View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



October 2011



The Theo Watch

Written by , Posted in General

Theo Watch: According to ESPN, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod will be leaving San Diego and joining Theo Epstein in Chicago. There will be compensation going to San Diego, but the player has yet to be named. There has also been a lot of speculation about who Theo will bring in as a new manager. As most of you know, Ryne Sandberg has been leading the speculation race as a potential manager. Theo previously looked into hiring Ryno as a base coach for Boston, and he likes the idea of Sandberg as a coach. However, Theo says that it is “so premature” to speculate about bringing in Ryno.  Quade still has a year left on his contract, but I think everybody in Chicago is hoping that Theo has the guts to fire everybody in the organization. Who should he hire? Francona? Ryno? Somebody else?

Players: Apparently, Aramis decided to change his mind about leaving Chicago when Theo was hired. Now he wants to stay in Chicago, because they might become a winning team sometime soon. Come on, man. Soriano is also rumored to possibly be staying with the club next season as well. Good grief. Aren’t we supposed to be rebuilding this team? Theo, show some guts. Say goodbye to Ramirez, at least.

Non-Baseball Related News: Terrell Owens held a tryout the other day for teams to come watch him. Guess who showed up? Nobody. It seems like many of the football coaches share the same sentiments: No thanks. Should anybody pick him up? The Bears need help in the receiver department. Should T.O. to be a Bear? I do not want him to be in the NFC North. Football has been so nice and (mostly) quiet this year. Drama has been kept to a minimum. Maybe it should stay that way.

  • Buddy

    Francona would be a great hire. Fingers crossed on that one.

  • Mark P.

    Tito’s credibility is not at a high point right now–right or wrong, his ability to lead a team is in question.
    Also–no reason to let ARam walk–we have no way to replace his offensive production…

  • Mark in Toronto

    If Aramis is willing to take a 1 year contract or the like I wouldn’t mind him sticking around based on the lack of 3rd basemen out there this year.

    As for TO, I am a little surprised there is no interest by any teams. He’s had his issues and somewhat dissappointing seasons, but played quite well and kept relatively quiet last season with the Bengals before he was injured.

  • Eddie Von White

    About Jed and Jason coming from S.D. – An effective administrator surrounds himself with good people and isn’t afraid of who will get the credit because ultimately it all falls on his shoulders – go Theo! I am not ready to speculate on a manager. Even if they keep the Quadster another year, I trust Theo’s judgment on this one, but remember it took awhile for Ricketts to reveal his business savvy with the organization. It might take Theo awhile to get everything turned around. I’m just glad we have the ship headed that way.

    Maybe A-Ram’s perspective and work ethic will change with the new management. Hope has a way of breeding optimism. Maybe they should sign him without the no-trade clause, then trade him for a prospect or two, but I don’t think it’s productive to say we can’t replace him… everyone is replacable… Just ask Drew Bledsoe.

    About T.O. – he needs to get a real job. His 15 minutes have passed.

  • Katie

    I doubt Ramirez will take a 1-year, reasonably priced deal. In that case, it would be better to let him walk. His production is inconsequential. The team won’t really be any better off with him than it would be without him. Might as well start rebuilding now and let him go.

  • Memphis via Chicago

    – Sandberg, manager (sorry to Quade, not to be mistaken for Quade is sorry. Although it’s hard to argue that point!)
    – Ramirez, third base (mostly by default, I mean who else is out there?)
    – TO (gulp), a Bear. That almost hurt to say, but considering we didn’t help our cause during the free agent “frenzy” these are the types of decisions you have to make. Thanks Angelo! I really enjoyed Wilbon’s story about why TO could work in Chicago on Besides, if it doesn’t work we could shoot him out of a cannon off Navy Pier into da Lake. Nothing ventured nothing gained.


    Keep Qaude till mid-season this way Theo doesn’t look bad when they’re 39 games out of it
    Get lost Aramis. Your time is up. Eddie, he has the 10-5 veto, so he would automatically get a NTC.
    The Chicago Rush offered T.O. a contract. Let him go to the Bears, I would love to see him destroy Jay Cutler’s career.

  • Norm

    Even B.T. (Before Theo) Ramirez said he would stay if he got a multi-year deal, I really don’t think anything has changed in that situation.
    Certainly nothing should change from the Cubs perspective. Exercise the option, offer arbitration…

  • Dusty Baylor

    Ugh…your 2012 Cubs starting 3B (if not Ramirez)

    Jeff Baker?
    Marquez Smith?
    Wilson Betemit?
    How about a 2 year deal with the second year being an option of some kind?

  • Chuck

    The Cubs will take at least 2 to 3 years to turn things around if they go the total rebuild route. That is how long it will take the all of the bad contracts to come off the books and be replaced with competent players. I am in this for the log haul so I don’t mind waiting as long as they have a plan and they stick to it. The Cubs have been running the ship in a very ad hoc manner for a long time and this is the predictable result.
    RE Aramis: I know there are a lot of people that don’t like him (quasi count me as one) but the fact of the matter is that he is our best hitter and has been for some time. The Cubs have to offer him a fair deal (4 years at $15M per) to keep him around because there is nobody that can adequately replace him at this time. Vitters may be a bust, so you can’t count ont he farm. The free agent crop is ugly (Edwin Encarnacion being the best in my opinion). The upside is that you can always trade him if the farm spits out a good prospect in the next couple of years.
    RE Quade: The Cubs are going nowhere in 2012 so why not let Quade finish out the contract? I see very little downside unless he starts doing crazy things that endanger the players. Then you can fire him with cause.

  • Norm

    Chuck, I think a 4 year deal for Ramirez is about as big a mistake the Cubs could make this offseason. He becomes virtually untradeable.
    as you say, it may not be 3 years until the Cubs compete, you think he’ll still be an adequate 3B at age 36?

  • chet

    I see Theo bringing some of the young guys up. He needs to see first hand what he has to work with in the minors. Would not be surprised to see Vitters, lemaiheu, and host of other young guys getting real playing time this year.

    I can also see a few trades in the offseason to restock the caufers. Trades that the previous regimes would have laughed at making. Some of your favorite Cubs might be saying bye-bye.

    I would assume nobody is safe. I liken Ricketts purchase of the Cubs to a home buyer who pays big for the plot of land thinking the house is strong and just needs gut rehab. Turns out even the wood is rotten and he needs to tear the whole thing down and rebuild.

  • Chuck

    Norm: What are the other options? 3B is a wateland in MLB. There are not very many good ones and, like him or not, Aramis is one of the best so we have to attempt to keep him. The Cubs don’t have anybody in the farm system that is close to being MLB ready aside from Vitters and he may be a bust. Unless you just want to tank (there is very little incentive to do that in baseball, unlike other sports such as NBA) I don’t see another clear option.
    That being said, don’t go nuts for him. If some other team offers him 7 years at $18M per, just walk away.

  • Katie

    What will happen if we don’t bring him back? Lose our shot at the playoffs? It’s going to take a few years before we get there, and he will be getting up in age by then. It would be a bit of hindrance of the whole rebuilding idea if we lock him in for more than 1 year.

  • Doc Raker

    Since Francona and Theo already had a successful working relationship I think bringing in Francona would make sense while bringing in Sandberg as a coach on the staff. This way Sandberg get’s big league coaching experience while being groomed for the managerial position by people who have a history of success.
    * Forget about Aram, the Cubs need to rebuild. We have 1 consistent starting pitcher and yous people are worried about who is going to play 3b? Please.

  • Norm

    There is definitely no better option for 2012, but who knows who becomes available in July or next offseason. Should maintain that flexibility rather than signing a 33 year old to a multi-year deal.

    I’d at least give Vitters a look in the Spring. I don’t think he’s going to be all that successful, but we all saw the reaction to Darwin Barney. People are fooled by batting average into thinking a player is good offensively.
    I think Vitters can hit like Barney but throw in double digit homers, and fans will think he’s a cornerstone rather than thinking they tanked.
    If he sucks, you try Lemahieu. Then Flaherty. Them Marquez Smith.
    But keep it flexible in case they decide to go after a David Wright or Ryan Zimmermann in a year or two.

  • Doc Raker

    I was fooled by Wade Boggs batting average, I thought he was pretty good. Drats fooled again by that .353 batting average.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    I am inclined to agree with the group. If Pay-Ram will take a one (MAYBE two) year extension, lets have him. Sori ain’t going anywhere, so we need to utilize him as best we can (he still has 25+HR 80+RBI potential, IMHO). As for Q-Ball, I can’t envision any scenario where he stays for next year (well, good scenario, that is).

  • Let’s stop beating around the bush, Theo. Who will be the backup catcher in 2012? We all know that the backup catcher is undoubtedly the linchpin of a winning organization.

  • gymjok

    just saw an article making a case for the cubs maybe trading for 3B chase headley of the pods.
    anyone have thoughts about getting him?

  • Dusty Baylor

    God…Soriano still has 25 HR- 80 RBI potential…..with a .289 OBP? WOOOOOOO!!!!

    Headley…his career splits:
    Home: .229/.319/.336
    so out of Petco, he’s a decent hitter…he’s got some speed…a little pop. I suppose it depends on what we’d have to give up for him?

  • flyslinger2

    Keep him and give him 4 one year options each based on a sliding scale of guaranteed pay versus performance bonuses. Year one is 10% pay no performance bonuses. He should have one solid year left in him. The next year 50-50. The following year 25% pay 75% performance and the last $1 pay and the rest 99.99% performance. I’d be happy to write the contract.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    @Dusty That HAS to be the result of some bad luck, right? Imagine if that gets back in the .320 range. I do agree that .286 is atrocious, but I just don’t think he’s done. I know we overpaid, but that is sunk cost, now we need to be looking at his WAR.

  • Doc Raker

    Imagine, just imagine. Didn’t we try that imagine trick with Pena last year, ‘just imagine if he gets up to .280/.380/.550 that would be a good deal’. Imagine is a song written by a dead Beatle, not a front office baseball philosophy.

  • Jedi

    Barney’s numbers at the end of April were .326/.351/.449 and by the end of May he was still at .310/.332/.391…no one was “fooled” by his batting average any more than they were “fooled” by any of his other fantastic April stats. Barney had a great April and a decent May. After that he was hurt and/or sucked.

    As for Francona – I have a hard time imagining that Epstein would tie his entire career to a single manager. I think it’s far more likely that someone other than Francona (or Quade) is managing the Cubs.

  • Norm

    296/316/343 is decent? (may numbers)

  • Jedi

    Yes, for what we expected from Barney, that was passable.

  • Jedi

    Ultimately though, no one was “fooled” by Barney’s batting average.

  • Eddie Von White

    Flyslinger makes another good point. I think he’s batting a 1000.

  • Norm

    Well, since everyone is sick of us arguing, I’ll just say you have your opinion, you can say whatever it is you like.
    My opinion is that I don’t think a 296/316/343 (659 OPS) line is decent at all. I think it sucks.

  • Jedi

    You think we should’ve expected better from Barney?

    I still don’t see where you’ve addressed your original argument though…

  • Doc Raker

    I would say Barney’s May numbers are decent for a rookie. Take a few more walks and that’s a pretty solid 2 hole hitter. Great numbers no, suck no, certainly something to build on for a rookie.

  • Chuck

    I would argue that Pena had an acceptable year. He hit .225/.357/.462 for a good 123 OPS+. Probably the 3rd best hitter teh Cubs had last year and an improvemnet over 2010. He had 101 walks but 161 strikeouts. He was, pretty much, what we thought he was. A power hitter that will not hit for a high average, walk a lot and strikeout a lot.
    All in all a good signing and I would not mind having him back if we can’t land Prince or Phat Albert. The manager should just hide his bat when a lefty is on the mound.

  • Chuck

    Petco is an extreme pitchers park where even Adrian Gonzolez did not put up the best of numbers. It is the evil twin to Coors. If somebody had passable numbers at Petco, they should do very well away from there.

  • Norm

    My original argument on being fooled by batting average?
    Well, I think it’s kind of ironic that you say no one was fooled by Barney’s batting average yet think a 296/316/343 line is decent.
    If you think that line is decent, MY OPINION IS, you’re being fooled by that shiny batting average.

  • Jedi

    As I said, I think it’s decent for what we should’ve expected from Barney? You apparently had much higher expectations from Barney.

    My assessment that it was decent isn’t because of a shiny batting average, but because my expectation of Barney was low and his April was incredible. So after two months, he’d been great and then about what we expected…which nearly had him down as our second most reliable position player after two months. Perhaps I just set the bar of expectations too low for him.

    You’re essentially asking the question, “why could anyone have liked Barney” and then answering it with your bias of “they must be ignorant and overvaluing his batting average”…but I submit that his ability to exceed and/or meet expectations is actually why people liked him. It had nothing to do with one stat, but rather that he and Castro were the only two guys who definitively exceeded expectations on a daily basis before May 31…a lot of people who liked Barney early were disappointed when all his numbers sagged from June on.

  • Norm

    And there you go with your game of semantics changing the argument to what is good *for Barney*.

    Is Barney a good offensive player?
    Don’t qualify with a “for a rookie” or a “for Barney, it was good”.
    Compared to the rest of baseball, is Barney a good offensive player?

  • Jedi

    Norm, I didn’t change anything I’d previously said, and it’s not semantics:

    I said: “Yes, for what we expected from Barney, that was passable.” And then: “You think we should’ve expected better from Barney?”

    Barney’s numbers were great in April and decent in May for what we could’ve expected out of him – that’s why people liked him…not because they were fooled by his shiny batting average. Same thing I’ve said all along.

    I’m always going to like players who exceed expectations. Some people like Tony Campana for this reason; no one is fooled by his SB total.

  • Norm

    Well then you’re arguing against something I never said.

    I don’t care about expectations. Was Barney a good offensive player? You still didn’t answer. Yes or no….no “for a rookie” or “for what was expected”.

  • Jedi

    “…but we all saw the reaction to Darwin Barney. People are fooled by batting average into thinking a player is good offensively.”

    The reaction to Barney was delight because for two months we got more out of the 2B position than we expected to get all year. The general consensus has been that he is essentially a No. 7/8 hitter offensively. The Cubs had him hitting 2nd out of necessity and for two months he over-delivered, much to our delight.

    You’re trying to find a reason why people liked Barney, and I’m giving it to you – he exceeded expectations dramatically at the beginning of the year. But you insist that any love for Barney originated in an ignorant reliance on batting average, that’s just not true.

  • Norm

    “into thinking a player is good offensively.”

    I’ll ask a third time. Was Barney good offensively? Yes or no?

  • Jedi

    I’ve tried to be reasonable so this could be interesting and not annoying. Let me know when you’re prepared to do the same.

  • Norm

    Fine, don’t answer the easy question. Very reasonable of you.

    You say:
    You’re trying to find a reason why people liked Barney, and I’m giving it to you – he exceeded expectations dramatically at the beginning of the year. But you insist that any love for Barney originated in an ignorant reliance on batting average, that’s just not true.

    No, I’m not trying to find out why people LIKED Barney, I’m talking about why people said he was GOOD; to the point that he was considered ‘untouchable’.
    YOUR OPINION is that it was because he exceeded expectations.

    What makes you say he exceeded expectations? Can you answer that or is that question unanswerable too?

  • Jedi

    For two months the guy was a good solution for the Cubs at 2B. That’s why people reacted positively to him (not because they were fooled by any single stat). And yes, after that he sucked. That’s why people reacted negatively to him.

    I believe only Hendry ever classified Barney as untouchable. Hendry was roundly criticized for saying, “why would I trade Barney?” Because it presupposed that Barney was a cornerstone piece – which no one believed then or now. Obviously since then we know that Hendry probably wasn’t hallucinating, but rather was protecting the secret of his own impending dismissal.

    I say it, because it’s true. Many people had DeWitt pegged for everyday duty at 2B and Barney wasn’t even guaranteed to break camp with the team. Then he performed at such a high level that for two months he played himself into an everyday role.

    What I don’t like from your original comment; the notion that anyone who liked Barney as our everyday 2B for a couple of months is a dolt who is married to some misleading and archaic stat. It’s a common theme of yours; we all know you worship at the saber alter, you can stop painting the rest of us with a broad brush as you advocate your cause.

  • Norm

    I DON’T CARE if people liked Barney as the “everyday 2B for a few months.” I’m talking about people who thought he was “good offensively” or “untouchable” or a player to build around. Why is it so hard for you to understand that?

    And “untouchable” was in a post on this very site. Which is why I brought it up.
    People who thought he was “good offensively” or “untouchable” or a player to build around or anything else like that…was FOOLED by April/May stats…and what fueled those April/May stats? His high batting average.

    If you didn’t think he was good offensively or untouchable or a player to build around, then good for you, you weren’t fooled! But people who did??? They were!

    And I NEVER name call. That’s your area.

  • Jedi

    So essentially you’re going to parse words as you backpedal. You’re right Norm, you’re always right…there was no sneering or even proselytizing in your original comment. I completely fabricated your disdain for the ignoramus’ who haven’t written off every utterly useless stat. I deeply apologize for not going along with your straw man argument.

  • Norm

    Look at your last post…”disdain for the ignoramus'”?? Why must you insist on inferring insults? No one is being insulted. What are you reading?!? Where are you getting this from?

    Who is parsing words? I say “fooled into thinking a player is good offensively.” You turn that into “the notion that anyone who liked Barney as our everyday 2B for a couple of months is a dolt”

    You should be a politician. You are FANTASTIC at taking something I say and turning it into something completely different.
    How you get ‘dolt’ or ‘ignoramus’ out of me saying people were fooled by someone is beyond me.

    I was fooled by Howie Kendrick in thinking he was going to be a multiple batting champ. I was fooled by Ricky Nolasco into thinking he was going to become an ace. I was fooled into thinking Corey Patterson was going to be a superstar. I was fooled!
    According to you, I just called myself a dolt and ignorant and an ignoramus and whatever other insults YOU decide that I think of people.
    I didn’t.

  • Jedi

    I’m looking at it, it was an over the top and sarcastic apology. Maybe the nuance didn’t come through…

    By removing the words “batting average” from your post “…but we all saw the reaction to Darwin Barney. People are fooled by batting average into thinking a player is good offensively.” you’re very clearly owning up to your bias. Maybe you’re such a true believer that you don’t even realize what you infer as you’re doing it…the inference was there, Doc picked up on it immediately.


    I feel dumber after reading this.

  • Joe

    @Norm – I think the people who were nuts over Barney early in the year weren’t necessarily fooled by the batting average. They were elated by the fact that someone we hadn’t counted on at 2B suddenly emerged, so to speak, particularly in April where he posted an OPS+ of 125. Cub fans want to believe in the next great thing. It’s why I always wonder what could have been with Tuffy Rhodes. It’s why people STILL clamor for Matt Murton and Micah Hoffpauir. Cub fans are so desperate for a star to latch onto that they’re going to deem anyone untouchable if he plays well. The important things to remember are this:

    1. Cub fans, and fans of all teams for that matter, are made up of a range of interest from casual to intense with the vast majority being the former. It’s those fans that tend to overreact most of the time.

    2. No matter what, it’s never worth fighting about. It’s a team and it’s a blog. It’s not THAT important.

  • lizzie

    @Joe YOU ROCK!

  • Buddy

    The good news is the Cubs now have a shot-caller who will see the true value of players like Darwin Barney.

  • Doc Raker

    Plus, Theo can evaluate players past just batting average, he probably understands slugging, OBP, OPS, OBS, BS, SIUYA, WTSNS, DESERT STORM, OPERATION FREEDOM,, WWI, WWII, WWIII and the all important WAR .

  • And BLPCB.

  • Buddy

    Working for the Red Sox, I’m sure Theo is very familiar with BS.