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Wednesday

20

August 2014

70

COMMENTS

Five Burning Questions : Turning the Page

Written by , Posted in General

 

In Cubs lore we will look back at the years 2009-2013 as the lost years.  What is also known in baseball circles as the “rebuilding years”.  2014 peddled along at the same disastrous pace until some new faces, showing new promise, arrived at the ballpark.

I personally link the downfall of the Hendry regime to the signing of Milton Bradley, but many will say, and they are probably right, that the tire fire started long before that.  Whatever you want to call the last four years is your choice, but it’s apparent as Cub fans, we may actually have to get around to thinking as winners sooner than later.

With so much young talent in the pipeline there is no doubt that the Cubs will soon be dealing in the opposite direction than we have become accustom to at the trade deadline.  With that in mind it is time to pop on our thinking caps and ask some questions….

 

1) If the Cubs are to part with one of their heralded prospects at next years trade deadline, out of the following, who would you let go of:

A) Javier Baez

B) Addison Russell

C) Jorge Soler

D) Albert Almora

 

If I had to choose one it would probably be Almora.  He is still yet to prove he can hit a AA.  My regret would be that we are dealing from a mild weakness in that we have less outfielders in the immediate pipeline than we do infielders, but I would probably get over that if Almora turns in another season next year like this year.

 

2) If you could bring back one Cubs manager to manage the team going forward, maybe somebody who did not get a fair shake, who would it be?

A) Lou Pinella

B) Jim Riggleman

C) Dusty Baker

D) Lea Elia

E) Jim Frey

F) Your Choice, but tell us why

 

I think I go with Jim Frey, he may be the best bet to play the young guys.  Dusty Baker would just go find Lenny Harris and give him a zillion plate appearances again.  I think he is still waiting for Lenny to get hot.

 

3) If you had the choice between sitting on a rooftop or sitting in the standing room only at Wrigley, which would you choose?

No comment.

 

4) The Cubs current payroll this season is at $73,546,000, which ranks them third last in all the league.  What will the Cubs player payroll look like next season:

 

A) $60,000 – $80,000,000

B) $81,000,000-90,000,000

C) 90,000,000 – 100,000,000

D) 100,000,000-$120,000,000

E) Over $120,000,000

 

I gotta say it sits around $100 Mill. tops.  They would have to add quite a bit to get higher in one off-season.  Personally, I don’t think Ricketts heart can handle that, he doesn’t strike me as a spender.  $100 mill would put them at about midway point of the league in spending by the way.

 

5) How many games will the Cubs win this season?

 

A) 65

B) 70

C) 75

D) More….and you better explain yourself!

 

Thanks for playing guys.  Leave your answer in the comments and here’s to a promising end of an era!

 

 

  • Dork

    1) Albert – I would hate to see him go too, but like you said he is still the farthest away, I would have to give the same reason. I think Soler is going to be the best OBP guy and fangraphs projects Baez as a 45 HR guy and how can you trade away Barry Larkin with more power (Russell).
    2) I attended a Louisville bats AAA game this summer and who should I see coaching 3B … a guy named Riggleman. Apperently he manages and coaches 3B. I just had to think “good for him” he must really love being in the game. He gets my vote for that.
    3) Rooftops, probably a bucket list item that I never acheive
    4) I think like Joe’s article the cubs might not find the value that they want on the FA market so I think even though they might be willing to go 100-120 for the right people they might not be able to find what they want this offseason and end up in the 80-100 category, lets go with B 81-90.
    5) The spreadsheet projects 71 wins based on current record and run differential. Sadly the screen name remains appropriate.

    • Eddie Von White

      The screen name is quite seemly.

      • Dork

        well said – again …unfortunatly

  • Dork

    1) Albert – I would hate to see him go too, but like you said he is still the farthest away, I would have to give the same reason. I think Soler is going to be the best OBP guy and fangraphs projects Baez as a 45 HR guy and how can you trade away Barry Larkin with more power (Russell).
    2) I attended a Louisville bats AAA game this summer and who should I see coaching 3B … a guy named Riggleman. Apperently he manages and coaches 3B. I just had to think “good for him” he must really love being in the game. He gets my vote for that.
    3) Rooftops, probably a bucket list item that I never acheive
    4) I think like Joe’s article the cubs might not find the value that they want on the FA market so I think even though they might be willing to go 100-120 for the right people they might not be able to find what they want this offseason and end up in the 80-100 category, lets go with B 81-90.
    5) The spreadsheet projects 71 wins based on current record and run differential. Sadly the screen name remains appropriate.

    • Eddie Von White

      The screen name is quite seemly.

      • Dork

        well said – again …unfortunatly

  • Kizzfastfists

    1- Almora, and it isn’t close.
    2- Dusty Baker
    3- I’ll stand
    4- A or D. They will either hold back one more off-season, maybe a trade for a young pitcher with MLB experience under team control, but no Lester/Scherzer, etc. or they will go all out. They’ll help the Phillies dump some of their contracts, i.e. Papelbon, Hamels and Ruiz. They’ll add Lester or Scherzer. They’ll go from 90 loses to 90 wins. I actually think we’ll know the answer to this later this week. If they land Rusney Castillo look for them to gear up for next year. If they don’t look for 2015 to be filled with youth and inexperience. A rotation of Arrieta, Hendricks, Wada, Turner and EJax/Wood/Straily/etc which is very unsexy, but could surprise.
    5- A. My exact number would be 68.

  • Kizzfastfists

    1- Almora, and it isn’t close.
    2- Dusty Baker
    3- I’ll stand
    4- A or E. They will either hold back one more off-season, maybe a trade for a young pitcher with MLB experience under team control, but no Lester/Scherzer, etc. or they will go all out. They’ll help the Phillies dump some of their contracts, i.e. Papelbon, Hamels and Ruiz. They’ll add Lester or Scherzer. They’ll go from 90 loses to 90 wins. I actually think we’ll know the answer to this later this week. If they land Rusney Castillo look for them to gear up for next year. If they don’t look for 2015 to be filled with youth and inexperience. A rotation of Arrieta, Hendricks, Wada, Turner and EJax/Wood/Straily/etc which is very unsexy, but could surprise.
    5- A. My exact number would be 68.

  • JTBarrett16

    1. Almora. Same reason as you and Dork
    2. Can’t comment on Frey or Elia, idk how Jim Riggelman was, I only got to see 2 years of him, Dusty hell no, Piniella doesn’t play young guys enough.
    3. Rooftop because it’s a bucket list item, even if they are leaches.
    4. 90-100, because there isn’t any hotshot FA out there that will put them over the top
    5. They’re at 55 right now, so 70 sounds about right.

  • AC0000000

    1. Almora. Same reason as you and Dork
    2. Can’t comment on Frey or Elia, idk how Jim Riggelman was, I only got to see 2 years of him, Dusty hell no, Piniella doesn’t play young guys enough.
    3. Rooftop because it’s a bucket list item, even if they are leaches.
    4. 90-100, because there isn’t any hotshot FA out there that will put them over the top
    5. They’re at 55 right now, so 70 sounds about right.

  • Dork

    Has anyone suggested building higher rooftops?

    • JTBarrett16

      I’m not sure if it’s structurally safe to do so.

    • Or periscopes?

      • SS

        Or why don’t they build a two sided plasma screen so the rooftops can still see the game on the other side, although their view is blocked?

  • Dork

    Has anyone suggested building higher rooftops?

    • AC0000000

      I’m not sure if it’s structurally safe to do so.

    • Or periscopes?

      • SS

        Or why don’t they build a two sided plasma screen so the rooftops can still see the game on the other side, although their view is blocked?

  • Bryan

    Whoever I pick for #1 will go on to have a HOF career if he is traded. That is my luck.

  • Bryan

    Whoever I pick for #1 will go on to have a HOF career if he is traded. That is my luck.

  • Doc Raker

    Lost years of 1946-2014 more like.
    I would trade Len Kasper.
    I like Jim Frey because he was the first manager since 1945 to win anything for the Cubs.
    Payroll makes no difference to me, it’s about how many W’s the team puts up.

    Speaking of managers I have read that the Phillies GM and Ryne Sandberg are on the hot seat. Reports are saying Sandberg looks overmatched at times. I don’t have an opinion other to say that Sandberg only had 3 years of minor league experience managing with the Cubs before heading off to Philly. I can believe he still has some developing to do. If the Phillies let him go I would hope the Cubs hire him for a coaching roll so he can continue to develop for a future managers roll with the Cubs.

    • Kizzfastfists

      If you didn’t like Dusty Baker and Lou Pinella you would not like Sandberg. He works his starters longer than Dusty. He sticks with veterans over better young players. He would agree with Dusty’s quote about walks clogging up the bases. Maybe he could improve from a bottom 5 manager to a bottom 10 manager. As much as all Cubs fans wanted him to be manager one of the best moves Theo made was not hiring him as manager.

      • Dusty Baylor

        What about Darin Ruf/Ryan howard situation…..he was sitting Howard against LHP to get Ruf at bats… He’s got Aj Burnett, Cole Hamels, had Cliff Lee….wouldn’t you ride veteran starters longer? With this veteran pile of crap team…who would look good?

      • Doc Raker

        I like a manager that plays the best player regardless of contract and or service time. The Giants have that philosophy, they have won 2 World Series recently while playing younger less expensive players over large contracted veterans that were not performing. I want that for the Cubs. I did not know Sandberg was like that as a manager. But let’s realize for a manager to sit big contracts he has to have the backing of the front office. If the front office is not on board with sitting the guy they just agreed to pay big dollars to it won’t happen even if the manager wants to do it.

        Right now it is easy for the Cubs front office and manager to be on the same page, play the kids and see who performs. If Rizzo went into an extended slump and a player who does not project into the Cubs future replaced him and did well, there then might be some disagreement between the field manager and FO on who to give playing time to.

      • Kizzfastfists

        http://www.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=1657933

        Cole Hamels hd a shoulder issue in the spring so he should naturally be the most abused pitcher in baseball this year. Cliff Lee is 35 and only managed 13 starts, but he should be in the top 20! A.J. Burnett, at 37 years young, is 4th on the list.

        There have been 6 pitchers this year with multiple 122+ pitch outings and Cole Hamels and A.J. Burnett are 33% of the list. Hamles also is the only pitcher to throw over 133 pitches in a start.

        Yes, you expect your best pitchers to go deep in games and give you longer outings. However, you do not expect a 35 year old, 37 year old or a guy who had shoulder problems in the spring to do that. You definitely do not expect them to do it repeatedly.

  • Doc Raker

    Lost years of 1946-2014 more like.
    I would trade Len Kasper.
    I like Jim Frey because he was the first manager since 1945 to win anything for the Cubs.
    Payroll makes no difference to me, it’s about how many W’s the team puts up.

    Speaking of managers I have read that the Phillies GM and Ryne Sandberg are on the hot seat. Reports are saying Sandberg looks overmatched at times. I don’t have an opinion other to say that Sandberg only had 3 years of minor league experience managing with the Cubs before heading off to Philly. I can believe he still has some developing to do. If the Phillies let him go I would hope the Cubs hire him for a coaching roll so he can continue to develop for a future managers roll with the Cubs.

    • Kizzfastfists

      If you didn’t like Dusty Baker and Lou Pinella you would not like Sandberg. He works his starters longer than Dusty. He sticks with veterans over better young players. He would agree with Dusty’s quote about walks clogging up the bases. Maybe he could improve from a bottom 5 manager to a bottom 10 manager. As much as all Cubs fans wanted him to be manager one of the best moves Theo made was not hiring him as manager.

      • Dusty Baylor

        What about Darin Ruf/Ryan howard situation…..he was sitting Howard against LHP to get Ruf at bats… He’s got Aj Burnett, Cole Hamels, had Cliff Lee….wouldn’t you ride veteran starters longer? With this veteran pile of crap team…who would look good?

      • Doc Raker

        I like a manager that plays the best player regardless of contract and or service time. The Giants have that philosophy, they have won 2 World Series recently while playing younger less expensive players over large contracted veterans that were not performing. I want that for the Cubs. I did not know Sandberg was like that as a manager. But let’s realize for a manager to sit big contracts he has to have the backing of the front office. If the front office is not on board with sitting the guy they just agreed to pay big dollars to it won’t happen even if the manager wants to do it.

        Right now it is easy for the Cubs front office and manager to be on the same page, play the kids and see who performs. If Rizzo went into an extended slump and a player who does not project into the Cubs future replaced him and did well, there then might be some disagreement between the field manager and FO on who to give playing time to.

      • Kizzfastfists

        http://www.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=1657933

        Cole Hamels hd a shoulder issue in the spring so he should naturally be the most abused pitcher in baseball this year. Cliff Lee is 35 and only managed 13 starts, but he should be in the top 20! A.J. Burnett, at 37 years young, is 4th on the list.

        There have been 6 pitchers this year with multiple 122+ pitch outings and Cole Hamels and A.J. Burnett are 33% of the list. Hamles also is the only pitcher to throw over 133 pitches in a start.

        Yes, you expect your best pitchers to go deep in games and give you longer outings. However, you do not expect a 35 year old, 37 year old or a guy who had shoulder problems in the spring to do that. You definitely do not expect them to do it repeatedly.

  • Doc Raker

    I tuned into the Giants broadcast tonight for 1/2 inning and learned something new from the insightful Mike Krukow. Apparently pitchers try to bust Valbuena up and in on his hands because he has a slight uppercut in his swing, I.e. His hands drop on his load. Valbuena then singled to center on an 0-2 slider on the outside part of the plate. Krukow explained why Peavy was so upset after giving up the 0-2 hit. Peavy threw it right were the catcher called for it and Valbuena hit it, Peavy deviated from his plan on up and in and or missed with the slider catching to much of the plate.

    How refreshing and insightful to tell us what the pitcher is thinking and or what the pitcher and catcher talked about in their pregame meeting. To know the opposing pitchers plan on how to pitch our line up is pretty interesting to me.

    I flipped over to Len on the Cubs broadcast and learned that Michael Buble will be performing live on Dancing with the Stars.

    • cap’n realist

      I think that Michael Buble is dreamy. Maybe not Geo Soto dreamy, but dreamy nonetheless.

    • Mark_from_Toronto

      I was not really a fan of the Giants broadcast which I had for last night’s game. The two of them sounded like robots, using the same quiet and mellow tone throughout the game. Even when the Giants were scoring runs in the 1st they really didn’t seem to express any emotion or even raise their voices at all. Overall not a good night as I had to listen to those two, found the Cubs win from Tuesday is now gone (to be completed today), and worst of all had to watch Edwin Jackson pitch.

      • Doc Raker

        Interesting, did you find Krukow insightful into the pitcher hitter matchup at all?

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        Yes they were insightful at times and were talking baseball, it was just their monotone voices that were putting me to sleep. They also were the first place I heard about the Giants winning their appeal for the Tuesday game to be continued today, which unfortunately they only mentioned very briefly and didn’t explain at all forcing me to go online to find out all of the details.

      • Doc Raker

        I think the Giants deserve to win that appeal. You can’t have ground crews effecting game outcomes like that.

      • JTBarrett16

        It’s over a bureaucratic procedure too. If it was a mechanical tarp, they would have been allowed to suspend the game. Dumb rules.

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        Agreed. I can understand a game being called due to weather conditions, but in this case the rain was gone in 15 minutes and a soaked infield shouldn’t be the reason a game is called.

      • JTBarrett16

        It was a flash storm, unexpected. There was no rain during the trash game.

      • Holy shit! CAPS got a makeover!

      • JTBarrett16

        I wanted to make it BraxtonMiller5

      • Cool.

      • Seymour Butts

        Damn, and I thought we had a new follower.

      • JTBarrett16

        I was going to make it BraxtonMiller5 but he got hurt

    • Dusty Baylor

      Exactly Doc. More baseball, less music please.

  • Doc Raker

    I tuned into the Giants broadcast tonight for 1/2 inning and learned something new from the insightful Mike Krukow. Apparently pitchers try to bust Valbuena up and in on his hands because he has a slight uppercut in his swing, I.e. His hands drop on his load. Valbuena then singled to center on an 0-2 slider on the outside part of the plate. Krukow explained why Peavy was so upset after giving up the 0-2 hit. Peavy threw it right were the catcher called for it and Valbuena hit it, Peavy deviated from his plan on up and in and or missed with the slider catching to much of the plate.

    How refreshing and insightful to tell us what the pitcher is thinking and or what the pitcher and catcher talked about in their pregame meeting. To know the opposing pitchers plan on how to pitch our line up is pretty interesting to me.

    I flipped over to Len on the Cubs broadcast and learned that Michael Buble will be performing live on Dancing with the Stars.

    • cap’n realist

      I think that Michael Buble is dreamy. Maybe not Geo Soto dreamy, but dreamy nonetheless.

    • Mark_from_Toronto

      I was not really a fan of the Giants broadcast which I had for last night’s game. The two of them sounded like robots, using the same quiet and mellow tone throughout the game. Even when the Giants were scoring runs in the 1st they really didn’t seem to express any emotion or even raise their voices at all. Overall not a good night as I had to listen to those two, found the Cubs win from Tuesday is now gone (to be completed today), and worst of all had to watch Edwin Jackson pitch.

      • Doc Raker

        Interesting, did you find Krukow insightful into the pitcher hitter matchup at all?

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        Yes they were insightful at times and were talking baseball, it was just their monotone voices that were putting me to sleep. They also were the first place I heard about the Giants winning their appeal for the Tuesday game to be continued today, which unfortunately they only mentioned very briefly and didn’t explain at all forcing me to go online to find out all of the details.

      • Doc Raker

        I think the Giants deserve to win that appeal. You can’t have ground crews effecting game outcomes like that.

      • AC0000000

        It’s over a bureaucratic procedure too. If it was a mechanical tarp, they would have been allowed to suspend the game. Dumb rules.

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        Agreed. I can understand a game being called due to weather conditions, but in this case the rain was gone in 15 minutes and a soaked infield shouldn’t be the reason a game is called.

      • AC0000000

        It was a flash storm, unexpected. There was no rain during the trash game.

      • Holy shit! CAPS got a makeover!

      • AC0000000

        I wanted to make it BraxtonMiller5

      • Cool.

      • Seymour Butts

        Damn, and I thought we had a new follower.

      • AC0000000

        I was going to make it BraxtonMiller5 but he got hurt

    • Dusty Baylor

      Exactly Doc. More baseball, less music please.

  • Dork

    The biggest problem that the FO office has to address this offseason is the EJax problem. I know this must drive them crazy, becasue they seem to rely on FIP not ERA. EJax FIP is still 4.34 very close to Travis Wood actually. His xFIP is better at 4.06 meaning he gives up more HR than league average. These are both in the bottom 30 of 96 qulified startes. However, he sure can’t seem to get through the first inning. The cubs seem to be a very poor team at playing from behind. Though I think most teams probably are.

  • Dork

    The biggest problem that the FO office has to address this offseason is the EJax problem. I know this must drive them crazy, becasue they seem to rely on FIP not ERA. EJax FIP is still 4.34 very close to Travis Wood actually. His xFIP is better at 4.06 meaning he gives up more HR than league average. These are both in the bottom 30 of 96 qualified startes. However, he sure can’t seem to get through the first inning. The cubs seem to be a very poor team at playing from behind. Though I think most teams probably are.

  • Noah_I

    1) Almora. Lowest ceiling, projection, and floor.
    2) Don’t care. Managers don’t make that much of a difference. If I could have anyone in baseball, Joe Maddon.
    3) Standing room only. I refuse to give a dime to the rooftops.
    4) D. I’m expecting around $110 million, which is what the Cubs heavily indicated what their payroll limit for this season was (Cubs opening day payroll minus Hammel plus Tanaka).
    5) B, although I’m actually guessing 68-69 wins. I’m rounding, though.

    • JTBarrett16

      Managers make a huge difference. They might not influence winning and losing because you need talent to win, but if we had the rosters we had from 2003-2006 with girardi managing instead of dusty, I think the cubs would be in better position going forward. Because wood and prior wouldn’t have been run into the ground, and Neifi would have been on the bench where he belongs.

      • Noah_I

        I should have been a bit more nuanced on that, and yes, there’s a solid chance that Dusty’s ways led to Prior’s and Wood’s injury issues. But I’d say that the odds of any GM allowing any manager to abuse pitching in that manner today are slim. And the fact that I have a preference from Maddon shows that I think managers have some value. Maddon has as good of an understanding of reverse splits of any manager in baseball, and seems to consistently put out a lineup that gives his team the best odds of winning. I just think their value is vastly overstated. I think the best managers add at most 2 wins per season, the worst add about 2 losses, and most are between 1 win and 1 loss.

      • JTBarrett16

        Leyland and Scoscia are two other managers I like. But say we had Girardi in 2006 instead of dusty. We’d likely be shit after Lee broke his wrist, but Neifi wouldn’t be playing everyday and Murton would have gotten a fair shake.

  • Noah_I

    1) Almora. Lowest ceiling, projection, and floor.
    2) Don’t care. Managers don’t make that much of a difference. If I could have anyone in baseball, Joe Maddon.
    3) Standing room only. I refuse to give a dime to the rooftops.
    4) D. I’m expecting around $110 million, which is what the Cubs heavily indicated what their payroll limit for this season was (Cubs opening day payroll minus Hammel plus Tanaka).
    5) B, although I’m actually guessing 68-69 wins. I’m rounding, though.

    • AC0000000

      Managers make a huge difference. They might not influence winning and losing because you need talent to win, but if we had the rosters we had from 2003-2006 with girardi managing instead of dusty, I think the cubs would be in better position going forward. Because wood and prior wouldn’t have been run into the ground, and Neifi would have been on the bench where he belongs.

      • Noah_I

        I should have been a bit more nuanced on that, and yes, there’s a solid chance that Dusty’s ways led to Prior’s and Wood’s injury issues. But I’d say that the odds of any GM allowing any manager to abuse pitching in that manner today are slim. And the fact that I have a preference from Maddon shows that I think managers have some value. Maddon has as good of an understanding of reverse splits of any manager in baseball, and seems to consistently put out a lineup that gives his team the best odds of winning. I just think their value is vastly overstated. I think the best managers add at most 2 wins per season, the worst add about 2 losses, and most are between 1 win and 1 loss.

      • AC0000000

        Leyland and Scoscia are two other managers I like. But say we had Girardi in 2006 instead of dusty. We’d likely be shit after Lee broke his wrist, but Neifi wouldn’t be playing everyday and Murton would have gotten a fair shake.