Weekend Update … Rumors, Rumors and More Cubs Rumors

Is the Cubs’ new regime looking to tie up loose ends and possibly complete a few deals before the holidays? After the Winter Meetings Jed Hoyer indicated the Cubs pushed several things forward while they were in Dallas. As Jon Paul Morosi reported the next week could be very busy throughout baseball … it always has been. But will the Cubs be in the middle of the action.

The Cubs are rumored to have a lot of interest in Prince Fielder, despite what they are saying publicly. While Fielder would be the big splash some are looking for and hoping the Cubs will make, there has also been quite a bit of noise about the Cubs’ interest in Paul Maholm and Coco Crisp.

Then came the little trade between the Reds and Padres on Saturday.

The Reds added a very good, young pitcher in Mat Latos for a package of Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger. Not only did the Reds increase Matt Garza’s value that is if the Cubs decide to trade him instead of build around him, Cincinnati also provided the Cubs with another possible option to fill their hole at first base … Anthony Rizzo. The Padres acquired Rizzo from the Red Sox in the deal for Adrian Gonzalez last winter.

Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod selected Anthony Rizzo in the sixth round of the 2007 draft … and McLeod once said Rizzo has the best makeup of any player he’s ever drafted.

Here is the update, including more on Prince Fielder and of course, the news, notes and rumors … plus is Carlos Marmol on the block?

The Daily Fielder
The reports and rumors about the Cubs interest in Prince Fielder continued on Saturday. Again, for every report that indicates the Cubs are interested in Fielder, there is one that says they are not.

Bruce Levine addressed the Prince Fielder rumors leading off Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) on Saturday morning. All of Levine sources, as well as the sources of a majority of the national writers, continue to indicate the Cubs are interested in signing Prince Fielder.

Levine discussed what Dale Sveum said on Friday about the fact he and no one with the Cubs has spoken to Fielder directly. Levine said that could be the case, that the Cubs and Sveum have not talked to Fielder … but they have talked to Scott Boras about the slugging first baseman. However, the extent of those conversations is unknown.

Levine broached the question, could Boras just be using the Cubs as a way to up the price on Fielder? Levine does not think so but said it could be a possibility. The player’s union and Boras are looking for a high AAV for Fielder that is the most important thing to the agent and the union. The player’s union wants the player to always sign the largest contract possible … especially players the caliber of Prince Fielder.

According to Levine, Boras could be looking for a CC Sabathia/Alex Rodriguez type contract that includes an opt-out clause. In other words, a three, four or five year guaranteed contract with an opt-out that would allow Fielder to hit the free market again around the same age as Albert Pujols just did … and in Alex Rodriguez’s case, it allowed him to re-negotiate a bigger contract.

The Cubs Way‘ right now appears to be getting younger, getting athletic and building for the future. Signing Prince Fielder would be a start in that direction according to Levine and Jonathan Hood … the Cubs could build around Fielder.

Levine brought up the fact the Cubs’ marketing department is in desperate need of something positive after two fifth place finishes.

Would signing Fielder be viewed as a way to appease the fan base and help sell tickets? Or, would signing Fielder be a good start for an organization that is looking to build a winner with sustained success?

While the terms of a contract are important and should not be ignored, the Cubs should take the money out of the equation and decide whether or not the player fits into their plans … both in the long and short-term.

Paul Maholm and Joe Saunders
The Cubs are looking to add a lefty to the rotation and are interested in Paul Maholm according to Bruce Levine and Dave Kaplan. According to Levine (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000), Joe Saunders is going to cost more than Maholm (total dollar amount and length of contract).

Paul Maholm might fit as the lefty the Cubs are looking for … an adequate Major League starter that if healthy could give the Cubs a lot of innings.

Anthony Rizzo
Not long after the Mat Latos deal was announced on Saturday afternoon, speculation immediately became that the Cubs would go after Anthony Rizzo. Jim Bowden thinks the Cubs could acquire Rizzo in a package for Matt Garza … but Garza’s escalating salary does not fit with the payroll-challenged Padres. Rizzo is a big-time prospect that would seem to be a fit a Wrigley. He hit in the minors but struggled in the majors in limited time last season.

Jon Heyman confirmed the Cubs interest in Anthony Rizzo late Saturday night.

Anthony Rizzo’s Page on Baseball-Reference

News, Notes and Rumors
According to Bruce Levine (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000), the Cubs continue to talk to the Marlins about Carlos Zambrano. One of the pieces that have been mentioned coming back to the Cubs is Chris Volstad.

During Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000), Bruce Levine mentioned the Cubs interest in Coco Crisp … and also Alfonso Soriano hitting fifth in one possible lineup scenario. The top of a possible lineup Levine tossed out for discussion … Crisp, DeJesus, Castro, Fielder and Soriano.

Jon Heyman confirmed the Cubs interest in Coco Crisp on Saturday afternoon.

The rumors of the Cubs trying to move Alfonso Soriano made quite a bit of noise last week, but could the Cubs actually move him if they are willing to eat $45 million of the $54 million left on Soriano’s contract? Levine addressed those rumors Saturday morning and he thinks Soriano will start the season with the Cubs … unless the Ricketts family is willing to write a $54 million check for him to go away.

Bruce Levine does not really see another option for the Cubs at first if they do not sign Prince Fielder or re-sign Carlos Pena. Levine does not see Bryan LaHair as a legitimate, long-term option at first base for several reasons … his defense is questionable and how is he going to hit at the big league level. Levine thinks LaHair could be a stopgap on a team that might win 70 games.

David DeJesus tweeted Friday night, “Number 9 it is!” and changed his twitter account. If DeJesus is referring to his jersey number, did he buy the number from Blake DeWitt or could something else be on the horizon?

According to Jim Bowden, the Red Sox continue to pursue bullpen help … and could be looking at Carlos Marmol. Bowden said the Bosox are looking at Andrew Bailey, Carlos Marmol and Joakim Soria as options on the trade market while keeping in touch with free agent Ryan Madson.

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

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  • Dorasaga

    The Reds added Latos by giving away their top prospects–a first baseman and a catcher. Both are blocked by more mature players ahead of them (Votto is their Pujols?). I’m glad the Cubs make no more reactionary moves. Keep things to themselves. I don’t mind watching Jackson and Vitters in July.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15694

    Two indie films for a double-A prospect. Very funny. I hope everyone votes Starlin Castro to the Hall of Fame today.

    The Brewers will sign Aoki by all costs. They lost Fielder and the financial burden with him. They will upgrade from Nyjer Morgan at center field.

    Nori.AOKI is the best pure hitter from Japan since Ichiro. Power, speed, and an eye for the plate. I just watched a NHK show (Japan broadcast’s educative series) of using various high-tech tests to find out how REAL GOOD is Aoki at the plate–pitch recognition, eye movement, you name it. Some of those results looked superhuman to me.

    I’m not saying Aoki will be the best Major League center fielder. It takes a lot to stand the toil through a long season while he deals with more strong linedrives and unpredictable wind in 162 games. Aoki is the best center fielder from Japan. Ichiro was not (he’s been a right fielder).

    I hope to rest my case. This will be an interesting division to have an eye on 2012.

    • Dorasaga

      **NHK (Japan Broadcast, that’s what the company is called).

    • http://twitter.com/bpaoni Brandon Paoni

      Ummm he actually has worse stats than Fukudome did when he came over from Japan. I wouldn’t crown him the next Ichiro just yet….

      • Tony_Hall

        He actually didn’t.  

        He said the best pure hitter since Ichiro.  

        Then he said he is the best center fielder from Japan, that Ichiro has been a RF, and so was Fukudome.  

      • Dorasaga

        Brandon, I hope I did not confuse you because of the length from providing all information (I tried to condense or summarize them as much as I can). There are a lot I like from Aoki that was not yet seen from all position players from Japan, yet. I was lucky to have watched a lot more games from him than I did with Fukudome.

        If I may expound on what’s a pure hitter… I don’t think Aoki has much power. His home park, Jingu “The Shrine,” where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played, is known for boosting flyballs to become home runs. But he has the talent to “see” (*) where pitches go, to make contact, and use all sides of the field to put balls in play. Those are rare skills, and scouts were right that he’s the best pure hitter from NPB after Ichiro left Japan.

        • Dorasaga

          *This is one of those things that the show was trying to prove: The batter does not always “see” the ball as we do. We laypeople usually process those vision (a pitch) as an information and react accordingly through our cerebrum. Our hands and body then takes the order from the cerebrum to hit the ball.

          But the best hitters can almost “predict” without that process; the brain works itself. The vision was wired through their cerebellum (not cerebrum) and cut the reaction time to almost a fraction of a second. Aoki was one of them.

          • paulcatanese

            What you are describing is an achomplished “zone” hitter. One who knows the area of best contact for his swing.
            He would also have the ability to instantly lay off the pitches that are not in his”zone”.
            He would not be a “guesser” but very strict about his “zone” and is not fooled very often and then at a very low percentage if it does happen.
            This would be a good hitter.
            This is one reason lefthanded hitters do well with a pitch that is middle in and the low end of the strike zone.
            That is a natural connection for them.
            And they can drive the ball.
            A good “zone” hitter uses his zone and trys to drive the ball back in the pitchers direction, which automaticly will take the outside pitch to the oppisite field and the inside pitch to the pull field.
            A good zone hitter takes what the pitcher gives him(inside) his zone and drives the ball from wherever it is pitched in his zone.

          • Dorasaga

            Thank you, Paul. The zone hitters seems like a rare breed now. They need this combination of skills as you described. Most prospects hacked their way into Major League without such understanding.

            Though, I’m concerned that maybe zone hitters won’t age too well. Jayson Werth, for example, used to be a good zone hitter. He turned 32, and looked like lost at the plate.

            I still need to observe more players. Hitters like Pedroia are still very young; I need to watch him more closely for another decade to see how he ages. Perhaps, you can bring up more examples from different eras.

    • windy city chicago cubs fan

      The Chicago Cubs should & could  argeed to term with LHP SCott Kazmir from The  Los Angles , RHP Rich Harden  from The Oakland Athletics and  RHP Brandon Webb from The Texas Rangers on a Spring Training Non-Roster Invitees Contracts

  • KevininSandiego

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Padres were interested in Garza, but the Cubs would have to take Hudson in the deal. So where would we start with Pads system for Garza. I would take Rizzo, Jedd Gyorko, Keyvius Sampson and Simon Castro.

    • http://twitter.com/bpaoni Brandon Paoni

      Nice package there, me personally I’d like to see this: Rizzo, Grandal, Sampson, and Ross. I salivate at the thought of adding a young offensive 1B & C, along with two very high upside pitchers. That said, I’m realistic, they probably wouldn’t give up that much.

    • Hoosierboy3423

      I dont see SD dealing for Garza. They dealt Latos because they said they were happy with the depth of Starting Pitching they have in their system.  Would be a side ways move to trade Latos just to turn around and pay a ransom for Garza.  If Cubs make a move for Rizzo they would be trying to fill offensive holes that the Pads have not moving Garza.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I don’t see the Cubs having any real interest in signing Fielder. And I don’t blame them: too expensive. 

    I do believe the Coco Crisp rumors and expect the Cubs to sign him.
    IMO he fits the profile Theo and Jed have for the Cubs.

    Christ Volstad? Are you out of your mind? On a team that was 1 game better than the Cubs (72-90), Volstad managed these stats:

    29 starts…165 IP…5.2 IP per start…
    10.2 hits per 9 IP
    1.425 WHIP
    4.89 ERA
    5-13 W-L record (he and Maholm, who was 6-14, make a nice pair).
    23 HR allowed in 165 IP (1 per every 7.1 IP—not horrible)
    The league tattooed him for a .289 BAA

    Last year, the Marlins scored 6+ runs for him 7 times, and his record was a lousy 1-0, 6.51 ERA….

    He knows how to get the game started on the right foot….The leadoff man hit .427 off of him last year! Those batting #2 hit .293. The only reason he can stay in the league would be the pitcher’s spot: .094. He could not pitch in the AL with the DH….why, the #8 hitter hit .333 off of him.

    In a word….NO. 

  • Ripsnorter1

    All this Garza trade talk…..why?

    Is it because….
    The Cubs want to shed salary? Maybe. 
    The Cubs want to get prospects? I think less so.
    Or is it really because they fear he is overthrowing the curveball?
    Or maybe it is a combo of all three factors. 

    Last year Garza, who for his career threw the fastball 60% of the time, started using the break stuff 60% of the time. Then he had the arm problem. 

    BAA per pitch type
    Fastball…..270
    Curve……..181 (why, yeah, he’s got a good curve)
    Slider…….169
    Changeup……296 (not his best pitch….)

    In any case, he’s currently our best pitcher, and on a staff seriously short of starting pitching, they are talking about dealing him away and acquiring Maholm and Volstad. 

    These guys bring back memories of Ed Lynch… or should I say, nightmares.

    • Tony_Hall

      The reason for trading Garza is he is under control for 2 more years, of which, they will be moderately competitive, and not likely to be real World Series contenders, in the next 2 years.

      There have been talk of a new contract with Garza, if he is unwillingly to sign an extension, then they need to trade him to get back players that will be around more than 2 years.

      Plus, as you mention, pitchers arms fall apart, and most pitchers need some form of surgery at some point, and with Garza, it’s more likely when, not if.

      Also on Maholm and Volstad, you take every rumor as factual truth…

      A fictious example
      Jed we will give you Volstad for Zambrano…Jed no thanks….later that day someone tweets out…Cubs have discussed trading Zambrano for Volstad, though factually true, there was a discussion, but it was immediately dismissed, doesn’t stop it from being tweeted out and reporters run with it.

  • Tony_Hall

    The Padres just traded Mat Latos, why would anyone think they want to turn around and trade FOR Matt Garza?  They normally trade away players (AGon and Latos), when they get expensive, Garza is already there.

    • Anthony

      Classic trade, the Reds used a deep and talented farm from a position of strength

      Every minor league player plays for all 30 teams

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree…I used the same words “Classic trade” in a post below.

  • Tony_Hall

    With the rumors of Coco Crisp, makes you think that Byrd is the LF, if they move Soriano, or they realize he is, at most, a 4th OF, and/or is on the way out sooner, rather than later in the season.

    • Anthony

      trade Byrd
      NO Crisp-retread

  • BosephHeyden

    Just read the stats on that Rizzo guy…pass.  That’s great that he looked good when you drafted him, but his stats are nothing spectacular.  I mean, I’ve seen the stats of some minor leaguers we already have and they seem to strike me as a lot better than him.

    It’s one thing to say you’re building a good team for the future, but it’s an entirely different thing to just hire guys you like.  Theo and company still have to show something.

    • paulcatanese

      Thats kind of the impression I have to this point. Cubs are wheeling and dealing with guys they know and not with their own system. I still dont see what they have done so far as being progressive, exchanging players and signings that are question marks, with ability and injuries.

  • Tony_Hall

    Very nice trade for the Padres and Reds yesterday.  Classic trade that gives each team what they need and some young players a better chance to play their natural position.

    I very rarely get into making up trades for this very reason…who saw this one coming, and the talks most likely started at the GM meetings, then again at the Winter Meetings.  Trades take both teams or sometimes 3 teams to agree on players, young and old.  This is extremely difficult to do, and when making up trade options, most everyone, has them lopsided, to their team, just like when GM’s first talk to each other about players.  The trades we come up with, are usually the starting point when GM’s discuss trades, and both GM’s would never do the others trades.  

    Plus, I only want to know about other teams, young players, when they will make an impact on the upcoming season, any more than that is more than I need to know.  There are 750 players in the majors, and 1200 on the 40 man rosters, when you go deep into teams minor leagues, you end up with over 4000 players to keep info on. 

    • Anthony

      many knew Alonso was blocked, many knew Grandal was blocked, didn’t know the best suitor though, but the trade is not a surprise

      • Tony_Hall

        That Alonso was traded…not a surprise

        That Latos was traded…there were rumors they would listen to offers

        That they were traded for each other…a surprise.

  • Tony_Hall

    One thing is for sure, Theo and Jed have a plan to turn over as many of the aging vets on the roster they inherited as they possibly can, and as fast as they can make it happen.  

    • Anthony

      said that yesterday, Byrd and Soriano on the way OUT

  • Anthony

    Don’t the Cubs have a Rizzo? Ridling

    • Tom U

      Actually, Justin Bour would be a more favorable comparison. 

    • cubtex

      Rizzo is a top prospect….Bour and Ridling are not.

      • cubtex

        Bour is still in high A ball and Ridling had 1 year in AA. Rizzo is ready to contribute on the mlb level next year. There is a reason why Rizzo is currenty the Padres #1 prospect. The guy is projected to be a middle of the order hitter for a long time in the majors. A lot of hitters struggle at first at Petco since they try and alter their swing. Rizzo is a decent glove with a strong arm who can run a little bit. If they can pick him up….he will be penciled in to start at 1B on opening day next year.

        • Anthony

          I understand your point, but I also understand that the Cubs Farm has been the slow-track unless, well, I won’t go there, but Cubs kids are/were stuck in the mud while SD sheets or gets off the pot with prospects.

          Rizzo would be stuck in Boise under the old regime…………….lol

        • RynoTiger

          Cubtex, can you help us understand how you know that “Rizzo is ready to contribute on the mlb level next year”?   I ask because in looking at Rizzo’s stats away from Petco, they are worse than his Petco stats. Sure he’s done well at the minors and as a prospect has been tagged with high praise labels and predictions, but we’ve seen that fail before.  Please expand.

          • cubtex

            The thing you are not looking at is the ceiling of a player! If Bryce Harper has the same stats as player B in the same league….are they the same player??? As I have been preaching all along….It is night and day between the minors and the show. High A ball numbers compared to AA etc. Look at Tyler Colvin for example. He was successful in the minors and for a short time in the majors and when his flaws were exposed….he failed miserably.
            The thing about top prospects like Rizzo…mlb teams see a player who will be able to do the same things at the next level. Why did SD want him in the AGON trade? Why did the Rays and Cubs immediately contact SD to see if Rizzo might be available? Why aren’t the Cubs sold on LaHair?? Look at Micah Hoffpauir’s stats in AAA a couple years ago. Hoffpauir=LaHair. Those 2 players are similar. LaHair does not equal Rizzo.

        • Tom U

          I’m not sure whether that falls into the cutest pig category. 

          If you look at Bour’s numbers last year, they’re comparable with Rizzo’s 2010, his fourth year as a pro.

          Bour is in his third professional year, and the level of competition he faced last season was equal or better than what Rizzo faced in 2010.

          Rizzo also had the luxury of little to no competition in the systems he came up in, Boston and San Diego. He only had Lars Anderson ahead of him in Boston and Kyle Blanks in San Diego.

          Anderson is a bit of a media darling, whose production hasn’t measured up to the lofty projections. Blanks is only known because he was in the big leagues, somewhat undeservedly, in 2009. He, too, is a product of more hype than substance.

          Bour was blocked by an MVP and and MVP candidate in Bryan LaHair and Rebel Ridling. He also has MVP type players behind him in Richard Jones and Paul Hoilman.

          I don’t disagree that Rizzo is a good player. However, circumstances have played into his favor.

  • The Maven

    Bruce Levine’s slip was showing again yesterday. Once again, Levine subtly was cozying up to veteran Carlos Pena while disrespecting Bryan LaHair. Wasn’t Pena a stopgap on a 70 win team? The only difference between the two is that Levine will have to work a little harder to get to know LaHair, and won’t be able to pump him for easy stories as a “good clubhouse guy”. Why does this guy still have a media gig?

    • Anthony

      LaHair deserves/earned a shot, plain and simple

  • Tony_Hall

    I have been saying this over and over, but here is Kerry Wood stating it, which means he has heard it from Theo and Company.

    Power outage: Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena combined for 54 home runs in 2011, 36 percent of the team’s totals. New right-fielder David DeJesus had 10 with the A’s in 2011, while Stewart had none for the Rockies. Wood suggested to WGN Morning News anchor Larry Potash that power isn’t a priority of the new regime.”We’ll go out and do the best we can,” he said. “I think they’re going to put baseball players on the field. I don’t think we need big power hitters. The first 21/2 months the wind blows in so no one is going to leave (the park). And then when the wind is blowing out, (anyone) can hit one out.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-1218-cubs-chicago–20111218,0,5595760.story

    • Tom U

      I hate to use this, especially on Sunday, but I can’t think of a more appropriate term:

      AMEN

      • cubtex

        Then why trade LeMahieu….right Tom :) He would be more of a fit for 3B with the Cubs than Stewart if they are going to play small ball.

        • Tom U

          I understand and with good nature, will accept the poke in the ribs. However, I wasn’t going there.

          My point of view on hitting has always been consistent: have players develop the habits of a good hitter and let the chips fall were they may. 

          I’ve often brought up the example of contemporaries, George Brett and Wade Boggs. Both played the same position, third base, and both were schooled under well respected hitting coaches, Charlie Lau and Walt Hriniak. However, while Brett had natural power and slowly developed into a feared power hitter, Boggs didn’t. They would both be batting champions and wear World Series rings. But it was their team’s ability to use their talents, and not try to shove a square peg in a round hole that got them there. If the Cubs organization, and their fans, did this, maybe it wouldn’t be 103 years and counting.

          DJ LeMahieu is no longer a part of the organization, and I wish him success. But there are too many other players that may be in the future for the Cubs to dwell on him. 

          Now, if you want to talk about the trade and equity, that’s a different story!

          • cubtex

            Not meant as a poke Tom…I am just stating that “IF” the philosophy of the organization is to move to small ball with high obp guys….then why trade that type of player for one who is not. That was my point.

          • Tom U

            I guess I should have added one of theses : )

    • cubtex

      You build your team around your ballpark! Kerry Wood is a company guy and will never talk bad about the Cubs and direction they are going.
      Why all this talk about Fielder then? Why not sign Casey Kotchman since that is the type of ball they want to play. And my point about who will protect Fielder if they sign him is 100% valid. Did you see Bruce Levine’s projected lineup? He has Soriano batting 5th behind Fielder. If they sign Fielder for 25 mil per year they have to also buy a professional hitter to protect Fielder. Go out and trade for Rizzo,Trumbo,Morales etc and build a team.

      • Tony_Hall

        Well yeah, that was kind of the point of Kerry Wood’s comments.

        Why all the talk about Fielder?  He is a pure power hitter, who can hit it out, even when the wind is blowing in.

        I don’t really take what Bruce Levine says as gospel.

  • Anthony

     Well, at least it is an interesting off-season/hot stove, right?

    You have a new regime

    You had a solid draft in a Draft rated very high overall historically for deep talent

    You have a new CBA

    You have a weak FA crop other than a few guys

    You have INTL intrigue

    So, regarding the big club, the BS writers spew out so much crapola, but, KW made some points, and you can also throw in the CBAPED purported increase in testing which may decrease power level back to the 80’s, DeLorean car not included.

    Fielding baseball players versus “name” players doesn’t necessarily mean 100% smallball.

    What would Campana do on the bases given more plate appearances? How many steals? Please excuse Byrd.

    NO NO COCO…………..shelf that retread, no offense.

    If healthy, Bianchi should win 2B out of ST, another running threat. As far as LaHair, he earned his shot, lets see what he can do, especially in a transitional year.

    3B and Stewart, well, the power is there, don’t know how much Park Factor contributed, but there are contact issues, and a MLB running K rate near 33%………….that is a hole in a swing.

    If any trade happens with SD, one could conclude that Hoyer may be after Gyorko, his guy, who rakes, and appears ready to contribute, but Vitters has to be addressed. Vitters is an interesting topic of discussion.

    This is a good a year as any to see what B Jackson is. DeJesus is a 4th/5th OF.

    See ya Soriano, at some point. He is a DH, simply put.

    Rizzo————–LaHair/Ridling/Bour———-whats the point?

    next Post, some chatter about 2011 Draftees

    • Aaron

      First of all, while Rizzo is a decent talent…he is NO better than Justin Bour. If you need further evidence, just look at the leagues they played in. Secondly, Gyorko should also be addressed with the leagues he’s played in.

      All you have to do is look at their stats in leagues like the Midwest League or the SALLY League (south atlantic) to know that they thrive in traditional “offensive” leagues like the PCL and Cal Leagues (which play in high desert).

      Gyorko’s best stats came at Lake Elsinore in the high desert Cal League.

      Rizzo’s best stats came at Tucson last year, in the PCL….and not only was the PCL an offensive powerhouse, but Tucson is a launching pad.

      Check for yourselves:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=gyorko001jed

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=rizzo-001ant

      While Bour is older than both of them, he’s most likely the better bat of the two, as you can see by the stats he posted in Daytona, a humid, pitcher-friendly league:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=bour–001jus

      He also did well in the Midwest League too.

      Everything needs to be put in context.

      And I’ll admit…I haven’t been the best at doing this before (putting their respective numbers into context with the leagues they played in)…and while I still have a weird affinity for Brandon Wood, he is probably the poster child of the league-inflated status:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=wood–002ric

      Look at the numbers he put up in the Cal League…again, I remind you…high desert league….and his PCL numbers aren’t too shabby either, but nowhere close to the high desert numbers.

      Once you start putting things in context, you realize that the Cubs’ prospects aren’t half bad…and if you start looking back at numbers, you’ll see what a loss Flaherty and LeMahieu might be, but I digress.

      I really don’t see much happening with this team. Perhaps, signing the likes of Maholm…maybe Saunders (even in addition to), and someone like Keppinger, Counsell (gag me), DeRosa, Damon, and perhaps even Luke Scott…

      I previously thought they might be really active, getting rid of the likes of DeWitt, Baker, Soriano, Byrd, Wells, Zambrano, Barney, Marmol, and perhaps even Garza…but, unfortunately, it sure as hell seems like they’re hanging onto every one of them….

      Additionally, it seems their move to trade LeMahieu should prove one thing (considering it wasn’t even necessary and Weathers is a downright terrible pitcher), and expose BOTH Gonzalez and Flaherty to the Rule 5 with ample roster space left….the fact is, they don’t want anyone to second-guess them with their current roster. In other words, if Baker and DeWitt have dreadful starts to the season, they don’t want anyone clamoring for the rookies…they want to be able to bring them up on their timeline. They wanted to prove to the fanbase who is in charge. How else could you describe their idiotic decisions, especially letting go of ALL of their MLB-ready middle infield depth in one damn offseason?!?!?!?

      They were essentially flipping us the bird…and they will continue to do that, and I would not be shocked to see them trade away even more prospects from the previous regime, like Vitters, Carpenter, and perhaps even Brett Jackson…even though those players might be valuable….In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to see outright dumps like the essentially LeMahieu for Weathers swap that just took place, where the player they’re getting in return is a complete dud….it’s to prove a point, and it’s more of an ego thing with them.

      That being said, they do have 2 championship rings, and broke the most famous curse of all…The Curse of the Bambino…so in my book, they have every right to have a little bit of an ego.

      But let’s be honest with ourselves…that might be the case until they completely purge every Hendry-era talent ever acquired (sans maybe Castro….and that’s not even a given with these guys)

      I would assume they’ll let Dempster and Byrd walk next year if they can’t trade them beforehand, and if they acquire some starting pitching depth, I believe there’s a great chance they’ll opt to non-tender Wells, if, again, they can’t trade him beforehand.

      I also believe they don’t value Barney much, as I haven’t even heard his name.

      The guys that have a great chance of sticking, include: B. Jackson and LaHair for their patience at the plate, Castro, and pitchers Garza, Dolis, Carpenter, Cashner and Samardzija. With hitters, they like patience, and guys that work the count. With pitchers, if you look at their rotations in Boston and their pen, they seem to favor two things…velocity and guys that throw strikes. While Samardzija and Carpenter have struggled with command at times, their velocity and relative success would appear to override that concern.

      Everyone else would appear to be up for grabs…even Marshall.

      Like I said before, unless the Cubs can land any two players from this group (but not limited to): Fielder, Darvish, E. Jackson, Oswalt, Kubel, Beltran, etc., there’s almost no way they can compete in the division.

      The Reds now have Latos, and they didn’t even get rid of regular players…and the disappointing Volquez is the only arm they really gave up that meant anything. They still have offensive firepower behind Votto, Phillips, Bruce, etc.

      The Cardinals still have a rotation headed by Carpenter, Wainwright, and Garcia, and while they lost Pujols on offense, they still have Berkman and Holliday, the emerging Freese, and surprising Allen Craig

      The Brewers still have a rotation headed by Gallardo, Greinke, and Marcum, and their offense still includes Braun (who might be suspended), Weeks, Hart, and the recently added ARAM

      How have the Cubs gotten better? hmmmmmm…Oh, I know….we have an All-Star front office. Yeah…that’s gonna get us very far….

      Wait…I know….we added DeJesus, he of the 2011 line of .240/.323/.376 slash line and 10 hr, 46 RBI….

      no…it must’ve been Casey Weathers, he of the 2011 line in AAA of 2-2, 5.32 ERA, 1.752 WHIP (no MLB experience)

      Still not it?….hmmmmmmm….Oh, I know…it must be the addition of Ian Stewart, he of the 2011 line of .156/.243/.221, 0 hr, 6 RBI in 136 plate appearances (or in other words, about on par with Koyie Hill type numbers)…

      no…it MUST be Jeff Bianchi, he of the .259/.320/.333 line, 2 hr, 48 RBI in AA

      Yes, that MUST be it….because he sure is a step above LeMahieu, who posted a .358/.386/.492 line in AA and .319/.354/.423 overall line between AA and AAA last year.

      You know the old saying…”trust, but verify”?

      I believe that definitely applies here. I trusted their track records from the past, and I was extremely excited about their hires, but all I am seeing is Jim Hendry-esque type moves, and I am VERY unimpressed…what I’ve seen from Epstein, Hoyer, and McLeod with their trades and signings while with the Red Sox is NOT the same type of trades/signings I’m seeing with the Cubs, and that is a HUGE concern I have right now.

      What are they thinking?!?!?

      • Anthony

        hitter friendly leagues, agree with

        the rest, wow WTF

      • Agustinrexach

        I like reading your stuff so do not take this personal Aaron. You criticized how bad JH and every thing related to him was for years and nothing he did was good for you(sarcastically) and I agreed most of the time but it seems like now you overvalue every SWINGING prospect our farm system has! Our system Sucks all around man. I’m not asking you to give Theo a break cause he is a grown man but man stop adoring our $&itty

        • Agustinrexach

          *prospects

          • Anthony

            so are you saying the other 29 teams have all the prospects and the Cubs have zero?

          • Agustinrexach

            No, that is not what I said. I said our farm system(what’s left) is a marginal one with little above average talent in every aspect.

          • Aaron

            I see where you are coming from but there are two major problems with what you said:
            1) when did I ever say our prospects were gold? I only put things in context there. Don’t you believe other teams and their fans overvalue their own prospects? Furthermore, in the past I have pumped our own prospects at times because I looked at it from the perspective of the lesser of two evils…For example: paying a veteran like a Gathright $1 million vs giving a guy like Pie the back-up job at half the cost. I have NEVER said our prospects were the best in the game.

            I also value your opinions…but c’mon man…try to at least put things in context there

            2) As for Hendry …you’re absolutely right…U thought he was a moron. As for the new guys…while excited I don’t believe in blind faith. As I said…trust but verify and why the he’ll wouldn’t you do that? You’re doing yourself a disservice.

            Plus, you know me…I always used to post on here stats of what we gave up vs what we got to replace them. And guess what? With my predictions I’ve almost never been wrong. Objective vs subjective can best be described as realism vs blind optimism.

            I’ll give you a guess where most Cubs fans fall under

          • Agustinrexach

            Ok, I just Felt like you were over qualifying our system. Now I see its a context thing and you are right I agree with your assessment on Gathright* That is why I think Lahair deserves a shot. Not because he is going to be a star but because I see no sense in signing a guy like DeJesus, a true stop gap, when we have nothing to lose by trying Lahair out in right field.

            I mean, are we contending or not? I know this question is killing you right now, me too. If Theo’s answer is yes we need Lahair’s power numbers, Fielder’s Soriano’s and Beltran. DeJesus is a good player but where does he fit? In a rebuilding process or in a go for it process? None of the above unless he is your utility guy or 4th outfielder. BTW that signing alone tells me they are going for Fielder but I too wonder what direction they are going because it sure looks like they are waiting too much and holding on to Hendry’s old roster…minus the only offensive threat Aram.
            Sad thing is they better get moving because the central might not be as easy to win in the future as it looks in 2012

      • paulcatanese

        Agree Aaron, you read my mind,you are good at putting in writing what I am thinking.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Great post, Aaron.

  • Anthony

    As exciting as the Hot Stove is, it should be just as interesting, if not more, seeing what the 2011 Draft crop does in their 1st full season.

    My guesses on initial position player assignments, some chatter, some expectations are these:

    I am guessing the newly drafted high school kids will duke it out in Mesa for Boise assignments, and although it is possible any of them can get an instant shot at Peoria, my guess is they won’t rush them.

    Baez
    Vogelbach
    Dunston
    Rosario
    Schlecht
    Lockhart
    Martin
    Shoulders(JUCO), to name a few

    They need time in AZL and Boise facing better than high school pitching, as we know, better pitching helps expose the warts in hitters swings/mechanics.

    Peoria:

    Hoilman
    Zapenas
    Andreoli
    Lopez
    Soccoro, to name a few
    DeVoss

    Hoilman showed great power, high walk rate, and very high K rate, and something has to give, and he needs to see the better MWL pitching with hopes that the power remains, which it should, and better contact in reducing those K’s

    Lopez hit well in Boise, and if he continues that in Peoria, should get a Daytona look in 2012 2nd half.

    DeVoss may be assigned to Daytona, but my guess is Peoria due to defensive position. Will he be a CF, or a 2B? Classic pain in the butt leadoff speed guy, interesting follow and another athlete.

    Daytona:

    Easterling
    Klafczynski

    Athletically, these two can be added to any list out there.

    Easterling hit well in Peoria, most likely a LF, needs more read and route experience, not really a CF, and doesn’t have the arm for RF.

    Klafczynski started slow, but hit .321 the last 5 weeks of the Peoria season, is an advanced OF defensively, and his RF arm ranks very high in the system from what I have heard/read.

    What would be Farm Positives in 2012 for 2011 draftees?

    Baez hits like the scouts say he can, and gets to Peoria 2nd half.
    Vogelbach or Shoulders forces a quick promotion
    Hoilman retains power and gets K rate to 25% or less
    DeVoss finds a defensive home that raises his status
    Klafczynski hits and shows power development
    Easterling keeps developing his tools across the board
    Rafael Lopez gets fast-tracked if he hits MWL like NWL

    I didn’t mention Gretzky but unless he dazzles in Mesa, he needs a full season of AZL, no hurry, very raw, very young. Wayne may have visited Boise, but on paper, that may be 2013?

    Interesting crop to say the least.

  • Coolpdxcubsfan

    Allrighty then,Kerry, no big power hitters.

    I guess we just need some regular hitters then.

    ummmmm Let’s see now, oh that’s right we don’t have any of those either. well, we have one or two out of nine, nothing much happens with RISP though.

    Still, we do have some speed, trouble is, he can’t steal 1st base. And he isn’t
    given a chance in CF where he should be playing because we have a
    mediocre guy there. There might be another fast guy coming (Bianchi) but he isn’t very healthy.

    Oh, that’s right, we can win with good pitching.

    Pitchers. Oh wait, we only have one good one, well two if you count relievers, ok, make that three then.

    (sigh) looks like we don’t win many games, just like the Astros or Pirates of old, who we have become.

    BUT, we do have the best front office in baseball, just read their press releases. (thanks Rip)

    AND we will have a DARN nice McDonalds.

    • Anthony

      maybe Theo is assembling the 1985 Cardinals

      Vince Coleman batter .267 with ONE HR…………….

      and 110 Stolen Bases

      • paulcatanese

        And Campana comes to mind here.

    • paulcatanese

      Very good post.

  • daverj

    I think right now it may be a bit of a waiting game on any big moves for the Cubs until Fielder signs with a team.  If Fielder signs with the Cubs, then I think Garza stays.  If Fielder signs elsewhere, then I think the Cubs will move Garza if (and only if) the right package of prospects available (including a prospect they could flip to San Diego for Rizzo).

    For Garza, I’d think the Cubs would need to get back a Top 25 type prospect, a Top 75 type prospect (this would be the guy that might be flipped for Rizzo), and 2 more mid level prospects.  Yankees, Rangers and Blue Jays may be the only teams that would match-up well for a Garza deal.

  • John_CC

    Thanks, Neil. Informative as always!

    The Rizzo scenario is quite interesting. As you stated, they know him too well as a player, and then there is Hoyer’s close relationship with SD and Byrnes…I think they will get this done. Exciting.

    • Aaron

      see my post above…Landing Rizzo for anything more than a Casey Coleman type of player would be a HUGE mistake.

      I might even be willing to deal Randy Wells for him…but that’s ALL.

      Garza?!?!? Is Bowden really that dumb…better yet, are the Cubs that dumb to “build a package around Garza and Rizzo”…Really?!?!?

      The Cubs need pitching back…They need a sure bet at 1B. Stewart at 3B is a complete joke…they needed a sure bet there as well.

      The Rangers, with a package as Cubtex stated yesterday, built around Profar, Olt, Ramirez, and Perez, should be just about right….ESPECIALLY given what the Reds gave up.

      Olt vs Alonso=wash
      Ramirez vs Volquez=jury is out…I’d say Volquez, because he’s already had MLB success, and is still fairly young
      Perez vs Boxberger=Perez probably wins out here, because he’s a starter
      Profar vs Grandal=truthfully, it’s about a wash. Profar is younger, and is a middle infielder, but Grandal is a catcher, who has both offensive and defensive prowess….and catching is a premium position…it’s about a wash.

      Just look at all the players’ stats that were involved in the trade for Latos. It’d be an absolute joke if Rizzo was the “headliner”

      • daverj

        I agree that Rizzo as a headliner for Garza is a joke.  But, in my opinion, your proposal for Garza is completely unreasonable.  It’s fine to hold out for that package … and just keep Garza if it doesn’t get done, but don’t have any expectations that a deal like that is possible.

        Profar, Olt, Ramirez and Perez will all likely be on Baseball Americas Top 100 prospect list.  Can you name any deal where 4 Top 100 prospects were dealt for 1 pitcher?  I can’t think of any.  Not the Matt Latos deal.  Not Roy Halladay. Not Cliff Lee.  Not Matt Garza (when the Cubs acquired him from the Rays).  Not the Josh Beckett deal.  It just doesn’t happen …. because no team with those prospects would make a deal like that.  Also, Profar is a Top 10 prospect in all of baseball.  None of the above deals included a Top 10 prospect except for the Beckett deal (Hanley Ramirez was a Top 10 guy) … and in that deal, the Red Sox got Lowell along with Beckett.

        For Garza, the Cubs traded what was at the time 2 Top 100 prospects (with 1 in the Top 50) and 2 mid level prospects.  Garza now has two years on control left (instead of three).  I can’t see the argument how Garza is now worth significantly more than he was last year.

        I suppose this is just another case of Cub fans overvaluing their own players and undervaluing those of other teams.

        • cubtex

          DaverJ. The value of a player increases year to year based on the market!

          • daverj

            Yes, it can, but that doesn’t make it the case here.  The general consensus (outside of Cub fans) is that Garza is worth the same or less than he was last offseason.  And, while I know you disagree with this, I have not read a single post (from anyone other than a Cub fan) that thinks 2 years of Garza is worth as much as 4 years of Latos.

      • cubtex

        That would never happen. Rizzo is currently ranked as their #1 prospect. Do you honestly think you can get him for a Casey Coleman? Supposedly TB is throwing Wade Davis at them for him. Not that Wade Davis is a top of the rotation guy but let’s see……..Coleman or Wade Davis? Hmmmmm. No comparison. I don’t think Bowden was saying Garza straight up for Rizzo. It would be Rizzo with 2 or 3 other top prospects. That’s what I took from his comment.

        • Aaron

          I am NOT at all saying that. I am saying that I , personally wouldn’t trade more than that…I never said anything about them actually accepting it. Wells for Rizzo might be a fair deal though…especially with their big park…Wells’ stuff might play out better there

          • cubtex

            I know what you are saying but I would rather give up a prospect to aquire a guy like Rizzo than to sign Fielder for 25 mil or play a non prospect like LaHair there. I am not at all thinking they can compete next year. With the players they have been adding and talking about it is not realistic to assume that.

      • John_CC

        Aaron, I hadn’t seen you post, I was just responding to Neil’s column.  I don’t know anything about Rizzo…like all prospects some think he’s the best, others – not so much.  I can agree that for Garza there better some major league ready talent coming back.

        At any rate, it will be interesting to watch it play out. Never a dull moment with these new Cubs!

    • paulcatanese

      John, why do I get the feeling that Theo and company only value players outside the Cub system? I get the impression that when they came over here that what the Cubs have, from top to bottom are worthless and that re-building must take that avenue, a complete, complete overhaul.Nothing the Cubs have are worth anything.

      • Anthony

        paul, maybe true as far as 1B is concerned only if you want to rely on blowhard writers and speculations

        or, you can refer back to TheoHoyer saying LaHair will be in camp competing to play 1B

        until they make a deal, or say anything themselves on a baseball matter, everything else is just hot stove verbage

      • Jay from sandwich

        I already have sad that and the reason why their ego! That’s right the cub farm system is garbage because theo and company did not draft them

        • Tony_Hall

          The Cubs system has lots of future major league players, but is void of future stars.  That has been the view of most “experts’ when looking at our system.  So, there really shouldn’t be all that many “untouchable” players.

          You don’t bring in new guys, to keep going down the same path, that had repeatedly failed.

          • Anthony

            you have to exclude 2011 draftees until a full season under their belts

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree…I was talking about guys that are already fully in the system, most of last years draft, didn’t even make it out of  the rookie leagues.

      • Agustinrexach

        That is not true at all, Theo said he was impressed with the international signings an he praised their2011 draft class.

  • Anthony

    wonder how many posters were around pre-Steroid Era and even pre-FA

    Maybe it is time to stop using an inflated .280 BA/25 HR statline as a benchmark for hitters being labeled good or bust.

    Hate to repeat it, but PED mostly, and to a lesser extent, expansion and smaller ballparks have inflated the numbers.

    HOF George Brett had a great career playing in 3 different decades and averaged .305 BA and 19 HR, and his power peaked at age 35, and played until 40 with decent numbers for a guy 36-40, pretty textbook as far as age/player discussion, but a great player and hitter.

    Today, fans of the steroid era would call him “average” lol,lol,lol

    Take a look at BR and the 2004 Cubs

    37 year old Moises Alou with 39 bombs?

    And look at the rest of that group and the HR production. I ask, were all these guys that good and natural at the same time?

    • John_CC

      You’re right Anthony.  Brett hit 20+ HR in 8 of his 20 seasons, topped out at 30 when he was 32 years old, 1985. That was an awesome season, he lost the MVP only because Mattingly had an even more amazing season.

      It is really amazing when you start looking at the MVP results in the mid-90s through the aughts.  Pick a year and look at the stats put up some of these guys.

      Let’s look at 1998.  Albert Belle hit a stunning
      .328/.399/.655, 200 H, 49 HR, 152 RBI

      He finished 8th in MVP voting!

      Of  course we know what happened in the NL that year.

      • Schwimmer

        No.  What  happened in the NL that year?

        • Anthony

          Mac/Sosa and cheating by many

      • Anthony

        John, the “complexion” of the game has changed and sometimes I wonder how the INTL Cattle Farms ran by independent agent/scouts were operating 15-20 years ago?

        In 1980, 34 players hit 20 or more HR’s

        In 1990, 45 players hit 20 or more HR’s

        In 2000, 102 players hit 20 or more HR’s

        In 2005, 78 players hit 20 or more HR’s

        note: by this time, suspicion, media, tattletaling was prevalent and players started running scared.

        In 2011, 68 players hit 20 or more HR’s

        I trust this new CBA and PED testing extends to the INTL camps and policed just as strongly by the new committee established, as one wonders if the influx from those breeding grounds put just enough pressure for US born players to juice up to compete, level the field, and also get paid too.

        Not trying to be controversial, but on the surface, an easy conclusion anyone can make.

        except for Bonds………..he was a HOF way before he felt the need, and that was the need to hold the record by extending his clock.

        No offense to anyone.

    • Tony_Hall

      I always thought Alou hit so many HR’s late in his career due to his callus’s.

      George Brett was one of my favorite players growing up and we all can see that the power numbers will be much less moving forward, and there will be a premium placed on playing the game the right way.  Line drive type hitters will be the best style and the fly ball hitters, will turn back into Dave Kingman (who was also entertaining to watch play).

      • Coolpdxcubsfan

        I once saw Dave Kingman hit a ball completely out of Multnomah Stadium in Portland Oregon and about a block or so down the street. WOW! I know for sure that is the longest HR I have ever seen, even on TV. He was at the end of his career and I think retired the next year.

    • paul catanese

      I would say yes after having some first hand knowledge of the era.

      • Anthony

        In 2004, the shorter list would have been the clean players, probably by 10-1, or so

  • GaryLeeT

     There are not going to be any more big FA signings after the team shot their wad on that McDonalds guy.

  • Coachdon

    I’m a bit puzzled by the new regime. They are pretty much chucking our prospects down the drain, but they retain Fleita and Wilkens, who put them there in the first place. I think DJ Lemahieu is going to be a regular starter in this league for a long time. I think he’ll hit close to .300 with 10 to 15 homers. I would take that on my team. And Flaherty will spend a long time in the league, maybe only as a bench guy, but one with some pop and versatility. It is just a shame that we got back what we got back for decimating our infield depth. I highly doubt either Bianchi or Stewart hit over .250, ever. Let Lahair have the 1st base gig in 2012 and find out what you’ve got. Trading Garza for Rizzo is nuts. Why is it no one elses guys that light up AAA and struggle at MLB are called AAAAers?

    • Anthony

      I hope you read between the lines of my post. I agree with you on your point that everyone thinks other teams minor leaguers are better, which is false.

      They are all good players. It appears that with the MLB team these suits inherited that won 71 games, they have identified that they are problem, not so much the minor leaguers.

      Notice the plugs, former 1st round selections who have hit a bump, so the safe route is to claim them because at one point in the past, they were rated highly and coveted by concensus.

      Theo probably decided he couldn’t take a chance on Colvin. To be honest, DJ is not a 10-15 HR guy, never hit for power in college with metal either, and guys who have hit for power will be forced to “cycle off”, and won’t hit that many in the future, so I understand those deals, and what they got in return can only be so much, or equal.

      Scooping up Bianchi means sorry Barney, you ain’t ready yet.

      That is a MLB level decision, not a minor league indictment.

      Byrd will be a throw in player in a trade.

      Soriano eventually will be dealt to the AL, and hang around for his 54M, not with the Cubs.

      Scouts have said Flaherty has a good bat, and can handle many positions, but his weakest, SS, made him less coveted, I disagree, and he has a place in the game, as does MG.

      Jackson eventually will hit the stage, but you never know what they think, and when seeking a trade for a SP, they want value back, but Jackson has the profile they like, its called 1st round!

  • Anthony

    OK, so this Rizzo kid has a classic 1B hitting profile and has improved at each level, the best sign there is when climbing the ladder, and he is very young. If they trade for him as a long-term solution for that position, they are effectively saying the current Cubs 1B prospects who have been in the system ain’t in their plans. Fine

    That also means LaHair ain’t their guy either, and would be possibly trading trading for a position of weakness with an asset that is also weak(pitching-Garza).

    To make this trade, Theo has to feel confident he has Garza’s replacement, a ready MLB Starting Pitcher.

    Who are those candidates?

    Yu, unless Toronto is truly the winning bidder, and that city is a true diverse metropolis with a large Asian population, is the 1st candidate everyone talks about. A Gm has to be really sold 100%, especially when rebuilding, to allocate a huge ransom fee out of the scouting and development budget, also taking into consideration all the money just spent on a staff of suits and ties?

    It’s not my money, so I guess I don’t care how they spend it, as stupid as the concept is.

    The recent young, cheap speculation signings and hole plugs can lead one to 2 conclusions. Saving for a big signing, or saving for a rainy day, the future.

    Two WS Titles aside, Theo inherited a winning team, and maintained it, and never experienced this type of mess before, enter Hoyer, who has more recent experience in real roster building.

    I prefer the youth-movement method, so Byrd and Soriano should be gone sooner than later, and the Cubs may end up the youngest team in the league.

    • RynoTiger

      though if the youth-movement is chosen, we also have to be prepared to accept that getting back in the playoff hunt could take 1-3 or more years, depending upon the development of that youth, which of course may mean that fans are less likely to want to shell out the money for a lesser product on the field…during this current sustained lack of success over the past few years the attendance has already been declining and if the economy doesn’t necessarily improve as much as we hope, then that also is a major factor in less people shelling out lots of money just to go to a ball game.  it could be that the attendance this coming year doesn’t reach the 3 million mark. lower attendance means less revenue which means less money to spend on the development of the organization, such as HS/College signings; MLB FA signings; extensions for home grown talent; international signings.

      • Anthony

        lower payroll can offset a gate reduction

        • RynoTiger

          only if that lower payroll doesn’t mean a lower quality and winning product.

          • Anthony

            revenue less costs and expenses equals net profit/loss

    • cubtex

      When I initially brought up Rizzo could be a fit…I threw out Vitters for Rizzo since SD is looking to move Headley. Bowden mentioned Garza and now everyone is assuming that the Cubs are looking to move Garza for Rizzo. This would never happen. A young first baseman would not be an equal return for a top of the rotation starter. If Garza is moved he will bring a Rizzo with at least 2 other top prospects from the Padres system.

      • daverj

        Agreed.  Garza is not going to San Diego.  He might go elsewhere and a prospect might be dealt to San Diego for Rizzo.  It would not make sense for San Diego to deal Latos for prospects and then deal prospects for Garza.