Rambling on a Deadline

Well, after an extremely quiet week, I am not sure what to ramble about … any ideas?

The team looks different, I am not sure who is going to pitch, and well, the last two months of the season shall be interesting, as it is going to get ugly … very ugly.

So let’s get to it.

  • Demp, don’t lie. We all know what happened. Just tell the truth. Remember, as some kind of smart writer once said, “To thy own self be true.”
  • It will be multiple years until we, as Cubs fans, can really say whether or not we are mad at Dempster.
  • I like the position the Cubs are in with Sori. Obviously no one is picking up his contract on waivers, so when he clears as he might have already, McThoyer is in a good situation. Let’s rob someone! Sound good?
  • The Tigers might get desperate … let’s go after some of that!
  • Congrats to the ‘Riz for winning the rookie of the month. If you extrapolate his stats, he hits 42 homers with 102 RBI. Conservatively, that is 33 homers with 90 RBI as a rookie.
  • Not … too … shabby!
  • I am sorry, but women’s beach volleyball is so much fun to watch. And yes, folks, I am talking about the actual game, not the bikini bottoms … those help as well.
  • By that I mean, they allow for the athleticism and flexibility to take place … which is also fun to watch. Get your head out of the gutter!
  • No matter what, they traded Geo for more than a bag of balls. Seriously, I would have been okay if they traded him for literally a bag of balls. This is a win-win no matter what.
  • Soto was awful offensively, below average defensively, and if I was forced to watch him drop another tipped-third-strike ONE MORE TIME, I am not sure what I would do.
  • Not trading Maholm would have been a mistake. Period. If I am wrong, please tell me why. I am open to hearing your opinions.
  • Question of the day: If you could see or have one Olympic event take place at Wrigley, what would it be? I am not going to offer any ideas as I do not want to cloud anyone’s opinions.
  • Summer or Winter …
  • Hey, Derek Lowe may be 72, but he has to be better than, well, fill in the blank.
  • Remember when LaHair got off to his hot start. He has 31 RBI. It is August.
  • Castro is back up to .285. I hope that number keeps climbing.
  • Speaking of, Castro has played in 103 games. Without looking (re: cheating) who has played in the second most? It surprised me.
  • Below, please tell me what you are most looking forward to or hoping for in the last two months.
  • For me it is two things: Samardzija’s pitching and Rizzo’s offensive output.
  • Third, let’s just have fun and give Campana a chance to steal two bases a game. Why not, right?

So that is it. I have asked so many questions, let’s hear some answers. I hope to change up the conversation today. The trade deadline is old, let’s talk about some new things. Challenge me, hate me, love me … it’s your call. Let’s just have some fun!

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley
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  • brent carmona

    Derek lowe must be better than Kevin tapani

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Brickner/100000305951204 Paul Brickner

    Well baseball and softball should be Olympic sports and would be awesome at Wrigley. As for the sports that are in the Olympics that would be fun at the friendly confines.
    1.Greco Roman wrestling: Combatants could enter the arena from under the right field bleachers. It would be the USA’s Colosseum.

    2. Shot put . Imagine a Chinese athlete throwing a shot put into the stands only to see it thrown back by an exuberant bleacher bum wearing USA jersey

    • John G

      I was going to say synchronized diving, but I can’t top your shot put. Well played.

  • triple

    I’d have to say Soriano has played the most games behind Castro. He’s been a rock! Well at least since the middle of May.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lboodry Larry Boodry

      Sori would be my guess, too.

    • John G

      DeJesus
      Kim, not David

  • GaryLeeT

    Trading Dempster was an easy call, but I wouldn’t say the Maholm trade was brilliant. He was a dependable, and a better than average lefty starter, signed through next year, at a very attractive price. He just turned 30, has great mechanics that will allow him to stay healthy, and would not have blocked anybody’s development. Even though I don’t agree with “the plan” in it’s entirety, the dynasty of the future still has about 10 positions to fill, with almost one year already having ticked off the clock. Not every single position can be filled by some player from the farm system, and at some point a veteran presence will not only be necessary, but desired. After putting up with a team made purposely bad with the promise of progression, I expect at least a .500 team to be fielded next year, and I just don’t see how they get there without adding some quality starters like Maholm.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jim.haley.940 Jim Haley

      I totally agree that Maholm should not have been traded. He was a plus on the pitching staff & could work with some of our youth. Maholm or Volstad???? You all know that answer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

      I still wouldnt rule out Maholm being back next year. His option is rather cheap for the Braves to pick up, but with their pitching in the minors they have that option of moving on from him. If say Maholm is blocking Teheran and Teheran looks ready to go for next year, the Braves dont have to pick up Maholms option. Maholm talked about how much he liked it in Chicago, who knows, he could be back. Wouldnt it be nice to be in a position, with pitching, like the Braves are and have those options. Just sayin!

    • Zonk

      First, kudos then to Theo and Co. for signing him cheap. The real coup was the club option; Maholm’s contract was very club friendly. The Braves could have signed Maholm to the exact same contract 6 months ago and given up no prospects at all, but we thought of it first.
      Trading him though fits the long-term plan. Theo is on record saying that we are trading short-term assets for long-term ones right now. This trade fits with that.
      Will we need FA at some point? Absolutely….the time to get FAs though is when you have a solid base of players. We don’t have that now.
      Look at how they are trying to line this up: We are taking on no long-term contracts at all, and getting young talent. In 2015, we will hopefully have a pipeline of young players, be negotiating a lucrative new TV contract, and have no long-term contract commitments other than to younger players. At that point, we will have a truckload of money to spend on FAs. Now is just not the time.

      • GaryLeeT

        You can’t just say “ready. set, OK, get free agents”. It’s not that simple. They need to be picked up along the way or the 3 year plan turns into the 5 year plan. 2015???? Really? They have money now, there is no need to wait 3 more years to field a competitive team.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

          Obviously, If next year or the year after there are young free agents that they see as long term assets they most certainly will be in on signing them. But they arent going to be doing long term deals with veterans and get themselves in trouble. And honestly i think next year is going to be a rougher year then this year. I dont expect .500 from them. Because our farm was so behind we couldnt really get them going this year. Next year theres going to be alot of youth up and alot of growing pains as well. It will be fun to see them grow but it might not be pretty at times. I realistically do not expect .500 next year and im perfectly fine with that, knowing that this is a process. Seeing how things have already progressed in our system in the past 8 months I am confident in our future, and will be patient.

          • SuzyS

            Mike, I share your view that next year may well be uglier then this year. However, with the exception of maybe Soriano…there will be no junk contracts to get rid of…and that by itself, is huge progress.

            As far as FA go…I look for the Cubs to search for More Maholm-like deals to fill in the roster and put the rotation together….so look for second and third tier signings….to field a team until the youngsters start impacting.

          • GaryLeeT

            Like the Pirates? Only took them 20+ years to make that type of plan work. Why does everybody assume the Cub’s farm system will produce enough stars to fill an entire roster, like it’s a given? The odds are not in their favor.

          • daverj

            It’s not a given … but it’s a better risk than signing more Sorianos, Zambranos and Bradleys.

          • GaryLeeT

            With a better management team in place, those mistakes won’t happen.

          • daverj

            The mistake is building through free agency (where overpayment is almost always required) … not the specifically players signed. The organizations that win add free agents to home grown talent … gotta build the home grown talent first and then add the free agents.

          • daverj

            And no, not like the Pirates. Like the Phillies … they developed Rollins, Howard, Utley and Hamels and then filled in with free agents one they already had a good young team.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            the pirates developed talent and traded it off because they couldnt afford it in their market. You are definitely comparing apples to oranges there. We will be able to maintain our talent and sign them long term once they develop.

          • Tony_Hall

            You can’t compare teams like the Pirates, Royals, Rays and other small budget teams. They lose all of their best players to big budget teams. The Cubs will be able to retain the players they want to keep.

            Big Difference!

          • GaryLeeT

            Prove it. Under current management, you have no evidence.

          • Tony_Hall

            Prove what…that the Cubs will have the money to sign players…really, you don’t think they will have the money to sign guys that they want to keep…

          • GaryLeeT

            We know they have the money, that’s a silly point to make. I contend that there is no proof that the current management team will spend the money to keep good players in place, long term. You are only speculating, while I can point to the fact that no long term contracts have been made, like the one Garza should have gotten already.

          • Tony_Hall

            So if the barometer of what they will do, is only what they have done since being in charge for 9 months…that is such a ridiculous thought, I can’t even comprehend it.

            Sorry, there is no evidence that they will extend players under control, until they do one. Then, is that evidence they will extend more…not at all, just that they wanted to keep that one player. Maybe they don’t want to keep Garza, maybe he is asking for Matt Cain money…could that be why it hasn’t happened yet. Once again, it’s all the things we don’t know, that make the difference.

        • daverj

          Spending money now on free agents now without a solid farm system in place was the JH plan. It didn’t work. I’m happy to see a different plan in place this time. If it takes until 2015, so be it.

          • GaryLeeT

            Speaking for yourself, of course. Look, you can’t neglect a major market big league club for 3 more years, and expect the revenue to just keep coming.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            is building the farm so we are in constant competition for a title and not spending money frivolously really neglect?

          • GaryLeeT

            If the team is not winning, and they have money to spend on short term contracts for players that can make the team better, but don’t, then that is neglect.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            so you would rather see free agents brought in than see Bjax Vitters and others get significant playing time next year? Cause odds are if the kids are playing the wins may be hard to come by at the beginning.

          • GaryLeeT

            I had pitching more in mind.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            The main thing I dont understand is why some want us to spend on some FAs to make the team a .500 ball club next year. What exactly is the point of being a middle of the pack team. I know we will have to add some to fill out our roster, but blocking playing time of kids that could be up at some point next year makes no sense. I think we could see Szczur Bjax Vitters and possibly Soler, Kristt and Almora at different points next year. Id rather let them get the pt then a FA holding it down helping us be an average team.

          • cc002600

            very simple.

            If there is FA out there this winter that you could sign that would be building block for next 5-6 years, why wouldn’t you sign him ? Every year, most available FA’s are worthless, so when something is out there that can help you long-term, you have to strike. FA shopping is not like going to Wal-Mart where you can just pick and choose off the shelf what you want. Sorry, doesn’t work that way.

            Also, with regards to the younger impact players, more and more it seems that teams are locking up their own players before they hit free agency. So I guarantee you that the 2014 FA list you see now will look VERY, VERY different in 2 years. No way most of the good ones will be available.

            This idea of waiting “till we’re good” to spend is so dumb to me.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think you just stated their philosophy on free agency.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            I actually said that below somewhere, that if there is someone young enough that they could sign long term then of course they would do that. But people keep saying we need to sign players so we can be a .500 team, no we need to sign players that will help make us a World Series team. And that i am all for. Going and signing a middle of the pack OF who is just average and holding back the development of a prospect is silly, Signing a stud great! Problem is there isnt much out there next year.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            Yes there will probably be another Maholm type signing, but the FA market for pitching isnt deep or all that young. Id rather see what we have with Raley, Rusin, that knuckleballer in AA and know where it is we stand. I dont think bringing in a Liriano type is much of a better option as he is one of the youngest/ better options in FA next year.

          • paulcatanese

            Mike, better re-think Bjax, he is getting to be too old with the present thought process, 24 is almost over the hill.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            Honestly i dont see him in the OF long term anyways, I think it will be Almora Szczur and Soler.

          • paulcatanese

            Mike it is neglect when they should be putting a respectable team on the field, and instead sign players that are at least three years away, and no one knows if its going to be that quick.
            They are all just prospects, and in reality the posters have as much knowledge as to when they will contribute, as the FO cannot say its a sure thing either.
            So to say that “this kid is a great signing, and is in the future plans of the Cubs”is at best wishful thinking.
            Rizzo is a miracle, guys like him dont grow on trees. For every one like him, there has to be at least fifty failures.
            Constant competition with this approach is just passing the buck.
            Honestly, with the signings so far, how many will be in blue pin-stripes in the near future, and of course their is the cop-out that they are picked up for future trades, continueing the never-ending system.
            Sorry Mike, you caught me in the spot of venting, not meant at you directly.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            see this is my problem, you all want a “respectable” team, I want a perennial winner. Adding free agents to make the games more “watchable” or “respectable” is just plain silly. I want a team that will be in contention for the title each year, not a team that is “respectable.”

          • GaryLeeT

            Actually, your train of thought is silly. Like you can’t put a good, watchable, team on the field, and build the system, or develop players at the same time? Good grief. Any GM worth his weight in salt should be able to walk, and chew gum at the same time.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            how exactly do you evaluate talent if you fill your team with “watchable” players that block those you are trying to develop? I dont want a Watchable team, i want a team that contends every year, if thats silly, well then i guess im crazy.

          • paulcatanese

            Mike, a franchise dosent get to be a “perennial” team without being “respectable” first. One cant go from night to instant daylight, there is a grey area at both ends of the day. Not just a flick of a switch and it happens.
            And when does it happen that a team is in contention each and every year? That will take more than just a “few” years. By the time these kids are contributors, if at all,the process will have to start over again, or just be never ending, constantly in flux. It will just not happen without good free agents.

          • daverj

            Paul – I respect your opinion and always enjoys your posts, even when we disagree. So, I’m asking the question seriously … which free agents from last year would you have liked the Cubs to sign? A lot of posters were clamoring for Pujols, Fielder, Darvish types and thus far, those huge contracts for long term years aren’t looking so good. Who would like to see the Cubs sign this offseason?

          • paulcatanese

            Daverj, thats a “catch 22″ question for me, and I am answering you as honestly as I can. I dont know which or who would be available as far as free agents go.
            All I do know is I dont care for signing A or AA players and looking forward to 3-4 years to be competetive.
            If the kids the Cubs have at AAA are not good enough to be brought up now, and it appears that the FO does not think so, well, thats where I think free agents would come into play.
            I personaly do not wish to wait around for a number of years to see how this works out.
            I want to enjoy a good ballgame now, today, and if they are a .500 team, so be it.
            At least I would not be sitting and watching my favorite team get their brains beat out a week at a time.

          • GaryLeeT

            Darvish isn’t looking so good? Sure he’s had some rough outings, but he is 11-7, and has 145 strikeouts in 127 innings. At only 26, I would still have loved to seen him as a Cub.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            Yes we need good free agents, but in due time. Unless there is a star on the right side of 30 that we can get and tie up for 6 + years signing of FAs should be the least of our worries, we need to get the kids up to the majors and evaluate what our needs our. Obviously pitching is a need without even seeing what we have. But whos available next year that would be a long term contributor other then Grienke and id say hes not even available as he will resign with LAA. That leaves what Anibal Sanchez, nah ill pass. That would be a signing made just to make us a respectable team. It would not benefit us in the long run and could lock up monies unnecessarily that could be used in the coming years on other things.

          • paulcatanese

            Sad thing about that GaryLee is the pre-paid season ticket holders and the line to get those tickets, those will still be there for a while, but may show up with paper bags on their heads.

          • daverj

            Yes, I’m speaking for myself. I go to Wrigley 5-10 times a season and plan to do the same next couple years while the team rebuilds. None of my friends that go to games have (or plan to) cut back while the team is losing.

            Perhaps that has been part of the problem with the organization in that the revenue is there win or lose. I don’t expect the revenue to go down if it takes a few more losing seasons to put a winner together.

            Maybe I’m wrong …

          • GaryLeeT

            You are wrong. I guess you didn’t see the half filled Wrigley for the Pirate series, and just wait until the Astros come to town. Sure those tickets have been sold, but the concessions won’t be bought.

          • daverj

            I was at one of the Pirate games … seemed more than half filled to me.

            And before you are 100% sure that I am wrong, do you have any revenue data to prove your absolute conclusion that revenue is down?

          • cubtex

            It didn’t work as far as getting to the WS….but it worked getting to the playoffs as much as Theo’s plan worked in Boston. You need a little luck to get to the WS.

        • Zonk

          I do agree that trying to fill out with FAs in a year is not a good idea; it takes a little more.
          But you need a projectible base to understand what our needs are. At this point, about the only areas of non-need are 1B and SS. We need to see if some other players develop that can fill other holes. We have alot of OF’ers in the minors, but how many of those will work out?
          We need some time

      • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

        Well said Zonk!

      • cubtex

        Maholm was a very good pickup. I wasn’t a fan of the DeJesus signing and here are 2 outfielders that I had mentioned who I preferred.

        Jason Kubel

        .287 Avg 22HR 72 RBI

        Ryan Ludwick

        .264 Avg 19HR 56 RBI

        and then there was Cespedes

        .307 Avg 14HR 54 RBI

        • daverj

          I remember you pushing for Kubel first and then Ludwick … good calls.

          I also remember the vast majority of posters being certain that Cespedes would be a bust based on watching him swing in a few videos and spring training games.

          • paulcatanese

            You are correct as I was one that pushed for not signing Cespedes. I also admited what a bad mistake I made with him.
            But then, I am not the one who didnt sign him,
            and again I was not empowered to do so.
            It would be nice if the FO were to admit their mistake as well.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            It was a blind bid, they made an effort to sign him, what mistake was made? The Cubs offer was the same money but at more years. Who would have known the As would come in and offer the same money over less years.

        • triple

          You make some good points cubtex. All 3 players you mention are hitting better than DeJesus – especially when considering power production. However, I think Epstein was looking to sign some one who can fill the leadoff role (and play solid defense where ever he’s needed in the OF). While he’s doing just a decent job at leadoff, he has provided the stability in the lineup so Sveum doesn’t have to play musical chairs with his lineup, and he has played great defense in RF. Campana wouldn’t make it as our everyday leadoff man so he had to get somebody. I believe they did try to get Cespedes. It sure wouldn’t have hurt if he would’ve spent that extra money for Ludwick though or Kubel though. They are low cost and only 1-3 yr contracts (options) that would’ve fit very nicely with the Cubs needs. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but if our OF this season consisted of Soriano, Ludwick, and DeJesus that wouldn’t be so bad.

          On the topic of OF and after looking at the 2013 FA list, I think Melky Cabrera could be worth going after. His walks have been trending up higher and he doesn’t strike out alot and his 2013 season age will be 28. I think if they were to try to sign him though, that they’d need to of traded Soriano already. Or else the prospects wouldn’t be able to play next year either. But Melky could be a good veteran presence who has postseason experience. And in a couple years hopefully 2 of the following players are playing great alongside him: Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Brett Jackson, or Matt Szcur. If there ends up being a logjam of players that are ready, then we either trade a prospect or Melky (especially if they can front load a contract to Melky to make him valuable in a couple years) for more prospects.

      • cubtex

        2015? Theo gets a free pass till 2015? What a job! What a country!

        • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

          Rome wasnt built in a day, neither will a perennial winner for the Cubs.

        • daverj

          He doesn’t get a free pass until 2015. If he had made major mistakes like signing Pujols or Fielder to a long term deal (like the deals they received) in the offseason, I would have been very critical of Theo. My view is that overall he’s making the right moves and turning the organization around. Others are obviously entitled to feel otherwise. We just won’t know who is right for a few years …

    • daverj

      I like Maholm, but the Cubs would have been foolish to keep him given the chance to pick a prospect like Vizcaino. A great sell high move!

      Maholm is a solid innings eater, but he’s been up and down historically and that is likely to continue. He’s nothing more than a 5th starter on a playoff team and is the kind of pitcher that is replaceable. Thus far in 2012, his FIP is higher than is ERA and his BABIP is lower than expected. His April was bad and he’s been lucky ever since.

      If the Cubs kept Maholm and his 2013 season looked like his 2009 or 2010 seasons instead of 2011 and 2012, there would be a bunch of Cub fans whining that the Cubs made a mistake and should have traded him.

      • GaryLeeT

        So they guy coming off of T.J. surgery that hasn’t pitched an inning in the Majors is just head, and shoulders above a proven MLB lefty that’s put together 2 good years in a row? It’s very hard to call a move spectacular when it can’t be proven wrong for another 2 or 3 years, isn’t it?

        • daverj

          Yes, for a team that isn’t contending for at least a couple years, a top prospect coming off TJ surgery is far better than Maholm. It’s easy to call a move spectacular when there is little downside and a shot at big upside.

          An as aside, you say that Vizcaino “hasn’t pitched an inning in the Majors” … not true. He pitched about 15 innings as a reliever for Atlanta in 2011. Overall an up and down first try in the majors, but his stuff looked filthy in some of the outings I watched (he got hit hard in others but that is often the story for a 20 year old in the majors for the first time).

          Have you ever watched Vizcaino pitch?

          • GaryLeeT

            No, and neither have you, post T.J.

          • daverj

            You said “he never pitched an inning in the majors” … not that “he never pitched an inning in the majors post TJ”.

            Besides, these days, almost all pitchers make a full recovery from TJ. If Vizcaino had a shoulder problem, it would be a different story, but to my knowledge, that is not the case.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            Just throwing this out there but TJ isnt what it used to be. Most pitchers come back from it stronger then before, granted it does take time for a full recovery. But TJ isnt a death sentence to ones career anymore.

      • cubtex

        I agree about trading Maholm. Vizcaino is a good risk but there are questions if he can remain a starter. I mentioned and Aaron did as well….they have Garza,Shark and I put Travis Wood in there as starters for next year. Aaron does not like Wood so he only mentioned the 2. If they trade Garza they will have ZERO top of the rotation starters. They absolutely have to get 2 starting pitchers back for Garza. It will be extremely difficult to field even an average starting rotation next year.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

        Agreed. What Vizcaino “could be” GREATLY outweighs anything Maholm could provide for us in the future. It really is that simple.

        • cubtex

          hey we agree on something

    • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

      You are right Maholm would not have blocked anyones development, problem is we dont have any arms developing. In trading him we got an arm to develop. And dont have anyone blocking him. 2 birds, 1 stone.

  • Cory

    For Campana to steal two bags in a game one of the following would have to take place:

    A. He finally gets the regular nod from Skip (not likely)

    B. He’d have to get on base more than once per game (also unlikely)

    C. As a pinch runner he steals 2nd and 3rd consecutively (best chance)

    • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

      the kid needs to watch a ton of old Brett Butler film and learn how to bunt for hits. His speed is his best weapon, he must learn how to use it to his advantage or he will end up lost in the shuffle the next couple years.

    • Zonk

      Campana was never considered much of a prospect, because scouts didn’t think he had enough bat. Scouts were right. He’s probably exceeded their low expectations. Campana probably just doesn’t have the talent to hit at the ML level. He’s a spare part, and that’s probably his ceiling. Better than nothing…..

  • EqDoc

    If you get a chance, check out the story in the Chicago Tribune about the Cubs intern who got ejected from the Daytona game for playing “Three Blind Mice” on the PA system after a bad umpire call. Fantastic! I tried to post a link but Disqus doesn’t seem to want to work with me this morning.

    • John G

      Do you remember when Steve McMichael was ejected for belittling the umpire, Angel Hernandez, during the 7th inning stretch?

      • mutantbeast

        Oh yes, against the Cardinals. Hernandez BADLY blew a call at the plate on Micheal Barrett. McMicheal, there to do the 7th inning stretch, got on the PA system and told Hernandez hed like to “speak to him after the game”. Hernandez had security come to the press box and remove McMicheal. I also remember how Brennmeman and Stone cheap-shotted McMicheal, calling him lowbrow behind his back.

        • John G

          I believe that alcohol was involved.

  • paulcatanese

    Make prospecting a sport, a bunch of miners digging for gold.
    Prospecting at Wrigley sounds familiar.
    Or a musical, “Oklahoma”, the set is based on a farm, thats appropiate too.

  • daverj

    With the Soler signing, the solid 2011 and 2012 drafts and the trades for Vizcaino and Villanueva, I think the Cubs now have the best minor league system that a Cubs team has had since 2002 (when they had Prior, Juan Cruz, Zambrano, Bobby Hill, Choi, Montenez and Kelton). Of course, other than Zambrano and Prior for a couple years, the 2002 group didn’t pan out!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

      Our farm has grown in leaps and bounds with the additions in last years draft and since. We were exposed horribly this year in our farm which is why Rizzo is the only 1 up playing right now(and he wasnt one of our farm hands). If we had anything else close in the farm it would have been up and playing to see where we are at. Vitters is the next closest to a call up, but I wouldnt mind if they waited on him. We have NO pitching that is close for us to really evaluate, maybe Rusin and Raley, but they arent impressive. Our farm was pretty bare and it will take more than a year or two to replenish it. But from what ive seen done so far, im confidently optimistic we are in good hands.

    • mutantbeast

      Too many guys who got hurt also. Brownlie got hurt, they never figured out whether Cruz was a starter or reliever(Oscar Acosta resigned because of disagreements over Cruz/ Zambrano) and the position players were all traded for other parts.

    • GaryLeeT

      So highly touted minor leaguers rarely pan out?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala
  • cubtex

    I would like to point out some facts on Theo and his drafts during his tenure with the Red Sox. He has done a terrible job drafting starting pitching. He built the Red Sox’s rotation thru Free Agency and a trade. Lester was drafted in 2002(Theo was hired at the end of 2002) Beckett(trade) and the others you know about. He has done an awful job evaluating starting pitching prospects in the draft. Look at these drafts from 2003 thru 2009.

    2003 No starting pitchers although he got Papelbon in this draft(nice pick)
    2004- no one
    2005- Clay Buchholz
    2006- Justin Masterson(who was traded to Cleveland)
    2007- Zip
    2008-Zilch
    2009-Nada

    So in his entire tenure he hit on 2 starting pitchers. Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson. Doesn’t bode well does it Cub fans.

    • ChiCubs2012

      It just depends. Maybe their focus wasn’t on drafting pitching. Don’t try and claim he’ll fail at finding pitchers here in Chicago because of what he did in Boston.

      • cubtex

        So you are saying that he was not trying to draft any starting pitching in 7 years?

      • cubtex

        2004- drafted pitchers in 3rd 4th 5th and 6th rounds
        2005- drafted pitchers in 1st 1st supplemental and 1st supplemental
        2006-drafted pitchers in 1st sup 1st sup and 2nd rounds
        2007- 1st 3rd and 4th
        2008- 1st round and 1st suppl
        2009 2nd round

        I only listed the first couple of rounds

    • Rational Logic

      2008 and 2009 – still a little premature. He did win two World Series. I don’t really care HOW you do it.

      • cubtex

        A couple of good picks in Pedroia and Ellsbury and Spend Spend Spend. That is how he did it.lol

        • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

          was he pressured from the ownership to spend to keep up with the Yankees,
          Their ownership is very active in what they do there. maybe everything he did in Boston wasnt exactly as he would have done had he been the final decider. This we do not know, but it appears that he has a decidedly different approach he is taking here in Chicago.

          • cubtex

            The thing that I wanted to point out is that how difficult it is to aquire starting pitching. The Garza deal was a great one regardless of when it was done because of that difficulty. Will Chris Archer have as good a career as Garza(odds say no way) This last draft other than Almora was pretty much all pitchers. How many of those drafted realistically make it? If 1 does that is better than most of his drafts with the Red Sox. Now with the collective bargaining agreement it is even more difficult to build through the draft. Eventually if this team hopes to even contend by 2015…they will need to buy top end starting pitching.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            ok but who other then Grienke is available that is a top end starting pitcher that is worthy of signing to a long term deal and is young enough that they will be in their prime when our minor league assets develop and are producing on the major league level. Dont say Anibal. Grienke could end up getting extended by the Angels so there he goes. Now what do we do, sign pitchers just for the sake of making a signing. if we build our farm up that also puts us in the mix to trade for the top end guys when we are ready to contend for the title not just a .500 record.

        • Rational Logic

          I don’t care if he took a team of aging veterans to win it and dismantled the team. I just want one at this point. Nobody can deny we’re better off now than we were at any point in the last 3 years.

          • cubtex

            Braves got to the playoffs….what?….12 straight years. How many WS have they won? You need to go for it every year. There are no guarantees.

    • Zonk

      Daniel Bard in 2006, and it’s also early on 08/09, particularly for the high-school picks.
      Overall, though, they did a pretty good job drafting in Boston; that’s at least 3 All-Stars drafted from 03 through 07.
      Someone should try this: Pick another team, one with a great farm system, and break them down same period. Compare.

      • cubtex

        how about the Rays? I knew about Bard but it was about starting pitching. Pretty lackluster wouldn’t you say Zonk?

        • Zonk

          OK, I looked it up. Rays had a couple lackluster starters (Andy Sonanstine, Wade Davis),Hellickson, and David Price. The only position players with more than 3 winshares was John Jaso and Evan Longoria.
          But Price was a #1 pick, and Longoria #3, luxuries not available to Theo in Boston.
          Rays have a good system, but even they came up with 4 starters (if you count Sonanstine), which is not huge considering they always drafted high (and had several supplemental picks)
          I

          • Ale

            http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/02/2014-mlb-free-agents.html

            There are some interesting names in the 2014 free agent class. I don’t see the cubs doing anything in free agency until 2014 or 2015. I see next year as a similar situation as this past one. Sign players at a bargain and hoping those free agents succeed and then sell high.

          • cubtex

            Wow! What a sad list that is. What names do you find interesting? Phil Hughes could be interesting if he is not extended.

          • Ale

            Hughes and joba, Take a shot at guys like ubaldo, jurrjens, volquez hoping you can flip them for prospects if they perform anything to what they use to. 2014 class may not be the best but it sure is better than 2013s class.

          • triple

            I don’t even think Hughes is that great. He’s avg. at best, and plays on a team that offers great offensive support. That won’t work well w/ the Cubs. And the Yanks can always afford to overpay him to keep him in their rotation, and Phil would be happy to accept it and stay in NY on a winning team. The Cubs are sure to fill the back of their rotation w/ guys from their system that won’t cost them much. If their gonna spend for a pitcher, it better be a #1 or #2. That’s why I look at the 2013 and ’14 FA list and don’t really see any good guys to sign, and why I think Melky could be worth it. He’s just entered his prime and is playing that way. He’s in good shape and putting up the best numbers of his career over the last 2 years. As long he stays healthy he should potentially hit like that for 4 or 5 more years. Hence why I think he could help bridge the gap till prospects arrive and then either be traded or kept depending on what the Cubs needs are in 3 more years.

          • Zonk

            The hard part is that teams more and more are signing young players to extensions that take them off FA market. The best players never get there.
            This makes it even harder to rebuild, and means you have to keep the good players you got. This probably means we need to think about signing Castro and Shark to extensions. And Rizzo if he continues to perform.

          • cubtex

            exactly

          • Ale

            Of course but that’s why you gotta look at guys like the ones I named below. Take risks. Cubs are in a situation where there not gonna be competing and can sign some players that aren’t gonna have a huge impact as far as being part of their future. The only way cubs can get impact players are by drafting well and making smart trades.

          • cubtex

            You should include Jeff Nieman, Alex Cobb, Matt Moore. 3 starters you excluded.

    • Zonk

      This analysis assumes that it’s easy to draft impact talent. It isn’t. During Theo’s tenure, they drafted about as much as anybody, and more than many. That includes Ellsbury, Pedroia, Papelbon, and other useful players like Meredith, Bard, and others.

      For comparison, I looked up a couple other winning teams. Here is what they had (and I would like someone to find a significantly better haul ’03 to ’09 than the Red Sox):

      Phillies: Kyle Kendrick Vance Worley, JA Happ, Michael Bourn. Not as good.

      Braves: Tommy Hanson, Yunel Escobar, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel.

      I bet if we ranked the ’03 to ’09 drafts by Win Shares, the Red-Sox would finish in the top 5.

      • cubtex

        the red sox also had a ton of supplemental 1st round picks during that timeframe so they should have been successful

        • Tony_Hall

          Geez, any successful thing that is pointed out, you always give a, well they should of, they had…

          Good roster management is why they had those supplemental picks, so do they get any credit for that?

          • cubtex

            sure. I will say nice job to that….but doesn’t that also mean that they had more chances to draft better talent? JH was terrible at that and we never had any supplemental picks

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

    Here is the list of prospective free agents for next year. Most are on the wrong side of 30 and few would i rather have long term over seeing players in our farm get that playing time. Please help me to see how adding some players from this list will help us build a winning tradition for years to come. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/04/2013-mlb-free-agents.html

    • GaryLeeT

      The list will look like that every year. Young stars NEVER make it to free agency.

    • BosephHeyden

      That’s why the Cubs shouldn’t touch free agency this off season. By the end of next season, we should know what holes we have, and which of them can be filled with the farm system versus which can be filled via free agency.

  • RICK B

    I don’t know why anyone should be mad at Dempster. I see Jeff Samardzija everytime the Cubs are in town he lives near my office and we have had some great conversations

    • calicub

      Good story.

  • triple

    I just commented in reply to Cubtex down below, but I figured I’d post part of what I said up here:

    Melky Cabrerea is a FA in 2013. He will be 28 and I think would be a great signing to have a veteran presence in our OF to play with any combination of: Brett Jackson, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, and/or Matt Szcur. If we end up with a logjam in 2 or 3 years, we can either trade prospects to fill another need, or trade Melky for prospects, especially if the Cubs can sign him to a front-loaded contract so he can be of good value in 2 or 3 years. This all would obviously be contingent on Soriano getting traded before the end of the season or at latest at the winter meetings. Or really just get rid of Soriano before Melky resigns w/ the Giants or another team. Then next years OF could be Melky, Bjax and DJD. Maybe Soler can be in the picture too at some point next year. But by 2014, no more DJD, so it could be Melky, BJax, Soler. And Almora and Szcur should be in the picture by then too, that is if they all pan out. But that sure would be a great problem to have.

    What are your guys thoughts?

    • cubtex

      Melky coming off a career year will command big bucks. I wouldn’t put that monetary risk on him. Will he repeat this year? Maybe…but it is a big gamble .

      • Ale

        I agree. I would love for the cubs to work a trade with the dbacks for Justin upton. Garza and b jax for upton? To much maybe?

      • triple

        Melky has been solid for the last 2 years. Like I said, if his contract is front-loaded, he could be turned around and traded in 3 years, or be kept if needed and not cost as much money. In 3 years, Justin Upton’s contract (costs $14.5 mil in2015) will also be up and it will cost $20 million/yr to resign him (if he keeps getting better) and those are more likely to be the years that we would need him and hopefully contending.

    • Henry

      I am not trying to be negative but why would someone like Melky Cabrerra want to sign with a sub 500 team. what is the attraction. The entire league knows the Cubs are treading water for a couple of years. The only free agents we will attract are the leftovers. We are back in a position where we will have to overpay for top flite free agents

      • cubtex

        I am sure Melky would want to cash in on this year. Whoever pays him the most is probably where he would sign.

  • http://twitter.com/SirGladiator Frankie Newton

    My personal favorite is Bourn from the Braves, he’s got amazing speed, surprising power, and of course a high batting average. One of the best Center Fielders out there probably the very best, it’d be great if we could sign him. I’d also love to do a Soriano for Cliff Lee trade of terrible contracts, we need the pitching and they need the hitting, so its a win-win. If we can restock our rotation, get a good C and 3Bman, we’ll easily be the favorites to win the Division next year. Adding a Bourn would help with that and also make it more likely we do more than just win the Division, but go all the way.

  • Tony_Hall

    BJAX is at Wrigley taking BP…either we have traded a player away, or Lahair is being shown the bench…

    • cubtex

      I’ll take either one!!!!

      • Tony_Hall

        Maybe someone claimed Soriano….

        • Tony_Hall

          Carrie Muskat…how does she have a job….

          It was Clayton Kershaw…

          • cubtex

            I was just going to say that Brett Jackson is in the Iowa lineup tonight….so that doesn’t make sense

          • cubtex

            I confuse players all the time too. I can’t tell the difference between Soriano and LaHair. Castro and Barney are always difficult for me to distinguish and Clevenger and Soto were tough. Thank god Soto was traded so at least I don’t have to worry about that one anymore.

          • Tony_Hall

            You can’t tell the players without a scorecard nowadays.

    • BosephHeyden

      Remember what I said about the Chicago media building things up too much, getting Cubs fans’ hopes up way too high, and then when it turns out they were never right, they come crashing down? This has been an example of that.

      BTW, Muskat still has a job because most self-respecting journalists don’t write propaganda.

    • Zonk

      Also, if B-jax was at Wrigley, he would be missing tonight’s game….which is in Los Angeles :)
      Carrie Muskat is not a good reporter; this cements that.

      • Tony_Hall

        I might have added the Wrigley part…not sure if she did…I’ve been busy all day and just getting some time to see what is going on today.

  • RMercer69

    Carrie Muskat…wow! SMH

  • Zonk

    Cliff Lee was claimed on waivers, according to Jon Heyman…though I’m sure it’s not the Cubs, that is very interesting. If you are Philly, do you let him walk?

    Lee is coming off a great year last year, and good but not great year so far this year. He’s 33, and is owed $25 mil per the next 3 seasons, with a $12.5 mil buyout for 2016 if option does not vest automatically. He’s basically owed at least $95 mil from now through 2015. His contract was very back-loaded.

    If I am the Phillies, at his age, I let him walk. Of course they will try to work out a deal and get something else from the claiming team, but that team may very well say “We are giving you nothing; pull Lee back or don’t”. I would if I were the other GM.

    ..and if I am the Phillies, I don’t pull the contract back. I got 1 1/2 good years out of Cliff Lee for $11 mil last year, and about $13 mil so far this year, and just took an aging player risk off my books.

    It’s an interesting conundrum, that’s for sure. What would you do if you were Philly?

    • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

      Dodgers claimed him

    • Ripsnorter1

      Let him walk. Casey Coleman might become available.

  • RMercer69

    Just sitting here in Dodger Stadium…Magic Johnson is throwing BP to the Cubs! Wait, never mind, that’s Davey Lopes and it’s actually the Dodgers taking BP … @CarrieMuskat