Rambling from Something Deeper than the Abyss

After a week off, thanks to life getting in the way of a good rant, Ramblings are back and better than ever. Well, hopefully these are at least decent. Basically, I just hope you enjoy them a little bit. Or more.

So let’s go …

  • If Wrigley is a hitter’s park, how would one describe the Ballpark at Arlington?
  • Can the Cubs play the Astros 162 times? I would be so excited about October baseball if that was possible!
  • In 2006 the Cubs just kept throwing any old arm out there, and I thought it really couldn’t get worse than this. How I long for Juan Mateo and Ryan O’Malley!
  • Everyone has a friend or two that is a degenerate gambler. I have eight. They bet on the Little League World Series.
  • In no way am I one of those eight. Never.
  • I have attended six Cubs Conventions and have heard Oneri Fleita speak at just about everyone of them. I always liked him. He was informed and smooth. The moves this week reaffirm that results matter. He just didn’t produce the needed results.
  • If you disagree, please tell me why. I am more than open-minded, but I just don’t see it.
  • While many may disagree, the Cubs don’t owe their fans a competitive team the second-half of a horrible season. They owe their fans a plan to win the World Series. If they lose 100 games two years in a row, I do not care. I care if they win a World Series.
  • Who is the Cubs hitting coach? Do the Cubs have a hitting coach? I am being serious. Or maybe they do not need one to continue their quest to ruin the best player on the team.
  • Right? That is what every team tries to do. They try to ruin their best player and make him horrible. I feel bad Castro is being treated this well.
  • I know it is hard to tell sometimes, but the last two bullets are sarcasm. Thick, thick sarcasm.
  • Remember when the Sean Marshall trade was horrible? Well, to some at least.
  • Yes, I am trying to generate conversation, or start arguments. There is not all that much to discuss, and the Cubs do not play until 6:00 CDT Friday night.
  • Darwin Barney set the Franchise single-season record for errorless games in a row breaking Ryno’s record. And he could not have done so more quietly if he tried.
  • Chris Volstad, please meet Anthony Young. Mr. Young, this is Chris.
  • Let Vitters play everyday. Please play him everyday. He has a history of adjusting slowly to a new level. There is no reason not to play him everyday.
  • And hopefully that thought can prove that I am not a blind McThoyer lover!
  • What I am about to say is going to be torn apart … and I am okay with that. However, I am really not sure how Crane Kenney is responsible for anything on the field. He never made a single personnel decision … ever.
  • Please do not take that as defending Crane Kenney. I am not. I just don’t get why he is blamed. He has always been a businessman, not a baseball man.
  • Per David Kaplan’s tweet, the Ricketts have eaten approximately $50 million in salaries. Calling them cheap is ignorant, uninformed and just plain dumb.

Well, there you go. I put myself out there to get torn from limb to limb. I think I would rather be tarred, feathered, drawn and quartered when this verbal attack is over. Obviously, I am kidding about that. Right now plenty is going on with this team. All thoughts and feelings are fair. No one is wrong; it is just their opinion.

So, let’s hear them all and have a great, fair and respectful discussion.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"Baseball is all I ever wanted. I could eat, sleep, and dream baseball." - Smoky Joe Wood

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  • Tom U

    Crane Kenney promised the Red Sox compensation for Theo Epstein. He is the reason the organization does not have Chris Carpenter or Aaron Kurcz.

    • Zonk

      That’s going to hurt too, as Kurcz is having a good year at AA, and Carpenter is mowing down AAA after rehabbing his arm. I don’t know why we had to give up that much, since what was Boston going to do….force Theo to work when he clearly wanted out?

      • Dnuge44

        Carpenter will continue to have arm problems, I have no doubt about that. His mecanics are terrible & may never change !

    • Aaron

      Kenney is a douche

  • Tom U

    This is off the subject, but its a favor to my friends over at the Schaumburg Boomers, who have really taken the time to help me learn about some of the inner workings of baseball.

    The Boomers were awarded three games this weekend that weren’t on any printed schedules. If your interested in seeing a team pushing toward the playoffs at an affordable price, bring your family to a Boomers game this weekend.

  • Zonk

    RE: Ricketts, they are not the problem. Tom Ricketts is as huge a Cubs fan as the rest of us, if not more so, and will spend what it takes to win.

    4 years ago, my wife was in the Cubby Bear waiting for her girlfriend before a game. This group of middle-aged guys asked her to come over, and bought her a drink. Turns out this group all live in Wilmette, as we do, and struck up a conversation around school, kids, Cubs, etc for quite awhile. At the end, one of them introduced himself as Tom Ricketts. She had no idea who he was, until she came home, and I told her I thought it was the E-trade guy. Couple years later, he buys the team. Very cool! He was just going to the game with a couple buddies from high school, and was a season-ticket holder. Told my wife he went to as many games as possible, travel permitting.

  • Zonk

    I like the rant!

    Reasons for Pessimism:
    -We have almost no impact pitching anywhere in our system
    -The Cardinals have a loaded farm system, with waves of talent coming
    -We have some young players, but history shows not all of them will turn into starts; some will flop completely. Law of averages.
    -We are going to be very bad next year

    Reasons for Hope:
    -We do have some good position player talent at A/A+. Baez, Vogelbach,Almora, Soler are all getting off to good starts
    -We have no contract commitments beyond 2014 (Soriano)
    -A new TV deal in 2016 figures to be massively lucrative, and will allow huge spending
    -We figure to draft high in at least 2 more drafts (next year, year after)

  • DWalker

    Starbucks conversation with Theo and Tom:
    Theo: You have a problem you know
    Tom: yes, I know, thats why I want the guy everyone says is one of the best
    Theo: you know, if I do this, it will be messy
    Tom: how messy?
    Theo: blood on the floor messy. I’ll try to put down plastic first,
    but its going to splatter
    Tom looking quesy: Is it going to hurt much?
    Theo: Its going to hurt a lot.
    __________________
    Truth be told, I actually expected it to be more then 50mil by this point. I really expected them to dump soriano and eat his whole contract at some point here, I really never expected him to be GOOD this year. This is what I kept saying, they were going to spend money to wipe the slate clean. Fleita, like a lot fo the other FO guys, as much as we might like them, needed to go. Fleita was entrenched in an old system that was completly broken. He needs a new start and so do the cubs, the failures of the system were not his alone, but he also wasn’t blameless.
    Things that are making me more nervous lately:
    Continued poaching in padre land. I know the padre system has turned around substantially even if the on field product currently sucks, but I still don’t like that so many hires are coming from there. Surely there are a few guys in other organizations they could poach just as good. I am worried this is becoming about getting the gang back together rather then building a fully dynamic FO. I love that we are getting up to industry standards, but I just wonder at the choices.
    The treatment of Vitters, Why is he not starting all the time? Seriously?

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, their are other lands that could be discovered.
      The Padres may advance now with the stumbling blocks out of their system.
      The one thing that is obvious is all the hires have one thing in common, Theo is still the boss, and everything gets his stamp of approval or it dosent get done.
      Not that I find fault with that, as he is a real brain, but would have saved the Cubs a lot of money if he just did it all alone as he is doing it all anyway.

  • cubs1967

    eating $50M in contracts has NOTHING do to with calling the owners cheap. They’ve lowered the payroll every year and increased tix prices, in some format, every year. did they really eat the 50M or was it already spent? it was spent. they had NO choice. and someone can add this up, but it wasn’t 50M? what palyers made up 50M. (and trading dempster for better prospects by paying his salary is A choice). next year the estimate is a 90M payroll. that’s 55M from the high point. this year 110M was the monies spent; 35M saved. 1st year 125M; another 20M less. that’s 110M less in payroll. (Front office people don’t cost 110M nor does soler or concepion-they have contracts-not upfront bonus money). tommyboy wants to impress fans; lower beer by $1. have tuesday be $25 tix prices behind home plate. offer 1/2 price food till 1 instead of 12. that is impressive. till then; he’s proven to be cheap. (cespedes-remember him. he of the .870 OPS……who was lost to the A’s over 2 yrs of contract time-who could be traded for more “assets” at any time).

    • Bill

      They are going to have to spend a bundle to get to the $90M level. If they trade Garza (which they want to do) then they will have a payroll that is one of the smallest in baseball, unless they go out and buy some FA’s. Ricketts is acting like a small market owner right now. I’m glad they are spending money on the minor league/scouting/etc, but they should still have one of the higher payrolls in MLB. I’m not talking about spending dumb money, like a Soriano contract, but Ricketts should be willing to spend top dollar to bring in FA’s if they can help the team for the next few years. You can win now and still build up the farm system. I don’t want to have to wait 5 years for Theo’s draft picks to make it to the big league and then Theo might start spending some money, and his draft picks might pan out. This is the same excuse we’ve heard for years from Cub management, ‘give us time, we have a long term plan’.

  • Aaron

    Kenney was responsible for a lot on the baseball operations side of things that people are unaware of….well, most people anyhow. Kaplan, Miles, Rogers, and others have written extensively about it. Players also resented him, because he used the team as a way to impress his friends, often times bringing them out for batting practice before games, into the clubhouse (which is pretty sacred to players), etc.

    What shocks me, is since the Ricketts have taken over, Hendry, along with just about all of the players he brought in, coaches, and other front office personnel have been jettisoned, and yet Kenney remains.

    One of the reasons Ricketts stated he was keeping him, despite public outcry over Kenney’s actions is that he said Kenney was responsible for a lot of good things on the business side of things.

    If that’s the case, then where is the Triangle Building? How about the renovation project? What about all of the empty seats, and the costs rising despite a losing record? Doesn’t that fall under your VP of Business, etc.?!?

    As for the baseball side of things, there is a LOT to like. The following players are gone since last year:
    Marshall
    Maholm
    Cashner
    Zambrano
    Dempster
    Carpenter
    Soto
    Johnson
    Baker
    Colvin

    LeMahieu
    Byrd
    *M Gonzalez and Flaherty were lost in the Rule 5 and Kurcz was another minor leaguer lost in the Theo compensation
    **Lopez and DeWitt were brought back, then DFA’d
    ***Wood retired
    ****Wells was sent to his room, then injured, and probably will never wear a Cubs uniform again

    They’ve brought in the following guys:
    A. Vizcaino
    Stewart (since injured)
    Rizzo
    Asencio
    Valbuena
    Soler
    Concepcion
    Cardenas
    T. Wood
    *Sappelt, Brigham, Hendricks, Villanueva, Weathers, Chapman, Cates, and Torreyes are all minor leaguers acquired via trade
    **in the draft, they selected Almora, who is expected to be a huge part of the future

    About the only guys that could have been considered part of the future that they might miss would be:
    Cashner
    Colvin
    LeMahieu (super utility guy who is now hitting over .300 with the Rockies)
    Marshall
    Kurcz
    Carpenter
    ….the latter two being huge losses because it was unnecessary to lose them in the Theo compensation and they’re both power arms

    I stand by my original opinion that the Colvin/LeMahieu trade for Stewart/Weathers was an absolute disaster, and will likely haunt Theo and company in the short-term, as they not only would have likely been more competitive this year, but also next year as well. With Soler, Szczur, and Almora in the fold, however, Colvin would have been surpassed in 2014 anyway, so long-term it’s not a huge loss. However, LeMahieu long-term is a huge loss for the simple reason that he can play all over the IF, and he’s a hitting machine. He would be a far better option than Valbuena that’s for sure, and would’ve been a better option than Baker. Long-term, he could have been a DeRosa-esque player, but a much better contact hitter. In a way, he’s like Vitters, but without the power, and a better glove.

    Additionally, while Cashner is a big loss, he brought Rizzo in return, though I would estimate this move will ultimately be a wash in future years. I’m also very concerned over Rizzo’s relatively low OBP (.337). He better be good. Starting pitchers that throw 97-100 mph are very rare……Justin Verlander rare…and with the Cubs’ lack of starting pitching already evident, it was pretty strange that the Cubs included him in any deal, much less for a hitter that was clearly overmatched in the big leagues. Using the same scenario, then the Cubs should’ve been able to get Nick Markakis for Felix Pie. That was a curious move, and I almost think that it was part of the compensation due the Padres for hiring Hoyer (not saying Cashner was the compensation straight up, but that as part of the deal for Rizzo, he was included to get around it)

    Again, I’ll post a team I hope we see in 2013 or 2014:
    Samardzija
    Vizcaino
    Edwin Jackson
    Liriano
    Kirk

    Dolis
    Cabrera
    Russell
    Batista
    Rhoderick
    Zych
    Beliveau

    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    1B-Rizzo
    2B-Barney, Cardenas
    SS-Castro, Saunders
    3B-Baez, Lake
    LF-Vitters
    CF-Almora, Szczur
    RF-Soler

    …..or something to that effect. If you look at the position players, you’ll probably see that guys like Vitters, Lake, B. Jackson, Szczur, Barney, and possibly even Castro are trade bait for pitching. Guys I didn’t even mention like Vogelbach, Dunston Jr., Andreoli, Villanueva, Torreyes, Amaya, DeVoss, Candelario, Shoulders, etc.

    • paulcatanese

      Double Gold Star, Aaron, good post.

    • Zonk

      Some good points in there. One thing I don’t agree with though is the high rating on LeMahieu. While we lost that trade, Colvin is hitting over his head this year, and LeMahieu isn’t special.

      The problem with DJ is that he is a “tweener”. He isn’t a very good defensive 2B, he is a good defensive 3B though. But with almost no power, his bat doesn’t profile there. He has one plus skill, which is contact hitting. He’s probably a ML utility guy, but not a ton more than that in the long-run.

      • Zonk

        Hoyer on Tribune Live:

        “We have to build from within and build young players, because the
        days of going out and signing young free agents is over. Teams lock up
        their guys. Look at how many long, multiyear deals teams are signing
        with their pre-arbitration players,”

        • Zonk

          He’s right. He also said the Cubs are not going to pursue any high$ free agents this winter, as they do not want anyone on the back-end of their careers.

          That’s basically what’s available now in Free Agency; players on the back-end of their careers. If you have a young core, this is good. But it’s very rare now that a young player hits the market.

        • GaryLeeT

          Wow. That sounds a lot more like the 6 year, rather than the 3 year plan. That’s why it was so important to sign someone like Darvish. Those opportunities are so rare.

      • Aaron

        I wholeheartedly disagree with you about LeMahieu. History is littered with the likes of Boggs, Gwynn, and others who flat out hit while not profiling at their respective positions (corner IF, corner OF) with lack of power. LeMahieu fits that category. Look at his minor league stats…all he does is hit, for crying out loud. I guess if you were to point out a weakness compared to them, it’d be his OBP is lower, yet his RBI numbers were better. I’m not saying he’d have a career like either of those two…just saying don’t cast him aside

  • GaryLeeT

    Sorry, I am not impressed by the Cubs eating 50 million, when this year’s payroll was only 87 million. I mean, a major market team with only the 15th highest payroll? Hey big spender.

  • Tony_Hall

    Awesome Rambling!!!!!!!!!!