Rambling About the Cubs as the Dog Days Begin

Hello again, everybody. It is August 1, and I must say, I think Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer had themselves quite a July. They added multiple players to the farm system’s top-20 list while promoting many of the big names to their respective next level.

The dog days may begin in August, but Cubs fans should not be worn down. It probably won’t happen next year, but the future is starting to get louder, and as Lollapalooza kicks off today, I am all about a loud Chicago. So let’s get down to some rambling …

  • If the Cubs kept Jeff Samardzija and James Russell, they would still not win the World Series next year, nor would they have gone to the playoffs. Okay, maybe I can say that with certainty, but I would bet a lot of money on it.
  • I heard a few people were upset with the trade of Bonifacio. He is a free agent next year. Get something for him. Watching the Cubs lose one less game in the next two months is not worth losing out on a prospect.
  • Russell wanted to start again. Way to lump him in with Bonifacio and get the aforementioned prospect.
  • Speaking of prospects, four of the top-ten, and seven of the MLB Pipeline top 20 Cubs’ prospects came via trade. (I am counting Hendricks here). As well as Arrieta, Rizzo, Olt, Ramirez, Grimm, Wood and Strop.
  • PrintI will also say this … until Starlin Castro, who was the last homegrown Cubs position player that had a lengthy and successful career? Think. His rookie year was 1988.  He lost out on the ROY to Chris Sabo.
  • Mr. Mark Grace. 1988 was TWENTY-SIX years ago. That is sad, at best.
  • I am sure some, or many, may disagree with the plan to lose badly at the Major League level for three seasons. And that is completely understandable. As a season-ticket holder, I didn’t enjoy writing that check knowing what would happen.
  • However, I believed in the plan. I got on the bus with Tom Ricketts. I said, “I am going to shut my mouth, and buy in with you.” I knew it would not be easy, but one can be positive, or one can be negative.
  • For many that read this blog and comment regularly, the Cubs are a regular part of your life and impact your mood, and for some, livelihood. The same can be said for me and many I know. I thought the Ricketts/Epstein plan was the best plan possible.
  • I may be a Cubs fan today, but I am not a Phillies fan. And moving forward, that is good. What a rough day and year for that franchise.
  • My favorite Anthony Rizzo stat: .391 OBP. He gets on base almost 40 percent of the time AND leads the National League in home runs. He turns 25 a week from today and is three years away from the start of his prime.
  • Marlon Byrd is one of the league leaders in home runs. Will somebody please say it for me?
  • I am hoping we get to see multiple starts out of Chris Rusin the rest of the way. I have always rooted for the kid.
  • Coghlan and Ruggiano both have OBPs at or above .340. I remember Lou Piniella once saying that .340 was the magic number for OBP. If a player was there, he was a legitimately good Major League player on the offensive side. Given that they should both play a lot from here on out, I am very curious to see where they finish this season.
  • Castro is only three homers shy of his single-season record, and yet it seems like he hasn’t hit one since, well, for like a really long freakin’ time. It’s been so long my age has changed. Seriously.
  • June 20. It was June 20. It was a Friday. It was in June. It is now August.
  • I am going to keep harping on this problem, but baseball games are WAY TOO LONG.   It seems like the Cubs are regularly playing 3.5-hour games, if not longer. A baseball game should not be longer than a football game, especially a college football game.  This going to become a huge problem for Bud’s successor, and it can’t continue.  Baseball cannot afford to lose children and adolescent fans because eventually there will not have many adult fans either.
  • Let’s play a game here … in 2019, the Cubs make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, and are defending World Series champions. Wrigley has been completely restored and the neighborhood is thriving, pumping millions of dollars of much-needed money into Chicago’s economy.
  • At that point, will Ricketts finally pass Da Coach in our hearts and minds?

And with that, I will wish you all a happy weekend, a happy August, and hopefully a happy life. Be safe and enjoy wisely.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

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"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • GaryLeeT

    “I may be a Cubs fan today, but I am not a Phillies fan. And moving forward, that is good. What a rough day and year for that franchise.”

    As a Cub fan, it is impossible for me to not be jealous of a team that’s only 6 years removed from a Championship. A fan can survive many years in the desert living off of just 1 title, right Bear’s fans?

    • J Daniel

      Agree on both accounts. Cubs were close to being the Phillies in this last stretch but just couldn’t get over the hump for all of the reasons we have discussed too often. Oh for a World Series or two.

    • John G

      or Sox fans.
      I still hear about it from some of them.

  • BillyFinT

    Heya (Texan accent), Rambler Brian, when Lou was managing not dozing off in the dugout, the league average on-base was more than 0.330; it has since dropped to a 0.320 — Made Cognan-Rouge (*) even more impressive.

    (*French accent for Coghlan-Ruggiano)

    The cards are not yet set for 2015. An example is:


    “the Rays get their high-end starting pitchers, however. They can’t
    afford the free agent rates, so they target.. prospects whose value has fallen from its peak. Think.. Chris Archer.”

    I’m not here to bash on GM Hendry’s plan. On the contrary, I’m here to expose GM Hoyer’s plan along this Ray-line. They found some gem from the dustpile, turned them to become useful pieces for the grander Plan.

    And if the “timetable” that Hoyer spoke of numerous time is not a marketing diversion, then they should know better that we fans are watching.

    This offseason is not do or die yet. It is, however, what will make Ricketts or degrade his reputation as a Cubs owner. Does he have the muscle to play the Major League? Or is he here just to enjoy his big toy and showing off to his rich and powerful friends that he can make a cheap but profitable business in baseball, like the despicable Marlins owner has done for more than a decade.

    Mind you, Loria is a legit liar who fulfilled our American dream. Americans don’t like to wait in line as buyers, but when we are sellers, we love making you wait.

    • BillyFinT

      Yes, Byrd was on the Dream Team. There, I said it. Oh, I meant Boston basketball. Hell, too many Cubbies traded away, they confused me.

      To give Byrd his deserved Mojo, I’ll say: Th-oyer sold him low. But again, what you expect of a 34 years old? (in 2012) C’est la vie.

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

        At the time we all just wanted him gone.

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

          I’m thinking of Milton Bradley!

          • BillyFinT

            How history repeats itself, for the worse on Wrigley Field, has been beyond me…

        • BillyFinT

          He was too… Don’t know about you, I couldn’t stand someone who just arrived at Spring Training then in a month or two later, decided to play boss and held a meeting with “veterans only” to decide for the whole team.

  • Tony_H

    Marlon Byrd, I keep waiting for the guy we saw before he was traded to reappear, it just doesn’t happen. We should have waited a little longer with him, but he was just awful that year. Good reason why players shouldn’t be written off from a bad stretch.

    • Patrick_Schaefer


  • Tony_H

    The Phillies had a terrible day and Amaro needs to go. But man, if we think the Cubs were a mess with Theo got here, that is a team with more bad contracts then we could have ever imagined and a very poor minor league system.

    • John G

      But… But…. I thought the Phillies had a manager that walks on water, can do no wrong, will lead any team to a 162-0 season. I am so confused

      • TheWrongGuy

        They do have “I thought the Phillies had a manager that walks on water, can do no wrong, will lead any team to a 162-0 season. I am so confused” , it’s just that the manager needs to be in Chicago to be able to walk on water and do no wrong.

      • calicub

        At least Ryno has had the stones to bench slumping vets in favor of playing the kids.

  • Tony_H

    Who comes up to fill the roster spots?

    Fujikawa is the pitcher almost for sure. Parker can’t come back yet and i think they want to give Rusin a shot at being one of the lefties in the pen. Rosscup could come up if Fujikawa isn’t ready and will be back up soon anyway.

    The position isn’t as simple.

    Has Olt shown enough in Iowa and gained enough confidence to come back and play everyday at 3B with Valbuena at 2B.

    Or do they need Watkins versatility with only 4 infielders on the roster (don’t want to see Coghlan or Lake looking for their infielders glove).

    I actually think the answer should be both. It is time for Schierholtz to go away and my guess is he is being put through waivers first. If there are no takers, he will be cut. But that will take a few days to a week or so to sort out, so I think Watkins comes up first, to give Olt a little more time.

    And for many that now think that it is time for Baez (or even Bryant) because we now have a 40 man spot open. Neither of these guys needs for a 40 man spot to be open. When it is time for them to come up, they will cut someone, trade someone, etc to open up a spot. They haven’t been in the minors because we just couldn’t part with Nate Schierholtz or AAA guys Kalish, Vitters or BJAX. It isn’t the roster spot.

    • J Daniel

      Great post, IMO. None of their top prospects are being blocked and agree that they still have enough candidates to release when needed. But moving closer and closer.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You don’t really think Olt is fixed in just a few days, do you? 32 PA is a rather small sample size, don’t you think? And what was his problem at the ML level, anyway? Wasn’t it that he could not make contact? 84 K’s in 187 AB is pretty bad. That’s striking out at a 45% clip. Can’t hit above .139 doing that.

      So how has he fixed anything in AAA in just 32 PA? He has fanned 11 times down there. Nothing is fixed just yet.
      He spent all of 2013 in AAA proving he isn’t ready for ML action.
      I say, “Leave him in AAA.”

      • Tony_H

        LOL! No he is not fixed. I think it is all about gaining some confidence back. He will be back up at some point this year and should play nearly everyday the rest of the way out. I think he will spend most of 2015 in AAA unless the switch gets flipped and we won’t know that from AAA AB’s.

        He is very likely to start 2015 on the 25 man roster until Bryant, Soler, etc (Baez should be there with him) come up and they need the roster spot. He will have until then to show he can play at MLB level.

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

        Agree, not fixed yet. But he seems to be in a groove. Amazing what playing everyday can do.

        I’d like to see him back in early August. See how he does down the stretch playing everyday. We talk about how letting Baez begin to adjust this season will help, I think the same argument could be made for Olt for different but sorta similar reasons.

        • BigJonLilJon

          Isn’t today early August??LOL

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

            Captain Literal calling me out 😉

          • BigJonLilJon

            I couldn’t resist!!

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

      Agree. And I think you’re right. Watkins them Olt 10 days later or so. Definitely want to see Olt here again this season if he continues to destroy AAA pitching as he has been.

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

    Jerome Walton!

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

      Nevermind, you answered Mark Grace. Didn’t Walton win ROY in 1989? Not exactly a successful career though. Never the same after that hamstring or whatver from running to 3rd base. Remember that play like yesterday.

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

        Jcsn still picture him laying there in the base path.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    I’m onboard with the rebuild, but the Cubs are more effed on the financial side than anyone seems to admit. They’re stuck in a meager cable contract with CSN until 2020, at which time the cable deal bonanza is likely to implode thanks to San Diego, Huston, and L.A. Plus, WGN has the team absolutely over a barrel for broadcasting games, they have all of the leverage since nobody else has the money or interest to pay out of their noses. And I won’t even mention the mess that is the Wrigley rebuild. There’s one reason for the small market tactics by Theoyer, ownership is tapped out whether that’s because of their own ignorance or due to a string of bad luck incidents that haunts this franchise is up to debate.

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

      I think anybody would be in same boat. Do t think they’re tapped out. But I don’t see any successful business person having done it any differently. Especially if Theo presented his plan.

      • BillyFinT

        It should be the other way around. Ricketts say “That’s all we’ll give you. Go figure.” Theo replies, “Let me get more pals in here to squeeze something out of nothing.”

        Well, job done. Now, four years of saving, it’s about time for a change, wouldn’t you say?

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

          Probably true. But Theo always wanted to do a strip down and rebuild. He pitched it in Boston but thy made him sign Crawford and that aeries of guys instead. That was kind of the beginning of the end.

          Source: Tito’s book 😉

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

    One championship and I think Ricketts and Theo will be the toast of the town. Except the town is split with sox fans so maybe he can never pass Da Coach.

    But if Justin Bieber brought a championship to the Cubs I think he’d be the toast of the town!

    Love the Ramblings Bryan! Fantastic today and some great points made. They have gotten me excited for the rest of the weekend and a few Cubs games.

    Now come on all! It’s Friday, let the debates begin!

    • dicepaul

      Since I have never been cussed at by Ricketts he has already passed Da Coach in my heart and mind.

  • Craig York

    Chris valaika was pulled last night from Iowa’s game. Got a feeling he’s coming up. He was originally suppose to play last night.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You might be right.

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

      He deserves a chance I’d say. Done very well in AAA and not getting any younger.

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  • Ripsnorter1


    I have to ask you how you define “lengthy and successful career.” Since you mention Starlin Castro as having a “lengthy and successful career,” I’ll use him as the minimum standard for length–5 years/614 games. And since 5 years/614 games is the minimum, let’s also use him for the minimum BA: .280/..322/.406.

    1989–Joe Giardi–15 years, 1989-2003, 1,277 MLB games. Fairly successful in my book. BA doesn’t measure up to that: .267/.315/.350. He played until age 38.

    1992–Doug Glanville–1115 games, 9 years,.277/.315/.380

    2000-2012-Eric Henski, 1387 games over 12 years. Slash line .249/.322/.430. He out “on-based” and out slugged Castro.

    Ronny Cedeno–lengthy, but not a fulltime starter.

    Ryan Theriot (2005-2012) had a lengthy baseball career, by my standards. .281/.341/.350 slash line over 8 years. That’s successful, in my book.

    DJ LeMahieu hasn’t played 5 years; only 4. But he’s a starting 2B for Colorado, and here’s his career slash line: .282/.320/.365. He played a good game yesterday vs the Cubs.

    Let’s compare that with Mike Olt…..141/.226/.327.

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

      I’ll say any guy that played at least 10 years and went to one or more all-star games. Just IMo

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

      Tough to throw Olt in that list with 3 months on the job playing every 6 days.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Why is Mike Olt on your list? I don’t seem to understand why he would be included.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I would really like to know the reason. Thanks man.

        • Ripsnorter1

          No special reason other than that we’ve been talking about Olt here this morning. Some are calling for his return to ML action after 32 AB in AAA. He falls far short of those I listed that Bryan did not deem “successful or having a lengthy ML career.”

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Thanks man, couldn’t figure out the connection.

    • Gramps

      Some lengthy and successful careers don’t start out well…
      Mike Schmidt

    • triple

      I’m sorry Rip, but the only guy that you mention who deserves to be placed in the same category as Mark Grace, who had what Brian talked about – “lengthy and successful career” is Joe Girardi, and that completely for his accomplishments behind the plate. So those other guys you mention, just to be clear, you would have been happy to not have Starlin Castro for this length (including his contract through I think when he turns 30), and would have happily traded his service with the Cubs for any of those other guys to have remained Cubs for a large portion of their career (like Mark Grace played the majority of his career with the Cubs)? Because non of those guys ain’t worth sh!t compared to Starlin Castro or Mark Grace. And how JADED is it to say that Eric Hinski has “out ‘on based'” Castro when you report that their career OBP are identical? Seriously? How can you even say that?

      Bwahahahha….. I can’t stop laughing at your implication that Ronny Cedeno or Ryan Theriot can even hold a flame to Castro!!!!!!

      • Ripsnorter1

        I am very glad you are having a good laugh. People should laugh some everyday. : )

        You chose your word well when you wrote “implication.” I did not mean to imply that I would rather have Ronny Cedeno playing shortstop (except for his glove, which is superior to both Theriot’s and Castro’s). I did mean to point out that Cedeno played a long time. As I said, “lengthy, but not a fulltime starter.”

        He nevertheless was an excellent fielder at SS. I wonder…how does Castro’s bat compare with Ozzie Smith— .262/.327/.328? Smith didn’t have a successful bat, eh? I mean, Castro’s is better, isn’t it? Here’s Ronny Cedeno’s career stat line: .245/.289/.353.

        How hard are you laughing at Ozzie Smith?

        Ah, yes. There is something more to a player than the slash line.

        But my point: the Cubs’ system did not completely fail to produce a successful position player since 1988. And yes, DJ LeMahieu could start for the Cubs in 2014.

        And that brings up this: I didn’t even mention Darwin Barney! Ha! Doesn’t that make you laugh?

        • triple

          I don’t remember Ozzie Smith playing for the Cubs? I know you are making a point about good defensive shortstops. But if you’re trying to link the Wizard to Ronny Cedeno, then that is even funnier than all you previously stated. There is a connection between Grace, Castro, and Ozzie Smith though…. ALL-STAR GAMES. Those 3 guys had/have the talent to play with the best in their era. So I’ll take Starlin and his 3 all star appearances in 5 years to the 1 all star appearance that is shared between the 7 guys you mentioned. Who was the one? Girardi, as a Cub even, the one guy I said is the only one who deserved to be in the conversation.

          And by the way, about Cedeno’s glove which as you say “is superior to both Theriot’s and Castro’s.” Let’s examine your false memory of the next best thing since Ozzie Smith.

          According to baseballreference.com, where are some of there career defensive stats:

          Castro: dWAR 1.1, .963 fielding%, 4.4 RF/9
          Cedeno: dWAR 0.9, .969 fielding%, 4.41 RF/9
          Theriot: dWAR 1.7, .972 fielding%, 4.12 RF/9

          As you can now see, none of their gloves is superior to the others. In fact, they are so close, you’d have to go look at their offense to decide who is the better player. Just for good measure, let’s look at those same stats for Oz:

          O. Smith: dWAR 43.4, .978 fielding%, 5.22 RF/9

          So when you say “He (Cedeno) nevertheless was an excellent fielder at SS,” I have to take that as you are also saying that Castro and Theriot are also excellent fielders at SS. There is nothing different about their career stats that says otherwise.

          Are you laughing at how much better Cedeno is than Castro now?

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    It seems the FO is messing with Baez head a little maybe to see how he reacts?

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