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Chet's Corner: Five Burning Questions (Spring Training Edition)

Written by , Posted in General

With the off-season officially in the past and the spring training drills firing up, I decided we needed another Five Burning Questions.  Today’s questions deal with compensation, that kid from Notre Dame and a lot of over unders. 

1) In general, if you had to describe your level of satisfaction with the Epstein/Hoyer regime to this point would you say you are:

A.  Extremely pleased

B.   Satisfied

C.   Very Medium

D.  Disappointed

*I am going with satisfied.  I could almost go with extremely satisfied but feel it is a bit early.  I do love the fact that we have a direction and purpose though.  That alone is reason enough for optimism.

2) Was Chris Carpenter fair compensation for Theo?

*I would take this every day of the week and twice on Sunday…..enough said…..

3) The Cubs had 71 wins in 2011, does this team eclipse that mark or fall short?

*I feel it will be over, but only by a few games and we will enjoy watching this team lose more than last years team. 

4) If you could choose one pitcher to make the rotation that doesn’t have a spot already locked up, who would it be?

*I am going with Samardzija.  After reading Doug Padilla’s column yesterday, it seems Jeff has gone full on psycho mode with his efforts to lock down a spot as a starter.  The effort alone makes me cheer for him, now as far as it actually happening???

5) Knowing what we now know, would you take back the Garza trade or would you still go through with it?

*I am very aware that I may be in the minority here, but I still like the trade.  It will really depend on Chris Archer’s perfromance in the next year or so.  He had a rough go of it last year in the minors.  Hak-Ju Lee looks like the real deal so far at shortstop, but he has yet to hit the bigs.  This deal may be the quintessential proof, good or bad,  that prospects are prospects until proven otherwise. 

 

  • Josh Cornwall

    1. I’m going with satisfied for the very reasons you mentioned. I like the sense of direction instead of a variety of moves that have no rhyme or reason.

    2. I’m fine with it. Living in New England, I just wanted to stop hearing Sox fans say that it was fair compensation to get Garza or Castro.

    3. I’m going over. I see no reason why this team can’t be within 5 games of .500. 76 wins?

    4. Travis Wood. He may be one of those guys that is a fringe lock, but I’ll mention him anyway. Shark should have taken his NFL money and ran.

    5. I’m with you Chet. I was upset at the time, because I feel like we gave up more than other teams did for better players. Lee has climbed up the prospect rankings, but the love for Archer has cooled off a bit. I think Garza is a player that Theo should build around, not trade to go back to where we were.

  • cap’n obvious

    1. C*    Very medium rare.  Just like a nice t-bone.
    2. fair.  I guess.  Doesn’t look like either team is getting much at this point.
    3. Short.  This team, as currently constructed, probably loses 95 games.
    4. Volstad.  I like his size and stuff.  Hoping the change of scenery lends him some help.
    5.  Hard to like it.  Chirinos and Guyer look good to make the big club in Tampa.  Lee and Archer might not be far behind.  That’s potentially 5 guys on the big league roster if Fuld sticks around.   Garza would have to be lights out good, and the Cubs would have to contend this season (ha!) for this to have been a good deal.  No way to have known last January that this team needed to be completely blown up, but all things being equal, I’d rather have 4 great prospects and Fuld than one solid pitcher at this juncture.

    • flyslinger2

      1. B.
      2. I’m still lost on this compensation crap.  Show me one other industry where one company swaps employee B from company 1 (where employee A went to) because company 2 whines to some other person about loosing their resource?  Why wasn’t he content where he was?  Did he feel he wasn’t getting compensated for his expertise? Where there management issues? If he was truly happy he wouldn’t have gone elsewhere. But, yes, the professional sports world has to have everything fair (4 letter word) and equitable for all involved.  That is why NASCAR has gotten so boring with Cars Of Tomorrow (COTS).  They all drive bunched together for 500 laps and the only way to win is to NASCAR nudge your buddy into the wall because no one can break away from the pack using shear raw horsepower and driving skills.  Yawn.
      >
      Theo left because he saw an opportunity elsewhere that excited him.  Everyone should be free to come and go as they please.
      3. Short of 91 but around 80 games.  They are mediocre.
      4. Samardzija.  If he can truly wrap his head around his game and really produce 5 innings of solid ball like I mentioned yesterday I would like him in the starting rotation.
      5. Hindsight always gives us the advantage so I will defer to the managements decision and hope that they are earning their money on this trade.  That means several players could produce for us.

  • cap’n obvious

    1. C*    Very medium rare.  Just like a nice t-bone.
    2. fair.  I guess.  Doesn’t look like either team is getting much at this point.
    3. Short.  This team, as currently constructed, probably loses 95 games.
    4. Volstad.  I like his size and stuff.  Hoping the change of scenery lends him some help.
    5.  Hard to like it.  Chirinos and Guyer look good to make the big club in Tampa.  Lee and Archer might not be far behind.  That’s potentially 5 guys on the big league roster if Fuld sticks around.   Garza would have to be lights out good, and the Cubs would have to contend this season (ha!) for this to have been a good deal.  No way to have known last January that this team needed to be completely blown up, but all things being equal, I’d rather have 4 great prospects and Fuld than one solid pitcher at this juncture.

  • Kathryn Brito

    1. I agree with you as well Chet, I am satisfied with how Jed and Theo have clearly set a directionality and have been doing offseason work. 

    2. I liked the decision and at the same time I feel slightly bad because the Red Sox defiantly got screwed in the long run.

    3. I believe that this team will easily be able to pass this mark, not necessarily based on talent but the state of the rest of the NL Central

    4.I’m going with Samardzija too, I like the kid and I’m hopping he can finally break out

    5. Our main issue is with our bullpen and if we have a pitcher with promise that we can build a team around like Josh says, then I would say I defiantly still liked the trade

  • Kathryn Brito

    1. I agree with you as well Chet, I am satisfied with how Jed and Theo have clearly set a directionality and have been doing offseason work. 

    2. I liked the decision and at the same time I feel slightly bad because the Red Sox defiantly got screwed in the long run.

    3. I believe that this team will easily be able to pass this mark, not necessarily based on talent but the state of the rest of the NL Central

    4.I’m going with Samardzija too, I like the kid and I’m hopping he can finally break out

    5. Our main issue is with our bullpen and if we have a pitcher with promise that we can build a team around like Josh says, then I would say I defiantly still liked the trade

  • flyslinger2

    1. B.
    2. I’m still lost on this compensation crap.  Show me one other industry where one company swaps employee B from company 1 (where employee A went to) because company 2 whines to some other person about loosing their resource?  Why wasn’t he content where he was?  Did he feel he wasn’t getting compensated for his expertise? Where there management issues? If he was truly happy he wouldn’t have gone elsewhere. But, yes, the professional sports world has to have everything fair (4 letter word) and equitable for all involved.  That is why NASCAR has gotten so boring with Cars Of Tomorrow (COTS).  They all drive bunched together for 500 laps and the only way to win is to NASCAR nudge your buddy into the wall because no one can break away from the pack using shear raw horsepower and driving skills.  Yawn.
    >
    Theo left because he saw an opportunity elsewhere that excited him.  Everyone should be free to come and go as they please.
    3. Short of 91 but around 80 games.  They are mediocre.
    4. Samardzija.  If he can truly wrap his head around his game and really produce 5 innings of solid ball like I mentioned yesterday I would like him in the starting rotation.
    5. Hindsight always gives us the advantage so I will defer to the managements decision and hope that they are earning their money on this trade.  That means several players could produce for us.

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    1. B (so far so good)
    2. I wish it was someone a little lower down in level, but still could be worse
    3. I agree, just slightly over perhaps around 77
    4. Samardzija, but I still can’t see it actually happening
    5. I’m still happy with the trade, I think he is our best SP

  • Jedi

    1. There’s not much to grade them on so far – it’s incomplete in my opinion.

    2. Unless Carpenter has a long MLB career as something other than a reliever does it really matter?

    3. They won’t go to the playoffs, so the number won’t mean much anyway – I’m more interested in how they play fundamentally and how they respond to Dale.

    4. What is it that I’m missing that makes so many want Samardzija in the rotation?  He was a bad second half away from probably being traded.  Moreover, his stats PROVE he’s a limited use pitcher (reliever) not a starter.

    Of his 75 appearances, in the 59 appearances where he did NOT give up an earned run, he averaged 15 pitches per inning.  In the 16 appearances where he DID give up an earned run, he averaged 25 pitches per inning.  Only 12 times all year was he able to throw more than 25 pitches without giving up an earned run (and only 4 times more than 30 pitches – all before the All-Star.  Meaning that after the break if he threw 30 pitches he WAS definitely surrendering a run).  Conversely, only twice did he throw FEWER than 20 pitches and manage to give up a run.  The lesson is this – if Samardzija gets to 20 pitches he should be facing his final batter.  Samardzija is the OPPOSITE of Marmol.  If Marmol is wild and throwing tons of pitches, he might work his way out of it.  If Samardzija isn’t sharp, there’s really no reason to leave him out there.  Samardzija’s stats scream “this guy is a reliever.”

    5. You can’t view the trade in a vaccuum – Hendry was making the decisions and that trade was specifically to improve the team in the short-term.  If he’d been willing to blow things up and start over the Cubs probably wouldn’t have been willing to give up as much.  And yet, if we can sign Garza long-term it still might be one of Hendry’s better moves.

  • Lizzie

    I’m with you, Chet. I’m B Satisfied pushing A Extremely Satisfied. Now if we had more hope the past few years I might have set a higher bar but just having a plan is good enough for me. If you set your expectations ultra-low you are never disappointed.

    Compensation – meh. I don’t think it was necessary, and I especially don’t think the drawn-out hoopla was necessary

    Wins – I’m with Jedi on this one. I don’t expect a good number but I don’t care if it’s bad as long as I see an improvement in baseball fundamentals.

    Starters – meh2. I’m not a Samardzija fan, and I don’t know enough yet about the others to pick a favorite. Maybe after I get a look at them in spring training. And by “look” I mean “look” since we’re probably not going to get to see them actually pitch much!

    Garza – I’m ok with it. 

    • Doc Raker

      1. Satisfied with Theds off season. The rebuild has started and that is what I thought we needed since last off season. They would have had to trade Fonzi and Dempster for me to be Very Please. If they platoon Fonzi I will be almost very pleased.
      2. I hate to see CC go but I would of gave up my dinners with Seymour to get rid of Hendry.
      3. Who cares- watching the team transform into a new roster is the exciting part- wins don’t matter this year.
      4. Me- did I mention I threw a complete game victory in January with nothin but nasty curve balls.
      5. Garza is young enough to be the anchor of a rebuilt rotation. If we can keep Garza long term at a reasonable price I like the trade.

      • cap’n obvious

        If a ball is thrown so slowly that gravity begins dragging it toward the earth after 50 feet, did the ball really curve?  Doc Raker does not posses a curve ball….more of a Newton-Ball.

      • Doc Raker

        That is slander Capn, my ball breaks and drops. Gravity pulls down, gravity does not push away from right handed hitters. Not only can I throw a curve but I can throw it for strikes. Who is  a more effective pitcher, the pitcher who can spot his curve or the pitcher with 4 different pitches but can’t throw them for strikes?

      • Eddie Von White

        Don’t all pitchers count on the law of gravity to pull their curve ball down? And outfielders, and hitters, and…

  • I’m with you, Chet. I’m B Satisfied pushing A Extremely Satisfied. Now if we had more hope the past few years I might have set a higher bar but just having a plan is good enough for me. If you set your expectations ultra-low you are never disappointed.

    Compensation – meh. I don’t think it was necessary, and I especially don’t think the drawn-out hoopla was necessary

    Wins – I’m with Jedi on this one. I don’t expect a good number but I don’t care if it’s bad as long as I see an improvement in baseball fundamentals.

    Starters – meh2. I’m not a Samardzija fan, and I don’t know enough yet about the others to pick a favorite. Maybe after I get a look at them in spring training. And by “look” I mean “look” since we’re probably not going to get to see them actually pitch much!

    Garza – I’m ok with it. 

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I’m more inclined to give the A to Ricketts and withhold judgement on Epstein and Hoyer.  Having a plan is a nice improvement from past seasons, but the measure of their success–and they would agree with this–has to be the on-the-field product.

    I think the Cubs never saw him as more than a reliever; maybe a closer.  From that perspective, we didn’t give up much.  If he exceeds those expectations, I might feel different.  But I’m with Lizzie–it’s dumb that we had to give up anything at all.

    Also agree with Jedi & Lizzie–don’t care about the final record if the team shows some progress from last season.  I think any progress would hopefully show up in the win column, but that’s not where I’m basing my evaluation on the season.

    Chet, maybe I’m just in a lousy mood, but I didn’t take much encouragement from Padilla’s article on Samardzija–if anything, it kinda irked me to know he hasn’t put much effort into his last few shots at the starting rotation.  If $10M spread over the last five years wasn’t enough to grab hold of his full attention and effort, why should the Cubs think they have it now?  I’m glad he’s finally giving it his best, but I’ll be surprised to see him power through the limitations Jedi pointed out above.  He’s a Cub, so I want him to succeed–I’m just not sure he hasn’t already reached his ceiling.  I’m much more interested to see what we have in Volstad and Wood.

    I like Garza a lot, but the quality of that trade still hinges on what he means to the team going forward.  If we lock him up and he becomes a key part of the foundation for the Epstein/Hoyer rebuild, then I’m thrilled.  I’d also be OK with it if we trade him away, as long as we fleece the other team for majors-ready talent.  I’m not one to easily fall in love with prospects, so the only way I’ll wind up with buyer’s remorse on this one is if we let Garza get away for nothing.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I’m more inclined to give the A to Ricketts and withhold judgement on Epstein and Hoyer.  Having a plan is a nice improvement from past seasons, but the measure of their success–and they would agree with this–has to be the on-the-field product.

    I think the Cubs never saw him as more than a reliever; maybe a closer.  From that perspective, we didn’t give up much.  If he exceeds those expectations, I might feel different.  But I’m with Lizzie–it’s dumb that we had to give up anything at all.

    Also agree with Jedi & Lizzie–don’t care about the final record if the team shows some progress from last season.  I think any progress would hopefully show up in the win column, but that’s not where I’m basing my evaluation on the season.

    Chet, maybe I’m just in a lousy mood, but I didn’t take much encouragement from Padilla’s article on Samardzija–if anything, it kinda irked me to know he hasn’t put much effort into his last few shots at the starting rotation.  If $10M spread over the last five years wasn’t enough to grab hold of his full attention and effort, why should the Cubs think they have it now?  I’m glad he’s finally giving it his best, but I’ll be surprised to see him power through the limitations Jedi pointed out above.  He’s a Cub, so I want him to succeed–I’m just not sure he hasn’t already reached his ceiling.  I’m much more interested to see what we have in Volstad and Wood.

    I like Garza a lot, but the quality of that trade still hinges on what he means to the team going forward.  If we lock him up and he becomes a key part of the foundation for the Epstein/Hoyer rebuild, then I’m thrilled.  I’d also be OK with it if we trade him away, as long as we fleece the other team for majors-ready talent.  I’m not one to easily fall in love with prospects, so the only way I’ll wind up with buyer’s remorse on this one is if we let Garza get away for nothing.

  • Doc Raker

    1. Satisfied with Theds off season. The rebuild has started and that is what I thought we needed since last off season. They would have had to trade Fonzi and Dempster for me to be Very Please. If they platoon Fonzi I will be almost very pleased.
    2. I hate to see CC go but I would of gave up my dinners with Seymour to get rid of Hendry.
    3. Who cares- watching the team transform into a new roster is the exciting part- wins don’t matter this year.
    4. Me- did I mention I threw a complete game victory in January with nothin but nasty curve balls.
    5. Garza is young enough to be the anchor of a rebuilt rotation. If we can keep Garza long term at a reasonable price I like the trade.

    • cap’n obvious

      If a ball is thrown so slowly that gravity begins dragging it toward the earth after 50 feet, did the ball really curve?  Doc Raker does not posses a curve ball….more of a Newton-Ball.

      • Doc Raker

        That is slander Capn, my ball breaks and drops. Gravity pulls down, gravity does not push away from right handed hitters. Not only can I throw a curve but I can throw it for strikes. Who is  a more effective pitcher, the pitcher who can spot his curve or the pitcher with 4 different pitches but can’t throw them for strikes?

      • Eddie Von White

        Don’t all pitchers count on the law of gravity to pull their curve ball down? And outfielders, and hitters, and…

  • BLPCB

    1. B. Too early for A
    2. It’s a small price to pay for getting rid of Jimmy Boy. I just wish we could have unloaded Soriano as well
    3. 2012 will be a success if we can get rid of Soriano, even if we go 0-162. (And the White Sox and Cardinals suck too)
    4. Volstad. Samardzijda should have gone to the NFL
    5. What Doc said on Garza

  • AC0000000

    1. B. Too early for A
    2. It’s a small price to pay for getting rid of Jimmy Boy. I just wish we could have unloaded Soriano as well
    3. 2012 will be a success if we can get rid of Soriano, even if we go 0-162. (And the White Sox and Cardinals suck too)
    4. Volstad. Samardzijda should have gone to the NFL
    5. What Doc said on Garza

  • David Beyer

    1) A. New administration doing things = possibility of ANYTHING FRICKING ELSE THAN WHAT WE HAVE HAD FOR OVER ONE FULL CENTURY.
    2) I was hoping they’d just lose Josh Vitters. I got better than that. Is good.
    3) Over by 8. Only because the rest of the central will make them look less terrible.
    4) Henry Rowengartner. Okay, really, absolutely no one. Maybe Trey McNutt somehow. I have to admit that I always wanted to see Courtney Duncan get a chance, just like I wanted to see Robin Jennings play every day. Clearly I am an expert on evaluating talent.
    5) Yes. Each year I’m on the brink of quitting on these losers. Garza acted as the bridge to the Theocene Epoch. 

  • David Beyer

    1) A. New administration doing things = possibility of ANYTHING FRICKING ELSE THAN WHAT WE HAVE HAD FOR OVER ONE FULL CENTURY.
    2) I was hoping they’d just lose Josh Vitters. I got better than that. Is good.
    3) Over by 8. Only because the rest of the central will make them look less terrible.
    4) Henry Rowengartner. Okay, really, absolutely no one. Maybe Trey McNutt somehow. I have to admit that I always wanted to see Courtney Duncan get a chance, just like I wanted to see Robin Jennings play every day. Clearly I am an expert on evaluating talent.
    5) Yes. Each year I’m on the brink of quitting on these losers. Garza acted as the bridge to the Theocene Epoch. 

  • Chuck

    1) I am going to go with C, very medium, for now.  It is far too early to declare this race one way or the other.  The product ont he field will have to improve before I switch to A or B.
    2) No.  A guy who is probably just a bullpen arm and has an injury history is not really fair compensation for a guy who is considered one of the better front-office people in the league.  I am completely fine with this unfair compensation.
    3) Fall short.  I have yet to see a compelling argument that the team is any better than last year.  You can make an argument theat they are worse.
    4) Travis Wood.  He has a few things going for him.  He is young so he can improve.  He put up decent stats in an extreme hitters park last year.  The rotation is mediocre at best and someone is bound to get hurt.
    5) Iwould do that trade every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  Until anyone on the Rays side of the trade actually does something in the bigs, the Cubs bamboozled the Rays.  The players the Cubs gave up have a chance to be good MLB players while Garza is already a very good MLB player.  That sounds like a win to me.

  • Chuck

    1) I am going to go with C, very medium, for now.  It is far too early to declare this race one way or the other.  The product ont he field will have to improve before I switch to A or B.
    2) No.  A guy who is probably just a bullpen arm and has an injury history is not really fair compensation for a guy who is considered one of the better front-office people in the league.  I am completely fine with this unfair compensation.
    3) Fall short.  I have yet to see a compelling argument that the team is any better than last year.  You can make an argument theat they are worse.
    4) Travis Wood.  He has a few things going for him.  He is young so he can improve.  He put up decent stats in an extreme hitters park last year.  The rotation is mediocre at best and someone is bound to get hurt.
    5) Iwould do that trade every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  Until anyone on the Rays side of the trade actually does something in the bigs, the Cubs bamboozled the Rays.  The players the Cubs gave up have a chance to be good MLB players while Garza is already a very good MLB player.  That sounds like a win to me.