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August 2011

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Chet's Corner: Many questions still unanswered…..

Written by , Posted in General

Up ’til yesterday the Ricketts Administration has been less then refreshing.  Many people,  myself included, thought the change of guard would immediately show it’s worth.  Now, I understand it takes time for these things to show up in the win column, but at least give us a sign that change is on the way!

When the Rickett’s family took over ownership of the Cubs two seasons ago they noted that team strength was going to come from Player development.  Gone were the days of dumping money into free agents.  Many educated baseball fans were inclined to think this would be a new day dawning on the north side.   After a year and half wait, there is finally some substance to the promise.  

The draft is one of the best ways to develop your system as a whole.  The baseball draft works out much differently then the NFL draft.  Just because you draft a player doesn’t mean he will eventually sign.  In many ways, drafting the player is kind of like asking a girl out on a date.  Just because she accepts doesn’t mean she won’t cancel between now and the actual date.  High school baseball players have more then one option when it comes to their baseball future.  If a player is good enough to be drafted they more then likely have a college scholarship offer hanging out there too.  If you draft a player and he goes another route instead of signing by the deadline, then the player goes back into the draft for the following season for another team to grab.  Up until this season, the Cubs weren’t exactly killing it with their draft picks.

Tim Wilken, the Cubs Scouting Director, acted as though he tripped in a rabbit hole and ended up in some sort of prospect orgy.  You see, yesterday was the deadline to sign the recent haul from this years draft.  The Cubs signed 34 of their top 50 picks.  This is a good result.  Even better, they signed 20 of their top 22.  Go here to see previous draft results (some of the 2011 results are not updated yet.) 

Baez and Vogelbach were the key signings,  both are power hitters who occupy corner infield spots.  Sounds like something the Cubs need, yes?  There was also an interesting pickup in the 14th round of Dillon Maples,  projected as top two round talent but with a hefty price tag, many passed.   He had a solid scholarship offer from UNC and was leaning that direction. …. $2.5 million changed his mind.   

As noted in Norm’s game recap (you know, the game where Marmol basically re-affirmed  he had gone from inhuman to sub standard over the course of a season) the Cubs spent over $12 million to lock up the draft day haul.   One caveat however, the draft is anything but a gaurantee.  All of these players are prospects until proven major leaguers.  That being said it comes down to what we do with the prospects from here that matters.  This is an area where Hendry and company have failed miserably in the past.  Did the owner just dump $12 million for nothing?

So, are we finally seeing a new direction under the new regime?  Is the Rickett’s family slowly but surely making an effort to turn this once proud franchise around?  The money spent in this draft definitly confirms their commitment to build through player development.

We are going to learn a lot about this new ownership in the months to come.   Tom Rickett’s is suppose to address the media in the next few days regarding the club and it’s future.   Key decisions, whether it be standing pat or letting some people go, will be made from top to bottom.  Decisions that will effect the future of this club for the next ten years and beyond.  Will it be another press meeting like the one earlier this year, when he gave unwavering support to Jim Hendry and Mike Quade?  The draft is a nice start, but the hard work, the dirty work as they say, needs to be done.  I have this funny feeling that the masses won’t be satisfied.   The draft signings might be it, and that falls short, as some heads need to roll. 

That being said, I have one question for the readers….

If you are Tom Ricketts, and you can only replace one person from the following list going into the 2012 season, who would it be and why?

A) Jim Hendry

B) Mike Quade

C) Crane Kenney

 

 

 

 

  • Norm

    “If you draft a player and he goes another route instead of signing by the deadline, then the player goes back into the draft for the following season for another team to grab.”

    This isn’t exactly accurate.
    If the high school player doesn’t sign and goes to a University, he has to wait until he’s either 21 or after his junior year.

  • Mark P.

    Got to be Hendry–players win games and Hendry is directly responsible for the on-field product. Quade and his bizzaro-world approach to managing will top the list next year.

  • chet

    Norm, I have never heard that before, however I also don’t doubt it. I am just having trouble finding any formal documentation on that rule….here is all I found when writing the column on MLB’s site….

    “…Starting in 2007, the deadline for signing a drafted player is August 15. A selected player who enters a junior college cannot be signed until the conclusion of the school’s baseball season. A player who is drafted and does not sign with the club that selected him may be drafted again at a future year’s draft, so long as the player is eligible for that year’s draft. A club may not select a player again in a subsequent year, unless the player has consented to the re-selection.”

  • Norm

    Chet, from the mlb site:

    Question:
    Who is eligible for the draft?

    Answer:
    A player who is a resident of the United States or Canada and who has not previously contracted with a Major League or Minor League Club, so long as the player is eligible to sign under the High School, College or Junior College Rules contained in Major League Rule 3. For purposes of Rule 4, the term “United States” means the 50 states of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and any other Commonwealth, Territory or Possession of the United States of America. Players attending high school, college or junior college in the United States or Canada are considered residents of the United States or Canada for purposes of draft eligibility.

    Question:
    What are the basic eligibility rules contained in the High School, College or Junior College Rules in Major League Rule 3?

    Answer:
    High School — Generally, only those high school students in the United States or Canada who have exhausted their eligibility to participate in high school athletics are eligible for selection.

    College — Generally, a student at a four-year college is eligible after completion of their junior year or if the student is at least 21 years old.

    Junior College — All junior college students are eligible for selection.

    The applicable Major League Rules are more specific than this general answer. Players with specific questions about eligibility should consult a Major League scout or Office of the Commissioner of Baseball.

  • I don’t care for the Vogelbach signing, mainly because I can’t decide if he looks more like Chris Farley or a young John Kruk.

  • chet

    I see, not the clearest rule on the face of the earth but a rule nonetheless.

    I was looking at Tim Lincecum as a possible flaw to the rule but sure enough he turned 21 right before the 2005 draft (june was is birth month)even though he was only a sophomore at the time. The Cubs drafted him late in 2003, then the indians once again drafted him late in 2005, then finally the giants drafted him 10th overall in 2006.

    Good work Norm.

  • Jedi

    I fail to see what difference any of it makes unless we’ve drafted any MLB players. Who cares if you are shelling out money if you draft bad players (which is what the Cubs have been doing)?

    In fact, I’d go so far as to say that at best, it’s still an incomplete report for 2011…if this batch of draftees is similar to the rest of Wilken’s drafts, it’s actually WORSE that we started shelling out big money for crap that we’re selecting.

    It’s entirely possible that Baez and his 2011 compadres turn into the 2007 (Vitters) class. The best player we drafted in 2007 was Cashner – and we had to pick him again in 2008 (in the first round!) just to get him to sign.

  • Buddy

    It goes without saying that forecasting young players isn’t easy. Just for fun, I looked at the top 10 picks from the previous five drafts. Here you go…

    2010: Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon, Manny Machado, Christian Colon, Drew Pomeranz, Brett Loux, Matt Harvey, Delino DeShields Jr., Karsten Whitson, Michael Choice

    2009: Stephen Strasburg, Dustin Ackley, Donavan Tate, Tony Sanchez, Matt Hogbood, Zack Wheeler, Mike Minor, Mike Leake, Jacob Turner, Drew Storen

    2008: Tim Beckham, Pedro Alvarez, Eric Hosmer, Brian Matusz, Buster Posey, Kyle Skipworth, Yonder Alonzo, Gordon Beckham, Aaron Crow, Jason Castro

    2007: David Price, Mike Moustakas, Josh Vitters, Daniel Moskos, Matt “Can’t Miss” Wieters, Ross Detwiler, Matt LaPorta, Casey Weathers, Jarod Parker, Madison Bumgarner,

    2006: Luke Hochevar, Greg Reynolds, Evan Longoria, Brad Lincoln, Brandon Morrow, Andrew Miller, Clayton Kershaw, Drew Stubbs, Bill Rowell, and some guy named Tim Lincecum (that was a joke in case you couldn’t tell)

  • Evan

    If I could only choose one, I’d get rid of Hendry. Let’s face it, this team is going to take some time to turn around, it’s the GM that’s in charge of signing and trading, and therefore building the future of this team. Yes Quade is a horrible manager and doesn’t deserve to be kept around, but we’re not gonna win next year no matter who our manager is. Better to replace the GM and start building for the future.

  • chet

    You know what Jedi, I share your view, but for the sake of trying to find a positive (most of my posts are not) I tried. like I said last week burn the whole thing down and start over. But that ain’t happening anytime soon. Ricketts is not the type to make waves and blow everything up.

  • Jedi

    Chet, I’ll be as elated as anyone assuming this class works out. It’s just really hard to pinpoint any change in philosophy that would indicate something different is on the horizon. We’ve thrown money at problems before, it doesn’t work – I really hope this isn’t just another iteration of that “solution.”

  • I’d fire Hendry. Evan just above said what I was going to say.

  • BLPCB

    Hendry. He’s a horrible GM and he gave me the finger. There is no need to fire Kenny at this point. Because I have heard he is gunning for MLB commish after Old Fart Selig steps down

  • chet

    I forgot to note who I would let go of…..it’s Hendry by a long shot.

  • Doug S.

    Fire Hendry, then his replacement fires Quade.

    Kenney’s eyeing the commish job? MLB – “So, Mr. Kenney why do you feel you’re qualified to the the commissioner of MLB?” CK – “I am the the current president of the Chicago Cubs.” MLB – “Next.”

  • Buddy

    Doug makes a good point. A new GM will very likely want to name his own manager.

  • chet

    I think that would also be the safest way to go…..If you keep Hendry and fire Quade I would be afraid to see who Hendry replaces him with and to what length.