Jed Hoyer Talks Cubs on 670 The Score

Jed Hoyer joined Bruce Levine and Ben Finfer during the Score’s new ‘Hot Stove’ show on Saturday morning. The Cubs’ GM discussed a variety of topics with Levine and Finfer including the coaching staff, Bill Mueller, the team’s desire to keep Jeff Samardzija and the front office’s willingness to promote players if they dominate the level they are playing in without reaching the 500-at bat mark.

Jed Hoyer also reiterated the front office’s desire to add pitching this winter, specifically power arms, and the need to add players with the same offensive philosophy that can get on base.

Ben Finfer: We have a special guest on the line …

Bruce Levine: We do indeed Ben, the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs, Jed Hoyer joins us. Welcome to The Score Jed. It’s different for me to say. I know you’ve been on before.

Jed Hoyer: Thanks Bruce, I appreciate you having me.

BL: First and foremost, you completed your coaching staff yesterday. Well not actually, you still have a first base coach to go. For the most part you did and I guess the one thing that stands out for me is your hitting coach, Bill Mueller. Chris Bosio has obviously done a wonderful job for you guys and has been given an extension to continue that work. But hitting, on-base percentage and all of that good stuff that comes along with it, certainly a bone of contention for the Chicago Cubs. Where do you think Bill fits in with the Cubs’ plan for the future?

JH: First off on the whole staff, we have one more position to add. But we are very happy with where we are. We think we added a lot of impact people, a lot of people with great coaching experience. One of the most important things for us was making sure we could keep our pitching infrastructure in place with Chris Bosio and Lester Strode and Mike Borzello. I think those guys have done a really good job for us. We’ve made a lot of pitchers better and players love those guys. That was a big focus of our winter, making sure we could keep those guys and we did. As far as Bill Mueller goes, Theo and I have known Bill for a long time and we love the way Bill talks about hitting, the way he thought about hitting as a player and the way he worked at it. He was the interim hitting coach for a little while with the Dodgers, but he’s been doing a lot of scouting for the Dodgers and he’s a guy Theo has talked about for a long time as a guy who really talks about the approach to hitting very well and the thought process that we need. We’ve been very open. We simply HAVE NOT gotten on base enough. We haven’t been focused enough at the plate. That is a clear area where we are not going to get where we need to go if we continue to hit the way we’ve been hitting. We think Bill brings a different message and one that is really in line with what we want to teach our players to do.

BF: You guys also hired, or I should say, moved Brandon Hyde as Director of Player Development down to the dugout as the bench coach. Why the decision to go with him rather than someone who maybe has a little bit more experience in that dugout to sit next to Rick Renteria?

JH: A couple of reasons. First of all, Brandon is one of those impact employees who I think can do any job incredibly well. He was a bench coach for Jack McKeon of the Marlins. And Jack and the rest of that staff just raved about what he did for him. He knows all of young players coming up through and has great relationships with those guys. So that was a big part of it. Our biggest goal over the next couple of years, besides getting wins, is going to be making sure we have a smooth transition with our talent from the minor leagues up to the big leagues. Brandon can really help with that. He’s a guy that has done the job before and done it well, so we felt like that was not a hard decision. One of the nice things we had was, we have a lot of good talent that we’ve acquired in terms of scouts and player development people that we think we can replace Brandon with pretty seamlessly.

BL: This is Hot Stove Saturday. He’s Ben Finfer, I’m Bruce Levine. We are here for you every Saturday from 8-9 expanded in mid-February for more baseball talk here. Jed Hoyer, the General Manager of the Cubs joining us.

BL: Jed, you guys have made numerous attempts to sign Jeff Samardzija to a contract. You’ve almost stood on your head in some ways to get this thing done. You’ve identified him as an important pitcher, an improving pitcher, since you guys took over. No doubt about it, 200 innings and 200 strikeouts. Where does that stand in your mind and in Theo’s mind for the future? And, how much patience will you have with Jeff and his contract status if you can’t get something done here by the beginning of 2014?

JH: You know it is a hard question to answer because I feel like it is important to have confidentiality when you are dealing with contract negotiations. It is not fair to Jeff to talk about where we are during the process. I think everyone knows that we’ve been in contact with his agents and been in contact with Jeff about wanting to keep him, and that’s been well publicized, and for good reason. He’s a great competitor and I think a very good pitcher who has a chance to keep getting better. He has great stuff, great work ethic, so there are so many things about Jeff Samardzija are things that we want to represent here with the Cubs. We’ve obviously been in contact with him and I’m sure we will be going forward. But, I think as far as talking about where it is in the negotiations, I think that doesn’t show the right faith with their side if we do that.

BL: Yeah, understood. But, it’s kind of a time warp thing for both you and Jeff. He’s going to be 29. He’s going to be going into those years where he should be topping out of his ability. He wants to be on a winner. You want to identify players that in the long term are going to be part of a winner. Timing is almost everything here isn’t it, Jed?

JH: Well, it’s certainly a factor in our consideration and in his consideration. I think that we have to … both sides have to keep that in mind as they work through the process. So, like I said before, he’s a guy that we’ve really enjoyed getting to know over the last couple of years. We’ve had productive conversations with his agents and with him about staying. We will continue to keep those in house and continue working in that direction.


BF: You know a lot of people assumed, or thought, that when you guys were hired that the timetable would be 2015, that would be the year you would go for it. Is that still the case? Do you feel you can be a contender in the next couple of years? Or, have you guys moved the timetable back at all?

JH: I guess I would say this. First of all the concept of going for it, I think what we are trying to do is build an organization that’s built for the long haul. That can stand up against a team like the Cardinals. I think that is the most important thing. The Cardinals have been built in such a way where they don’t go for it. They are just well built. They add pieces every off-season to augment what they already have. That is ultimately the goal is to get to the point where we are that kind of organization. One of the things that I think helped us in Boston a lot is that we were going up against a Yankee team that was coming off of those late-90s team that were some of the best teams of all-time. I think it raises your game when you have to compete against that. So, that is what we are trying to build. As far as a timetable, I guess all I would say is that we are really happy with where we are as far as organizational talent. I think we’ve added a ton of talent over the last couple of years. We will continue to do that and when exactly that turns into that sustained winner I am not sure. But I will say that if you told me that we would have added this much talent to the organization in two years I think that I would have been real happy having this conversation at the end of 2011.

BF: Has there been any frustration or surprise at some of the financial restrictions that you guys have had putting your rosters together over the last couple of years? And going forward as well?

JH: No. I mean obviously the payroll has come down a bit. But right now I think we’ve been really focused on acquiring young assets and building through youth. We are very confident that when the players are ready, to augment that group with older players and some free agents, we are very confident we will have the money to do that. So, that certainly has not been a factor. I think that the only things that have really slowed us down, slowed down our progress, is some of the rules changes that were put in place I think have made free agency harder to build in because there are fewer good players now. Obviously the new CBA with the draft restrictions, and the international restrictions, kind of slowed things down a little bit. We’ve been open about that and that was something we didn’t expect. We’ve had to work around it, but the financial part is not something that’s slowed us down at all.

BL: I know for the fan base and for probably you and the rest of the front office, July has been the most rewarding and frustrating month of both of the first years that you’ve been around. Because those are the only two months, Jed, that you guys have had an above .500 record. And yet you’ve had to leave those positive situations and look toward the future by making deals. I wonder how difficult that second half, or last third of the season has been for you and Theo and the rest of the front office, even though you’ve made a lot of strides of getting some good players in that period of time.

JH: I think we will look back on those trade deadlines and realize that I think those deals will be a big part of our future going forward. But, to me August and September have been by far the most frustrating times. Both years having to make those trades and obviously our team hasn’t been nearly as good in August and September. It is hard to watch. I think our team has been non-competitive but at least the fans are continuing to come to the ballpark to support us. Our team has not been as good as it should be in those months. It has been hard. We know it is hard on the fans. If we didn’t feel like it was absolutely necessary to do, if there were other avenues we could take to acquire talent, we would do that. I think that, as you mentioned there are so many different periods of the year in which you can acquire talent and unfortunately that is one of them. Last year was more frustrating to us than the previous year because if you look at it, we felt like we were a much better team than our record last year in the first half. We didn’t close out games in the bullpen. We struggled with runners in scoring position. But you looked up in late July and our run differential was basically even. I think it may have actually been positive. We left like last year we were a better team than our record indicated and we were frustrated making those trades. We probably weren’t tearing down a team that should have been competing with the Reds and Pirates and Cardinals, but we felt like we were making trades off a team that probably should have been a lot closer to .500 and probably should have been making better strides than it was. But, that’s life and we are happy with the deals that we made and you have to move forward.

BL: All of that said, you guys have some wonderful young position players coming along. Baez had a sensational minor league season. Your number two pick, overall, in the draft, Kris Bryant had a great minor league year and, or last third, and of course a great Arizona Fall League. All that said we know that you guys have kind of a strict rule about getting 500 at bats at Triple-A before you are ready to make it to the majors. Could that change with Baez and Bryant and could we see them progress very quickly through the system and be a part of the 2014 team?

JH: That’s the one way we’ve ever considered speeding things up. We’ve talked about just purely dominating a level. I think if you’re doing things at a level that make it very obvious you don’t belong there any more, I think that does speed things up. Listen, I always hope that happens, I think that is the best case. I am very happy that we have a lot of young position playing talent in the minor leagues. We just want to make sure we don’t hinder those guys in calling them up too early and pushing them too fast. And end up them having their growing pains being maybe harder than need to be. So, I think that the 500-plate appearance rule, I think that is something that is important to adhere to. Obviously if a guy goes out and makes a mockery of a league you are going to reconsider it. And I hope those guys do it. And I think we have other players in the minor leagues that could do it at different levels as well. I think that our four top hitting prospects obviously get the most attention but I think that we have a lot of other guys in the minor leagues that have a chance to breakout next year. I think that you are only as good as your depth, when it comes to your prospects, and I think that is probably something we are as proud of as anything. I do think we are developing a reputation of having a pretty deep system as well.

BF: So, Winter Meetings are coming up in just a couple of weeks. You have the Rule 5 Draft. What kind of moves can we expect you guys to be making in the next few weeks? Or throughout the off-season really?

JH: Obviously pitching is an area we would like to fill. I think we have been really clear that we need to keep focusing on power arms and we really need to focus on the ability to get on base. We have to do that better. So, we will be focusing on a lot of players that do have the right approach for us. The last thing, at the Major League level, I think we are looking for is we do need to find some veteran leadership. One of the hardest parts of our trades that we’ve made, as we discussed earlier, is that we traded away some players that I think had a really good influence on the clubhouse. And we need to make sure we are always supplementing that because our young players have a very good coaching staff to work with, but they also need to have peers on the bench that can help them out as well. That’s something that we have to keep an eye on as we go forward that these guys have good mentors in the clubhouse with them.

BL: Jed, Ben and I appreciate your time today.

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  • TheWrongGuy

    Good Stuff as ALWAYS!
    Thanks Neil!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      You’re more than welcome. Glad you enjoyed.

  • SuzyS

    Great transcript, Neil. I missed the interview…and it was very much worth reading.
    Hoyer’s response just underneath the ad on this site is key: “First of all the concept of going for it, I think what we are trying to do is build an organization that’s built for the long haul. That can stand up against a team like the Cardinals. I think that is the most important thing. The Cardinals have been built in such a way where they don’t go for it. They are just well built. They add pieces every off-season to augment what they already have. That is ultimately the goal is to get to the point where we are that type of organization….”
    Again, Thanks Neil.

    • SuzyS

      A few things…
      Yesterday, I was taken to task for disliking the Yankees….partially because I said I wouldn’t cede an inch to them.
      Our present FO cut it’s teeth competing against the Yankee’s…successfully…and they would never cede anything to them…(arguably the best organization in baseball, according to many). I LIKE THAT.
      Hoyer’s targeting the Cardinal’s as a model organization is spot on…moreso than the Yankees, (or Dodgers), that financially bludgeon you to death.
      I personally like the on-field management team the Cubs have assembled. It appears to be well thought out…we’ll see how it plays out.

      • cubtex

        Here’s the point Suzy. IF you have a resource to give you an advantage over other teams who do not( I am talking about money) Cash, $, and you choose to operate as a team that doesn’t have money…you are putting your team at a disadvantage. Your second favorite team has one of the highest payrolls in baseball. In the ALCS and NLCS, 3 out of the top 4 teams left in the playoffs were in the top 5 payrolls in all of baseball. Is it a guarantee? No, but it is a huge advantage!

        • Tony_Hall

          I sure wish the Cardinals would have used their resource of cash to keep Pujols.

        • SuzyS

          cubtex…I see and acknowledge that.

          When Wrigley is refurbished and the Cubs advertising $$$ is increased via signage and new tv deals…I fully expect the Cubs to compete at those levels.
          Eventually, we should have the advantage to surpass the Cardinals if we have both a well run club…plus the financial muscle to blow the Cards away.

          The $$$ are currently being funneled into infrastructure…and new advertising opportunities.
          In a few years, we’ll have a good farm, great infrastructure….good core mlb club…and the capability & resources to add any talent we want at the mlb level.
          There’s a new juggernaut coming…the Cubs…can’t you see what we’re doing now is just a prelude to becoming a powerhouse?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks Suzy, glad you enjoyed.

  • SuzyS

    Cubtex, Yesterday, you suggested that the Yankee’s might trade Gary Sanchez, (C) and their # 1 prospect for a position of need. At #12 in the Yankee’s minors is JR Murphey….so they have some catching depth presently blocked by McCann.
    Depending on how ST plays out, we may have extra 3rd base depth…and a lack of catching depth…(Castillo’s ability to stay healthy concerns me).
    Perhaps the basis of a good trade might be the Yankee’s catching depth for our 3rd base depth.

    • cubtex

      Adding a top catching prospect to the system makes a ton of sense. I was very disappointed the last 2 years when the Cubs passed on a lot of the catching prospects who slid in the draft. Yankees have a lot of catching depth in the minors. Next year is a key year for Castillo. Let’s see if he takes a step forward.

    • cubtex

      I think that is a typo, but Gary Sanchez is their #1 prospect.

  • cubtex

    I love this line by Jed. Something we didn’t expect? What? OK. The new rules were implemented but your plan has stayed the same? So now Chicago fans….it will be a 5 or 6 year plan. Deal with it.

    I think that the only things that have really slowed us down, slowed
    down our progress, is some of the rules changes that were put in place I
    think have made free agency harder to build in because there are fewer
    good players now. Obviously the new CBA with the draft restrictions, and
    the international restrictions, kind of slowed things down a little
    bit. We’ve been open about that and that was something we didn’t expect

    • SuzyS

      Cubtex…regarding Yank’s C prospects.
      Yes, Gary Sanchez is considered their #1 prospect…and just finished this season at AA.
      JR Murphey is considered the Yanks overall #12 prospect, plays catcher, and has a supposed ETA of 2014.

    • SuzyS

      Nobody ever said it was going to be a short process.
      All Jed was saying is that the new CBA rules made it harder to do a rebuild with the supplemental pick rule changes.
      Fact is…the only way to economically get high caliber talent is still through the draft process/international signings.
      Given the talent stripped base line Ricketts inherited from Sam Zell…it’s no surprise that the current strategy has been implemented.

      I understand and agree with the impatience of many. I do not understand why any intelligent fan cannot see the wisdom of the current strategy.

      • Tony_Hall

        Great post!

        I find it so amusing when people throw a date on when this team will be competitive, make the playoffs or even win the World Series. It is not a switch that gets thrown, it happens when the team is consistently able to fill the needs of the major league team from within the system or with the resources from within the system. The minor league portion is almost complete and will start to produce players for the major league team.

        • cubtex

          I find it amusing when people think you cannot field a competitive team any quicker than the way this FO is going about it.

          • SuzyS

            Yep, Do it your way…and the Cubs will never sniff a Bryant or Almora talent level.
            You can’t build a solid minor league foundation with mid or lower level picks.
            You end up with a bunch of overpaid FA’s that add nothing to your future.

            The minor league rebuild is almost complete…now it will be about maintaining a decent pipeline in the minors…AND building the mlb club.

          • cubtex

            So if the minor league rebuild is almost complete(as you say) why are they adding Casper Wells,Chris Valaika, Brian Bogusevic,Ryan Sweeney,Eli Whiteside, etc.

            Do you not see that they are not even trying to compete again next year? This will be another 90 loss year with another top draft pick. Instead of adding talent, they are adding fringe fillers again.

          • Tony_Hall

            The minor league is almost complete, but not ready to fill all of the needs of the major league team yet. All teams, even your beloved Yankees, sign guys like the ones you mention every single year.

          • cubtex

            I am not a Yankee fan. I am pointing out that they act like a big market team. Our Cubs are currently acting like the capital city of small town USA.

          • Tony_Hall

            I know you are not a Yankee fan, but your thoughts are in tune with how the Yankees do things. No regard to developing a farm system, sign FA’s and do it again next year. It’s great if you have unlimited resources, but even the Yankees have a budget they are trying to get out from under. Just wait until we see the yearly breakdown of the contracts they sign this off-season. JH will have his fingerprints all over the creativity to getting them under their $189M budget THIS year.

          • cubtex

            It is like you are bitter that a team wants to put the best product on the field each and every year. At least Hendry tried to win. This FO is like…nope not this year. Let’s wait another year or 2. We don’t want to rush this thing. God forbid we win too soon.

          • Tony_Hall

            Not at all. I actually think they are going to be extremely creative to get under budget and not completely spend every dollar of the next 5-7 years. I say this in a good way. If I am the Yankees, I keep going for it every year, they have the budget and resources to make it happen. But they will always be an old team, that is in the playoff hunt every year, but they will be doing this in a young mans game.

          • cubtex

            Who cares how old the team is if they win?

          • Tony_Hall

            They will run out of gas at the end of the year, without out all the PEDS to keep the older guys playing like they are in their 20′s.

          • SuzyS

            Exactly!

          • cubtex

            I said if they win?

          • Tony_Hall

            Exactly, they won’t be winning :)

          • cubtex

            an old team has never won a WS? you really want to go there?

          • Tony_Hall

            They have, but has an old team every beat a young team in October without PEDS. I don’t think so.

          • cubtex

            oh come on man! that is a ridiculous statement!

          • Tony_Hall

            But true.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            Hendry brought us 3 divisions and a team that should have won it all in 2004 if not for injuries. No one was betting against that rotation…all we did was add Maddux and Nomar…my gawd.

            Trades by Hendry netted us 6+ yrs of the best 3B Cubs had in generations and at 1B as well. (Aramis/Lee).

            Prior/Wood was not Hendry’s fault…they should have been good for 30 wins combined for a 5 year stretch, ala Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, but fate stepped in. Yet he still re-tooled around that to get competitive teams in 2007 and 2008. Even the Soriano deal was a great move at the time…he was coming off a 40/40 season.

          • Tony_Hall

            He did so by spending all the money available at the major league level and trading the prospects. Eventually you are either the Yankees and keep doing this every year, or you have to start developing your own players. Ricketts made this decision when he took over to develop our own players.

          • cubtex

            you can do it both ways if you are a big market team. ridiculous to think you can’t

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes you can, but then you don’t end up with the Bryants, Baez’s and Alomars. Like I have said you miss the point.

          • cubtex

            no but you can have the Wacha’s, Shelby Millers and Oscar Taveras.

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes and they were able to get such great picks by putting together a FO based on scouting and development. The Cubs will be doing this as well in a few years when they pick at the back end of the drafts.

          • cubtex

            so far none of those players are great picks. They are still prospects. Vitters and BJax were great picks as well until they fizzled out.

          • Tony_Hall

            You are right, they all won’t make it and you will be able to tell us all about how bad of picks or how bad they were developed when they do.

          • cubtex

            do you think I want these players to fail? You are out of control many times!It is a fact. Not all prospects make it. You need to build a winning team with free agency,trades and prospects. Not just one way!

          • Tony_Hall

            Exactly, but when one fails you will find a way to blame the FO.

          • cubtex

            you spend too much time trying to let me know how I will feel and act when something in the future happens.

          • Tony_Hall

            Not sure I am letting you know, and if I am, then you should be laying down and I should be charging who $150/hour :)

          • TheWrongGuy

            You are RIGHT cubtex.
            BUT….
            You can NOT go both ways AND pay-off debts AND repair an old ball park AND build a new ST facility AND build a NEW Dominican Training facility.
            Sorry it can’t be done AND spend money on the depleting talent in the FA market. Overpaying talent that after maybe 2 years has 2 broken wheels. NO THANKS!

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            I don’t believe the Cardinals have had to tank their seasons on purpose to consistently compete. Respectfully, your logic is flawed here: you obviously can build a solid minor league foundation without a top 5 pick every year.

            The Cubs are the Charlotte Bobcats of MLB…embarrassing.

            The Pirates just got good…after what…20 years of no playoffs? Having a high pick ensures no success.

            New England Patriots don’t tank. San Antonio Spurs don’t tank. St Louis Cardinals don’t tank. Yet all are winners. How is that possible if the Theo Way is the only way?

            You know who did tank? Chicago Bulls after Jordan and Phil Jackson left town.

            That resulted in the most miserable period in Bulls history, and further resulted in no significant playoff runs. That was the wrong way to build a team. A bunch of young guys with no guarantee they would be any good. Just like there was no guarantees on Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Tyler Colvin, Angel Guzman, Rich Hill, etc etc…

            The Cubs won in 2003 with trades that brought in veterans at 1B and 2B at beginning of year, and at 3B and CF at trade deadline. Along with veteran FA OF Alou signed a year earlier.

          • Tony_Hall

            The Cardinals did do this, but had one Albert Pujols and rehab project Carpenter anchoring their team. How many years did we watch as the Cardinals did nothing in FA, waited until late January or February and pick up what was left in FA.

          • SuzyS

            Jason, you miss the point.
            The starting point of talent available to the Cubs was far below anything the Cardinal’s endured…thanks to the neglect and policies of the Tribune Co. and Sam Zell over the past decade.
            For the Cubs to be truly competitive and rebuild…a drastic rebuild plan had to be done somewhere….This is it.

            Look at your history…the Atlanta Braves, the Texas Rangers…even Detroit…suffered through several down seasons in order to build a competitive team….Washington is perhaps the latest example.

            The Patriots were horrible for years before they became a juggernaut…but football is completely different from baseball in building a contender.

            I’m completely on board with this rebuild…now that this is the direction we’re going in.
            You can’t abandon it mid-stream…to do so will leave us with mediocre teams for years to come.

            2-3 years ago…they could have tried a different approach…but not now….and I personally believe they’ve taken the best approach.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            amen.

            The mere concept that there is a “perfect system” and that it is established and well-known and will obviously product consistent championships is a fallacy. If it was so simple and easy to follow this blueprint and have massive success, then you would have 30 teams all doing it.

            The fact is that the FO could field a competitive team this year, if they wanted, and it wouldn’t impact the future. They could have grabbed the top 4-5 FA’s on the market, made some additional trades this July, and wound up with a playoff bound team.

            They don’t have to give up baez, bryant, soler, almora, alcantera, or any of their top pitching prospects either.

            They choose not to do this. Building your farm system and signing above-avg FA talent are not mutually exclusive propositions.

          • TheWrongGuy

            !) We are the Chicago Cubs FANS. (last I checked anyways)

            2) If you spent ALL that cash$$$ on FA. You will for sure be a major impact on talent. Why do you think they traded “Our former Leftfielder” (see I didn’t say his name)

            3) If you sign all this supposed “4-5 FA’s on the market” you will have ZERO money for repairing a ballpark and paying debt “OWED MONEY”.

            I really laugh some people.
            I am sorry to sound offensive and apologize to all for calling you out.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            debt is not a fan’s problem…it is an owner. If I buy a big fancy house I can’t afford to furnish because my mortgage interest is too high, I don’t expect a ton of pity from those leaving in apartments who see me sitting on the floor in an empty room.

          • Tony_Hall

            Well in this case, it wouldn’t matter who the owner was, they would be in this position, due to the Sam Zell and the way the deal was structured.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            If no one bought it on Zell’s terms, his terms would have come down. No one twisted any billionaire’s arms here.

          • Tony_Hall

            It was the structure, not the cost. It wouldn’t have changed as there was more then enough demand.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            I am a Cubs fan too. Just because I retain a mind of my own, can have critical thoughts, and don’t believe every move the FO makes is magic, does not make me any less of a fan than you or anyone else.

            As for the ballpark…move to the suburbs then. Naperville Cubs has a nice ring to it, and we will let them play night games and even fund the stadium.

            I can say that because I am a fan of the baseball team…not a broken down stadium.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            Now Suzy, don’t put down these people here….or you make Neil take a bottle full Tylenol and have him listen to his ABBA ipod music backwards for the rest of the day.

          • Tony_Hall

            You replied to TheWrongGuy

            Pun inteneded.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Ummm yeah what tony said.
            I am not Suzy.

          • SuzyS

            Good thing :-)

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Why do you insist on doing this? You had no reason to. Keep to baseball. And believe me, I would rather concentrate on content than monitoring the comment section to make sure everyone is ‘playing nice.’

          • Tony_Hall

            Then you miss the whole point!

      • cubtex

        Of course it makes it harder. It was expected to pass. You alter plans all the time in business to counter act new rules and laws.

  • cubtex

    Blue Jays Putting Together Package For Samardzija http://dlvr.it/4NPwkm #mlb

    • SuzyS

      We talked about that yesterday. IF Shark is traded, and there is a lot of smoke blowing in that direction…I hope it’s the Nats or Pirates…they have some higher upside pitching prospects.

      • cubtex

        Daniel Norris was the top Lefthanded High School pitcher in the draft in 2011. Look for that name to be included in the rumors. Cubs need to add lefthand starters. Stroman projects as a reliever so I would prefer they go for a starter. I am not sure Aaron Sanchez would be in play but he has a ton of upside. If they can get Anthopoulos to include Sanchez and Norris with another prospect that could be a very good haul.

        • TheWrongGuy

          I agree cubtex.

          I would like to see an addition of maybe a catching prospect as well from the Jay’s, say A.J. Jimenez? With a catching prospect added to the deal I would believe the Jay’s will want more than the “Shark” in the deal with Sanchez and Norris.

          As Suzy posted above catching is a need area. I also agree with what she posted….(Castillo’s ability to stay healthy concerns me). As well as what cubtex posted…Next year is a key year for Castillo. Let’s see if he takes a step forward.

          With that I believe Castillo can only play about 100 games a year max. If he produces as he did last season I am happy with him at 100 games.

          • cubtex

            Too bad Travis D’Anaud was dealt last year in the RA Dickey deal.

        • SuzyS

          The Nats…(Giolito/AJ Cole) and Pirates (Taillon/Glasnow) are also considered to be in the hunt for Shark…either of those teams can put up a package that might actually be better than the Jays possible packages.

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    Not sure why any A.L. East team would take a chance on Samardzija.

    • cubtex

      Do you know how difficult it is for the Blue Jays to get any free agent pitchers to sign with them? They either have to big time overpay like AJ Burnett several years ago,develop or trade. Starting pitching is in huge demand and Shark has a big arm. I don’t fault Anthopoulos at all.

      • Tony_Hall

        I don’t believe that was his point. He doesn’t think Samardzija is a good enough pitcher for the AL East.

      • raymondrobertkoenig

        Samardzija figures to get lit up against the A.L. East.

        • cubtex

          If he has command he can pitch in any league. That is the big if with him. He no doubt has the stuff to pitch in the AL east. No question. This is not a Chris Rusin here.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      yeah…a 29 yr old who “might” turn the corner soon.

      But the key here is that if another team wants him badly enough to give us good players, then cross your fingers, hope and pray, and say thank you if it comes to pass.

      • raymondrobertkoenig

        Agreed.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Sunday morning, and the frustration war drums are beating here with these comments………
    Relax……chill out……
    I am afraid what will happen to the Die Hard Cubs fans next June 1st when the Cubs will be already eliminated from the pennant race……and Baez is struggling.

  • cubtex

    One big question to EVERYONE. Do you think if Mark Cuban would have bought the Cubs…..we would be seeing the same rebuild and complaints??? I will be the first to answer. Not a chance. My Texan Cuban would try and win each and every year!

    • Tony_Hall

      Exactly, Mark Cuban would have gone all in on FA.

      Tom Ricketts wants to be the owner until he passes it to his kids. He wanted to do all of the things to build this franchise the right way, from the ground up.

      That is why he is doing it this way.

      • cubtex

        “right way” according to who? You? How about to the fans who will pass away before this team wins. Is that the “right way” to them?

        • Tony_Hall

          You can’t make decisions based on the age of some fans. Don’t mean to offend anyone with that statement, but that is just not a good way to run a team.

          • paulcatanese

            Have to agree with you Tony, I have pre-paid my burial expenses and have already written off the Cubs for winning before I pass away, the years with no title have confirmed that for me.

          • Tony_Hall

            Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. We should all enjoy every day we are given.

            I am going to enjoy the day now, by watching football.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Bud Selig would block Cuban every way to buy the Cubs or any MLB team……..Cuban is a threat on investing a club with big name free agents…..and Cuban is an outspoken owner against the NBA & Stern as shown with the Mavericks………Selig would not enjoy Cuban riding his a**.

    • MarkleMcD

      No, Mark Cuban would not go all in trying to win each year. He doesn’t do that with the Mavs. He has a budget in mind with the Mavs and positions himself for long term success and doesn’t short change the long term with short term moves. For example, the year they won the title he then let Tyson Chandler go which killed their chances at a repeat the next year but kept them sound financially in future years. He’d not just willy nilly sign free agents trying to win now. He’d have a plan and execute on it, maybe a similar plan to what the Cubs currently have or maybe different.

  • ben

    say smardzija is traded….who is left in the rotation?? travis wood and Edwin Jackson???

    • cubtex

      OK. Time to drink something stronger than coffee with that post :)

      • Tony_Hall

        I will agree with that, except I know that this FO will go out and find another Maholm or Feldman.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          Won’t find those type of pitchers this year.

          • cubtex

            sure. Feldman and Maholm are both available. lol

          • CubbyDenCritic

            For much more money……I am talking about pitchers who can be bought at low prices and trade off later…..Maholm & Feldman do not want to go back with the Cubs……they are looking for playoff teams to sign with this time around.

          • Tony_Hall

            He was making a joke.

          • cubtex

            I was joking.

          • Tony_Hall

            Or Travis Wood then.

        • TheWrongGuy

          I think Maholm is available. =)

          That was a joke. As I believe S. Baker is their target.

          • cubtex

            Thank God! Baker is their target! That was also a joke :)

      • SuzyS

        Ricketts said the Cubs are going after Tanaka….Because you can’t build a great rotation in one year…I believe the Cubs are going to pay more than lip service to this….is it the right move…I don’t know…but going low and spending little $$$ right now supports this theory that the Cubs are going to play to win on the Tanaka front.
        I really think the Cubs might be ready to overpay and beat out the Yanks/Dodgers and Rangers in this sweepstakes….That one move will signal that the Cubs are getting ready to compete.
        Plan B is to start going after it next season when we have a better idea of OLT/Baez/Bryant and where they fit…or really bring to the table.

        • cubtex

          You keep saying Tanaka. The Cubs have ZERO chance at Tanaka if the player has a choice to choose between the top 3 bids. ZERO.

          • Tony_Hall

            It doesn’t sound like the player will have a choice, but how can you be so sure in this statement? Sometimes these guys want to go to a team because of the area scout who has been talking to them for year. Zero is an “out of control” type statement, if you ask me.

          • cubtex

            OK. Less than 5%. You are right. Zero is a little exaggerated. IF the Rangers,Yankees and Cubs are the top 3 bidders and Tanaka has a choice…the Cubs are a distant 3rd and have a 5% chance of landing Tanaka. Is that fair?

          • Tony_Hall

            Once again, you don’t know any of this. He could be a closet Fukudome fan and always wanted to follow in his footsteps.

          • cubtex

            hahahahaha

          • SuzyS

            Posting system is still in negotiations…currently…there is not the 3 choice option. Your statement is ZERO…IF. If has not been established.

            And Tanaka still makes the most sense to add talent in the current system.

            Cubtex…There’s a lot that could go wrong here…just in landing Tanaka….But my gut tells me the Cubs are going to make a real attempt…and not just pay it lip service.

          • cubtex

            I said IF. IF the player has a choice between top 3 bids.

          • SuzyS

            and I’m saying “IF” has not been established.
            There might be other variables as to why it might work…for both Tanaka and the Cubs.

          • cubtex

            agreed on that. my statement was on the premise that the “if’ is in play.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            Tanaka makes zero sense to me. Unproven in MLB. Rarely has the “japanese phenomenon” paid off for more than 1 season, whether hitter or pitcher.

            This is so contradictory that it is maddening. Why can we pay huge amounts of money for a Japanese league pitcher, yet I am regularly being told the FO does NOT want to pay for big-money FA’s right now, as that is not part of “their plan”?

            The conclusion is simple:
            Either they are lying and have no plans on signing Tanaka for big money or their pleas of crying poor over debt and wrigley rehab are false and they really do have money to burn on FA’s.

          • cubtex

            FO is spending money in wrong places.

            52 mil for Ejax
            30 mil for Soler
            5.5 mil for an injured pitcher in Scott Baker
            6 mil for Gerardo Concepcion
            2 mil for Ian Stewart.

            Add it all up and that is close to 100 mil. Do you think that could have been spent better?

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Looking at 110 loss season.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      sign FA’s. Make some trades. Promote some farm hands.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Easy said then done.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    Summary thought of the day:
    Cubs will be good in 2016 or 2017.
    If anyone can’t be patient for what is a guaranteed 10 straight WS titles, then they aren’t really Cubs fans.

    I think I got the gist right.

    Luckily…I know better. Go Bears!

    • SuzyS

      No, that’s not the gist at all….We’re all Cub fans here…and want to see them do well….There’s just a lively debate about how best the Cubs can achieve that!!!

    • Tony_Hall

      Pretty ridiculous summation of the day.

      There is no date. It is not a switch.

      There will not be a sure run of 10 guaranteed titles. Sorry if that was someones expectations, (not sure who)

      Everyone here is a Cubs fan.

      2 different ways to build a team that are talked about the most on here. FA and developing our own players. The owner chose player development and so many of you, want to argue something that is not going to change.

      Why don’t we stick to reality of what can happen and not keep going back and forth about what style Ricketts chose. He is not going to change course now.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        if the owner chose player development and not FA, why are they interested (supposedly) in paying big money for Tanaka (same thing as a FA)?

        Total contradiction.

        • Tony_Hall

          Sigh!

          Free agency is filled with 30 somethings.

          Tanaka is 25.

          Nothing even close to a contradiction. It is more about the age of the player, not trying to not pay anyone.

        • cubtex

          The EJax signing was a total contradiction.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      I remember Bulls fans were counting titles with Derrick Rose a few a years ago…..how is that going now?
      Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.

      • cubtex

        And the Cubs would have won a title IF Prior and Wood had never gotten hurt.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          We will never know if that would had happen.

          • cubtex

            just like your statement about D Rose. We will never know

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Lets say Theo cannot sign a F/A or did not like any Shark trade offers…..
    Pitching Roster in April might look like this….
    Samardzija
    Wood
    Jackson
    Arietta
    Grimm
    Villanueva
    Strop
    Russell
    Rosscup
    Rusin
    Cabrera
    Lim
    Parker
    By August 1st, Shark, Villauneva, Russell, Cabrera could all be gone……maybe Jackson also if Theo throws money into the trade…..
    New guys could be Hendricks, Ramirez, Rondon, Vizcaino and pitchers from the Shark trade.

    • Tony_Hall

      How many times can you repost the same list of pitchers? Let’s wait until they sign someone or make a trade that will impact the pitchers before going over it again.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Who wants to sign with us?
        and
        Who will we trade and get in return?
        have to go what we have for now…….no sure deal that a trade will happen or we stay what we have.
        The list of what we have is what we might have to endure in 2014.

        • Tony_Hall

          Yes it is, and we have seen it 50 times already this off-season. It won’t change by changing the order they are in.

          The off-season is just beginning. Almost 3 months before ST.

          • cubtex

            Tony. Lets be realistic. My favorite word to you. If you are a free agent and you have a choice of playing for a “winner” or the Cubs…who are you going to sign with? The Cubs will get the FA who have no other option but to sign with a losing team or a complete overpay like EJAX

          • Tony_Hall

            Didn’t say anything any different.

            I also am not the one wanting them to go out and sign free agents.

          • cubtex

            Really? I didn’t know that? :)

  • Tony_Hall
    • cubtex

      SS. Good sign. Held onto all their top pitching prospects and have added a CF in Boujos, will move Carpenter to 3rd and Wong to 2nd. Teams getting better in our division.

      • Tony_Hall

        Not so fast, they could keep Carpenter at 2B put Peralta at 3B and still bring in a SS.

        But for now, they have SS filled, but it is a long winter.

        • cubtex

          I think they want to give Kolten Wong a shot to start and Carpenter is a natural 3rd baseman.

          • Tony_Hall

            Possible, but I saw it on twitter, so it has to be true :)

            Time for football.

          • cubtex

            go bears!

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Lets say you are Tanaka….
    And the three top bids are the Yankees, the Dodgers and the Cubs….
    Yankees……27 WS titles…..New York City….Big Time Ad endorsements…….Playoffs almost every year…..
    Dodgers……Southern California……Great pitching staff…….Great hitters….Playoff team……..Great looking women….
    Cubs…….three straight seasons of 90 plus losses…..over 105 years of not winning a WS Title…..no great hitters for support…….years away from playoffs……
    be honest, you think Tanaka would choose the Cubs?

    • cubtex

      that is exactly what I am saying. Cubs a distant distant 3rd in that race.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Touchdown……now a fumble…….Bears looking bad in the first three minutes.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Going to be a long winter……
    This Bears game reminds me of that 22-0 beating the Cubs took from the Pirates.

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