Rambling From … Is It April Yet?

Long, arduous, never-ending, horrid, tough, stomach-churning …

I could go on with words and phrases that quickly sum up the Chicago Cubs’ 2012 season.

As we all think, ponder, discuss this season, I am stuck focusing on next season. While a week and change may be left, next spring is all that matters to me when it comes to professional baseball.

And, I hope that a Ramblings column on a Tuesday doesn’t take any off guard. When Neil asks, I do. Because, let’s face, I, like all of you, are simply blessed to have this type of platform to discuss our thoughts.

  • Castro, Barney and Rizzo will start in the infield barring any unforeseen circumstance. So what else is to be decided?
  • Soriano is in left, DeJesus somewhere and most likely Jackson. However, good ‘ole BJax needs to do something about this “would strike out over 250 times in a full season” thing. It is really not a good thing.
  • To borrow an old line, who are going to be the movers and shakers next spring? Will Junior Lake catch some looks? Will Jorge Soler or Albert Almora freak us out? Will Vogelbach come out of a virtual “nowhere?”
  • These are the fun games we can play, think about, look forward to …
  • What no-name pitchers will come out of nowhere to force management’s hand? Will someone like a Sean Marshall or a David Patton? NOT that I am comparing the two.
  • Over the winter, teams will go to the bottom of the purse to sign players, sway players, try to improve, but I just don’t think McThoyer is on board with that right now.
  • This team has so many glaring issues, that free agency is just not a smart step. More of the big-money signings are failures than successes. Just look at left field.
  • I have been more vocal than most about how impressed I was with Soriano’s season, but I think all Cubs’ fans would like that $136 million to have gone in different directions
  • So, my take is nothing big will happen in FA. Of course there may be a DeJesus-type signing or Stewart-like trade, but nothing substantial. And I think that is the right way to go.
  • I am sure they have a grand plan, and I could be wrong, but I am not wrong that often. Unless you talk to a litany of ex-girlfriends. They would tell you otherwise.
  • Or my future wife, and I do not even know who she is at this time. But she will think I am wrong a lot.
  • Getting back to the ’13 edition, I have no idea what the rotation will look like. The Shark will be there along with Travis Wood and Garza. But there are still question marks.
  • What about Marmol? Will Russell make a pitch for the rotation in spring training? (You like what I did there, Russell, make a pitch)
  • It is currently halftime, and the Packers are losing …
  • What is the future of Bryan LaHair? His all-star season was so eerily similar to Kosuke’s that, well, I just don’t see how he fits.
  • If Darwin Barney does not win a Gold Glove then the award should be done.
  • Tony Campana … any role next season?
  • No matter how hard he got hit, Shawn Camp will end the season with 80 appearances and a sub-3.50 ERA … shocking. Simply shocking.
  • I know some may not be with me on this based on the fact that they have great jobs, but I am happy for the beat reporters and the broadcasters. It is an extremely long season with so much travel. Throw in a horrible team to beat and it can’t get much tougher … in the industry, that is.
  • Brass tacks. Brass tacks. Brass tacks. I have learned my lesson.

And that is all I have for you today. Let’s get some good conversation going about the 2013 roster in front of tonight’s game in Denver.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"You are never as good as the adulations or as bad as the criticism, so don't get caught up on either one."
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  • CHIPPY

    yes Brian I have gotten rid of Direct TV for the simple fact I don’t want to watch this team on the field! i should of just went down the road to see the I-CUBS! I see JR Lake starting at 3rd next year and Vitters traded to someone like the Angels or the Tigers with Garza. This team that Mc Theoyer has assembled so far is HORRIBLE! Understand its yr 1 but come on!!! LETS GO TO 100 LOSS SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • GaryLeeT

      After 13 consecutive seasons, I have already canceled my MLB Extra Innings for next year.

  • Tony_Hall

    I think you are right that a lot of the starting lineup is set already.

    Infield
    Rizzo, Barney, Castro, opening at 3B

    Outfield
    Soriano, DeJesus and opening in CF or RF

    Catcher
    Castillo

    3B – I think we will see a 1 or 2 year deal on a vet for $5M or less per year. The money is there and we have no one really ready to play 3B right now. Vitters is not ready, Valbuena doesn’t excite anyone, Stewart is always going to have an injury and the others are just not close. Rohan would be the closest we have internally.

    OF – BJAX needs some more time in the cornfields of Iowa, so I can see Campana or Sappelt be the the 3rd/4th OF at the beginning of the year, until BJAX comes back up in June. One of these year I have to be right that they will call him up in June…right?

    Of course I expect the FO to be very active looking for trades and the right trade could change everything.

    Rotation
    Samardzija, Garza, T Wood are 3 in barring any trades.

    I believe they will sign 1 guy off the FA bin, and possibly a 2nd if they don’t feel that one of Germano, Volstad, Rusin, Berken, Raley, Coleman, Struck, Jokisch can take the 5th spot until Vizcaino is ready to go. I believe Vizcaino will be given every opportunity to be a starter, much like Samardzija. Too much upside not to try him as a SP. We are another year or 2 from having any other impact arms coming up to Clark and Addison.

    That’s my thoughts on the roster for next April…and yet we have a long, hot stove season, that could change everything.

    • paulcatanese

      Finally Tony,a post where you have the glass half full with some substance. I think you are right on with this one. I don’t see it much differently either.
      I am not saying that you’re previous posts were not, just that this one is more to what I envision as well for next year.
      As you, I just have to wait until next year.

      • Tony_Hall

        Ah Paul, I am always glass half full with substance, I have never thought this team was going to be in the playoffs this year and just accepted that fact.

        I also am not expecting playoffs next year, but would like to see the team be a little more competitive.

    • paulcatanese

      Tony, just an extension of what you posted. I agree that the outfield will include Soriono and DeJesus, both did a good job this year.
      BJax will be back earlier than June, they (the Cubs) have too much invested with their opinion of him.
      Beyond that, IMO Sappelt would be the 4-5 outfielder over Campana (I don’t like it) but the Cubs desperatly need RH hitters.
      I find it tough to let Campana go with what could have been the leader in the National with stolen bases, but his
      hitting needs to improve to keep him there.

      • John_CC

        I don’t think Campana has a future with the Cubs. I am tired of saying it, I am sick of the cliche, but you cannot steal first.

        While “they” – the Cubs – do have a lot invested in Jackson, “they” – Epstein, Hoyer et al – have very little invested in him. And they have proven to be more than willing to cut bait when the assessment has been made.

        I am not saying they will, I am not saying the assessment has been made, just that if Jackson cannot make the changes over the winter that the new development crew deems necessary, and he cannot cut down the K rate, the Cubs will not think twice about trading him away while he still maintains the “prospect” status.

        • paulcatanese

          Just read that the Cubs are sending Campana to the Venezuela
          winter ball to improve his hitting skills.
          Why not just send the whole team there?

          • Bryan

            Too funny.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Paul, just so you know it is for him to make up the at bats he missed. Campana said he expects to be there around a month.

  • GaryLeeT

    Will the front office have the guts to leave ticket prices relatively unchanged while producing another 90 loss team?

    • Tony_Hall

      They actually have the guts to lower the prices…

    • Bryan

      I know….isn’t it great that the Cubs have the 2nd highest avg ticket price in all of baseball ($108), with the Reds/Brewers/Dodgers all in the bottom 5 at around ($50). But it could be worse…the RedSox hold the top spot at $151 on average. Needless to say, atleast for this year Cub fans didn’t get a good ROI on their ticket investment.

    • gary3411

      Here’s the thing about the ticket prices. It is needed for us to generate the kind of revenue these other teams are scoring on TV deals since the Trib screwed the new owners in that category. The San Diego Padres, yes the San Diego Padres, make nearly double per year on their TV deal than the Chicago Cubs do.

      For those that think just because we have high ticket prices means our baseball revenue matches that number are mis-informed. Sure, we are lined up to have the WGN deal expire in 2014. But the comcast one doesn’t expire until 2019. No doubt selling half our games to someone will bring a good new juice to the revenue starting 2014.

      The problem holding us from scoring an absolute motherload is that Rickets does not have enough control in Comcast Sports Net (20% ownership), while Jerry Reinsdork owns 40%.

      If they had all their games available they could say screw CSN and have all the leverage. Now, with the deal until 2019 and Reinsdork with the most power, the Cubs are probably going to be forced to do a re-working of their deal with Comcast and probably an extension past 2019 to get all their games on there.

      This deal just won’t be near what teams like the Dodgers and Phillies are going to sign when they have all 162 games to negotiate and won’t be having competition owning the network they are negotiating with.

      I am no expert on this, but this is the way I see it based on the few articles I read. Maybe someone who is more of a financial expert can correct errors or shed more light.

      Either way you see it, in 2015 we will see a significant revenue increase no matter what ticket prices/sales/record is the next 2 years. And it should coincide with our better prospects coming up to the big leagues as well as Rizzo and Castro starting to enter their prime. We are setting up barring any major downturns/injuries/bad luck to be a powerhouse come 2015-2018 if everything is run correctly.

  • roseyc

    I can’t see Soriano on this team next year. He will be bought out or traded.Though Dejesus has been good but not real good I think they should retool the whole outfield. Dejesus is the only one capable of staying on. Jackson and Vitters are both overrated as prospects and Theo and Co. knew this and they just wanted to confirm their suspicions. Pitching is still in shambles. Marmol should be gone. Samardzija, T Wood wil be in rotation but Garza will be traded over the winter.Which still leaves gapeing holes at Third and catching. So Theo and Co. still have lots of work to be done. Soler and Almora might be ready by midseason if no injuries or setbacks.The pitching with guys like Germano and Volstad shows nothing is imminent. The bullpen is a crapshoot with Russell the only capable one. So it’s another spring figuring out which arm can fill out a patethic bullpen. I see Vizcaino in the rotation.Germano, Volstad and Coleman should be given walking papers. Rusin, Berken, Raley, Struck, Jokisch can fight it out for the the 5th spot. I see a Maholm type deal to help out. Well until Z’s and Sori deals are off the books there is no need to delve into the big name FA’s. This is stil a major work in progress. Unfortunately we haven’t reached the bottom yet. Houston has so they have a headstart on us. But I think they are going in the right direction just need more talent in the organization. Especially pitching!!

    • John_CC

      I could see a lot of your predictions happening, the one hope that I think everyone needs to reign in is the idea of Almora being big league ready in 2013, let alone a June call-up. The kid was in H.S. last year. He is not A-Rod and I don’t think anyone has realistic expectations that high.

      Soler is a different story. Everything I see and read about him is by people that are surprised by his size and skill.