View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



October 2011



Chet's Corner : Theo's Dream Team

Written by , Posted in General

“Early on he was 28 and a fish out of water. Since then he’s won two world championships, made the playoffs 6 of 9 seasons, and I think there’s great respect among his peers. As one GM said to me, when we get together in a group, he may be the smartest guy in the room.”

-Bruce Levine, responding to a question asked during his live chat on , on how Theo Epstein is viewed by other GM’s in the game.


I read the above quote and began to salivate.  I mean, we are this close to a total overhaul in our “baseball operations department”, or whatever title Theo Epstein slaps on his business card when he arrives in Chicago.  You can call him GM, President of Baseball Operations, or head green slime vendor.  Then only thing I care about is that a fundamental change in Chicago Cubs baseball is on it’s way.  Oh, and by the way, that change has created post season teams in six of the last nine years.  Oh, and also, they did it in a division that included the Yankees.      

Developing talent hasn’t exactly been the Cubs forte over the past half century or so.   Joe Posnanski elaborates on this topic in a column he recently penned on his SI blog.  He points to this reason as being the Cubs number one downfall in the history of the team.  What is Theo Epstein’s specialty?  Yup, you guessed it, he develops talent from within. 

Now, all of this being said leads many to wonder, what is holding up this negotiation???

It is one word….. pride!  Neither team wants to give in to the others desires.  You are looking at two men, Larry Luchinno and Tom Ricketts, who love the art of negotiation.  While they flex their collective bartering skills, the rest of baseball, especially the Cubs and Red Sox fans, are left to wait.  All of us are wondering in unison if this thing will ever happen. 

It will, just give it time. 

In response to Joe’s column this morning, I don’t feel anybody is off limits.  Maybe Castro, but the list stops there.  The sad reality is that we don’t have  a farm system stacked with talent.  Heck, we don’t have a 40-man roster stacked with talent.  Hence the importance of bringing aboard Theo Epstein. 

It shouldn’t take much more then the sane minimum to close this thing, but if it came down to crazy, which depending on the ego’s involved could happen, would you really stop them from giving up Trey McNutt or Brett Jackson?  We aren’t talking about obtaining a middle of the rotation starter here, we are talking about changing the face of the ball club.  We are talking about developing a game plan well into the future.

One other sticking point, and what could end up being the more important question in the long run is, who else will the Cubs get in this deal?  Much of the recent talk has been centered around Theo’s counterparts that he will bring along or acquire from other teams.  Many of them worked under Theo while with the Red Sox.  Some are starting to say he is trying to put together a dream team of upper management. 

My question to the readers for today: Who would you most like to see as part of Theo’s “dream team” of upper management?

Can you imagine how great it will be to have an organization with an actual baseball identity?  A philosophy from low A ball all the way up to the majors?  What wouldn’t a Cub fan give for that?






  • Seymour Butts

    I’ll make a controversial comment, almost unheard of in the blogosphere… I’m not qualified to answer that question.
    We get much of our information on who should be on such a dream team from…and get this… the media.
    The same Chowder heads that can’t out-write even VFTB’s neophytes, but have wide distribution.
    So my dream team…anyone Theo wants.

  • Buddy

    I hope the Cubs don’t fire their current green slime vendor. He’s doing a great job!

  • Jedi

    I don’t care who he brings as long as he doesn’t make the same mistakes that Andy MacPhail initially made when he was promoted upon accepting a position with the Cubs. I can’t take another 6 years of Ed Lynch before Theo realizes that his credibility is slowly being flushed down the toilet.

  • Lizzie

    “A philosophy” … Chet, makes me salivate too.

  • Lizzie

    Not to be confused with “Chet makes me salivate too.” Really don’t want to upset Mrs. Chet.

  • chet

    Jedi, please don’t remind me of Ed Lynch. Oh what hopes we had when MacFAIL was hired. As a matter of fact if you read the article by Posnanski linked in this post, it will dredge up all sorts of Cub ghosts you thought were forgotten……

    Lizzie, Mrs. Chet rarely stumbles on to this site, she’s a Twins fan. Goes to show how powerful the comma can be though.

  • Eddie Von White

    I hope he keeps that awesome ball boy who chases down foul balls behind home plate.

  • Eddie Von White

    Maybe some of his hustle will wear off on the players…

  • MJ

    I long for the day where I can look at a Sox fan and say, “That ring in 2005 was nice wasn’t it? Look at all of our rings now.”

    If Theo is truly using this as an opportunity to build a Dream Team of management, I’m not sure what I’d do. I’m too used to this organization being f’ed up from all angles!

  • Buddy

    Sounds like the Theo deal is about done, and MLB may let them announce it Friday. Still haven’t heard who the Cubs are dealing to Boston.

  • Jedi

    Chet, unfortunately MacPhail’s biggest shortcoming was thinking that as CEO/President he would still have the ability to provide the necessary GM oversight to guarantee the success he had enjoyed in Minnesota. I fear the same exact mistake with Theo. Theo the GM has great success…Theo the exec? We don’t know if that’ll be successful. We also don’t know if the GM will 1) be competent, 2) be as competent as Theo, or 3) be influenced enough by Theo’s abilities. Lynch was supposed to be all three of those things, and it turns out he wasn’t any one of them. MacPhail was a great GM, a crappy exec – I hope the same isn’t true of Theo (but I have my doubts).

  • chet

    Jedi, for some reason, and this is just pure speculation, I don’t see Theo being that out of touch if he is President or some title similar.

    Jed Hoyer is getting the bulk of the attention as a possible choice for GM under Epstein. Jed is obviously one of Theo’s desciples. I wouldn’t have been dissappointed if just Jed were signed for the GM job from the get go.

    On top of this, our buddy Peter Gammons chimed in on WEEI today basically stating the whole negotiation is idiotic and the Cubs need to just give up McNutt and move on. He goes on to state that the Cubs have a bottom three farm system in the league (yikes) and McNutt would be the #25 prospect in the Red Sox system.

    The sad thing is I almost agree, McNutt might never see the majors more or less make this deal look terrible in the long run.

  • Chuck

    Hire Keith Law. Altough, that will make the Baseball Today podcasts very boring.
    Beyond that, I don’t know the buisness side of baseball all that well and I can’t tell you what assistant GM is great and what ones stink. That is beyond my ability to evaluate due to lack of information.

  • Buddy

    Keith Law has said many times that he has no interest in another MLB job.


    Give Epstein the keys to the kingdom. Let him choose whoever he wants. We need to overhaul this organization starting from Mesa to Daytona to Peoria to West Tennessee to Iowa to Wrigley. Run the same approach all the way through.

  • flyslinger2

    We fans have had the ability to write on blogs about the mishaps of the Cubs for many years now. Theo could perpetuate the endless hours that we spend scouring our reference documents for that one pithy word that we could use to show that we indeed are scholarly and learned by hiring the bat boy from the inner varsity freshmen softball league that plays at Tiny College in Smalltown, U.S.A. Or, he could hire some awesome and talented people who could actually steer this team towards greatness and keep us so busy glued to our projection devices that we wouldn’t have time to visit our friendly blog and fill it with useless diatribe. I vote for the later.

  • Buddy

    How about both? Theo builds a winner, and we keep up the VFTB discussion, which I really enjoy.

  • Doc Raker

    I am with Seymour, who ever Theo wants to hire. I had dinner with Ed Lynch.

  • Chuck

    Lately Kieth has changed his tune a bit. He has said that he would take a front-office job if it was an assistant GM or better job and if they gave him a bunch of money.

  • Allan Bendert

    Heres one no one has thought of. Al Avila of the Tigers. He is Dombrowski’s right hand man and is a great evaluator of talent. He would be a great addition to the Cubs and he would start to deepen the talent pool throughout the organization.

  • Timmy D

    Ive heard he was talking about bringing a strenght coach and a trainer with him. Perhaps the best idea of all. Since the last division title, anyone else notice we are the most injured team in the majors? Groin pulls, muscle strains, back spasms, etc. The team sucked this year and its not all Quade. After the 1st start, 2/5 of the rotation was out for 3/4 of the season.


    Every team needs to be doing what the White Sox are doing. The last ten years their players have spent the least amount of time on the DL. We’re among the worst. It’s amazing what a few healthy legs and arms can do for a season.