Rambling About the Cubs as the Future is Closing In

Hello again, everybody. The future is a strange thing really because we have no idea what it holds. Sure, we would love to think we do, but we don’t. And that is why the future is scary, exciting, foreboding, enthralling, strange, nerve-racking, thought provoking, and many, many other things.

However, for Cubs fans, the future has always been this mystical thing. Right? “Wait ‘til next year.” And what is next year, but the future. It is that time strange, yet magical time. With minor league promotions occurring at rapid pace lately, and a tease that Jorge Soler will be up in September, this future is getting more exciting every day. So with that, let’s get to what we do on Fridays at the CCO.

  • The worst thing the FO can do now is send ‘Mendy down if he continues to struggle.  However, cutting, err DFA’ing Barney is a sign they are all in AA.
  • DFA is the nicest way to say, “fired.” We do not say Darwin Barney was fired, we say, he was designated for assignment.
  • And yes, I know they are not the same thing, but you knew what I am getting at. Well, some of you do.
  • PrintMike Olt needs to see pitching every day, and he needs to regain his confidence.  Rizzo had to go back down at one point in his career as well. This is not the time to write off Mike Olt.
  • Remember when Jorge Soler was a bust about seven weeks ago?
  • Now, he might be their best prospect because his strikeout rate is low. How about that?!?!
  • The FO has been shrewd getting trades done well before the deadline and amassing some impressive players … two top-100 guys, a possible closer and other pieces that still project well.
  • When you get mad that the Cubs missed out on a big signing, or you think Ricketts is being cheap, imagine being a Phillies fan. Imagine those contracts on your books. Then smile.
  • I also enjoy the FO’s hesitancy, if I can call it that, to trade for the sake of trading. Some were very high on the acquisition of Ruggiano last offseason, and he has been hitting well lately.
  • The team still controls him, Valbuena, Russell and others beyond this year. NO reason to give those guys away for free.
  • I have recently heard people trying to knock Rizzo’s RBI total. And yes, he struck out with the bases loaded Wednesday night in a big spot. But let’s not sit here and pretend like the Cubs have consistent table-setters. Time will tell.
  • Bonifacio just got off the DL. Other than that, it’s been a crapshoot when it comes to said table-setters.
  • Speaking of Emilio … one prospect would be expected, two would be what we like to refer to as “gravy.” Personally, I do not like gravy, but the world says I am wrong.
  • The No. 1 pick is still a possibility. The Cubs have a tough schedule, but there are some real bad teams in the Bigs this year.
  • I would rather have Rizzo and Castro finish strong, along with solid performances from ‘Mendy’ and Hendricks over the No. 1 pick.
  • Speaking of the No. 1 pick, I feel horrible for Aiken. I would really like someone to get to the bottom of what happened. Correct me if I am wrong, but if he goes to college, he is not draft eligible for three more years. What do you do if you are him? If it is me, I sit out. I don’t go to college. There is too much money on the line.
  • The thing I appreciate most of the Edwin Jackson signing … Theo basically admitted it was a mistake. That I appreciate. No one is perfect. It was a knee-jerk reaction to being shunned by Anibal Sanchez.
  • I am immensely excited to see what Bosio can do over another offseason with Arrieta. 2.12 ERA, 93 Ks in 85 IPs … this is more than anyone hoped for. Or more than anyone SHOULD have hoped for.
  • I know Chris Coghlan is not part of the “future,” nor am I saying he will be. But, I was a fan of his when he was on the Fish, and I am still a fan today. And his past six weeks have been fun to watch. Chris Coghlan. A guy in his prime, and a guy who can teach the ways.
  • We can talk about the future and the Core Four, Five or Nine, but the Cubs will still need to have a few vets on this team. The young guys need role models and people to learn from. Rizzo and Castro are still too young for that.

The rebuild is great, but there will need to be some hand-holding, as there needs to be in any profession, but the future is getting closer. While we don’t know what the future holds, the Cubs current future is more exciting than the Cubs future has been for quite some time. That specific “next year” is closer … possibly closer than it has been for a long time now.

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful, safe and enjoyable weekend …

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"In baseball, you don't know nothing." - Yogi Berra
Share on Fancred
  • Pingback: Rambling About the Cubs as the Future is Closing In - Cubs Chronicles

  • BillyFinT

    This is Year Four since GM Hendry fired and Epstein-Hoyer took over. The latter are inspiring to listen to, and I agreed with them the need to rebuild. But this is Chicago, and the owner is betraying us fans by not showing continuous improvement. This coming off season, plus the result from all traded in before this deadline, this will define the Ricketts ownership for the next four years to come, if they are still “in” this game of Major League.

    • Tony_H

      JH was fired on July 22, 2014, 3 years and 3 days ago. But it wasn’t announced until August 19.

      • Richard Hood

        I had to make this exact statement on twitter the other day. I do not understand why everyone is thinking that Theo has been here a long time already. Season 3 of the plan does not even start till next spring. Some patience would be nice.

      • John_CC

        And then the season was played out with an interim GM…who I can’t even remember nor care to.

        So in reality, the rebuild is less than 3 years in the making. LESS than three years in the making. Quite amazing if you put it into perspective.

        The Theo Era will be three years old sometime in the spring of 2015.

        • cubtex

          either way you slice it….it is an all day sucker. Look at the mlb roster the last 3 years. Look at how they traded every mlb asset for a prospect and not to improve the short term. Losing 90 plus games every year he has been running the team. This is quite amazing? The only player he has traded for that could end up helping the team next year is Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks over this short 3 seasons or whatever you want to say it has been.

          • John_CC

            Glad you are quoting Scott Boras now. That is fitting. Go back the Yankee’s blogs!

          • cubtex

            yankees are in the race every year just like a big market team should be. not 3 years of losing 90 plus games in a market like Chicago

          • GaryLeeT

            Why is it so wrong to withhold judgement about the FOs abilities until they have to find and pick the fruit that’s at the top of the tree instead of the easy ones at the bottom?

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

            I think that’s reasonable. But it works both ways.

          • Tony_H

            Ask the Astros how easy it is! Appel and Aiken in back 2 back years.

          • cubtex

            Read the story on Aiken. They decided having 2 top picks next year outweighs the price of Aiken and losing out on some later draft picks.

          • SirGladiator

            That would be called ‘spin’ from the folks in Houston :) . They lost the #1 draft pick, and two of their top 5 picks, literally for nothing except a #2 pick next year. I don’t think it’s too often that a team trades the #1 overall pick and the first pick in the 5th round for next year’s #2 pick, not on purpose anyway :) .

          • cubtex
          • Tony_H

            But everyone now knows that Bryant should have went #1. Time could change this, but right now they have screwed up 2 drafts in a row. Maybe you should run over there and explain to them how easy this rebuilding thing should be.

          • cubtex

            so you are ready to crown one team a winner based on minor league performance? cmon man. you know better than that. I like Bryant and hope he turns into a stud but to say that Appel was a screwed up pick based on one minor league season is ridiculous. you can’t coach 97 and find his type of upside growing on trees

          • Tony_H

            If you reverse this, you would condemn Theo for the pick.

          • cubtex

            I would not jump up for joy on any draft pick….until….they do something in the bigs. Mark Appel is far from a screwed up pick. If he sucks for the next 2 years in the minors…then you might have a reason to say that but he would be the Cubs #1 pitching prospect right now. Would you disagree?

          • Tony_H

            Obviously based on potential, but he has been awful this year, where Bryant looks like a man playing against boys.

          • cubtex

            sure…minor leagues. there have been hundreds of minor league world beaters who never made it. Karl Pagel anyone? Might be before your time….but look up Karl Pagel if you have some time.

          • Jim Hendry

            If you would like to discuss screwed up picks, how about a discourse on the international signing of one Mr. Concepcion? And please, no talk of Mr. Hayden Simpson.

          • Jim Hendry

            I think Mr. Epstein is correct when he says that bats are to be preferred in the draft ahead of arms. Too many Tommy Johns, too many mechanical and command issues to be solved in most arms. And most of all, the shortage of verifiable power in MLB means that the bats have more value over the arms.

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

            I’m not real jealous of the spot the Yankees are in right now and how their immediate future looks.

          • GaryLeeT

            I am jealous of the championships.

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

            Well sure, I’d trade pasts with them I suppose. But really what’s that get anybody today? The Yankees don’t live in the past, and neither should anyone else.

          • paulcatanese

            Left yourself open here , then why do you constantly bring up Theo’s record and the championships with Boston?

          • cubtex

            touche

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

            It’s a track record thing. I’m just trying to use evidence to come to conclusions. I’m not giving him a pass because of it but I tend to give the benefit of the doubt yes. And as you’ll see in another comment somewhere on here I said about the Yankees that immediate future looks similar to the 1980’s for them. But that knowing them they’ll surprise us all and figure something out. My comments regarding Boston are mostly to establish a history and track record. Basically the same as citing sources. Otherwise it would all just be conjecture just pulled out of thin air based on my personal feelings about the man. I prefer to deal with evidence.

            But championships? Yes I’d love to have a few. But last year is over.

          • GaryLeeT

            I think they do use their past, and stature to attract players all the time.

          • cubtex

            some people just never cease to surprise. 53-48. 2nd place in the WC race right now and 3 games out of 1st place in the division. Had a ton of injuries to the staff and their GM doesn’t give up. Gets a Brandon McCarthy for basically nothing and he throws 2 great games and is 2-0. I guess you don’t like playoff baseball Rider. Right? World Series win or bust. Yankees have no chance if they make the playoffs so I would rather the team losing 90 games like the Cubs

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

            They could make it, although long shot. But have no farm system right now and aging lineup. I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to buy their way back into contention. But it also could very likely be a return to the Yankees of the 1980’s for a few years.

          • cubtex

            there is not just one way to contend. small market teams have to do it with the farm. big market teams don’t. look at the Dodgers as well. bought a Puig,Ryu,traded for AGON, Hanley Ramirez etc. Teams with money have a huge advantage and the Cubs have money.

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

            Actually from what I’ve heard they have a lot of debt and current expenses off the field. Stadium, Arizona, etc. Modernization of the franchise.

            And even so, I prefer to build this way from within and have a farm system. I’m not a Yankee fan. Part of what I don’t like about them is the way they win with all these mercenaries. I liked the late 90’s somewhat because those teams had Jeter, Jorge, Rivera, Williams and other long time guys that came up from their system. Guess it’s just personal preference. Take my Thunder in OKC. I like that they are trying to emulate the Spurs approach. Before the Thunder came along my favorite was the Spurs. I guess the way I’m made I prefer to root for a team that builds and has their own players. I don’t want a team where I don’t even know anything about my players. Just not my style.

          • Swish23

            If the have too much “debt” don’t buy the team. And for the last time, the city of Mesa spent 99M for the cubs new ST facility. Cubs spent zero. In fact; Ricketts was supposed to develop wrigleyville west as part of agreement; but got nothing done (sound familiar like wrigleyville actual?) so the city took that over too.

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

            Any buyer would have the debt. U think nobody should buy the team? I get your point about Arizona, fine. But any owner would have to deal with the debt. I don’t understand your first sentence. No owner would come in and just throw all their money away and hemorrhage themselves in coming years. There is no TV deal yet. People seem to think another owner would have done differently. I don’t see it. Not even Cuban. Cuban wants to win, but I think most businessmen at the level to afford the team would like Theo’s plan. It’s solid business and anyone that would want a business plan would likely agree with it.

            So don’t blame Ricketts. It’s a situation that has to be dealt with. It’s easy for us to just say “spend yourself into bankruptcy!” But that wouldn’t be good for the Cubs or the owner. And no potential owner would have done much different in my opinion. If they hired Theo, which most IMO would have, they would have asked for his plan and likely said “we’re in your hands.” Go build us a franchise.

          • John_CC

            But Puig and Ryu don’t count remember, they are just IFA signings.

          • cubtex

            they were bought to help out the team to win immediately. not like a Gerardo Concepcion or Soler.

          • Denver Mike

            Puig was a lotto ticket, who started in A+ ball because it was expected he would need development. He wasn’t brought in with the thought of immediately impacting the ML team.

            I actually agree with you for the most part that there has been enough losing and it is time to change gears. Just pointing out that it is a crap-shoot.

          • mutantbeast

            Yes they are, but they are still risks. They had no real track record before the MLB service. Puig last year was no different than Soler-talented, but unproven.

          • mutantbeast

            Maybe you can tell m e who else not named the Stankees , Dodgers or Angels has a BILLION $ TV contract? Steinbrenner doesnt even pay his own payroll, YES network does.

          • SirGladiator

            Any team that makes the playoffs has a chance, especially when you consider the number of Wild Card winners that have won the World Series before.

          • mutantbeast

            Really Tex, who do you think most GMs would want to be today, Theo Epstien or Brian Cashman? You and I both know the answer and its not the Stankees GM.

          • cubtex

            no doubt Epstein. He doesn’t have to win. Job security. Paid top dollar. Best GM job in baseball

          • SirGladiator

            That’s true. If I were a GM I’d rather be Cashman, because nothing says I have to keep repeating his mistakes :) . He’s got unlimited funds to work with to go out and get genuinely good players, sure his farm team sucks but he can bring in talented guys to draft better and turn that around, etc. Theo’s done a great job in the minors, but the owner won’t let him spend any money so the real team sucks every year. I’d rather have unlimited money than Oakland As level money, and of course I’d try not to do what Cashman has done, spend most of it on over the hill players :) .

        • GaryLeeT

          “Quite amazing if you put it into perspective.”

          How so? What’s your measure? The farm system that’s nearly devoid of a TOR arm? Besides, most of it was built through losing, and flipping Hendry players. I am not saying that the team won’t eventually win. However, until they do, and the FO has proven that they can sustain the winning by not flipping players, and picking in the top 5 every year, then the jury has to still be out.

          • John_CC

            Good morning Gary.

            Quite amazing because everyone acts like it’s been 4 years of some scam that hasn’t worked. At times it feels like it’s been that long, which is why I think its amazing when you realize it’s been less than 3 actually.

            So in two and half years we went from a terrible, 90 loss team under previous management in which we where pinning hopes on “bounce backs” from old guys like Soriano, Dempster, Aramis, etc and the futures of Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters to having two veteran 24 year old All-Stars and our hopes are in legit prospects like Soler, Baez, and Bryant making impacts as soon as this September and certainly by next spring. Which would make the end of beginning of Year Four of The Rebuild.

            I and many others like the looks of that and feel like the 2 1/2 – 3 year wait will probably have been worth it.

            You and texy can continue to look at the worst case scenario and find all the negatives to what has happened and that it fine, I can’t argue with you guys about it because you will never look at the other side, or at least never admit that the future looks better for the Cubs than it has in a long long time.

            Last point, don’t forget the team that was inherited when Hendry was fired in 2011. They were really bad too.

          • cubtex

            you can call me sexy texy please

          • John_CC

            I’d rather not thank you. Though it’s quite catchy.

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

            Oh stop it Sexy Texy ;)))))

          • GaryLeeT

            I know, Theo came in and inherited the #6 draft position. I wonder how he’ll do picking 30th?

          • John_CC

            I don’t.

            What’s your point?!

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

            His history in Boston shows he’ll do really, really well. He was able to win 2 WS and set them up for a 3rd while also keeping a top 5 farm system in place. Some of our best moves this year in the draft came from lower rounds.

            To make the leap that he has drafted well because of top choices is to say those are the only draftees that are any good. And to then say that when we get better he’ll draft poorly because he’s such a below average GM that without a top choice he can’t have success. Huge fallacy here? What evidence backs this up from either current draftees while in Chicago or during his tenure in Boston? It actually appears to be the exact opposite in both cases. He’s found great players all over the draft and hit in just about every single draft he’s participated in. To make the suggestion “I wonder how he’ll do picking 30th,” is like saying that you’ll bet on black on a roulette wheel because red has come up 3 times in a row. Yeah, it may turn out and make sense. But the reality is that it’s just as likely to go red for another 100 spins. There’s just no empirical evidence to support the opinion. It makes sense in our feeble human mind but is quite simply inaccurate.

          • John_CC

            Don’t try to use logic and facts, rider. It’s all about the gut feeling. Old school baby!

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

            Yep! Well some appear to have some experience as professional scouts and FO types that I didn’t realize. They’ve got their own equations and formulas for success based on their extensive experience and success at the big league level. Now that I know all of that I’ll defer to them.

            Or wait…is any of that true?

          • GaryLeeT

            I thought they used a roulette wheel? I can do that.

          • GaryLeeT

            What facts and logic? Oh, I see you just wanted to post cheerleading comment.

          • John_CC

            Ummm…the logic that was rider’s reasonable understanding of the facts and history Theo has had as GM, and using as an opening statement to argue his point.

            That is what most people refer to as “Logic.” Sorry that flew over your head, or did you even bother reading it before posting your negative cheerleading comment?

          • GaryLeeT

            MLB history is littered with GMs that looked like a genius with one team and loser with the other. I present one Andy McFail as exhibit A. Was that factual and logical enough for you?

          • mutantbeast

            JIm Hendry was “old school”. Look where that got us.

          • GaryLeeT

            “There’s just no empirical evidence to support the opinion.”

            First. That wasn’t an opinion, I asked a question. 2nd, if you wanted to prove that Theo can do it, you needed to name names of players he’s drafted late in the first round, or in the later rounds, that have done well in the Majors. You lost me with the roulette analogy, because the draft has a little more thought, and analysis put into it than pure chance.

          • Denver Mike

            According to all of the “experts” Schwarber should have been drafted around #20 in the 1st round. I know he got picked higher, because that’s where the Cubs pick was, but consensus was that he would have been there late in the first. He has looked pretty damn good so far, so while I’m not going to crown the FO the greatest talent evaluators in the world, it think they are above average at what they do.

          • cubtex

            and so has Nick Gordon. Time will tell who has a better mlb career.

          • Denver Mike

            BA had Nick Gordon as the #7 prospect going into the draft and he was drafted at #5, so I’m not sure that was much of a reach by the Twins.

            My post was just to show that while Theo has drafted at the top of the first round, he doesn’t just pick the consensus #4 prospect like a robot because his pick is at #4. The Cubs appear they would have taken Schwarber if they were picking #4 or #20, so the he has to pick at the “top of the first round” isn’t as valid.

            Maybe I misunderstood your post.

          • cubtex

            I guess what I was saying is that Hoyer has been on record as saying Scwarber was #2 on their board so they took the best player on their board(not to save slot money) so….if Gordon has a better mlb career…then they didn’t evaluate the 2 players accurately

          • Denver Mike

            Ahhh, I follow and suppose you’re right on that. I mentioned before that I don’t personally think this FO is the greatest, but they seem to be competent at the least. So I just hope the players the do pick succeed, regardless of how the players they passed on do.

          • cubtex

            I don’t think they are the worst either but I just get worked up on how well they are doing as far as this “swift” rebuild is going. It is not swift or extraordinary. Until any of these draft picks make an impact on the mlb level for any team….all they are are prospects and high draft picks. The Schwarbers, Nick Gordons,Jonathan Gray Mark Appel etc. All they are are hype and hope. And I do hope that most of the players that Theo and Jed pick succeed. I am a Cub fan and want to see winning baseball.

          • Denver Mike

            I’m not a religious man, but for the second time today I have to say, “Amen to that!”

          • mutantbeast

            ALL of us one this thread are Cubs fans Tex. We ALL want them to WIN. Weve tried Hendrys ways, and FAILED. Time to try something different. I happen to like what Im seeing at 3A right now.

          • cubtex

            everyone likes what we are seeing at AAA right now….it is what we are seeing at Clark and Addison that is pathetic(3 straight years of pathetic)

          • texcubnut

            5 straight years of pathetic.

          • Denver Mike

            With all the caps, at first I thought this was a Larry post :)

          • mutantbeast

            So far, Tex, TheoJeds draft philosophy has been to draft the best college power bat. Nick Gordon would have been a Hendry-type pick, an athlete who plays baseball. Hmm, Ty Griffin, anyone? Grant Jackson? Mark Pawelek? Want to know precisely why the Cubs suck right now , Tex? Its called Jim Hendrys DRAFTING.

          • cubtex

            wasn’t Javy Baez a high school pick by Hendry? Albert Almora anyone?

          • texcubnut

            Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara, Andrew Cashner, Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, yes, Hendry certainly sucked.
            Hendry made decent trades ( Derosa for Chris Archer, Archer/Hak-Ju-Lee for Garza, and this FO, Garza for Ramirez, C.J. Edwards, Grimm and Olt.) all from assetts acquired by Hendry. Hendry also used the FA market well. All this done under the ownership regimes of the Tribune and then Sam Zell and finally under Ricketts who told him to draft and spend money on the 2011 draft and then pack you bags and get out. Fairly remarkable job under those owners and circumstances.
            I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m tired and weary of ALL the bashing from both sides when I believe both t he past and current front offices , while both different styles, did and are doing, the best jobs they can. I like where the Cubs are right now. From the very bottom of the minor league system to the top and our future assets.( Players@ ML level including Castro, Rizzo, Alcantara, Arrieta, our minor league players and our financial assetts going forward. It has been a frustrating 5 years, but in my heart, I believe the worst is in the rear view mirror.)

          • SirGladiator

            Yeah, that was a really great pick, we got one of the top players in the draft (with the top guy not getting signed Schwarber may now be ‘the’ top guy in the draft) and we got him at a HUGE discount, which allowed us to sign some really awesome pitchers later. That was definitely one of the best draft picks in Cubs history, and nobody saw it coming.

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

            Pedroia was supplemental round. Paper on was 4th round. I believe Ellsbury was late first round. All those are at levels we will pick when winning.

            I can look for more but those were some that popped to mind.

          • triple

            “if you wanted to prove that Theo can do it, you neededd to name names of players he’s drafted late in the first round, or in the later rounds, that have done well in the Majors.”

            2007 round 6 Rizzo

            2006 round 2 Justin Masterson

            2005 round 1 (23) Jacoby Ellsbury

            2005 round 1 (42) Clay Buckhotlz

            2004 round 2 Dustin Pedroia

            Like I’ve stated before, it’s never hard to discredit all the crap you say, and go ahead and keep on slinging your “cheerleading comments” and negativity man. You are winning the internet!

          • cubtex

            going back to 2004 thru 2007??? What about 2008,2009,2010? This is 2014 so don’t you think some of those stud picks would be in the mlb now performing at all star levels?

          • mutantbeast

            You can add John Lester, I believe a 2nd round pck in 2006 I believe. Also traded for David Ortiz.

          • cubtex

            Lester was not a Theo pick

          • Jim Hendry

            David Ortiz was not a trade. Mr.David Ortiz was released by the Minnesota Twins, and then signed by the Boston Red Sox on January 22,2003.

          • Denver Mike

            @triple:disqus and @cubtex:disqus

            Slightly off-topic but related, this conversation got me thinking about how Theo actually stacks up against the ML average for first round picks since he became GM. His first draft class was in 2003, and looking ML wide there is a pretty steep drop off in ML prospects starting with the 2010 draft class (I assume due to less development time). So just looking at 2003-2010 1st round picks, the results are as follows (I know some hate WAR, but that’s what BRef uses so I’m throwing it in there).

          • Denver Mike

            Based on these very simple numbers, Theo is about league average from 2003-2009.

          • cubtex

            you should compare him to the Cards since they both picked around the same places. Theo had several drafts where he had multiple top 50 picks and multiple top 75 picks. His 1st round picks haven’t been great with the exception of Ellsbury.

          • Denver Mike

            Maybe after I get home, I’ve got to get some work done today :)

            I considered 1st round + comp. picks for the Theo and MLB. It would be interesting to compare the Cards # of 1st round picks each year compared to league average since it has been in the news lately that they get comp picks every year.

          • Denver Mike

            For your enjoyment…..what stands out to me is the success rate of the Cards 1st round picks is over 80% during those years. Pretty good, although in a very small sample.

          • triple

            Denver Mike- That is some nice work! I’d love to know how the Cubs number 1 drafts worked out in comparison to the Cardinals and Red Sox… well I have a feeling I know what the numbers would look like, but your dedication to facts, and the presentation is very nice, and helpful to see the larger picture of where we were and where we are headed, hopefully anyway…

          • BillyFinT

            Interesting, the avg. WAR is worse than MLB avg. I need to figure out why… I actually like what Epstein did during this same span more than the two GMs (Jocky and Mozy) of STL. Theo drafted more impact played and signed better int’l FAs. But that’s my opinion, and at least right now.I don’t have stats to prove anything.

          • Denver Mike

            If the image doesn’t appear you may have to click the icon, or maybe it’s just my network in the office.

          • Denver Mike

            Also, the % from 2012 and 2013 are wrong, should be 8% and 2% respectively.

          • cubtex

            there is no link that was posted.

          • Denver Mike

            That’s because I made it all up :)

            I compiled it from about 10 different pages on baseball-reference, so I’m sure anyone can verify if they want to.

          • BillyFinT

            Hmm. MLB avg. WAR is 5.12 in 7 yrs. Epstein was 5.01. That’s below avg., no?

          • Tony_H

            .11 LOL!!

          • BillyFinT

            And got me curious how the Braves and Card were doing meanwhile, same time span…

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

            Bottom line is he built a team that won 3 titles and kept a franchise in the top of farm systems. You can show all the stats you want but the good old eye test says he did a helluva job.

          • BillyFinT

            You mean Esptein @BOS? I just commented below RE:Denver Mike… “Interesting, the avg. WAR is worse than MLB avg. I need to figure out
            why… I actually like what Epstein did during this same span more than
            the two GMs (Jocky and Mozy) of STL. Theo drafted more impact played and
            signed better int’l FAs. But that’s my opinion, and at least right
            now.I don’t have stats to prove anything.”

          • Denver Mike

            I just posted the Cards above FYI

          • Denver Mike

            If you take the numbers as exact then yes, but any statistician will tell you there is error involved due to sample size, collection, and natural variation. Considering these things, 5.01 and 5.12 could be considered equal as the error in these calculations is pretty large.

          • GaryLeeT

            In case you haven’t noticed Masterson is nothing to write home about these days. But wow! 4 guys in 10 years. Amazing. I am very flattered by the time and energy you are devoting to me. ;-)

          • triple

            Yet, the 3 that they kept around playing for the team helped to contribute to multiple winning teams as well as a couple World Series Championships. Not so bad… and don’t flatter yourself on the 2 minutes it took to look at a BR RedSox draft page and type that repsonse. I guess you think I’m your little stats monkey now? :)

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

            And everyone talks about the obvious prospects. But if some of them don’t work out we have depth. Hanneman, Torres, Jiminez, KBrown, Zagunis, Burke, Crawford, Marra, other Baez, Vogelbach, Canela, Mitchell, Young, Martarano, Lopez, Zimmer. Not even mentioning all the young pitching we’ve got and the 3 potential studs we just signed…

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

            They’ve got some TOR guys, but lower levels. And their approach is to stock bats and acquire proven pitching when we’re ready. Guys that are more likely to stay healthy.

            Hey, you don’t think they’re doing a good job. That’s fine. I really like the direction we’re headed. Nothing for sure but feel like we’re stacking the decks.

            The fault finder will always find faults. Enjoy that superiority…

          • cubtex

            fault finder will always find faults?……. how about the follower will always be content and not look for improvement

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

            “Follower,” I don’t get that jump? The synergist, The builder? That makes more sense.

          • GaryLeeT

            Blind faith makes plenty of sense.

          • mutantbeast

            Improvement, Tex? you mean like the “improvement” of “trying to get more left-handed” in 2009 and signing Gameboard Bradley?

          • John_CC

            Right, they have 3 of the top 5 offensive prospect in baseball…but they suck because they don’t have any “TOR” pitchers ready to go. LOL

          • cubtex

            how did they aquire those prospects? Baez….Hendry from the previous regime. Bryant from picking #2 in the draft by putting an atrocious product on the field and who is the 3rd? Soler? I don’t think he is considered the 3rd but if he is….he was an IFA. Where is the “amazing” job in aquiring these 3?

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

            Then who does a good job? How are any guys acquired? We’ve got prospects all over the system that have come from all kinds of sources. Yes, the very best were top choices. Is that different from most successful systems?

          • cubtex

            right and that is why that this rebuild is just ordinary. lose on the mlb front to aquire top picks and trade every mlb player on your roster for prospects and not to improve the current team. ho hum. big deal. who else has top systems? Astros,Twins, Marlins. What have they been doing the last 3 years along with our Cubs?

          • John_CC

            Ordinary, right. 2.5 years, bottom half to #1…so very ordinary. Just like the White Sox you love so much. Same exact ordinary results huh.

          • cubtex

            did the White Sox just tank for 3 years in a row? I don’t live in Chicago anymore so I must have missed that article

          • GaryLeeT

            The perennially successful like the Cubs aspire to be? Yes.

          • John_CC

            Addison Russell is actually ranked pretty high, maybe not top 3 but top 5 I think. And now that scouts are debating who is better Soler or Baez, I’d say yeah, he should be in the discussion.

            Right, those are all no-brainers, and all draftees and IFA signings are slam dunk elite players.

            Give me a break! You are off today.

          • cubtex

            Bryant was like drafting Michael Jordan. You had the #2 pick. Russell was traded for a gifted arm like Shark(not a proven mlb player but a top prospect) Ye of low standards. Give me a break. You had the top pitcher on the market at the trade deadline and were able to shop him to all the contending teams. Did the Jays ever offer Sanchez and Stroman to the Cubs but Theo held out and then it was too late? We will never know. Russell could work out to be a great player but we never know what Theo turned down.

          • John_CC

            I know I know, most every move they’ve made and player acquired was a no-brainer. It must pretty easy being a big league GM, I mean it really seems pretty simple.

          • cubtex

            BTW- Stroman had a no hitter bid lost in the 7th and Aaron Sanchez is starting out in the bullpen to help them in the playoff push. If they had a chance to get those 2 and held out…..that will hurt.

            http://tipofthetower.com/2014/07/25/aaron-sanchez-saviour-toronto-blue-jays-bullpen/

          • cubtex

            Stroman- 6-2 3.21 ERA 67.1 IP 59 hits with a 1.099 WHIP. Not a bad start to his mlb career

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

            That was nice. But I read he was the initial sticking point. They wouldn’t include him.

          • cubtex

            yep. who knows? I remember some saying that Stroman and Sanchez is not a better haul than Russell. I would not be so quick to make a statement like that. Stroman has been really good so far and Sanchez has a ton of uspside.

          • Denver Mike

            Just jumping in the conversation, not necessarily replying directly to ‘Tex:

            I tend to fall more on the optimistic side of fandom, where I do see the light at the end of the tunnel and think we will be competitive sooner rather than later.

            But I also get a little annoyed with the constant over-the-top optimism of fans that seem to forget that there is a middle ground between last place, and the World Series. Everything doesn’t have to be amazing, phenomenal, or world class; it can just be good or decent. Every prospect doesn’t have to be a future All-Star, TOR, or HOF’er. Sometimes the expectations that fans want to put on these prospects that have never proven anything just seem unreasonable.

            It also goes the other way. Every mis-step, mistake, or prospect that doesn’t pan out doesn’t have to be a blunder, or poor roster management. Sometimes it is just a matter of circumstance, and has little or nothing to do with the ability of the FO or coaching staff do their jobs.

            I sometimes feel like both factions, the supporters and the detractors, get so far out on the extremes with certain views that the other side feels like they need to be equally extreme to counteract the opposition.

            I have read posts recently where one side is demanding the other to admit faults when they are wrong, who cares? Why does an other have to admit they are wrong in order to justify one’s own opinion? The battle seems to be taking precedent over reason, and it isn’t exclusive to the CCO. I fan responses people like Len Kasper and Shadev Sharma that are just full of vitriol just because someone has a different opinion and it just seems silly.

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

            i understand what your saying and can agree. I should try to get more moderate because I do get pushed further out then I probably really am.

            With regard to admitting fault. I think me and Tex were kind of giving each other crap with that. True, I don’t ever think he says when he’s wrong. But that’s how he is an as I said, I think I like him that way. If nobody else realized where that was coming from, I think Tex did.

          • Denver Mike

            I know, and it’s not a personal shot at you because I know the history behind the conversation. I was more or less pulling that in as an example of how the fight to be “right” has taken precedent over “reason” which is how we all like to think of our opinions.

          • GaryLeeT

            It’s not about finding fault. It’s simply about the Cubs winning, as it should be. Have you seen any lately?

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

            I think they own in the draft. I think they won in the trade. I think they’ve won in negotiations with the city. They won I signing draftees nobody thought they would.

            Is that wins on field at Wrigley? Obviously not. But I don’t just write everything off as a total waste.

          • GaryLeeT

            Well, it is all about the Chicago Cubs winning a World Series for me, and I am much less entertained by the sausage making than others are. The thing I get most annoyed about are comments like “Oh yeah take 7 or 8 years doing the rebuild as long as we have sustained success”. Easy for you or anybody under 75 to say. Do you ever think if the tens of thousands of Cub fans that die each and every year, who lived their entire lives without ever seeing their beloved Cubs win? I watched my own father’s heart break in 2003. He was dying from emphysema, but he willed himself to make it to October. Of course we all know what happened and he was crushed, because he knew that was last chance to see it happen. Theo said every season is precious and should be treated as a chance to win. No truer words could be spoken for our senior Cub fans.

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

            You know Gary, I get your point. And I didn’t realize you were that age. It puts your comments into a different perspective for me.

            I like your reference because I remember watching in 2003 and seeing little old ladies in the crowd crying and I thought of exactly what you’re saying. It made me realize all the long suffering fans that had been hoping for a WS in their lifetime. I’m sorry for your father and what he went through and what you went through with him. I lost my dad about a year and a half ago and it has been very tough. I can only imagine how that time was for you and your family, and having the backdrop of the series involved.

            I get it. And I feel awful for those fans and I wish not one more had to die without seeing a title. But unfortunately they will. And I think the team needs to do what’s best for the franchise and to me, what they’re executing now is that. I think we’re increasing our long term odds at the expense of the short term. And it’s very short term. But for a 97 year old fan any wait is certainly too long.

            But again, I just think this is what’s best. Sure, we may catch lightning in a bottle and steal a WS some year. But the way we’re doing it now, building from the bottom up, with solid controllable players is the smart play for the long term. Theo came into a unique position and he recognized it. A rabid fan base that was hungry, a complete debacle of a franchise, wrecked by poor recent decision and a GM that was (justifiably) trying to save his job any way he could. Owners that could care less about anything other than making a buck. Theo saw a new owner who cared passionately about the team and wanted to take a new approach because the old one never worked. And a franchise ripe for a complete tear down and rebuild. Like a home after a fire, instead of rebuilding off the wood that was leftover, he ripped it all down to the bare base and started over. And yes, you’d have a complete home ready sooner if you just built on top of what was left. But in the long run, you’ll have a more stable, beautiful and durable home by tearing down and starting over.

            So I do feel for older fans. It really hurt me for them in 2003 and one thing I look forward to is seeing the way seniors will react when it finally happens. But the old way had never produced. And with so much going against this franchise, it seems to me we would have to do it differently and better than anyone else to finally get it done. I don’t know if I believe in curses or whatever, but there is something working against the Cubs. To overcome that, we have to go big. We have to stack every conceivable factor in our overwhelming favor. It may take time but it’s what will give us the best shot.

            And again, I didn’t realize your age and I apologize if I have been a smart ass or disrespectful at all. It’s not my intent, I like to have fun and we all get after each other quite a bit on here. Recently I had kind of come to the conclusion that you were just a really hateful and mean person. But what I would call hateful and mean from a younger person, comes in a different light from a senior sometimes. I try to always show a different level of respect and deference to Paul because I was always taught to respect and admire seniors and their contribution to the world I live in. So I am sorry and I will think twice about what you say and my responses to it.

          • GaryLeeT

            I am in my early 50s. I am saying that I empathize with the older fan.

          • GaryLeeT

            When I was in my 20s and 30s, I thought awww what the hell, wait till next year. However, as the decades have rolled on, I have gone past the tipping point. I have earned the right to be impatient.

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

            Oh, misunderstood. And I hope my post conveyed that I absolutely do too.

            And sorry for saying that. I feel kinda bad for saying I thought you were hateful and mean-spirited out loud. Although I have a strong feeling that you couldn’t possibly care less what I think.

          • J Daniel

            This whole conversation today is crazy funny!

          • GaryLeeT

            I usually read what you write.

        • BillyFinT

          I meant to point out the Ricketts… oh well.

      • BillyFinT

        Yup, “into” Year 4 as said.

        • Tony_H

          Billy – You are wrong even on this.

          • BillyFinT

            I’ll probably not look into that. Too minor. We are talking Major here. See what I just did? LOL

          • Tony_H

            October 21st, 2011 was his first day. Let him get to his 3 year anniversary before knocking him for not be where you want him in Year 4.

          • BillyFinT

            No, you missed my point. The Ricketts had done nothing respectable on the Major League level. I
            enjoy the rebuilding with GM Hoyer, not the result on this field, though.

            I may point out one other thing that an evaluation might overlook: the Cubs had not monopolized the international FA market. They should. I’ve written about those before, bits and pieces, but the Cubs need to lead the pack and create an edge, like the Yankees and Dodgers since 1930s, 1940s, or the Pirates and Royals in the 1980s. The Cubs if ONLY to follow a “blueprint,” then I don’t expect to win a Dynasty.

          • Tony_H

            Not sure how I could have missed your point…

          • BillyFinT

            It’s not about the rebuilding process, but WHEN the Ricketts can boost up the Major League result.

          • Tony_H

            I know you want continuous improvement, but progress isn’t always linear.

          • BillyFinT

            Yes, that’s frustrating for a fan like me. The Cubs was promising until middle of last month. Then the performance was a step back, and since the middle this month, it’s “house cleaning” all over again. I’m not expecting the Cubs to win 0.500 next season if they only want to call up whoever will be at AAA. I do believe the Ricketts have the dough to sign FA this offseason, whether int’l or domestic.

          • Tony_H

            And all signs and comments from Theo and Jed is that they are going to sign some guys. But I read an article this week that showed where the roster would be today (estimated) and payroll if they had been signing FA’s and keeping players around instead of trading them, like so many wanted. It wasn’t a very good looking future and would have had no payroll flexibility and a not very good farm system and near zero chance they would have ever been even close to the playoffs the last few years.

          • BillyFinT

            Yes, and yes. that’s why I like the process, and i always found their comments inspiring.

    • cubtex

      It is year 3 but I hear you. It feels like 10 :)

      • GaryLeeT

        People say “it’s only been 3 years!”, but it’s year four of massive losing. Theo benefited greatly from the losing year he technically wasn’t part of, and I don’t know if he could have done more than what was.

        • John_CC

          See, this is just silly. Are you blaming Theo Epstein for the two years of losing that came before him?

          • cubtex

            theo supporters are blaming Hendry inheriting such a mess. It’s Bush’s and Hendry’s fault. lol

          • John_CC

            I am not blaming anyone, that’s the funny part. I’m simply reminding you that the Cubs sucked even before Theo came along and has done nothing. You are and Gary are the blame-masters!

          • cubtex

            I am just saying that Theo is not doing anything that any other gm could do. Trade every mlb asset for prospects…. not to improve the current team.Pick high in the draft by putting a terrible product on the field. It’s a simple paint by numbers rebuild.

          • John_CC

            Ohh…now I get it. You’ve never explained it that way before!

          • GaryLeeT

            Wow.

          • chuckleberry74

            Could they have improved the ML team by trading the guys they did? I don’t really see how. The remaining way would way would have been to spend a bunch of money to maybe make somewhat better and then pick in the middle of the round and also not have gotten the farm system built up to where it is. I really don’t see how a rebuild could have simultaneously built a great ML team and rebuilt the farm for sustainability without weighing us down with Phillies-style contracts.

          • cubtex

            chuckleberry. Sean Marshall, Andrew Cashner,Paul Maholm,Ryan Dempster, Feldman, Matt Garza,Jason Hammel and Samardzija.

            So far Rizzo looks like a great haul and a core piece for years. Travis Wood? He looked good for a year but now is one of the least productive starters in all of baseball. Hendricks? He had a very good start the other day. We shall see how he looks the rest of the year. The Matt Garza deal? Olt(no) Grimm(no) Ramirez(a bullpen arm that has really been used sparingly and monitored but has been very effective) CJ Edwards(will he be durable enough to be a starter? Shark and Hammel for Russell and Mckinney. Time will tell. Feldman for Arrieta and Strop. Will Arrieta stay healthy? If he can…he looks to be a solid middle of rotation starter.
            So…they have given up quite a few mlb players and have only gotten back one mlb regular in Rizzo. The pitching they have gotten has been bullpen and Arrieta with Hendricks still to be determined. Unfortunately Travis Wood should have been traded last off season when his value was much higher.

          • BigJonLilJon

            Of the guys you listed as what has been traded(excluding Shark and Hammel because the jury is still out), where are those guys and what have they done since being traded? Nothing!! Either poor performance or living on the DL.
            Wood – At least he made an All Star team.
            Hendricks – looks promising
            Olt – time will tell
            Grimm – been a decent RP and still might be a future #SP
            Ramirez – maybe too early to tell but looks promising
            Edwards – time will tell
            Arrieta -Has great stuff. Been looking good. Could be a #1 and no worse than a #3
            Russell and Mckinney – Promising prospects and time will tell
            Rizzo – NL home run leader and All Star
            The point is…. all the guys you named aren’t that good. Rizzo and Arrieta(excluding Shark and Hammel) alone are better than the players traded away. In other words.. the Cubs are a better organization with the guys traded for rather than with the guys we traded away.

          • cubtex

            It is not about what those players are doing now…It was about their value at the time. Dempster….best ERA in NL at the time he was traded. Matt Garza was awesome for the first half and the best pitcher on the market. Maholm was having a great 1st half as were all of those pitchers. Sean Marshall was the best lefthanded reliever in baseball. Cashner has special stuff.

            That is the point. Did the return equal the value of those players at the time? I say….not even close.

          • Tony_H

            Kind of is, as if they play out the season and lose them for nothing in a losing season would have been the worse case scenario. So the alternative is to extend them and that is where what they have done comes into play.

            All this positive talk about these players, just wish you could see that in some of our own guys starting with Rizzo.

          • cubtex

            this 3 year rebuild was all about maximizing our trade chips and losing to aquire top draft picks. they have drafted well and aquired Addison Russell (another top prospect) but I don’t think they have done a good job maximizing the value of the mlb assets. Hendry left the Cubs with 5 excellent trade chips. Cashner,Marshall,Dempster,Garza and Shark. I will give you Rizzo. He has proven to me that he is going to be a very good player and Russell could be good but other than that?

          • Tony_H

            No doubt we will never agree on this.

          • BigJonLilJon

            No it is not. It was about trading guys who had no future here or upgrading from them. What matters is what did they do after the trade compared to the haul we got back. So if we didn’t trade those guys where would we be? They had little chance to help team when Cubs are ready or would have been gone as FA’s after that year. What we gained by the trades far outweighs what we would have had if the trades didn’t happen.

          • cubtex

            disagree 100%. It is about return of value at the time of trade

          • GaryLeeT

            As long as you are not measuring with wins and loses.

          • Denver Mike

            The Astros’ pretty much screwing the pooch on this year’s draft shows that it isn’t as easy as you make it out to be.

            As I mentioned in an earlier post, the extreme stances are so silly. There is nothing to prove that Theo is the greatest GM in baseball, but he isn’t just doing anything that any other GM could do either. I think it’s obvious they are trying to do things differently than conventional wisdom would tell you, which is why so many fans are upset.

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

            I hear you. But I would argue you could say he is te greatest GM. Sure there’s other arguments but that one certainly has validity.

          • Denver Mike

            You are certainly entitled to it, but I’m just saying that stances like that are what makes it difficult to view your other opinions as objective, and I think it contributes to a lot of the negative commentary we see. As I mentioned, when one side uses terms like “greatest” it leads the opposition to use terms like “blunder” to tip the scales back towards the middle. Then we end up with 200 posts in an hour of people arguing back and forth over a point that could never be proven right or wrong.

            You have admitted in the past that you are a biased supporter, so I doubt it really bothers you, just offering an outside perspective.

          • cubtex

            Stros did it on purpose.

            ​The decision really came down to whether the Astros felt that a presumably healthy No. 2 in June of 2015 — in a draft in which they will also have a second very high pick (Houston currently has baseball’s third-worst record), and the resulting enormous amount of combined pool money to work with — would be worth sacrificing for a Brady Aiken whom they apparently truly believed to be damaged, as well as Nix and perhaps Marshall. Despite their late attempt to sign Aiken and reverse the public narrative that had developed regarding their operations, it seems clear which side of the decision the Astros ultimately preferred.

          • Tony_H

            They are trying to sell this after the fact. No one can actually believe that was their plan.

          • cubtex

            they wanted to sign Aiken at a bargain and he balked so they could sign Nix and Marshall. Stros played hardball and thought it was best to get 2 picks next year.

          • Tony_H

            I know what happened, I posted one of the articles on the subject. This was a MASSIVE mistake by the Astros and they did not plan this out. They screwed up and now are trying to save face by this ridiculous story that they wanted the 2nd round pick next year over signing Aiken and Nix this year.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony, I am replying to your comment so I am making sure I am treating everyone equally.

            Let’s put an end to the discussions about Aiken today. There is nothing more that can be said that has not been posted. There will be more time down the road to discuss what Houston did when all of the facts are out.

            I appreciate you posting the link for everyone to read on the situation.

            Thanks man.

          • Tony_H

            Done!

          • Tony_H

            All ways of building a team are simple paint by numbers, yet some sure do seem to be better at it than others.

          • cubtex

            yep. a lot have done it better…no doubt. I am glad you finally admit that.

          • Tony_H

            Admit what, that there is no revolutionary way to build a team? Have never said that there was or that there was only one way.

            But Theo is one of the best at this simple finger painting.

          • cubtex

            when has he ever done a successful rebuild and can you post that link? Hahaha. That was for you Rider.

          • Tony_H

            Unfortunately, you can’t see the forest for the trees :)

          • Tony_H

            Edited…my bad!

          • chuckleberry74

            I knew I detected some right wing on you…lol

          • GaryLeeT

            Silly? John you need to take a breather, because I think you are losing it. I clearly said Theo benefited from the teams previous year of losing before he got here, not that he caused it. You are looking way too hard for a reason to scoff.

          • John_CC

            Sorry, I definitely misread that one! Too much coffee today…eehhhh.

            Just saying that the there was plenty of losing before Theo took over, whether he benefited from it or not. Too many people seem to think this re-build and losing has gone on forever and it’s all Theo’s doing. It may seem like that because the Cubs were losers for a couple years before the rebuild losing.

    • Brian

      Continuous improvement is a bit subjective. The FO has been very upfront on the situation every year. They’ve been upfront on investing in player development and international spending which has shown marked improvement. The FA this day in age isn’t the same. Just look at the Yankees starting lineup and it’s cringe worthy with respect to production vs. salary. Great baseball teams are now defined by a strong farm system with core players under control through their prime years. Time will tell if we get “prime” players (Bryant, Baez, etc…), but patience is still needed. I do like the cubs chances though.

      • BillyFinT

        Everything is subjective, depends on what objective one uses to make a point. The Cubs will break its historical record of most losses in consecutive seasons. Why I’ve been hearing about the “Yankees since…” Well, since the 1930s, the Yanks have had the best farm system and the best winning record of all time, I’ll figure those into the objective. The Ricketts had done nothing respective on the Major League level.

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      Soriano is off the books after this season. Not paying Jeff S $10M next year either.

      I believe they add some pitching they feel are not mid season flips.

      I think they might trade a guy like Baez in the off season for MLB pitching too.

  • Rich Cooper

    My one comment is regarding the aspect of leading this team. Every team needs leaders. Fortunately for the players and us fans, this teams manager appears to fit nicely in this role. I know it is still early, but Rick seems to have some traits in common with many highly successful managers. Also next year may not be the year, but I feel the one key next year for the future is letting the youngsters have fun. Building that kind of atmosphere removes pressures and allows players to play without over thinking and stress. Winning will follow if these men are as good as we all feel they are.

    • Denver Mike

      It’s easier to have fun when you’re winning!

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

      Hear, hear! Well said my friend…

  • Tony_H

    The anatomy of an Astros breakdown.

    A great read about the draft thought process in general and what happened with the Astros. A long article, but I MUST READ!!!

    https://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=24223

    This (I believe) is a free article.

    • Sonate

      Thanks for the link Tony. It was a great read. It was also very objective and, since the author is a sports attorney, authoritative. To confirm, yes it is a free article.

    • Zonk

      It’s a great article. One big takeaway is that Aiken is almost certainly not going to get a better financial offer than the $5 mil Houston offered. Yet he turned it down anyway, because there was obviously zero trust there. When you are negotiating, and the other side won’t consider even fair offers, then you screwed something up big-time. Jeff Luhnow needs to go back to negotiation school…you would think a ML GM would make sure not to offend a player that badly.

    • Larry Schwimmer

      Thank you Tony. Great article and analysis of what happened with Houston & Aiken. Personally, I think that there’s too much money and too much greed in baseball among draftees and agents, especially among pitching prospects. After all, there is a huge risk that even a successful high school or college pitcher will develop physical problems or just not pitch effectively.

      That has extended to MLB signings of pitchers. I think it’s obscene to pay established pitchers like C.C. Sabathia for $20-25 million and then find out that they are injured and can’t play for most of the season.

      I empathize far more with a team like Houston that (while screwing up their draft negotiation/pick) had a legitimate right to become squeamish about paying that much money for AIKEN after the MRI indicated a “potential” problem. And the author of that article suggested that AIKEN should have taken the $5 million when he had a chance. If that is correct: I agree.

      This story makes me feel even better about THEO and the approach he’s taking to re-build the CUBS. He made some dumb, expensive, long-term signings at BOSTON. He’s learned that’s a risky approach to avoid.

      He admitted he screwed up on the “Jackson signing.” Don’t forget: Today’s $20 million #1 TOR pitcher can easily be tomorrow’s Pitcher on the dis-abled list. (See Tanaka if you have any doubts about my point.)

  • Tony_H

    Jorge Soler is coming quickly and his time in the minors sounds like it has refined his game more than his Cuban teammates who seem to be all free swingers and all athleticism type of play. He could really be the best of the Cuban bunch.

    http://10403181433.baseball.cbssports.com/news/24634470

    • J Daniel

      We all know that service time and the clubs “clock” of where they are at are the deciding factor with Bryant and when he will be called up. Both could be up right now. Maybe Soler and Baez need a few more games and are September call ups? Bryant is ready now.

      • Richard Hood

        No Bryant js not “ready now”. His K-rate is still way out of whack and he has become streaky lately. Bryant needs refinement at 3rd if that is his future position.

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

          I agree. And who are we to say he’s “ready now?” Bunch of accountants, sales guys and professionals? He’s ready when he’s ready and if the baseball professionals don’t think he is then I trust them. Especially these guys we have. They’ve shown a knack for their jobs.

          The service clock I’m sure is a factor, and if we were in the hunt and he could help he may be up. But given the totality of the situation, no reason to bring him up.

          • John_CC

            Who you calling accountant and sales guy! :)

          • GaryLeeT

            “And who are we to say he’s “ready now?” Bunch”

            Or, who are we to say he isn’t?

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

            Regular Joe’s that couldn’t land a scouting or front office job in baseball if our life depended on it.

            What have been your impressions of him when you’ve been able to see him at Tennessee and Iowa? When you heard his bat hit the ball and saw him live what did you think? Give me your honest impression from seeing him live and maybe you can convince me.

          • GaryLeeT

            I saw him last year a couple of times when he was playing with Daytona. Different level of course, but his very high walk rate says he has a good idea of where the strike zone is and has good pitch recognition. His swings and misses, were in the zone, it’s just that he simply didn’t make contact. That will improve with time and why the Ks don’t bother me. His home runs are a thing of beauty, done with an effortless swing, and I have NEVER seen him take one where it looked like he was coming out of his shoes.

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

            “Couple of times?” Man you disappoint. The way you were talking I figured you had been at 100 games keeping score or something.

          • GaryLeeT

            Sorry, my mistake. I thought you were asking a real question, and not just being a smart ass.

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

            We’ll I was and wasn’t. I didn’t think you were a pro baseball guy or even a crazy layman that spends all his time following prospects. But I was giving you a chance to show your experience. Because IMO, your opinions are presented in a way that one could make that guess. You seem like you always think you know best and better than anybody including the actual professionals.

        • GaryLeeT

          I disagree. There is nothing that he needs to refine that can’t be done in the Majors. AAA for him is a waste of time, and not coincidentally that’s exactly what the FO needs to do with him to gain the incredibly coveted extra year of control.

          • Larry Schwimmer

            Gary, I agree with Mike Metheny. He said that the CARDINALS don’t bring up players for “development.” That is a bad approach in my opinion. Look at how that approach has worked out in the case of Lake and Olt and other CUBS.

            2015 is soon enough to see young Mr. Bryant. Let’s be a bit more patient. The CUBS are not going anywhere in 2014.

          • GaryLeeT

            You let me know when the Cubs look like the Cards. Besides, like have have said a few times already. The sooner the MLB growing pains are started the sooner they will be over.

          • GaryLeeT

            “Look at how that approach has worked out in the case of Lake and Olt and other CUBS.”

            You mean like Castro? You can’t assume that all players would be stars,if they had just the right amount of seasoning in the minors. There is a really good chance that Lake and Olt simply aren’t good enough to make it in the Majors.

          • Denver Mike

            Amen

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

            Could be. But opposite is just as likely

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

            Where did you develop that opinion and approach to refinement? How many years have you been able to test it and accumulate data to support it? Which team and at what level did you work for when you came up with this?

            I’m just curious. If you give us your bonafides maybe we’ll rethink our opinions.

          • GaryLeeT

            You are right. Your opinion is much more valid than mine. Smiley face.

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

            I don’t feel that I present my opinions as unarguable facts. I feel that you do. Anyone that doesn’t agree with you, you treat as dead wrong because you are the expert. There’s no give and take to your posts.

          • GaryLeeT

            Example? Or is that your opinion or a fact? Look, I don’t defend my challenged positions any less fervently than the next commenter. You (and others) “feel” the way you do, because we often disagree. I am sure you view the people you most often agree with, as much more amenable to differing opinions. That’s because you rarely disagree. How often do I get into it with ct or Paul. Mike or Jason? That’s because I almost always agree with what they write. I often don’t write agreeing comments, because it’s already been written, and an up vote will do. I write for my own entertainment, and never take myself or the game of baseball too seriously. However, I will not change my style, and you can ignore my comments, or take me on. Thank goodness for freedom of speech, right?

        • J Daniel

          Boras said he is ready so he is ready.

          • Richard Hood

            And Taveraz’s agent says he should be starting. Kemp’s agent says he is finally almost all the way back and should be playing center. Alkeins agent now claims to be an adviser.
            You can take what an agent says (even if it is the great Boras) for just about what it is worth. I trust generally in scouts and people who have had eyes on the prize which is turning Bryant into a super star. If the scouts for a number of teams say that Bryant could be special but he is not a finished product left.

          • J Daniel

            Being sarcastic. I do agree with you in that he is still needing to get better. Boras is a scumbag, IMO, and is a major contributor to what will be a financial disaster of the game.

            As far as not being a finished product, well most of them are not. Rizzo and Castro are still not and that is what happens when they come that young but every player is working to get better on something.

            Bryant may or may not be ready but he probably is ready to gain experience at the mlb level so that his growth can continue.

            Sort of goes along with why Tex says this rebuild is an all day sucker. It will still take all of these prospects, even if they do make it, time at the mlb level.

      • DWalker

        another consideration with the service clock time on Baez, Bryant etc, is tthat with so many young players all coming up in a short time, extensions and new contracts will all be comign in the same short window for what may be at the time most of the starting lineup.. Starting Baez now with Alcantra puts them in one year. Bryant, Soler (if I have my finger counting right) and possibly Russell and maybe Almora the next year. plus any pitching staff added in those two years.

        • J Daniel

          Time does not matter with Soler as he has a 9 year contract already.

          • Tony_H

            Not completely true. If he doesn’t gain the 160 some days between 2014 and 2015, the Cubs will gain one extra year of control after his contract is up.

  • Tony_H

    I agree with you, that I would prefer to see the team have success from Rizzo and Castro continue and for guys like Alcantara perform well the rest of the year and hopefully be joined by Soler and Baez performing well and pick lower in the draft next year, then see them all struggle during their call up.

    I remember talking about one of the signs of the turn around will be after a trade season sell off and the young prospects coming up and the team playing well in the final months.

    • J Daniel

      Agree with Rizzo, Castro, AA, and a few other performing well and want that as well. How about them performing well and the #1 pick? Possible with the way a couple of the starting pitchers are going. That would be the best of both worlds.

      • Jeffrey Rogers

        I don’t think there is a whole lot of difference, MOST YEARS, in the number 1 pick and picks 2-5.

        Interesting fact…No number 1 pick has been inducted to the HOF. Chipper Jones and Griffey JR will be the first.

    • JasonPen

      Unfortunately, if we don’t get the #1 pick, we will be at least 1 spot further back than we should be, thanks to the Aiken situation.

      That also means less money to spend as well.

      How are the prospects for next year? Are there any big-time/ can’t-miss college pitchers available?

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

        Aiken could be a possibility?

        • Richard Hood

          The narrative right now is that he is going to UCLA if they can get his interaction with an adviser to pass the NCAA. If that is what is really going to happen it will be 2017 before he is draft eligible again.

  • Tony_H
  • RickinMSP

    My thinking on Coughlan has evolved. When the Cubs signed Coughlan, I thought it was a waste of money and a roster space, even though it was a minor league deal if I recall correctly. I still don’t think he is an everyday player, but would be a good fourth outfielder. He holds his own on the field and hits well enough. Sweeney on the other had has a nice glove, but is nearly an automatic out at the plate with one unproductive at bat after another. I can’t stand seeing Sweeney in the lineup.

    • Richard Hood

      You throw in the fact that RR has mentioned Couglan playing 3rd as well as his OF skills that tells me he has a spot on this team for as long as he is contributing. Good find hopefully he keeps being productive.

  • Jim Hendry

    As an experienced GM and talent evaluator for MLB, I’d have to say that I think Bonifacio’s value is certainly not one $1 more than Mr. Darwin Barney. Mr Barney can pick it, and Mr. Bonifacio cannot. Both have difficulty hitting their weight. Bonifacio has some speed, but I feel that is truly a mirage because he cannot get on base, and furthermore, he has been picked off enough times to lower his stolen base rate to a mere 50/50 proposition.

    This information is not unknown in MLB FO circles. I consider the acquisition of Mr. Bonifacio one of the great head scratchers of the current Cubs’ administration. I do not want either player on my MLB team.

    • BillyFinT

      lol. Mr. Hendry, how’s NY paying you? well, or like any other scout?

  • redlarczykg

    Who will our starting pitchers be in 2015?
    If pitching is 80% of the game of baseball, how does the FO rebuild their starting staff? Trade some prospects? Bosio works more magic on another cast off? Maybe Hendricks can fill a spot adequately? But right now we have only one starter you can feel good about, Arrieta. With the excitement of some the kids coming up next year, are we going to see 10 to 9 scores? With so much strength in their bullpen, I’m wondering if they can’t convert a Grimm or a Ramirez to a starter?

    • Richard Hood

      I know that you are just formulating questions to see what other people think but I think the correct answer to all your questions is YES.

      Remember it takes 8 to 10 pitchers on a competitive team that rate between 1-5/6/7/8. The Cubs have not been in a position to have that depth for awhile. So the best bet going into next season if they plan on a competitive team is acquire starters from every source imaginable.

      The one thing about Bosio that I think impresses me the most is the health of the rotation. The number of bump miss starts (just your normal extra-rest or some small cramping things like that) in the last few years has been impressive. Other than Garza and them taking it easy with Arrieta this year I can not think of one starter that was suppose to go and did not make the first pitch. Pretty impressive.

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

      Hendricks looks to me like he can more than adequately hold down a spot in the lower 3, 4, 5 spots. Probably start as a 5 and steadily move up to a 3 in a few years. In a perfect world he’d be a 4 but time will tell.

  • Jim Hendry

    Jorge Soler certainly has had an impressive 2014 baseball campaign. .407/.500/.791 is certainly a most impressive slash line. That sample size is a mere 91 AB, but we expect him to handle AAA without any difficulty.

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

    I totally agree that it’s too early to write off Mike Olt. He may never be a Cub but 3 months in the MLB doesn’t a career make.

    Funny to me that the same people saying he’s “done,” and “will never be in MLB again,” are the people that at the beginning of the year said he shouldn’t have come up yet because he wasn’t ready. Turns out they were exactly right about that call, and I was wrong because I said promote him. But to now pronounce his entire career and potential based on 3 hurried and barely played months in the MLB is the height of arrogance and self-righteousness. Especially with the power he showed! That’s something to build on and I would imagine lots of scouts and FO types would love to add him to their system and see if they can build him up.

    • Richard Hood

      Not disagreeing but if you also put it with his first shot with Texas this is almost a full season of time. He struggles to track what is a strike from the pitchers hand. I do not know with his problems with his vision in the past if this is fixable.

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

        That is true. But it’s hard to consider him having a full season. One was a late season call-up, followed by a whole year of head issues. Then this season separated from his last by over a year. I get your point but tough for a young guy with that much layoff.

        • Richard Hood

          I was really hoping that Olt would solidify 3rd for the next couple years but right now when you throw in the idea he will be 26 in August I think his window of making an impression is closing.

    • John_CC

      Crazier things have happened. I am not writing him off completely, I agree that is just self-righteous fan talk.

      I think of Chris Davis when talking about and looking at Olt. Lots of potential in the minors in between decent to terrible stretches in the ML. He broke out at a “late” age, around 26 or so I think, with an MVP type season. Then was decent, now not so great. They both display prodigious power, prodigious K rates, and fits and starts.

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

        Good comp. Guys with that power will get lots of chances. I always mention Nelson Cruz too. Came up and figured it out real late. PED’s or not, he’s kept it up this year.

    • BigJonLilJon

      I have to jump in with you here, Board. I also called for Olt to make the roster, so I guess its time for me to admit I was wrong also. Ouch! But your right… he’s not done. Regular at bats to work on his swing and pitch selection, as well as gain confidence. We will see him again and when we do, I still say he will be a stud!!

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

        He may very well be Jon. You and I were wrong at the beginning of the year. Glad we can admit it. But the book on him is hardly closed.

  • John_CC

    No joke with the Phillies, I read a report that they have had internal “discussions” on whether or not to DFA Howard … who will earn $60 MILLION over his last 2 seasons, 2015-2016. So the question begs: was it worth it? I mean they did earn a couple trips and win a championship.

    • BigJonLilJon

      While I agree with your premise, and yes they do suck now and are paying for those big long term contracts now…. at least they got a ring.

      • John_CC

        So it is/was worth it? I was asking a serious question.

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

          They got that ring. And it had been a long time since they had before. So I’d have to say it was. If we could get a ring I’d give up a lot. But I’d also prefer to build a system and approach it this way for sustained success.

          But in hindsight, knowing that they did get that ring. It’s hard to say it wasn’t right?

          • BigJonLilJon

            At the end of the day… all that matters is winning the last game of the season. Nothing else matters.

        • BigJonLilJon

          Since we don’t have one.. I’d have to say yes. But that doesn’t mean we won’t ever get one. I hope. Winning a championship is no easy thing. Even with all these prospects coming.. it promises nothing.

        • Denver Mike

          Simple answer, yes it was.

          • John_CC

            I probably agree. The Phillies, before winning the WS, had the second longest championship drought. So whatever it takes for the Cubs to make the final leap, I will be for it…after it works!

          • Tony_H

            The Howard extension was a huge mistake. They had no reason to give it to him.

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

    Man, thank goodness for Bryan and the Friday Ramblings! I always look forward to having 10 update emails of comment replies in my inbox in 5 minutes! Fridays an rehashing all of this is a highlight and starts my weekend right!

    And I mean that. Thanks to all for participating. Even those i dont agree with.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Two thoughts on Coghlan.
    1) Is his contract really only $200,000 for one year. If so, great for now.
    2) I hope the Cubs sell high on him before pitchers realize that the only thing he can hit is a fastball or a cutter. Of course selling high would mean organizational filler for the farm.

  • mutantbeast

    If EJacka$$ and Travis Wood are in our rotation next year, we might need to average 6runs per game just to have a CHANCE to win.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Please do not use nicknames. I appreciate your help with upholding the commenting policy of the site. Thanks man.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Quick reminder to all readers and posters. Posting under multiple screen names under different accounts are not allowed on this site Violators will have their IP address blocked

    Thanks to everyone for their patience with this