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April 2014

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COMMENTS

Hello April, You look Familiar…

Written by , Posted in General

Rebuilding a baseball team is the pits.

The season is long and the off-season is long.  The typical baseball fan base was not meant to survive a rebuild.  The process itself is a test in sanity as much as it is a test in fanship.

The first rebuild I experienced as a fan was with the Detroit Tigers.  From 1992-2004 The Detroit Tigers were awful.  They were unwatchable for much of that decade plus.  Randy Smith was the “evil” GM who did, well, nothing right for the most part.  Much like the Cubs, the Tigers brought in a new regime so to speak with the likes of Dave Dombrowski as President.  Trader Dave immediately bounced Randy Smith after about a season and took over the GM Duties around 2002.  Four Years Later the Tigers were in the World Series.  It can be done.

The differences between the Cubs and the Tigers lie in the way the teams are rebuilding.  The Tigers were signing free agents at a furious clip in the 2002-2006 years.  They weren’t filling positions with stop-gaps and cast-offs.  They weren’t hoping to catch lightening in a bottle with an undervalued pitcher, only to trade him off for a few more prospects.  I am not saying it is wrong, at least until I can see the fruits of the current Cub regimes labor in full Major League swing, but I will say it is hard on the fan base.

The part I can’t grasp is the lack of spending by a major market team.  Every off-season I read up on the prospects and find ways to get in to the re-build so to speak.  I feel excited for the future and get all gassed up about guys like Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, and of course the latest first round pick Kris Bryant.   There’s a host of other talented players nestled in there likewise that don’t get the same publicity the big four get.  The biggest problem is eventually spring training ends and the major league version has to take the field.  It’s three seasons of straight futility.

Hello April, you look familiar…

The Cubs currently have one player with a BA over .300, and I am pretty sure it comes as a shock to almost everybody that Emilio Bonifacio is that guy.  At some point Boni will come back to earth and be the sub .250 hitter we all know and love.  Meanwhile, and two players who are probably the only draw on this team of misfits, Rizzo and Castro have started off with a much better outlook from there bottoming out last season.  Rizzo has been patient, which really seems to be his key to success.  His walks are up, strikeouts down and of course OBP sits at .385, which bodes well for Rizzo.  Castro on the other hand manages to put wood on the ball more then he doesn’t, it all just depends on where it goes.  At the moment, he is fielding, well, better I guess.  The trick with Castro is to accept him for him.  He will awe you one moment and frustrate you the next, he will swing at pitches he shouldn’t and ground out, and he will swing at pitches he shouldn’t and slap a ball down the line.  He is the closest thing to a “wild thing” this team has and you don’t tame a wild thing.

Hello April, you look familiar…

Platoons, platoons, and more platoons.  I have never seen a team platoon more then this one.  It makes it hard to follow them to be honest.  I like the idea of knowing who will play where on a daily basis.  I also can’t help but thinking that it hinders the likes of guys like Mike Olt, who are trying to get their swing back.  I know what I am getting with a few of these guys (ala Valbeuna) I don’t need to see it anymore.  What I would like to see is some consistency for the likes of third base and the outfield.  It’s like musical chairs and I guess if you like tuning in and having no clue as to who will be on the field in a given day it’s great, but I can’t help but think it hurts the team and some players.

Hello April, you look familiar…

Another year, another helping of Beef Wellington.  I can’t remember the last time I saw average to below average consistently for multiple seasons behind the plate.  It’s back and it is still below average on both sides of the ball.

Hello April, you look familiar…

Cakegate.  That’s all….

Hello April, you look familiar…

Already, half of our starting pitching staff is on the block.

Hello April, you look familiar…

The Cubs are in dead last and yet to win a series.  Should I keep going?

There’s always May.

  • Dusty_Baylor

    Wasn’t Castillo considered a pretty decent defender last season…and put up respectable numbers? He’s already got 4 HR’s this season…an OPS+ of 103…which is slightly above average right?

    • Eddie Von White

      What I like about Castillo is he always has that element of surprise about him. He doesn’t always disappoint – except maybe when it comes to throwing base runners out.

      • Dusty_Baylor

        He’s struggled there this year…always been about league average. Good point

      • Dork

        Fangraphs did some statistics on framing pitches and well the Cubs get less balls called strikes and more strikes call balls than any other team. I’m not sure this is all on Wellington, but does not help the overall argument.

  • Chin up.

    • Eddie Von White

      Easy for you to say.

    • Eddie Von White

      Easy for you to say.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      It is easy when you have the camera above your head.

  • Doug S.

    Been away for a few days, nice to catch up. Yep, here we are in April and the familiarity is in the air. The record, not great. According to Businessweek.com we’re the dumbest spending team in the 4 major sports. Then there’s the cake in the dumpster. Google stupid cubs and stand back. We got ’em right where we want ’em.

    • PLCB3

      While throwing out the cake was stupid, there were very few non-edible parts and the Cubs decided it would be best not to serve the edible parts in the interest of food safety because it had been sitting outside all day.
      Only 122 days until Buckeye football is back. Woohoo!

      • Doug S.

        C’mon CAPs, baseball’s just started. Too early for a football countdown.

      • PLCB3

        It’s never too early to start the football countdown. Especially the way our season ended.

      • Doug S.

        I’d respond but I understand frequent back and forth with you results in premature hair loss.

      • It happened to Jedi, then we lost both Johnsons.

      • PLCB3

        Are you sure his arguing with Norm wasn’t a factor?

      • AC0000000

        Are you sure his arguing with Norm wasn’t a factor?

      • PLCB3

        There’s nothing more to say about OSU. We lost a chance at playing for the national title then we lost our bowl game. After we had a 24-game winning streak.

      • Doc Raker

        Good job CAPS, way to prove you are a lousy hockey fan again. Thats what low hockey IQ Boston Bruin fans do in the middle of hockey playoffs, countdown to football season.

        Go Blackhawks!

      • PLCB3

        You sound like Jedi. I am of course pulling for Boston, but at the same time I am counting down the return of Buckeye football, mainly because of the craptastic end to last season and losing our 24-game winning streak. Learn some quick cals. It will help you keep your lunch down 5 hours later when I am in Zumba class.

      • Doc Raker

        I am no Jedi but I did play one on TV.

      • Doc Raker

        Good job CAPS, way to prove you are a lousy hockey fan again. Thats what low hockey IQ Boston Bruin fans do in the middle of hockey playoffs, countdown to football season.

        Go Blackhawks!

      • AC0000000

        You sound like Jedi. I am of course pulling for Boston, but at the same time I am counting down the return of Buckeye football, mainly because of the craptastic end to last season and losing our 24-game winning streak. Learn some quick cals. It will help you keep your lunch down 5 hours later when I am in Zumba class.

      • Doc Raker

        I am no Jedi but I did play one on TV.

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    Perhaps they can end the month on high note tonight….a high note being a Cubs win or even another rainout.

    • PLCB3

      A win tonight and that would mean we didn’t lose 2 out of our last 3 series. Small victories.

  • Dork

    The reason I keep this stupid spreadsheet (like a dork), is I am trying to find some sort of measure of improvement. Tonight will be the Cubs 26th game of the year. In 2013 the Cubs also played 26 games in April. In those 26 games in 2013 they scored 92 runs and gave up 111, for a run differential of 19. This year they have scored 90 and given up 104. Tonight, I am hoping for a better result than a 7-2 loss. This is why I am a dork.

  • Doug S.

    I recall a post on this site ~4-5 years ago something like this….”It’s my Dad’s birthday today. I hope the Cubs can win a game for him sometime this week”. That’s a Cubs fan for ya’.

  • Doc Raker

    It’s May 1 and the Cubs are out of contention and the Blackhawks are moving on in the playoffs. Deja Vu.

    I hate when the Cubs are out of contention but at least this year we do have some new young talent to evaluate and see, at least we aren’t watching overpaid tired free agents waiting to be shipped out. The roster is open for prospects to prospect and that is interesting to watch.

    • PLCB3

      And we have a manager who will play these prospects instead of the unproductive veterans because of the need to maintain the integrity of the playoff races, even when playing another team who will be going home at the end of the regular season.

  • Doc Raker

    It’s May 1 and the Cubs are out of contention and the Blackhawks are moving on in the playoffs. Deja Vu.

    I hate when the Cubs are out of contention but at least this year we do have some new young talent to evaluate and see, at least we aren’t watching overpaid tired free agents waiting to be shipped out. The roster is open for prospects to prospect and that is interesting to watch.

    • AC0000000

      And we have a manager who will play these prospects instead of the unproductive veterans because of the need to maintain the integrity of the playoff races, even when playing another team who will be going home at the end of the regular season.