle…proven, consistent winner.  Maybe one of the closers/relief guys on the market.

    Prince Fielder would be a good fit, too.  With Buerhle, Dempster, and Zambrano, you have a good veteran core in your starting 5.

    With Prince and Starlin, you have some youth to build around.

    That’s my 2 cents!!

    • Bryan

      So Zambrano is “a headcase”.  No-one debates that.  But a step further…this multi-million dollar “baby”, has initiated public fights with teammates, has thrown tantrums, has purposely thrown at opposing players in order to get ejected, and has packed his bags and abandoned his team.  A headcase? 

      The guy is a cancer.  And at some point the team (which it did) stated that “we don’t want you anymore” and suspended him.  His actions against the Braves were the most embarrasing, immature, and self-serving actions that I’ve ever seen in professional sports. Z can continue to toil in the Latin league, and can rot there.  His skills (though those are declining) don’t trump his behavior. 

      • Jason Douglas

        Sorry Bryan…we aren’t running a daycare or a school.  I work at a Fortune 500 company with 1000’s of employees.  We all don’t like each other.

        This comes down to a case of what I like to call “do you want to be Right, or do you want to be Rich?”

        Rich, in this case, is equivalent to successful.

        If you want to be Right, then yes, let’s pretend mlb is some bastion of moral goodness (just like Penn State was!) and that we should all get emotionally invested in how those players behave, both on and off the field.   Let’s ignore the entire Steroids scandal, and pretend that all those that used and abused illegal drugs and PEDs have all outed themselves, and that we are only left with the truly pious and righteous players.

        Let’s pretend these guys don’t have feelings and emotions like the rest of the world…that they aren’t at times selfish and egotistical.

        Let’s assume all that and get rid of the best pitcher the Cubs have so that we can all feel better about what???  Ourselves?  Our mlb team of choice, which we live vicariously through?

        Sorry…you can be Right.  But when it comes to sports, which are for me a form of entertainment, and which is usually more entertaining when the teams I watch are good and winning more than losing…well…I would rather be Rich.

        Don’t fall in love with the professional athletes…they are just people.  They put on their pants one leg at a time.  They happen to be good at hitting a little ball, or putting a little ball, or dunking a bigger ball, or tackling some guy while wearing pads.  It doesn’t make them better people, because they aren’t. 

        I don’t need to like or know Derrick Rose personally to root for the Bulls…I just want him to work on his jumper a bit more so they win the Championship next time.  And I don’t care how pissed off Jay Cutler looks, as long as he plays like he did against the Eagles.  And I don’t care about Sammy Sosa’s boombox, unless he stops hitting 50 homers a year.

        If they are idiots in Boston, but when the World Series, then being idiots is a good thing.  They didn’t win this year, so now they feel the “clubhouse chemistry” is bad.

        Winning solves everythng, in sports.  If Z can pitch like he did 2nd half of 2010, you absolutely should put him out there every 5th game.  If he isn’t any good anymore, then dump him.

        The idea that we need to coddle and create an atmosphere where all 20+ players in the clubhouse like each other, and only then will they win, is ridiculous, untrue, unfounded, unrealistic, and whimsical.   They get paid a ridiculous amount of money to wear a large version of my kids’ little league jersey.  If they are that unhappy with the clubhouse chemistry, they can always quit and stop receiving paychecks.  Funny how not a single mlb player in the history of the game has every done that. 

        I guess they would rather be Rich, too.

        • Tony_Hall

          Working for a Fortune 500 company with 1000’s of employees, might be making you not understand what a room of just 25 looks like.  These guys spend a lot of time together and in very close surrounding at Wrigley.  

          Z needs to go.

          • Jason Douglas

            Big companies like that are comprised of departments.  Plenty of those department and teams are comprised of 25 people or less.  So…yes…I get it.  But just because Don can’t stand working with Betty, doesn’t mean Don should have a bad year. 

            See how silly that sounds?  It is just an excuse.  Yes, it is a team sport, but they each need to be personally accountable for their own effort and execution.  What…Soto hit less homers because Z was on the same bench?  Did Castro make a couple extra errors because of Z?

            Excuses…lame ones at that.

          • Tony_Hall

            These guys aren’t sitting at desks, punching on keyboards, or sitting in meetings on other sides of the rooms.  It does have an effect on the team.  Not saying there aren’t examples of teams, that fought their way to a World Series.  

            If Z did what he did, while working for you Fortune 500 Company, he would have been fired on the spot, numerous times.

          • Jason Douglas

            the equivalent would have been a guy having a horrible presentation, then clearing stuff off his desk and sending a note to his mgr that he was quitting.  Then the next day he tells his mgr he got caught up in the moment, was disappointed with his performance and wants to stay.

            He might get “put on a plan” or likely just loses some favor in the eyes of mgmt, and also likely hurt any chances for future advancement.  But no, he probably doesn’t get fired.  That is the reality.

            Now if he punched a teammate at the office, he is probably a goner for sure.

            However, at the office he likely doesn’t get to take off every 4 out of 5 days, or have the whole Winter off.  So obviously a lot of differences.

            Point is people are babying these guys.  People hated Sosa at end of 2004, and pointed to his presence destroying the clubhouse.

            Yet he was a big part of the 2003 championship team we all claim to love and adore.  How did they ever succeed under the duress of being around Sammy?   Same with Barry Bonds.  He was an ass when SF won…not just in his final year.

            Why does this have to be so dramatic…teams “fighting” their way to a World Series.  If you don’t like the guy, have your locker moved and sit at the other end of the bench, or, here’s a novel idea, worry about your own performance!!!  

            Sorry…Big Z doesn’t have to go.

          • Tony_Hall

            In your first scenario, imagine if that employee, after blowing his presentation, took a  verbal shot at the customer then went into his office tirade. 

            He would get fired.

            Also, not sure if you understand the life of these guys, they really aren’t off on the off days and over winter.  Pitchers have a routine between starts, that they all go through.  They put in many hours to stay in shape, and many hours  watching video and reading scouting reports, etc.  I’m not saying that they don’t have great lifestyles, with lots of free time, but they do work a little more than once every 5 days.

            Z crossed the line, way too many times and needs to be gone, and I believe is the opinion of the vast majority of Cub fans.  

            We will have to agree to disagree.

          • KevininSanDiego33

            If a person in a Fortune 500 Company hit another employee. He would be fired true? This isn’t a big Company its a baseball team. Z has to go.

          • Jason Douglas

            who did he hit…Barrett?  That was years ago, and all the Cubs did was trade Barrett.  Why?  Because Z was more valuable than Barrett.

            I live in Realityville.  In that town, Z is still the best pitcher we have.  We are gonna keep him.

          • Tony_Hall

            Once again, he is no where near the best pitcher on the Cubs…not anymore.

    • Tony_Hall

      Just my 2 cents…

      Soriano – would you sign him for 3 years $15M if you were a GM…that is what you are proposing by some team picking up $5M/year

      Garza is the teams best pitcher, not Zambrano…it will be quite the PR and clubhouse mending job, to keep Z…not sure it’s worth it, when they are not set-up to be that good this year.

      You want to sign Fielder ($25M) and Buerhle ($15M), keep Zambrano, dump Soriano, keep Dempster and add one of the closers ($10M) on the market…that would be fine if we were ready to contend, but we are not, plus that would put the teams payroll, way over budget, plus a need to fill alot of other spots.

      Good to see you come back to the CCO.  Look forward to having some discussions with you.

      • cubtex

        Tony…If you saw my post about what a DH with numbers worse than Soriano got paid last year……He would be a bargain at 3 years for 15 mil. Vlad, Matsui and others made more. If Soriano is DH’d and rested properly he would be a very effective DH.

        • Tony_Hall

          Yes, I have and I am sure you have seen my responses to that.

          Nobody would give Soriano 3 years $15M, if he was a FA.

          All of those guys received 1 year deals.

          • cubtex

            Travis Haffner at 13 Mil per year
            Adam Dunn at 12 Mil per year
            Vlad at 8 mil on a 1 year deal.

            If I am an AL team that needs a DH and can get Soriano for 15 mil over 3 years…..Done!

          • Tony_Hall

            Apples and Oranges

            Hafner signed his deal in July of 2007

            Adam Dunn, was in the prime hitting years, and is totally different then, than Soriano is now.  

            Vlad is a contact hitter who was coming off of 300/345/496/841 season. Soriano is not that type of a hitter.

            I hope at least 1 GM feels just like you.

          • cubtex

            I know you are not a fan at all of Sori..but if you look at his numbers from last year without putting a name to those stats, you would say otherwise. And…not playing the field I would gamble that his numbers would stay constant for the next couple of years.

          • Tony_Hall

            244 AVG
            289 OBP
            469 SLG
            26 HR’s
            88 RBI’s

            decent HR’s and RBI’s by 289 OBP does not make my team, especially in the starting lineup.

          • cubtex

            For a DH? You want a guy who hits HR’s and drives in runs as your DH. Do you think the Sox would have liked to have those numbers from Dunn?

          • Tony_Hall

            Teams, hopefully, don’t try to be just better than the worse option, they usually try to do well.
            OBP for DH’s
            Ortiz 398
            Young 380
            Thome 361
            Hafner 361
            Joyce 347
            Matsui 321
            Vlad 317

            Vlad even had a 317 OBP.  I didn’t dig any deeper, but with only 14 AL teams, this is the top half.  I don’t see anyone wanting to go below 300 in OBP to get 20-25 HR’s.

      • Jason Douglas

        Hey Tony,
        ok…how about $3m/yr for Soriano???  Ha!  Take what we can get.

        Sorry…Garza has neither the track record or experience to compare to Z yet.  Doesn’t mean that can’t change, but imo it is a bit early to make that claim.

        I want to sign Fielder…but not for that amount.  If another team wants to pay him that much, then good for them.  Not sure Buerhle will get that much per year…depends how many years he wants…but he is a bit like a lefty Maddux…not overpowering fastball…just wins, year after year.  I think Dempster will be cheap enough, as he wants to be here.  He is a #3 at best, so I don’t want to overpay him.

        Having said all that about pay…it isn’t my call, and I don’t worry about the team payroll.  Hicks shouldn’t have bought the team to make a bunch of money.  His family became rich in business…if he wanted to just watch the bottom-line, he should have stayed out of professional sports.  Any owner of any professional team that decided to own their team to make money is an idiot.  You own a team because you can. Because it has perks, is fun, gives you stature and fame in your town you couldn’t otherwise have.

        So I don’t care if Hicks nets $1 after paying all his salaries and overhead, as long as he puts a winning team on the field.  He could easily reduce Wrigley ticket prices and concession prices, to reflect the subpar year his team produced last year (sort of like a refund).  But he won’t.

        So I won’t cry for his pocketbook.  He knew the mess he was buying.  They can get fiscally disciplined later.  Right now they need to eat contracts and bring in prime talent.

        • Tony_Hall

          Some team may be willing to pay $9M of his pay, hopefully we will soon see.

          You are really remembering the old Z.  The Z in front of us today, doesn’t even compare to Garza.  Remember Theo says, he wants to pay for future performance, not past performance.

          Fielder should get around $25M per year, at least $22-$23M per year.  

          The bidding for Buerhle is going to be fierce and someone will go beyond all  reasonable deal to sign him.  He is going to be pitching for many more years.

          Dempster is $14M…not cheap at all.

          Ricketts owns the Cubs, Hicks used to own the Rangers.  

          Payroll is important, because all teams have a budget. All teams can exceed their budget, if their is a special type player they can add.  Ricketts isn’t planning on taking any money out of the team, so I don’t think we need to worry about how much he makes.

          • Jason Douglas

            I care so much about the owner and his financial well-being that I don’t even know his name…

            :)

        • Bryan

          To clarify…Tom RICKETTS is the owner of the Cubs…I don’t know where you came up with “Hicks”.  Second, it is very obvious that you have never run a company, or been in a senior leadership role.  It doesn’t work like you proclaim.   C’mon!

          • Jason Douglas

            Bryan,
            Thank you for the ALL CAPS clarification.  All is right with the world now, as a result.

            I have owned my own business, and been in team lead roles throughout my career.  You aim for the bottom-line…success and profits, or however you measure “doing good” in that business.

            I had to deal with plenty of business associates that I did not personally like.  You try to minimize those interactions, focus on the positive, and keep your eye and focus on your goals, and not be distracted with reasons to waste time whining and complaining.

            I am not advocating signing Z to a long-term extension.  We are talking about 1 more year on his contract. if Cubs owner Tom RICKETTS is going to declare his budget will be tapped this year, then I would rather we hang onto Z and get some worth out of him, either via production on the field or via trade.  Doesn’t make sense to cry poor while eating his contract, and not being able to replace those innings with something better than what the Cubs have in the minors today.

            But Tom RICKETTS is going to do what Tom RICKETTS is going to do.  I think we all agree on that.

      • Brp921

        My opinion on Zambrano is to keep him unless someone takes on most of his salary, which probably won’t happen. Being a contract year I think there is a decent chance that he will pitch up to his capabilities and I don’t want the Cubs to pay him to do that for someone else. I agree he can be a cancer and as I said before, if that happens I’d put him at the end of the bullpen bench everyday and let him rot there. I really don’t think his ego could handle that and he would either give up part of his salary to be traded or just retire for real. At any rate the Cubs have to pay him regardless so why make it easy for him if he doesn’t give his best.

    • J Daniel

      Agree 100% with you on this being the route that should and probably will be taken.  I have made this same basic post several times over the last several weeks.  Why trade him and pay half of the salary?  Does not make sense.  To borrow a line from Aaron again, the Cubs need ASSETS and don’t have many.  Z could be a big one at the deadline next year.  If not you eat half of the salary then.

  • Aaron

    My faith in the Epstein regime took a bit of a hit when I read the 3 prospects they are highest on in the Cubs system are: Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, and Junior Lake.

    I can understand the first two, but their inclusion of Lake either is a ploy to drum up interest in him, and increase his value, or they really ARE high on him. If that is the case, which I strongly believe, then my faith in them has diminished significantly.

    First of all, Lake has ZERO defensive value. Secondly, he has ZERO plate discipline. In fact, the only real value he has at this point is “potential”. At best, he’s a young Alfonso Soriano part 2. Is that really what you want if you’re Cubs’ management?!? Don’t get me wrong…a young Soriano was pretty potent in the lineup, yet even when he was young, he was NOT the type of hitter you’d want in your lineup, especially the type of hitter Epstein says he desires. 

    Lake has significant issues making consistent contact with the baseball, yet he’s still just 21 (and I’m actually pretty high on him myself simply for his power potential)…..BUT, if that’s how they are ranking the prospects, then I think it’s extremely short-sighted.

    Josh Vitters should’ve been front and center on that list, right behind Jackson, and the reason for that is he makes a significant amount of contact, and has improved his plate discipline. He rarely strikes out as well. With Vitters, you’ll get a potential building block that hits .280’s and higher with a .330’s OBP and possibly higher with probably no more than 70 K’s and about 20 walks or less.

    With Lake, you’ll get a guy that hits .250’s and maybe higher, with under a .330’s OBP, and possibly as high as 150+K’s and about 20 walks or less.

    I also would rank LeMahieu higher than Lake…and possibly even Flaherty. 

    The thing with Lake is he has an incredibly high ceiling, but an equally low floor. With Vitters, you have just as high of a ceiling, but with a higher floor, and with Flaherty and LeMahieu, you have lower ceilings, but with higher floors.

    No matter how much hype prospects have, as well as how good their stats might look in the minors, NOBODY knows how well they’ll do once they reach MLB. 

    Sometimes guys like Soto and Colvin come out of nowhere and have excellent MLB seasons after having mediocre minor league careers, while others such as Brandon Wood and Dallas McPherson come up after having stellar minor league careers, and tank. It’s as much of a crapshoot as the draft.

    Yet, in general, players like Colvin and Soto that might be one year wonders at the MLB level, almost always come back to earth to their usual minor league numbers, while players that have mostly stellar stats in the minors usually figure it out eventually (assuming they started slow) at the MLB level with better coaching.

    That’s why I’m saying Lake is a much higher risk than just about anyone else in the Cubs system, and why I cannot understand why Epstein and Hoyer value him in the top 3 in the system….I just don’t understand it.

    I think Lake is ultimately destined to be an OF with his crappy IF defense. His rocket arm would be a welcome sight in LF or RF. A Cubs OF that includes Lake, B. Jackson, and Szczur would be mighty talented…and athletic, with all of them having 20+ SB potential as well as 20+ hr potential. The problem is, with Jackson and Lake, you’re also going to get 150+K potential.

    If the Cubs are that high on Lake, perhaps they could go with a future IF of:
    1B-Vogelbach (distant future)
    2B-LeMahieu
    SS-Castro
    3B-Vitters

    With guys at the lower ranks like DeVoss, Hoilman, Shoulders, Baez (both Javier and Jeffrey), Dunston Jr., Marco Hernandez, Gioskar Amaya, Kyung-Min Na, Pin-Chieh Chen, Easterling, Golden, R. Lopez, Rosario, etc., there’s at least a handful of them that should contribute at the MLB level in the future, so they can afford to make some trades. 

    If any of the guys I listed in the future IF or OF stumbles, I don’t think Epstein and company, based on their track record would hesitate to make a move, either by promoting aggressively from within, or by making trades of the prospects they do have.

    I actually think that guys like Longoria, Kemp, Bruce, Votto, etc. might be more attainable than any of us thought under the previous regime. If any of the prospects have a good year next season, they might try to move them in a trade for proven sluggers out there. All you need to do is look at their trade for Beckett and Lowell to understand that they’re not afraid to trade so-called “untouchables” in the system when they dealt two of the arguably most untouchable young prospects in the game at the time in Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez. It netted the Red Sox a championship. 

    That might mean they’d look at dealing B. Jackson, Vitters, etc. if it meant they get a proven young talent in his prime.

    I just hope they start making some bold moves like trading Soto, Marmol, and possibly Marshall (in the right deal), along with eating whatever they have to in order to get value for Zambrano, Soriano, and Byrd.

    I sincerely hope they trade Marmol, and go after one of the many closers on the market right now. Additionally, I hope they target young guys like Logan Morrison in trades. I also hope they go after non-tenders like Andrew Brackman and Grady Sizemore, as they need more depth than they currently have. Thus far, aside from the manager’s position, the Cubs have been eerily quiet on trades/signings, and that is NOT a good thing.

    • daverj

      Agreed on Lake.  He doesn’t seem like an Epstein type player.  That said, some people are very high on Lake so maybe his name was thrown out there to increase his value in the market.

      I think the Cubs will be very quiet on the trade/free agent fronts until late December or early January.  Based on the last couple seasons, the short term free agent bargains came at the end of free agency.  Let everyone else spend and then the Cubs can fill out their 2012 roster with the veterans leftover at the end.  Jumping in now will mean long term deals and high $$$$ … no more of those until we are ready to contend.

    • Jason Douglas

      I missed you Aaron.  I missed your irrational exhuberance of the Cubs minor league prospects!

      I feel it is my duty to remind you, at least once every 3 years or so, that most prospects will suck at the mlb level.  Further, most prospects, for a team with a high payroll (such as Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox) should be used, as you point out Theo is likely to do, in trades with smaller market teams to fleece their young-but-entering-prime players whom those teams will surely lose to free agency in a few years.

      Think the trade that got Aramis Ramirez and Lofton.  We need more of that stuff.  Not sure what we gave up for Derrick Lee, but that was a good one too.

      Don’t get too attached, buddy.  We will keep the really good ones, especially if/when we have a spot in the field to plug them in.  But the other ones are all trade-bait.

      I do agree that Soto is toast.  I keep hearing they have prospects at C.  Let’s play one of ‘em! 

      I disagree on Marmol.  I do agree we should get one of the closers, but keep Marmol and put him in 8th inning role.  Round out that bullpen with Marshall/Wood, and you got a good thing going.  Takes the pressure off Marmol, who has great stuff, but maybe not the mental makeup to be “the man”.

      • Aaron

        I’m trying to figure out Jason…why it’s irrational to want prospects to get a chance. 

        How many years has it been since the Cubs last were in the World Series? How about winning the World Series?

        The last time the Cubs had a bunch of homegrown talent on a playoff roster was 1989. Unfortunately, most of those were accumulated by Dallas Green, who resigned 2 years earlier, and the new regime didn’t value them….later came 9 mostly awful, unwatchable seasons until their Wild Card appearance in 1998. 

        You would think after years and years of losing, going mostly the free agent route on things, they’d finally allow their young prospects to get a full opportunity at the MLB level. With the Cubs, it seems like if you’re a hitter, and you don’t accumulate 20+hr, 80+RBI, (unless, of course, you hit over .300), you won’t be given a shot to earn a full-time gig in the future.

        It RARELY works out that way, where guys come on, and hit over .300 in their first year, much less have over 20 hr, 80 RBI….

        So….you seem to fall in the same line as those classified under “insane” for the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

        What part of Theo’s “build from within” philosophy did you not understand? Did you need him to spell it out in more understandable words for you? Was he using “college level grammar”? 

        I really don’t understand your comments of “reminding me every 3 years” of my irrational comments when your very way of thinking is what has landed the Cubs in mediocrity for all these years, and that is what EPSTEIN HAS FREAKING COME ON BOARD TO CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        It’s true, a lot of prospects will fail at the MLB level, and I don’t think I’ve ever claimed that most will succeed. 

        What I am, however, arguing, is the fact that if you do the same thing over and over again (which is go the veteran route via trade or free agency), and your team is mired in mediocrity, then you are a freaking moron for doing the same thing again and again, not changing your philosophy. That’s why I thought Hendry was the dumbest GM in the game, and Quade (more recently) the dumbest manager in the game.

        I don’t think I could’ve spelled it out better than I did in my post above with the way I feel about prospects. You’ll have your McPherson’s and Wood’s and you’ll have your Soto’s and Colvin’s…you’ll also have your Castro’s, Pujols’, etc., but what’s common about all of them is their teams eventually gave them a chance…and in the case of a lot of these successful young players like Castro and Pujols (when he first came in), as well as most All-Star position players out there…is the fact that they were brought in the league in their early to mid-20’s…NOT their late 20’s, as the Cubs seem to do. As Epstein has stated quite frequently, and as Bill James has proven as well, a player’s prime seasons are age 27-32. 

        If you get a rookie at 22-24 years old, have him take his lumps at the MLB level for a year or two in full-time duty, by the time he’s 27, he’ll likely have figured out the league by then, and he’s still going to be cheaper than an aging veteran like a Soriano, Byrd, etc.

        Furthermore, you go on to say that “we’ll keep the good ones…especially if we have a spot to plug them in”…

        I’m not quite sure you aren’t Jim Hendry posing under a different alias….After all, if that’s your real true thought process, then Brett Jackson wouldn’t be up until he’s 25 years old in 2013, regardless of how well he does this year, or how ready he apparently is, all because Byrd is under contract and there is no spot in CF for him.

        Same goes for 3B, as the Cubs technically have Jeff Baker under control, along with Blake DeWitt. Are you suggesting they just wait it out with them, until they have a spot? 

        You might think that’s an irrational description, and yet that is PRECISELY what Hendry did for many years, and it also happens to fall within your line of thinking.

        What you have to remember about the former “Cubs Way” of doing things, is if they brought a player up for a cup of coffee in September and he didn’t hit over .300 or have a bunch of home runs, then they’d go into the offseason and sign a Neifi Perez, Jose Macias, Cliff Floyd, etc. for one or two years. 

        Then, the hilarious thing is, they’d play that game ALL OVER AGAIN the very next year. So, again, excuse me if I think the Cubs should try a different way. 

        Last time I checked, the former “Cubs Way” wasn’t working too well….103 years and counting, right?

        • Jason Douglas

          You are like death and taxes, Aaron ol’ buddy…ever reliable and predictable.  Don’t ever change!

          I am not asking for the same ol’ same ol’, which under Hendry was overpay for a questionable talent, or hope for lightning in a bottle (think all the Wade Millers of the world he took a flyer on, just because he got lucky with Dempster).

          I am saying that we need more of the things he did right: acquire talent in their prime, typically from smaller market teams that can’t afford them, via trade utilizing your farm team prospects.  He did this with Ramirez and Lee, and I would argue he did it with Juan Pierre (but botched that by not having Pierre locked up for more than 1 year).

          There are teams out there like the Oakland A’s that are happy to trade away the players entering their prime (think Danny Haren) if you give them prospects. 

          That is my definition of “building from within” because you are using your assets…not just blowing money on over-priced FA’s.

          You are exactly right on guys like Neifi…same with with the various 2B guys the Cubs have had since 2004.  Mediocre crap.   When you look on the Yankees, Red Sox, or Phillies lineups…you don’t see a lot of guys that are starting that should be bench players.  That is the Cubs Way.  Hopefully that ends now.

          Stay happy!

          • Dorasaga

            Oh, you like Aaron. I found that amusing or insane.
            J/k.

            I must agree, esp. that “acquire talent in their prime” is what we might keep our expectation high. By prime in baseball in Theo-cracy, I surmise you meant an unknown player in the age group of 25-29. It’s not difficult with the brainpower this frontie had amassed. There’ll always be another McCarthy or Matt Murton. They just need the gut (after careful analysis) to sign them.

            Aaron was probably not happy with all those “swing-happy potentials” the previous regime stocked. It’s really close to a dice-n-roll with that type of talent. I’ll rather they sign Vlad or Miguel “Liar” Tejeda for a one-year, some proven washed-up to demo what a “swing” should be, maybe inspire Lake and all.

    • Tony_Hall

      Brian replied to me, stating that he was asked to pick out 2-3 players, he may very easily of misspoke about Lake, or it’s just hyping the player, as he doesn’t fit their mold.  Or maybe they think he has the tools they can develop.

    • cubtex

      Could that be a sign that Vitters is going to Boston as compensation?

      • Aaron

        probably

        • cubtex

          I thought that when I saw his name excluded. It sucks but what are you going to do. I think Vitters is just starting to figure it out and will be a very good middle of the lineup hitter.

          • Aaron

            I believe that too…what people tend to forget, is he’s younger than even Brett Jackson, the Cubs top prospect right now. He just turned 22, so he’s got room to grow, fill out, and be even more improved than he already is. The benefit he has, is he’s progressed steadily through the system, and is on the cusp of contributing at the MLB level.

            Personally, I’d rather the Cubs send Carpenter or McNutt than Vitters, especially with their lack of depth at 3B in the first place, but who knows what will happen at this point. 

            If Selig gets involved, rumor has it, he will use the Cubs original compensation for MacPhail as a benchmark (which isn’t much), and it gives the Red Sox added incentive to at least pick a decent prospect the Cubs don’t value much such as Jay Jackson, or they could risk getting stuck with a Marcus Hatley. 

      • Tom U

        I feel that Epstein is trying to push for Lake as part of the compensation.

        • Brian

          Agreed.  Totally, utterly agree.

        • cubtex

          If it was between Lake and Vitters…I would rather hold on to Vitters. Would you agree? If Selig gets involved I don’t think he would send Vitters since he was such a high pick. I could be totally off base but I hope that would be the case.

          • Tom U

            If the compensation were Lake and Carpenter, I would find that satisfactory.

      • Brp921

        I hope that we don’t give up Vitters. He seems like he’s turning into what the Cubs thought he would become when they drafted him.

    • Brian

      Aaron,

      As Tom U says below … this is just PR speak.  They want Lake to be part of the compensation.  This is just their way of making things work. 

      You know these guys are better than this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

      Josh Vitters = Chase Headley…. Not too impressive in my mind.  You have such high hopes for hitters that will ultimately be journeymen.  If he was any good we would have seen it by now.  His overall ranking has dropped every year, and will keep dropping.  I hope he is the compensation we send to Boston…but Cherington is probably too smart for that.

      As for Marmol…No No NO.  Keep the young guys we have that are productive if we dont have guys waiting to replace them.  Keep obviously Castro and Garza, but then you also have to consider keeping Marmol and Marshall, these guys are solid guys at the back-end of the bullpen.  Build around our young talent and trade the washed up old guys for whatever you can get…

  • John G

    Jonathon Papelbon signs with Phillies. $50MM 4 years.

    • Tony_Hall

      Jim Bowden predicted 4 years $52M

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Junior Lake hitting 3rd for Mesa Solar Sox at DH in tonight’s Military Appreciation Game. MLB Network, 7:00pm CT

  • Jay from sandwich

    He if tean Theo gives up a top ten or even a top 20 prospect to Boston he gave up to much. His comments is trying to convince Cubs fans that the farm system is bare. Well we are not thrid grade drop out from Boston we kown better. The Cubs sytem is above average with alot of MLB calibur prospect. But onwly a few are highly regaded Like Vitters, Bret Jackson, Carpenter, McNut, Login, etc. Just give up Baker to Boston and some older long shots like Smith in AAA (how desrves a shot in the Bigs) or just what it out Because I feel that Segil (the Comish) will water it down for overall benifit of baseball. Bostin Go pond Sand

  • Tony_Hall

    The NL Central will be easier to win with 1 less team, except for the fact that Houston looks to be years away from being competitive.

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2011/11/11/astros-inching-closer-to-a-change-in-owners-leagues/

  • Dorasaga

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/11/epstein-zambrano-touch-base.html

    Carlos Zambrano is in no hurry to part ways with the Cubs, and by the pitcher’s account the feeling is mutual. Zambrano told Carlos Alberto Zambrano at the Venezuelan newspaper Lider en Deportes
    (link in Spanish) that he received a “friendly” call from new team
    president Theo Epstein on Tuesday…

    “We talked for a while. Now I’m waiting for him to tell me when we’ll meet,” Zambrano said. “It might be after the winter meetings that the GMs have, which is in Milwaukee this year.”