I’ve compiled a list directly from the Cubs website; if a transaction is missing, your problem is with them.  Glance as you scroll to the end of this list…

11/10/11 signed free agent RHP Marco Carrillo.
11/30/11 signed free agent RF David DeJesus.
12/01/11 signed free agent RHP Ricardo Estevez.
12/07/11 signed free agent RHP Carlos Martinez-Pumarino.
12/08/11 claim RHP Lendy Castillo off waivers.
12/09/11 claim IF Jeff Bianchi off waivers.
12/12/11 signed free agent RF Joe Mather.
12/13/11 signed free agent 2B Edgar Gonzalez.
12/22/11 signed free agent IF Adonis Paula.
12/22/11 signed free agent 2B Matt Tolbert.
12/23/11 signed free agent C Jason Jaramillo.
12/26/11 signed free agent RHP Manuel Corpas.
12/26/11 signed free agent LHP Andy Sonnanstine.
01/03/12 signed free agent LF Reed Johnson.
01/05/12 signed free agent C Juan Apodaca.
01/05/12 traded for P Chris Volstad.
01/08/12 signed free agent LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith.
01/09/12 signed free agent RHP Rodrigo Lopez.
01/10/12 signed free agent LHP Paul Maholm.
01/10/12 signed free agent C Mario Mercedes.
01/13/12 signed free agent RHP Kerry Wood.
01/13/12 signed free agent 2B Alfredo Amezaga.
01/20/12 signed free agent 2B Bobby Scales.
01/30/12 signed free agent LHP Trever Miller.
02/06/12 claim 2B Adrian Cardenas off waivers.
02/08/12 signed free agent RHP Michael De La Cruz.
02/18/12 signed free agent LHP Nate Robertson.
03/01/12 signed free agent RHP Greyfer Eregua.
03/01/12 signed free agent RHP Carlos Llano.
03/02/12 signed free agent RHP Jonathan Bautista.
03/02/12 signed free agent SS Bryant Flete.
03/02/12 signed free agent RHP Jeffry Hernandez.
03/02/12 signed free agent RHP Hendry Mercado.
03/02/12 signed free agent SS Dalfis Ortiz.
03/02/12 signed free agent OF Jose Paniagua.
03/02/12 signed free agent RHP Jesus Pereyra.
03/02/12 signed free agent C Carlos Ramirez.
03/02/12 signed free agent 3B Miguel Rico.
03/02/12 signed free agent OF Shamil Ubiera.
03/04/12 signed free agent C Nathan Maldonado.
03/11/12 signed free agent OF Gerardo Concepcion.
03/16/12 claim RHP Frankie De La Cruz off waivers.
03/26/12 signed free agent RHP Shawn Camp.
04/04/12 claim IF Luis Valbuena off waivers.
04/09/12 signed CF Yasiel Balaguert.
04/09/12 signed free agent C Eufran Vargas.
04/17/12 signed free agent RHP Harrinson Bermudez.
04/21/12 traded for RHP Michael Bowden.
05/12/12 signed free agent C Brian Esposito.
05/14/12 signed free agent RHP Mike MacDougal.
05/18/12 signed free agent C Leonardo Gonzalez.
05/19/12 traded for C Koyie Hill.
05/25/12 signed free agent SS Diory Hernandez.
05/29/12 signed free agent RHP Shane Lindsay.
05/31/12 signed free agent RHP Pedro Brazoban.
05/31/12 signed free agent LHP Frailyn Figueroa.
05/31/12 signed free agent OF Ricardo Marcano.
06/01/12 signed free agent LHP Alfredo Belizaire.
06/01/12 claim RHP Jairo Asencio off waivers.
06/05/12 signed free agent LHP Andin Diaz.
06/05/12 signed free agent SS Jenner Emeterio.
06/05/12 signed free agent RHP Francisco Carrillo.
06/16/12 signed RHP Paul Blackburn.
06/16/12 signed RHP Joshua Conway.
06/16/12 signed SS Stephen Bruno.
06/16/12 signed LHP Michael Heesch.
06/16/12 signed C Chadd Krist.
06/16/12 signed OF Rashad Crawford.
06/16/12 signed RHP Corbin Hoffner.
06/16/12 signed C Carlos Escobar.
06/16/12 signed LHP Nathan Dorris.
06/16/12 signed RHP Steve Perakslis.
06/16/12 signed C Lance Rymel.
06/16/12 signed OF Izaac Garsez.
06/16/12 signed SS Timothy Saunders.
06/16/12 signed 3B Benjamin Carhart.
06/16/12 signed 3B Jacob Rogers.
06/18/12 signed RHP Michael Hamann.
06/18/12 signed free agent LHP Matt Iannazzo.
06/18/12 signed RHP Chad Martin.
06/18/12 signed RHP Eduardo Orozco.
06/18/12 signed LHP Anthony Prieto.
06/19/12 signed RHP Pierce Johnson.
06/24/12 signed free agent RHP Anthony York.
06/24/12 signed OF Bijan Rademacher.
06/25/12 signed SS David Bote.
06/27/12 signed free agent RHP Jesus Baldayaque.
06/30/12 signed free agent RF Jorge Soler.
07/03/12 signed RHP Ryan McNeil.
07/03/12 signed RHP Carl Lang.
07/03/12 signed RHP Justin Amlung.
07/03/12 signed RHP Jasvir Rakkar.
07/11/12 signed OF Albert Almora.
07/12/12 signed RHP Duane Underwood.
07/12/12 signed free agent RHP Juan Collado.
07/19/12 traded for RHP Justin Germano.
07/27/12 signed free agent LF Jeff Frazier.
07/31/12 traded for RHP Arodys Vizcaino.
07/31/12 traded for RHP Jaye Chapman.
07/31/12 traded for RHP Jacob Brigham.
07/31/12 traded for RHP Kyle Hendricks.
07/31/12 traded for 3B Christian Villanueva.
07/31/12 signed free agent 2B Vladimir Frias.
08/13/12 signed free agent RHP Seth McClung.
08/16/12 signed free agent LHP Horacio Ramirez.
08/19/12 claim LHP Alex Hinshaw off waivers.
08/23/12 claim RHP Miguel Socolovich off waivers.
08/27/12 traded for C Anthony Recker.
08/29/12 claim LHP Scott Maine off waivers.
09/07/12 claimed RHP Jason Berken off waivers.
10/16/12 traded for RHP Marcelo Carreno.
10/24/12 claimed RHP Carlos Gutierrez off waivers.
10/31/12 signed free agent SS Edwin Maysonet.
11/02/12 claimed RHP Zach Putnam off waivers.
11/13/12 signed free agent RHP Scott Baker.
11/16/12 signed free agent C Dioner Navarro.
11/07/12 signed free agent RHP Blake Parker.
11/19/12 signed free agent RHP Shawn Camp.
11/20/12 traded for RHP Barret Loux.
11/13/12 signed free agent 2B Alberto Gonzalez.
11/13/12 signed free agent RF Johermyn Chavez.
11/14/12 signed free agent LF Brian Bogusevic.
11/14/12 signed free agent C J.C. Boscan.
11/27/12 signed free agent RHP Scott Feldman.
12/02/12 signed free agent OF Roberto Caro.
12/06/12 claim RHP Hector Rondon off waivers.

That’s what the Cubs have done under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. The names in bold should be part of the 25-man roster. The names that are underlined still reside within the minor league system (as near as I can tell anyway, without calling them individually to make sure).

Two things immediately jump out to me: 1) a franchise signs a lot of guys in just a single year who go on to do very little (or nothing) for them on ANY level, let alone at the MLB level. And 2) there’s a LONG way to go. Sure, we can add Scott Feldman’s and Scott Baker’s all day long…even Scott Baio or Scott Peterson if we really wanted to think outside the box. But that’s all filler; this team, the 25-man roster, is not significantly better than it was this time last year. You could argue that it’s actually worse (the pitching staff certainly is).

Could the Cubs come out of nowhere like the Diamondbacks did last year? Doubtful. Would it last? Not a chance. The ‘Theo Epstein Experiment’ is just a year old – but one thing is very clear, he has just a single shot to make it work. He’s fighting for a chance to be good in the future, not now. By setting forth such a long-term plan, he and Jed have to ‘get it right’ the first time around. The Cubs can’t be scuffling in two years AND saying to themselves, ‘maybe we need to try _______ instead.’ That would signal the end of the experiment. The minor leagues have to start paying dividends – whether it’s from fully developed talent ready to take everyday roles, or by harvesting those prospects via trades.

You’d likely heard comments about how the farm system is better now than it was 12 months ago. For a long time the Angels had a host of coveted prospects, but could never pull the trigger to part with many of them while they were still prospects. Nothing diminishes value quicker than taking a prospect, promoting him, and proving him to be a failure.

If December 2013 brings a similar list, where all the best names are years removed from the majors, patience will be thin. Continue adding to the minors, yes. But it’s also time to find good, young, attainable MLB-ready players. There comes a point in time when our leader can no longer point to his predecessor’s shortcomings as the prime excuse for poor performance (feel free to use that in a different context if you desire). Is it after Year One? Probably not…but in twelve months there should be some tangible rewards for all this rebuilding. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it doesn’t need to take a decade either. Just ask the Marlins.

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