View From The Bleachers

September 30, 2011

Can The Cubs Actually Compete In 2012?

Filed under: Featured,General — Buddy @ 2:00 pm

(NOTE: I’m not endorsing this plan, but it’s a scenario worth discussing, especially now that the season has ended and we honestly don’t have too much else to talk about.)

Maybe I’m foolishly optimistic. Maybe I’m newly inspired by watching the Arizona Diamondbacks go from worst to first. Or maybe I just had too many beers last night. In any case, I woke up today with a powerful vision for the 2012 Cubs. Believe it or not, next year may not be a lost cause.

If you’re going to play along with my crazy idea that appeared like a bolt of lightning at 6:45 a.m., you have to accept that the NL Central won’t be particularly strong next season. For the purposes of this discussion, I’m assuming that Pujols re-signs with the Cardinals and Fielder inks a seven-year megadeal with some team not named the Chicago Cubs. Next, let’s pretend that the Northsiders hire a competent GM and bring in a new manager who knows how to run a pitching staff and construct a lineup.

Are you with me so far? If you haven’t left this page in disgust, here’s a quick and inexpensive blueprint for next year’s contending team (NOTE—I don’t have spellcheck when I’m dreaming. Apologies in advance!):

  1. Sign a backup catcher who can actually hit a little bit, thereby keeping Geo Soto fresh and reviving his tired 2011 bat. One-year (and potentially cheap) options include Rod Barajas, Dioner Navarro, and Kelly Shoppach.
  2. Bring back Carlos Pena on a one-year deal and platoon him with Jeff Baker. The key here is limiting Pena’s exposure to lefties and Baker’s exposure to righties. For those of you scoring at home, here are Pena’s 2011 numbers vs. RHP (as of this writing): .261/.390/.516. He’s only 33, so a repeat season isn’t out of the question.
  3. Do everything in your power to develop D.J. LeMahieu and give him a chance to win the 2B job. I know Darwin Barney plays solid defense, hustles, gives to charity, loves animals, sings in the church choir, and keeps America safe for democracy, but he’s not an everyday player. Nice guy to have on your bench however. If LeMahieu can’t hit any better than Barney, it’s time to make a deal or grab a free agent on a one- or two-year deal. Kelly Johnson would certainly be worth a shot, and he shouldn’t break the bank. Maicer Izturis would be someone to pursue via trade.
  4. Take a breath fans…pick up the option on Ramirez. I know some Cub followers think he’s the devil in pinstripes, but Ramirez is still a very productive player. The Cubs have no in-house options for 3B, so one more year of Ramirez is the way to go if at all possible. Plan B would be another one-year free agent. Wilson Betemit perhaps? Plan C is to pull a fan out of the stands at random and let him play 3B for a day. OK, maybe not.
  5. No need to talk about SS other than to say Thank God for Starlin Castro!
  6. The OF puzzle is a little messy, but I woke up with a slightly odd model that just might work. First, take advantage of the Marlins very public battle with Logan Morrison and make a deal for the talented Twitter addict. The Marlins are rumored to be interested in a RH hitter, so how about Marlon Byrd with Andrew Cashner, Campana, and maybe a prospect tossed in for incentive? The Cubs may have to pay part of Byrd’s 2012 salary, but LoMo is worth it in my book. As far as CF goes, I’m hoping Brett Jackson is ready for the bigs. If not, free agent Coco Crisp would be a reasonable fit (again, on a one- or two-year deal). He’s 31, a switch hitter with a decent idea of the strike zone, and blazing fast. For the other corner OF spot, I’m really hoping Bryan LaHair steps up and takes this job. This would be another platoon situation, maybe with Reed Johnson. Or maybe he splits time with an available lefty thumper like Cody Ross or Jonny Gomes. And now we come to Alfonso Soriano. Here’s the cold, hard truth…Soriano is untradeable. However, that doesn’t mean he has to play LF every single day. Play him against lefties. Play him against select righties. Play him when LoMo or LaHair need a break. Hell, try him at 2B now and again if you’re desperate. He’s on the payroll no matter what, so use him in a way where he can actually contribute offensively. As you probably guessed, Tyler “only the mailman walks” Colvin is not in my 2012 picture. Deal him if you can. Maybe the Marlins will take him in the LoMo trade.
  7. This year’s rotation was a mess, and the Cubs have to fix it to even have a prayer in 2012. Garza is solid, and I think Dempster and Wells have potential to be league-average pitchers next year. For the next two spots, the Cubs should pick two from the following list of cost-effective free agents: Javier Vazquez, Joel Pineiro, Jeff Francis, Chien-Ming Wang, and Brad Penny. Not to sound like a broken record, but these will only be one- or two-year deals. Do you see a pattern here? And as for Big Z, do what you can to show him the door. I’m not sure how that will work logistically, but he can’t return to the Cubs under any circumstances.
  8. The bullpen looks like a potential strength with Marshall, Marmol, Wood (re-signed), the Shark, Russell, and Carpenter. If you missed it above, I have Cashner going to the Marlins.

So how might the Cubs’ 2012 lineups look?

VS. RHP:

Crisp or Jackson CF

Castro SS

Morrison RF

Ramirez 3B

Pena 1B

Soto C (spell him often!)

LaHair/Soriano LF

LeMehieu/Barney/????? 2B

Pitcher

 

VS. LHP:

Crisp/Johnson/Jackson CF

Castro SS

Ramirez 3B

Soriano LF

Morrison/Ross/Gomes/Johnson RF

Soto C (spell him often!)

Baker 1B

LeMehieu/Barney/????? 2B

Pitcher

Is this the best offense in the National League? Of course not. But it should be much better than 2011, and it has the potential to be top five. LoMo and Castro are the keys. Both could break out big next year.

Now, how about this starting rotation?

Garza

Dempster

Vazquez

Wang/J. Francis/Pineiro/Penny

Wells

This bunch should be light years better than the 2011 staff that included turds like Zambrano, Coleman, Lopez, and Davis. Two big questions will be 1) Does Dempster still have gas in the tank?  2) Which Wells will we get in 2012?

OK, so it’s not up there with Paul McCartney dreaming “Yesterday,” but it’s the vision I woke up with, and it really doesn’t seem too farfetched. How good could this “dream team” be? I’m guessing around 85 wins with reasonable health and good old fashioned luck. Given the potential state of the National League Central in 2012, that just might be enough.

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  • Alex

    I agree with your analysis of 3B. Bring back Ramirez for the season and prepare for Vitters to be the everyday man starting in 2013.

    Thoughts?

  • Buddy

    I’m hoping it’s Javier Baez at 3B in 2013. Not holding out much hope for Vitters.

  • Alex

    Doubt it will be Baez in 2013, he will still be a couple years away by then…

  • Buddy

    You’re probably right Alex, but I’m still hoping!

  • http://BEAST Doug S.

    Dempst at No.1 concerned me this year.
    Dempst at No. 2 worries me.
    I’d put him at 3 and the guy we get for Z (assuming pitcher) goes 2

  • Buddy

    I could see the Cubs with a staring rotation similar to the 2011 White Sox: No true ace, but a pretty solid 1.5 starter. No true number 2, but a few guys who are in that 3-4 range. With a solid bullpen and a revamped offsense, that could be enough to keep the Cubs in the 2012 NL Central hunt. They don’t need the best rotation in the league, but it has to be respectable. Lots of “if’s” in that model of course.

  • Dusty Baylor

    I am tired…tired tired…of the Cubs putting together teams for a season or 2..then having to rebuild. Can’t we as fans, just bite the bullet, and hope that they blow this “team” up, and start putting together a team that could be together a few seasons…not full of 1 season stopgap guys?

  • Buddy

    That is certainly a realistic option Dusty. The new GM may share your thoughts. I guess the other side of that coin is this: Can’t the Cubs still develop young players AND field a competitve team? They have tons of resources after all. Can’t the 2012 Cubs still be respectable while guys like Jackson, Baez, Vogelbach, and some young arms develop? Not an exact fit, but kind of like the Angels. Even when they’re not great, they still find a way to field a competitive team. Nothing wrong with finishing 83-79 while your young prospects get better. I guess what I’m saying is maybe the Cubs don’t have to suck to build for the future.

  • Buddy

    The other point I failed to mention is this: one- and two-year players like I mentioned above wouldn’t be blocking any of the Cubs real prospects.

  • Chuck

    Every party has a pooper, that’s why I invited myself.
    I fully expect the Cubs to be bottom-feeders in 2011. That will be doubly so if they don’t pick up Aramis’ option. The biggest problem is the rotation. They are just plain bad outside of Garza. The Cubs had a middle-of-the-road lineup this year and a terrible pitching staff as a whole. I see no reason why that would change for the better.

  • Chuck

    The Cubs scored 654 runs in 2011 good for 8th. Mediocre.
    The Cubs gave up 756 runs in 2011 good for 14th with a team ERA of 4.34 good for 14th as well. Terrible.
    They need to do one of two things, score a boatload more runs or pitch a lot better.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Well you’re predicting the Cubs to be bottom feeders in 2011? Way to go out on a limb…I predict that Verlander will win 24 games in 2011.
    =P

  • Buddy

    You’re right Chuck, and I think they have to do both. Maybe they can do just that without overspending.

  • Norm

    It’s most certainly possible, just not likely. I’m with Chuck in that I don’t think it will happen, but stranger things have.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Buddy, I’m with you that fielding a competitive team AND developing young players don’t have to be mutually exclusive. That is the ideal, I just don’t know if we can get there from here in a matter of just a few months or even years. But to me, that is what success looks like–being competitive every year, with the financial flexibility to add the pieces we need/want, and steady stream of young talent coming up from the farm. Let’s hope the new GM has the same idea.

    Nice job.

  • Buddy

    I don’t know if the Cubs can get there in a few months either, J.J. I guess it comes down to the abilities of the new GM. Hopefully it’s somebody extremely creative!

  • Noah

    Morrison is a terrible defensive left fielder even. He’d be historically bad in right field in Wrigley. If you brought LoMo in, it would be with the idea of playing him at 1B, which is where he played in the minors. The only reason he plays LF in Florida is because Gaby Sanchez would be even worse in the OF. I’d also be more likely to give B-Jax if you could manage a straight up swap than Cashner for LoMo. I have big concerns about B-Jax’s K rate, and I also think you might be able to do a straight swap. I’d rather see if you could swing something around, say, McNutt and Vitters (Vitters is approaching non-prospect status in some circles, but still has some value right now).

    I also think the team you put together is unlikely to happen. The Cubs almost certainly are going to pick up Ramirez’s option. Ramirez will almost certainly opt out. The Cubs will almost certainly offer Ramirez arbitration. Ramirez will almost certainly decline.

    I also only really like one pitcher in the rotation you put together: Garza. I think counting on Dempster returning to being a solid 2 next year might be too much. He’s probably aging into more a 3 or 4. And then everyone else you listed is a 4 or 5.

    It’s also a team that, even if it happened, a ton would have to go right for. Their team defense would be atrocious, even if Castro improves. You’d need major resurgences or career years from a lot of the veterans you brought in.

    If there was a way for the Cubs to compete next year while continuing to build for the future, I’d be all for it. I just don’t think you presented an option that is likely to do that, nor do I think there is any realistic option for the Cubs being any more than the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. They might put up a mirage of competing in 2012 for half the season, but that’s the best we can expect.

  • Jedi

    Compete, yes. Win the division, no. We could be like the Reds were this year. I just wonder if we want to?

    Depending on how much overhaul needs to take place, I’d rather construct a team for 2013 – and if we are able pull out a miracle before that, fine. But I’d prefer a long term view – to me that means don’t sign anymore Marlon Byrd/Carlos Pena type stopgap deals.

    There are plenty of teams who are backed up at positions and we could trade to get a guy who deserves a shot. Look at the Angels – Trumbo, Trout, Abreu, Morales – they have too many people. See if they’d part with Trout or Trumbo…or what it would take for the Reds to give up Yonder Alonso. That’s why I like the idea of Logan Morrison – better to invest in a young guy who will be cheap than ride the end of Coco Crisp’s career…I’d rather have 162 of Campana than sign another freakin’ outfielder.

  • Dusty Baylor

    I get the sentiment…and I hate to sound like a negator here…but signing a guy like Crisp is exactly the wrong move. He was healthy this season, mostly…but in 2008-2010 played in 242 games of 486 possible. He’s 32 in November, and his OPS+ was 91 this season….he steals based, and has a little pop, but .264/.314/.379 for $5.75 million this season? Is that the kind of money we want the Cubs to spend, on a player like that? Jonny Gomes? I mean if you want 20 HR’s and a .310 OBP with bad D..sure? Chien Mien Wang? Really? Joel Pineiro? Pineiro made $8 mill this season, and was not good, but would he take much less to come here?

  • Noah

    It would cost the entire farm system to get Trout. He’s arguably the most highly touted position player eligible for ROY next season, and many scouts like him better than Bryce Harper. No thanks on Trumbo, he’s a very flawed bat for a 1B. I’d be intrigued to see if we could Morales, though, if he doesn’t cost much in return. He’s had a ton of injury problems, but he can hit for power and is a good fielder at the position. It would be a total flier move, but he could be really cheap next year.

    I agree the Cubs should really kick the tires on LoMo and see what it costs to get him as the Cubs 1B of the future. From what I’ve heard, though, it’s unlikely the Marlins will be selling. I do like the Morales idea, though, as someone to try and see if he can stay healthy.

  • Noah

    Also, Javier Baez won’t be anywhere near ready by 2013. He’ll probably be in Peoria next season, and MIGHT earn a promotion to Daytona mid-year. That would be very impressive for a kid who will be 19 at that point. But it would be a major surprise if he’s ready for Chicago before mid-season 2014, and even that would be very impressive (he’d be 21).

  • Jedi

    Here in LA there are those who suggest that the Trout could be had by a team willing to take Abreu’s $10mil for one year. I’d be willing to explore that, especially if the Angels would take Byrd back as part of the deal. Reagins and the Angels LOVE Morales. It’s worth exploring.

    As for Trumbo – I’d take him, or someone like him instead of shelling out another $10mil for a Pena deal. If we have so much money to blow, why not just cut Soriano loose? Until him and Zambrano are gone, I’m assuming that money is partly an issue; so I’d like to save it until we have enough to jettison both.

  • Buddy

    Not negative at all Dusty. We’re just having some fun with this article. Again, I’m not saying I want this model. It’s just a realtively cheap possibility that could allow the Cubs to be competitive in 2012 and still develop the key youngsters for 2013 and beyond. While LoMo may not be a great outfielder, he’s not terrible. The guy is actually pretty athletic for his size. Jonny Gomes would only be a bat vs. LHP (him or Cody Ross or a similar OF). Again, not to play everyday. Regarding Wang, did you see him pitch in the second half? I saw several of his starts, and his stuff is coming back nicely. Maybe worth a one-year, cheap roll of the dice.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Ok…so I’m a little grumpy today….mea culpa all.

  • Buddy

    That’s the first I’ve heard of that rumor Jedi. Why in the world would the Angels trade maybe the best prospect in all of baseball?

  • Buddy

    Regarding Baez, I spoke to a Peoria Chiefs executive a few weeks ago. While he’d love to have Baez in Peoria in 2012, he thinks he will start in high A ball. We’ll find out if he’s right soon enough.

  • Dusty Baylor

    I’ll say this, I like this kind of discussion and creativity for a change…rather than….”Well if Wells can win 15 games…and Barney improves to blah blah blah.”

  • Buddy

    Thanks Dusty. That was the whole point. Plus, I woke up with this crazy model in my brain and had to share it. For therapy reasons if nothing else.

  • Chuck

    If the Angels traded Trout for anything short of an amazing package the entire front office should be fired on the spot. He is a top-tier prospect.
    I would not trade any of the young starting pitchers the Cubs have for almost anything. The Cubs have to start developing young pitchers if they are going to be any good for a long time. Trading for LoMo is a good idea if they want people like Barney or LaHair or a grade-C pitching prospect or any combination thereof.

  • Noah

    If Baez starts in Daytona next year, that’s a mistake by the Cubs in my opinion. He’s a pretty raw player.

  • Buddy

    Nobody wants Barney or a grade-C pitching prospect. Not sure what to make of LaHair. There might be some takers for him.

  • Buddy

    I live in Central IL, so I’m rooting for Baez and Vogelbach in Peoria for 2012.

  • Chuck

    The Angel’s GM is obviously smoking crack. I would take Abreu’s contract to get Trout every day of the week and twice on Sunday. That is an extremely short-sighted thing to do and we should take advantage of it pronto. Wait… We don’t have a GM. Nevermind…
    I’m going to go hang myself with my underwear.

  • Jedi

    Reagins has been doing interviews on radio here locally. You have to understand, the Angels are famously “no comment” people. They don’t talk about jack, ever.

    He basically admitted that they’d like to be rid of Abreu’s deal (though not in as many words) – which is no surprise. But that still doesn’t solve their 1B/DH issue. So the implication that he wouldn’t elaborate on – but that the host’s both immediately picked up on – is that the Angels will likely try to package Abreu or possibly Vernon Wells (seems unlikely) with someone that people want.

    Think of it this way if you’re LA – so you lose Trout, but if you can dump Abreu in the process, you no longer have a backed up outfield and with only 2 1B/DH options (Morales, Trumbo) you can legitimately chase Fielder or Pujols. That was kind of the tenor of the whole thing…that moving one of the albatross deals in Anaheim might lead to something much more substantial. Trout didn’t exactly blow anyone away in limited duty either…and I think the Angels are going to be very much in “win now” mode. Another year like and they’ll have front office/coaching changes.

  • Noah

    It’s going to take value to get LoMo. You can’t get him with Barney, LaHair and C prospects. If the Cubsa are going to go after LoMo, of course there are prospects I’d rather see them base a deal around. For example, I’d much rather give up Jay Jackson, who has been up and down the last two years, than Trey McNutt, who has a higher ceiling. I’d also love to see if the Cubs could base a deal around Vitters and Szczur, who I view as very flawed prospects.

  • Buddy

    I would take on Abreu’s contract to acquire Trout in a heartbeat. I don’t think I’d be alone either.

  • Jedi

    Yeah but would you take Wells’? I wondered as they discussed it whether Trout and Abreu was a way to get people in the conversation before Reagins tried the bait and switch with Abreu for Wells.

  • Buddy

    Not sure if the rumor is true, but apparently the Marlins want a righty bat. They don’t have a CF, so that’s where the Byrd idea came from. Obviously that isn’t enough to get LoMo, so I tossed in Cashner, who I think might be interesting to Florida. Campana/Colvin and a prospect might sweeten the deal enough for the Marlins to pull the trigger.

  • Jedi

    By the way – I don’t wanna make it sound like Reagins was floating the idea…he wasn’t. But he wasn’t saying no either; and that can be just as illuminating (unless of course you’re Jim Hendry and you make anyone that wears the jersey untradeable).

  • Dusty Baylor

    Trout may not have blown anyone away, but I bet his .326/.414/.544, with 11 HR, 33 SB’s and 13 triples in 412 PA’s probably did. He just turned 20 on August 7th. This kid has crazy skills. Period. Not every player comes up like Starlin Castro and hits right away.

  • Buddy

    Understood Jedi.

  • Jedi

    Yeah, he’s got the skills Dusty – I’m just not sure the Angels feel like they can wait another year; especially with HOF options on the free agent market. Remember, this is a team whose last two big free agent signings were an over-the-hill Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews Jr. I really think they want to free up a spot for Pujols or Fielder. What Pujols could do for their fan interest can’t be adequately described. Fielder would at least give Moreno some legitimacy.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Whoa! Just saw on Twitter the Red Sox have announced Francona is officially out.

    AND Reagins has resigned from the Angels.

  • Buddy

    The offseason will be very interesting this year!

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Just to expand on what Jedi was saying, Trout might have a spectacular future ahead of him, but he’s not selling any tickets right now. McCourt has the Dodgers in a holding pattern, so now is Moreno’s chance if he wants to become the primary team in LA, and he could do it in a walk if he can bring in Pujols. From that perspective, even a prized prospect like Trout looks tradeable.

  • Jedi

    Well, maybe Reagins’ inability to defend Trout is what did him in? That’s hilarious.

    Although I must say, anyone who gives up Napoli for Wells clearly hasn’t a clue what he’s doing. Here’s to hoping they hire another short-sighted fool – that Jered Weaver guy really sucks, trade him to the Cubs.

  • Buddy

    The Angels drew 3.1 million this year, so ticket sales don’t seem to be the problem.

  • Jedi

    Buddy – it’s not ticket sales. As bad as the Dodgers have been, they still own LA from a baseball standpoint. Pujols or Fielder could change that. One of Moreno’s stated desires is to overtake the Dodgers in the hearts of Southern Californians. It’s a Cubs/White Sox thing…the Angels have always been the second team, they’d like to change that. With McCourt leading the Dodgers down the toilet, it’s reasonably possible that the Angels COULD do that.

  • Buddy

    I understand. I was just replying to JJ’s post about selling tickets.

  • Jedi

    Oh, my mistake – I missed that…

  • Chuck

    I love it when an owner steps in over the objections of a GM to get a deal done. Usually the deal is horrendous.

  • Buddy

    Have you read Billy Martin’s book, Chuck? It’s full of hilarious examples of what you just mentioned (a medling owner making dumb moves).

  • Buddy

    By the way, what are your WS predictions? I’ll say Philly over Detroit.

  • Norm

    No way Trout is available.

  • Buddy

    Steve Trout maybe?

  • http://swantron.com jswanson

    Props to Buddy for the post. I like what you have put on the table, especially with our options at the IF corners. It is what it is. I am still suspending disbelief and thinking that Colvin can get his game back. I sort of drifted off for a bit…stick with me on this one. Picture Barney’s innate skills and approach to the game with Colvin’s size, power, etc. Or for that matter, Barney’s game with mostly anyone else’s skill set. If he had Colvin’s pop, Castro’s speed…anything really…wow. I don’t know. Good write-up though, man.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Buddy, forgive my inexact wording. I didn’t mean that the Angels aren’t selling any tickets, just that most of the crowds aren’t showing up specifically to see Trout. Adding a guy like Pujols extends the reach of your team to people who might not care as much about the Angels, or even baseball in general, but who don’t want to miss one of the all-time greats. Sorta like how non-Cubs fans filled Wrigley to watch Sosa. Or the way non-golf fans flocked to see Tiger. A better way to say it would have been that I haven’t seen a lot of Trout jerseys around town. With Pujols, the Angels would have trouble keeping them in stock.

  • Buddy

    Ah. Now I get it. Thanks. If the Angels don’t deal Trout (and I don’t think they will), you’ll see plenty of his jerseys around town in the very near future.

  • Chuck

    My WS prediction is Brewers over Texas.
    There are a lot of flawed teams out there. Philly can’t hit. Yanks, Texas and Cards can’t pitch. Detroit is a one-trick pony that lucked into a division that was horrible.
    To me, the brewers and Rangers are teh most complete teams out there when you take into account the 3-man rotation.

  • Buddy

    Texas and NYY pitched just fine during the regular season.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I’d like to see the Tigers or the Rays win it, but I don’t have high hopes for either team. Honestly, I’m fine with anyone but the Cardinals.

  • Jedi

    I think you’re getting Rays v. Tigers and Phillies v. Brewers with a WS of Rays and Phillies. My head says Phillies, but I’d love to see the Rays win.

    I know what Chuck means about the Rangers and Yankees, neither pitching staff in total screams “championship” to me. Whereas the Rays, Phillies, Brewers…those look like championship staffs to me.

  • Jedi

    By the way Buddy, I liked a lot of your ideas in the post. Veterans like Vasquez could be cheap enough to be worth signing. But like you said, just a year or two…and it has to be REALLY cheap. None of this Carlos Pena $10mil for a year crap.

  • Buddy

    I wonder what Pena will get from whoever signs him. Thoughts?

  • Jedi

    Too much.

  • Buddy

    If you want to be entertained, go to ESPN.com’s live baseball chat. Lots of knucklehead fans.

  • Buddy

    Thank God for VFTB. If you didn’t check out the ESPN.com live playoff chat, it was painful. The average comment was something along the lines of “Rays Rock!” I know we don’t always see eye to eye here, but the discussion is always lively and interesting. Keep up the good work!

  • BLPCB

    Just unload all the bloated salaries who aren’t going to be in 2013 plans and play the freaking kids! This team constantly tries winning now and developing young players at the same time, and they manage to do a craptastic job at both. Just keep the shuttle running between Des Moines and Wrigley all season long. Get rid of Dempster. Get rid of Soriano. Get rid of Pena. Get rid of Ramirez. Get rid of Bozo. And if you can’t get rid of them, bench them. Their salaries are sunk costs. Economics 101: A sunk cost is something you can’t recover.

  • Doc Raker

    If a club comitts to rebuilding then all moves are done with 2014 in mind, filling holes holes with players who won’t be on the club in 2014 only retards the rebuilding process. I hope the Cubs are committed to rebuilding. If you don’t rebuild you may be better in 2012 but you won’t be as good as you could be in the future pushing the true goal of a World Series championship even further down the road.

  • Buddy

    I hear “play the kids” alot, but nobody ever says exactly who the kids are. I’d love for somebody to tell me which kids should be playing in Chicago in 2012. Is it just an age thing? Or are these players with a real future in baseball?

  • Norm

    I think people make too much of the spending if it doesn’t affect the organization of the team. As long as they aren’t multi year deals, $10 million to Carlos Pena is not a big deal.
    Ricketts gives the GM the payroll budget. If he says $130 million and the GM only spends $110 million, that doesn’t mean next year he can spend $150 million.
    And the Cubs will NOT reduce payroll all that much. If they do, it shows the fans that they aren’t trying to make the current team better and the interest disappears.
    By keeping the payroll in the $130 range, with 1 year deals, it shows the fans they’re trying to compete (even if they know they won’t *really* compete) and it also keeps the budget flexible for the next season.
    # of years is more important than # of dollars.

  • Buddy

    Once again Norm, you stole my brain waves. I feel the exact same way. Signing Javy Vazquez or Kelly Johnson to a cost-effective, one-year deal doesn’t block any prospects or hinder their development in any way. And I’m not worried about the scarcity of resources for the future, because the Cubs have plenty of $$$$$. They can still spend a bundle on player development/the future without fielding an embarrassing product year to year.

  • BLPCB

    It does make a difference very much plugging holes with guys who are not part of the long-term. Because instead of spending that money on retreads, spend the MLB minimum on some minor-league hack, save the money, which Ricketts could use instead to renovate Wrigley, or pay down the purchase of the team.

  • Doc Raker

    It isn’t about choosing players for every position right now. It is about staying flexible and not committing to a player who isn’t in the future plans. Multi million dollar contracts tie a managers hands. There are 29 other clubs to pilfer during the season with trades, why committ to a 1 year player and close that trading door for the season.

  • Mike W

    Some of it is plausible, but I do not agree with the OF situation. I do not believe that Morrison is worth all that. He hit 275ish with less than 80 rbis and 23 home runs. Cashner should develop into a pitcher, also from everything I’m reading/seeing we have very good depth in our OF in the minors so no need for another player to take up space. Finally why bring another hot head in Morrison to Chicago. If we still have Quade (hopefully not) how is he going to deal with another tempered player.

  • Buddy

    Those are good points Mike. Personally, I don’t think Morrison is a hothead, but that’s just my opinion.

  • Buddy

    For what it’s worth, Peter Gammons is reporting that Theo Epstein is interested in the Cubs GM position and will ask the Red Sox to give him permission to interview.

  • Noah

    Buddy, I completely agree with you on Kelly Johnson. I would be a big fan of the Cubs bringing in Kelly Johnson on a one year deal to play 2B. He should be had for a relatively inexpensive one year deal, and could be worth a lot if he turns it around.

  • Jedi

    Until and unless Soriano and Zambrano are no longer Cubs, it should be safe to assume that money IS of some importance. I’d much rather have saved the $10mil we threw at Carlos Pena and thrown it at Zambrano along with a ticket back to Venezuela.

  • Doc Raker

    Bingo Jedi, the Cubs need to add by subtraction before they can really move forward.

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