Rambling About the Cubs While Waiting For Something, Anything

Hello again, everybody. It has been awhile since I have filled your Friday with free factoids, phenomenal fun and fruitful fanaticism. Man, I love Phonics.

Now that I have gotten the alliteration out of the way, it is time to talk about the Cubs, the Winter Meetings, the huge Ruggiano pickup, and … well … ummm … all of the other … um, nothingness of the Cubs current offseason.

It was very quiet for the Northsiders down in Orlando. Then again, I think this is what we all thought would happen. However, deep down, I thought something bigger would materialize. Now that I said that, I bet the Cubs trade Samardzija between the time this is posted and the time you read it.

Speaking of time, let’s not waste any more of it, instead, let’s go Rambling …

  • Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney, Nate Schierholtz and the Italian Stallion … well, I was taught that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I should not say anything at all.
  • Then again, if people followed that rule, blogs wouldn’t exist. Nor would “your mother’s basement.” Relax, it’s just a fun stereotype.
  • Okay, let me put this City of Chicago/Cubs rebuilding Wrigley thing into perspective … my perspective. Chicago is basically broke. Chicago needs money. Wrigley produces the largest amusement tax in the state. So, the City of Chicago gives the Cubs a few breaks, relaxes restrictions, changes a few regulations and becomes an ally in rebuilding Wrigley … without dropping ONE … SINGLE … DIME.
  • Then the Cubs say, “Well, we need to figure out what is going on with the rooftop owners before we start.”
  • Then the City says, “No, I command that you spend your money when and how we tell you.  I know it is not our money, but we have the right to tell you when and how to spend it.”
  • And, of course, the Cubs should take financial advice from a city on the brink of financial ruin. Keep blaming the Ricketts’ please. Keep doing so. You are siding with a city that was rated the worse financial American city coming out of the recession.  But the Ricketts are the idiots, right?
  • Fine, I will talk about baseball now. I guess the Cubs need a right-handed utility guy for balance, and that Ruggiano, the next coming of the Italian Stallion, is the right man for the job. Was Joe Mather not available?
  • A few of the regular readers might be a bit surprised with my digs at Epstein-Hoyer given my “blind loyalty” to them. I think this Front Office team is the best we could have hoped for to turn around the franchise.
  • At the same time, I am a season-ticket holder and would like to see the Cubs win a few ball games here and there. I’m not asking for much.
  • I remind you, not one Cubs pitcher had a win total in the double digits last season.  Not ONE.
  • I have been reading the love the Front Office is bestowing upon Barney. Donnie Murphy or Javier Baez will be the starting second baseman on July 1.
  • I really hope Donnie Murphy has a great season. That guy just has something. I can’t wait. Yes, I know he will be 31 on Opening Day. I know he is a journeyman. I just like the guy and think he can add something.
  • There is just something about not giving up, continually pursuing your dream when all else would have given in, and then finally seeing it happen. I’m pulling for the guy.
  • Speaking of Starlin, is anyone else taken aback that he had 666 at-bats last year?  That CANNOT be a good “sign.”
  • Given my misplaced fear, Castro will hit .318 with 21 HR and 89 RBI … along with six errors.
  • Yea, the six errors part made me laugh out loud as well.
  • I am so very torn on Samardzija. Part of me feels this will be his year. The year he puts it all together, can last the entire six months, has built up the proper strength, can win 14+ games with a mid-3 ERA. I know, it won’t happen.
  • And unless someone blows Epstein-Hoyer away with an offer, they should hold on to him until July. If they wait, and he performs well, he would command an absolute haul midseason. And if the Cubs surprise the world and are .500, maybe The Shark gets the $80 mildo he wants.
  • Welington Castillo had a .350 OBP in his first full season as a starter. Let’s not forget that. It’s impressive.
  • In all of this talk about prospects, and Castro’s position and Samardzija, I haven’t thought about Anthony Rizzo in a long time. In fact, I hadn’t thought about him until I wrote this sentence.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend, and for those in the Midwest, please get outside and enjoy the balmy temperatures. I hear it is supposed to get up to the mid-20s. That is practically beach weather after the past five days. Here’s to hoping Epstein-Hoyer makes at least one or two shrewd moves before the memorable and yearly lyrics of “Auld Lang Syne” ring in the New Year.

And as always …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"The only way of finding the limits of the possibility is by going beyond them into the impossible." - Arthur C. Clarke
Share on Fancred
  • Ripsnorter1

    We haven’t had a pitcher with double digit wins since Garza and Dempster each won 10 games in
    2011. That’s before the current regime’s arrival. I don’t see any double digit winners in this rotation
    on this team for 2014. There just isn’t enough offense.

    Look at the Marlins. They were dead last in runs scored. They had a 12 games winner in Fernandez,
    but he also had a 2.19 ERA and a WHIP of 0.98. We don’t have a pitcher that good on our staff.
    The rest of their starters won 5 games: Nolasco, 3.85 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and Koehler, 4.41 ERA, 1.36 WHIP,
    Alverez, 3.59 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, while Eovaldi won 4 games, 3.39 ERA, 1.32 WHIP. Pretty good starting staff,
    but the lack of offense killed them.

    • Tony_Hall

      Fernandez is a very good pitcher. He would be our ace any of the last few years.

      • cubtex

        Fernandez went in the same draft as Baez.

        • Tony_Hall

          He skipped AA and AAA, pretty risky thing to do, but in this case it has worked out.

    • cubtex

      Yep. Marlins traded Hanley Ramirez and Eovaldi was part of the return. They got Jacob Turner back in the Anibal Sanchez deal. Fernandez was drafted about 5 or 6 slots after Baez. Henderson Alvarez was in the Mark Buerhle,Josh Johsnon deal. They got back very good close to mlb ready starting pitching in those trades. They got starting pitching returns like the Cubs should have gotten for Dempster,Maholm and other deals.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I think we got nice returns in both those deals. I know Vizcaino has been injured but I still believe he is going to be an excellent pitcher. Hendricks and Villanueva are both great prospects, Hendricks might be the best young pitcher we have.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Ruggiano was actually a decent pickup for this current team. He adds speed and power
    from the right side. His 2013 splits were awful vs RHP: .210 BA, .347 slug. But his 2012
    splits vs RHP were stellar: .305 BA, .452 slug. Perhaps he can bounce back close to his 2012
    levels.

    • Tony_Hall

      I was saying the same thing yesterday, getting shot down by our favorite Texan.

      HR’s every 16 AB’s on the road
      HR’s every 16 AB’s against LH’s.

      He can play all 3 OF spots.

      Not a bad return for Bogusevic, who was very likely to not make the 25 man roster or be seldom used if he did.

      • Eugene Debs

        Considering the minimal investment, there is nothing wrong with this move. Cheap w/ potential.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I thought Bogusevic would be the starter if Schierholtz could be dealt.
        Apparently, we can’t deal Schierholtz.

        • Tony_Hall

          Apparently?? I don’t think that was the plan at all.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Hmmm. I was reading all over the place that the Cubs were
            shopping him. I thought you might have read the same thing.

          • Tony_Hall

            They were shopping/listening, but I don’t think the plan was ever for Bogusevic to take his place.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I was thinking Schierholtz might have been dealt for pitching,
            and Bogusevic would have taken his spot. They really didn’t have anyone
            else. Brett Jackson? Vitters in LF? Who else do they have?

          • Tony_Hall

            I know everyone thinks the off-season is over, but January and late January/early February is when teams can add players that over shot their market or have been left without a chair. We always talk about doing things like the Cardinals, and the Cardinals have been very good over the years at picking up guys late that help them out. I believe that if the Cubs traded or still trade Schierholtz, that they will pick some one up off the FA pile or look for another Ruggiano type trade.

          • cubtex

            thank for the pep up today! I thought they were done. We might get another Ruggiano type trade? Hell Yea! Now I am excited!

          • Tony_Hall

            Ha

          • cubtex

            Schierholtz doesn’t have much value. That is the problem. Theo thinks a team will give a top prospect for him. Won’t happen.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            Ha & Szczur…

          • J Daniel

            And we were reading that Brian Roberts was coming to the team as well … Jake Peavy … on and on and on … what we read and what the truth is very rarely matches up.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yup.

  • GaryLeeT

    Hey Brian, way to make something out of nothing. Nicely done. Especially like the dig on the City. Most of us hoped Ricketts would get sick of it all, and just pack up & leave.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      The thing to remember is Ricketts grew up a passionate Cubs fan. That’s the guy I want running things. The spending would happen to ANY owner that would have come in. Some of it was unforseen but some of it Ricketts knew about and bought the team anyway. Knowing he would lose money hand over fist for the first 5 years. He wants to be the owner when things turn around and I expect that once some of these infrastructure projects are finished he will turn on the spigot toward player salaries, etc. The money just isn’t there now. He’d go bankrupt trying to do it all at once. People say, “if he couldn’t afford it he shouldn’t have bought the team!” Afford what? To spend a billion dollars on projects and field a 150 million in payroll? No potential owner would have done that, not even Mark Cuban.

      Ricketts loves this team and wants badly for us to be good. He’ll go close to broke to make it happen, but he won’t go broke and nobody should expect him to. If he did what people want him to do now, in 3 years he’d have to sell the team to somone else that would come along and say, “wow, there’s all this shiny new stuff and this franchise is in pretty good shape. Too bad the previous guy went into the poor house but hey, his loss is my gain. Let’s win some ballgames!” Rickett’s is no spendthrift, he is doing all he can.

      • cubtex

        No disrespect Rider…but how do you know? Have you seen his financial portfolio? Do you honestly believe he can only afford a 65 mil payroll for 2014? Do you honestly believe it has to be this painful? I love your passion for the Cubs but even the Astros and Marlins are ahead of the Cubs rebuild.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          They should be Ray. Marlins just built a new stadium and Astros is relatively new. I haven’t seen his portfolio but I know he’s spending a fortune since he has owned the team. I don’t expect him to break himself…

          • cubtex

            I expect him to put a respectable product on the field. This is brutal in year 3. Absolutely Brutal!

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I agree the product could be better Ray. I don’t know why we haven’t signed more of these lower priced FA’s that could make a difference. I wanted Jimenez and there was a couple hitters…

          • cubtex

            Even getting a Mike Morse on a 1 year 6 mil deal like he just signed with the Giants would have at least given a potential bounce back middle of the order bat.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I love the bounce back’s. I know some people don’t like those signings but I believe in bringing guys in on low deals because they can bounce back from a down year or injury. Some won’t work out but many turn into a solid player or a trade piece. Not really a lot to lose…

          • J Daniel

            Except cash which you continue to defend that he is not spending at the mlb level.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            But that is spending the cash at the MLB level. I just like the reclamation projects. You don’t spend a lot so personally not much to lose and the contracts are attractive to trade if they catch lightning in a bottle. Guys like Scott Baker, who definitely didn’t work out but we didn’t lose much and the reward can be great. It’s all risk/reward, like gambling or the stock market. I like to take some calculated chances and believe that to really be great you’ve got to take them and have a few balls bounce your way.

          • J Daniel

            6 million worth a gamble?

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Absolutely, relatively it’s nothing…

          • J Daniel

            I do agree.

          • cubtex

            the problem is that you have to get something for those bounce backs otherwise it does nothing. What did Kevin Gregg accomplish? Win a few more games?

          • cubtex

            and Schierholtz has done nothing for them either since they haven’t traded him for anything yet. What did the Cubs get for DeJesus? Cash? Another non factor.

          • J Daniel

            The problem with these types of guys is that it is sort of like prospects. Most will not pan out, not really help the team, and are a waste of time.

          • cubtex

            exactly. teams are leery of a guy who has a good first half and aren’t willing to risk a top prospect with there being a good chance that this player will go back to what he was the previous year or 2. I really think that is why Schierholtz and DeJesus were never dealt earlier. Theo thinks they were worth more than they actually are.

          • Ripsnorter1

            The Cubs got cash, but the Nats got a prospect.

          • cubtex

            Lets look what our bounce back position players have gotten us.

            DeJesus- cash
            Schierholtz- nothing yet
            Valbuena-nothing yet
            Navarro- Lost in free agency
            Bogusevic- Ruggiano

            Have I missed anyone?

            So far we have netted only Ruggiano out of those bounce backs.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Schierholtz was one of our best hitters last year. In his first full season as a regular he did pretty well. I expect this year he’ll have a better idea of how to maintain over a full season and be more consistent.

            Kevin Gregg did help us win a few more games. But that’s all most of the signings we all want to see would have done. Not going to win a title or a championship. Ray you wanted Bourn so badly next year. How many more wins would Bourn have caused than Schierholtz? Or Gregg? I don’t think it would be many. Same thing this year if we signed Nelson Cruz or Corey Hart. Especially Cruz, a career AAAA player who suddenly at 28 starts hitting longballs then later is tied to steroids.

          • cubtex

            Bourn signed a 4 year 48 mil deal. He played with a torn hamstring most of the 2nd half. He had surgery and should be 100% for next year. Bourn would have been a huge upgrade and leadoff hitter. Look at our roster now? The only player who could leadoff is Castro.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I agree, just saying, how many more wins is he worth than Scheirholtz or Gregg? A bundle?

          • cubtex

            You would have him for 4 years at a very reasonable salary. Look what Ellsbury just got. Look what Choo will get. Look at the FA market for outfielders next year. Bourn would not have blocked anyone. Schierholtz is a short term asset. DeJesus was short term. Are you satisfied with a BIG market team like the Cubs throwing guys like Schierholtz,Sweeney,Gregg and all these bounce back types out there for 3 years in a row??? In the words of Scott Boras…It is an All Day Sucker.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I’m not satisfied but what good does it do me to complain? I believe in the rebuild and I love the Cubs, what choice do I have? My blood pressure is high enough! I think we can be better than expected with the guys we have. I’d love to have Choo or Ellsbury, I’d even be happy with Bourn. I’d love to see Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Gutierrez come in. But either way it doesn’t effect my love of the Cubs or my belief that the current approach is going to pay off with a golden era of Cubs baseball in the near future for an extended period. I like the trades we’ve made and basically everything except for not signing more impact free agents. But really that’s the only thing I don’t think these guys have done well and I guarantee they’d say that for better or worse, it’s their plan. They’ve made savvy 3rd tier and even a few 2nd tier signings except for EJax, who may still turn it around. He has filthy stuff. And I don’t believe that the approach could be done by anyone, many tough decisions are being made. It’s tough to make choices that aren’t popular with the fan base. But in 5 years we’ll be having a parade for Theo in Chicago.

            And again, as I said above. I have no control over it so I accept it. I love the Cubs, if I could become a Yankee or Dodger fan I would but I’m just not built that way. Attitude, acceptance and perspective are a choice. I’ve made mine…

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            And not just tough decisions. I think Theo wins 80% of his trades. He has a way of getting teams to give him more than they should such as for Dempster and Garza. I know you think Dempster should have brought more but I love the haul. Prefer it to Delgado.

            I think these guys are very good…

          • cubtex

            I believe in starting pitching. Ryan Dempster was the leading pitcher in the NL for the 1st half. He was having a great year. I feel they lacked communication with him and it cost them. You should have been able to get a starting pitcher for him who would be penciled in the rotation for next year with the eraser thrown away.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            That may be true. I think Theo wanted a guy that could be penciled in more for 2015 and beyond. I just don’t think he’s giving up assets for anything other than longer term guys. I wish he’d get guys for now but I think he is pushing for it to all come together at once. Probably starting in 2015 with some bumps in the road, then 2016-17 being when things gel and kick into high gear. Hendricks was perfect for that. Villanueva too.

          • dicepaul

            Maybe they didn’t get that in return because “teams are leery of a guy who has a good first half … good chance that this player will go back to what he was”.

          • cubtex

            Dempster wasn’t a bounce back. He was an established starter. Players who I was talking about dicepaul= Gregg,Schierholtz,Feldman. You follow me?

          • dicepaul

            While one is “bounce back” and the other is “established” they are both players having good starts above their norm. Do you follow me?

          • cubtex

            I didn’t mean to sound like a smart a## is that is what you took it as. Dempster was established and wasn’t blowing away his norm. Let me put up his last 4 years before he was traded. Who would you have more confidence giving up a top prospect for Dempster or a Feldman?

            08 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA
            09 11-9 3.65 ERA
            10 15-12 3.85 ERA
            11 10 -14 4.80 ERA

            As you can see he had 1 bad year. He was an established starter and was not that much above his “norm”

          • cubtex

            I think Theo is stubborn and holds out for this bundle of a return and it has cost him in several deals. Sometimes it is better to give something to get something than try and screw a team and hold out and hold out always looking for that big kill.

          • cubtex

            and I agree. Your way is the better way to be a Cubs fan. I wish I could be more like you but that is not in my DNA. :)

  • Tony D

    Man another winter meeting that makes me glad its winter and not baseball season ! I don’t want the big high dollar signing from the cubs but just trading and signing players that should be on the bench and hoping that they can loose 100 games so you builld your system is getting old for this Cub Fan. How about paying some $$ money out and putting a team on the field that would be exciting to watch. Castro and Rizzo are our only two players that could start on another big league club. Even the Twins and Marlins are trying to improve. The Cubs office now has just blown all the fans smoke to convince us that its OK to keep loosing to build the system.

    • J Daniel

      Watch hockey … it is really good!

  • J Daniel

    Obviously the plan is to tank one more, garner another really high pick, which would add this years and next years high pick to the system. Hopefully they are two more high impact players. I do trust McCloud and boys with their picks.

    Theo even stated, paraphrasing, that there is no need to be in the middle. It is my hope that we see the likes of Bryant, Baez, and Alcantara with the club sometime this season. Next year Almora and hopefully a pitching prospect or two. If the boys coming are good, combined with a couple of good additions next year, I think we will start to see competitive, winning baseball in 2015.

    • cubtex

      J Daniel….I have said this repeatedly. This is a simple small market rebuild plan that any gm can follow. I do not understand how anyone can argue that point. It is the same plan as the Astros, Marlins, Pirates, etc. One thing I agree with Boras about(I do not like that man but he is right about this) is that this is an ALL DAY SUCKER. It does not have to be this long and painful. Theo and Jed acted surprised that they changed the draft rules. That was anticipated. Change was expected. You need to change as well. I know Theo always traded or bought his pitching staff in the past. He never developed his own. He bought Dice K, He traded for Beckett, Lester was a Duquette pick, Lackey was a FA, Wakefield was a trade. If anyone should know how tough it is to aquire starting pitching…it should be him. I would rather see them trade some of these prospects for pitching and build a staff. The Cubs are already behind the Astros, Marlins and those teams finished with worse records than our Cubs. Speed it up. Trade. Do something. You will have a top pick after next year. Trade a couple of top 10 prospects for pitching.

      • J Daniel

        Only problem … they are not going to trade any young guys yet. Any other move is like kissing your sister.

        • cubtex

          And that is the problem. Let me bring up “Prospect” trade chips who were hyped as the best thing since sliced bread. 1. Bobby Hill (Great Job by Hendry to get ARam for this overhyped 2nd base prospect. 2. Felix Pie 3. Corey Patterson 4. Sean Gallagher 5. Rich Hill ( I really thought he would have made it)

          Not all the Cubs prospects will make it. Some of them have value to other teams now. Will they have the same value in 2 years? That is the million dollar question. Pie,Patterson,Hill, and others didn’t.

          • J Daniel

            There is absolutely no question about the prospects. The key is knowing your own guys and not giving away the ones that are going to make it.

            We can make the argument the other way. Had they kept prospects Cashner and Archer along with Smarj … a pretty good staff … Wood at #4.

          • cubtex

            No question.

          • Ripsnorter1

            JDaniel,
            This post really hurts! Those four starters, with Edwin Jackson, would put us
            right in the hunt for the playoffs each year.

          • J Daniel

            This is the danger of trying to speed it up at this point, trade prospects, for a slim chance now. Critical to not get rid of the guys that will impact, at least until the team is ready to contend.

        • GaryLeeT

          It’s better than getting slapped by her.

      • cc002600

        I wrote this yesterday, I have to agree with you to some extent. While I am fully on-board with rebuild and didn’t expect them to go after big name FA’s, I cannot figure out why they at least can’t go after the lower level FA’s that could help them now and down the road, like say a John Axford. Its like they are non-existent right now to make a point, I just don’t get it. Their payroll could be in the $75M range. I’m sorry, but that is embarrassing for a big market team. And all this while small market teams like the Marlins, Padres, Astros, Rockies, Mariners are scooping guys up left and right. If they lose 90+ games again with a $75M payroll the heat will get turned up. Big time.

        • cubtex

          It is really sad what the FO is putting on the field. This is year 3. Not year 1.

          • cc002600

            I agree there could be more of an effort that’s being made. Have you seen what they have planned this year for the 100 year anniversary of Wrigley ? wow. It will be everywhere. If they lose 90+ again that will be another joke that critics will use. In other words, they seem more concerned about everything else instead of putting good players on the field. Just watch. They are setting themselves up for that criticism.

          • cc002600

            And think about this for a second. If they lose 90+ games again, that will be 4 years in a row drafting in the top 10. Wow !!! Holy cow

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            It is too bad, but I expect that we will be better this year than we expect. If Castro reverts and Rizzo improves alone we will be much better. Not to mention a better Schierholtz, and Castillo. A full year of Sweeney. Lots of ways that this team is much improved this year. Now could be none of them happen and we stink, but if even 75% of the possibilities pan out we can push .500.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Baez yeah….Bryant, I think FO want to se him in a full minor league season…..Alcantara might be trade bait……Almora, maybe in September……but the Cubs will have Ha, BJax and Szczur before then.

      • J Daniel

        IMO Bryant will be here before Almora. BJax, I doubt.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Almora in September would absolutely shock me. Maybe September 2015.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            Almora will have more bats in the minors then Bryant would have…..and Bryant has to learn how to play the outfield………this is why I have Almora ahead of Bryant on call ups.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Sorry Critic, that may be the case but college usually counts for a few years of minor league play. I’d go ahead and switch them up. Almora could be here late in 2015 but more likely he’s 2016 at earliest. Bryant will be up by late 2014 or early 2015. I don’t even think their trajectories are close. Had Almora been healthy all year maybe he could have been up earlier in 2016 but I doubt it.

          • paulcatanese

            College does count for experience, but in Bryant’s case, take into account that he will still have to adjust to the outfield. Take into account the struggle’s that Lake had last year adjusting to it.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            True, I still think he is ahead of Almora.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I love the “one other person is typing…”

          • paulcatanese

            Absolutely with the bat, a sure thing. Either one should get a shot, no big loss if they don’t quite produce. Not like the Cubs would be knocked out of the playoffs.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    HI everyone…I have not wrote anything for a long time since……since 5 minutes ago on the Wada signing……..

    – odds are that our Opening Day outfield will not be around in September…..

    – when I heard about the Cubs trade with Miami yesterday, I thought the Cubs got a can of parmesan cheese ….

    – there are many “mothers basement” that have over a $100,000 in upgrades including full baths, wet bar, fireplace, mini kitchens and large bedroom…..and there are many who wish they had their Mother with them for Christmas……

    – Cubs sales tax revenue will not save the city of Chicago…..at this point, nothing will…..

    – always keep your eyes open…..and never trust anyone on what they tell you…….

    – Cubs will win a few games here and there in 2014…..just a few……

    – Cubs will be in double figures with starting pitchers in 2014…..Samardzjia, Wood, Jackson, Villauneva, Arietta, Cabrera, Hendricks, Grimm, Rusin, Ramirez to name a few……

    – Donnie Murphy is a nice fill in….but I rather have a Dale Murphy type of player on the Cubs…..

    – Barney will end up with the Yankees……

    – I am still hoping for that dinner date or two with Cubs ex- ball girl Marla Collins……

    – Starlin starts growing horns and a tail, time to trade him to the Angels to save his soul……

    – Castro might make six errors in a game……soon after, Baez will be on his way.

    – I am afraid Shark will have a tear in the elbow before he gets traded……if Theo gets that Blue Jays offer, take it and run.

    – Wellington Castillo will be good, but not great…… will be our only All Star in 2014.

    – Rizzo & Ruggiano will make every Wednesday in the Cubs clubhouse, “Prince Spaghetti Day”.

    – For all this jibber jabber I have been saying, I have not thought about Cubs prospect Brett Jackson being our Opening Day center fielder …until now.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Nice ramblings :)

  • cubtex

    This question is for Neil, Tom or anyone who might know the answer. Bringing up the trade with the Braves for Alberto Cabrera’s brother got me thinking about him. I believe he is out of options.
    Looking at his minor league numbers he seems to do much better as a starter. What are the Cubs plans for him next year???? If they are going to tank…Why not put him as the #5 starter. He is only 25 and has a great arm. This is what he did last year in AA.

    9-3 3.20 ERA 112.2 IP 102 hits 107 K’s and a 1.251 Whip.

    Give the kid a shot. It would be a shame to lose him and he develops with another organization.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Cabrera is out of options for next season. I have not heard/read what the plans are for him next year. Cabrera has a problem throwing strikes past the Double-A level. Excellent arm that in my opinion profiles as a reliever in the majors.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    Johan Santana…Cubs take a flyer?
    Seems a prototypical Cubs signing of guy coming off injury, we hope for bounce-back and trade at deadline for a prospect?

    Plus…he has name value, which would be nice for us fans. A sweet throwing lefty…easy to watch.

    Thoughts?

    • CubbyDenCritic

      draft pick connected to him?…if so, Theo will pass.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        not sure…he was injured all last year, so didn’t play…not sure if that factors in???

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Matt Gamel signed with the Braves.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Future of the Cubs……
    2014 will look like something like 2012 sad to say….I will say pitching will not be the main problem in some part…..we are gaining depth……it might take 4-6 pitchers to win a game …….. but this team does not have a #1 or #2 starter that can end losing streaks ….and can Strop close out games? ……..the main problem is our division…..Reds, Cardinals & Pirates are still strong…..
    the only true hitters on this club now are Rizzo & Castro….2014 will be a big year for Rizzo…no excuses…..Rizzo has to hit…I do believe that Olt will help Rizzo out by hitting behind Rizzo…..Lake will have his hitting streaks…..there need to be players who can pick the other guys who are in a slump…..
    The Prospects will come…..Baez will be the main guy……..was not thrilled with Alcantara winter numbers……Bryant needs to learn his OF position…..Almora could be here faster then most people thought…….as for pitching, Hendricks, Vizcaino, Ramirez & Cabrera……they will see action this coming year……Cabrera has to make the club or will be traded…..the other three will be June call ups……..
    Surprises……Bjax, Vitters, Barney, Olt…….if these guys can contribute in a major way, Cubs could have a nice summer………BJax & Vitters are major disappointments in the Cubs system….they have people ready to push them aside that are coming up from the system……it is now or never for them…….Barney sees the writing on the wall….even if Barney hits 300, his days are numbered as a Cub……Alcantara, Watkins or Castro can move him out when Baez gets called up.
    Farm System……year #3 for Theo……I do believe there are few hidden gems ….Silva & Canderlario to name a few……Vogelbach might be the one who pushes Rizzo to the trade table if Rizzo struggles…..some say Vogelbach has a weak glove……but I say a stronger infield corner bat makes up for a weak glove…….Castro had a terrible glove when he came up, but his bat kept him in the line up……….
    Trades……if you are last place club, and heading for another 90 plus loss season, no one is untouchable………No doubt, Samardzija, Villanuava, Barney, and the entire outfield will be moved this year……….If Castro & Rizzo are placed on the trade market, then we are looking at 2017 as the earliest for a Cubs playoff team……the rebuilding process will be pushed back once again.
    FO……..Theo & Jed might corner the #1 draft pick for the next two or three years…….Astros, Mets, White Sox, Twins, Marlins all improved over the Winter Meetings……..with another bad season or two to come, don’t expect Free Agents to flock here….unless they are third rate pitchers who have TJ xays in their hands………..the revenue will stock pile until the right free agents come along……..or the money will be used to sign long term contracts of our own players who produce well…….it is all about timing…..when this club is clicking on all cylinders, I have no doubt that Theo will spend the Ricketts money on top notch free agents…….but not this season.

  • cubtex

    Alright! Cubs signed Tat-Man Ryan Roberts to a minor league deal. They also picked up Liam Hendriks from the Twins. Hendriks could be a decent pick up. Has an option left and is still young.

  • Dorasaga

    And “Auld Lang Syne” to you, Brian, Neil, the CCO gang. A pint to the year!