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The Romance Is Gone….It’s A Whores Game Now

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

As a kid, I used to have a favorite player for every pro sports team in my hometown.  Being from the Detroit area, names like Dumars, Yzerman, Sanders, and Trammell were mainstays in my card collections and posters that adorned my walls.  Each one of those players stayed with their respective team from the beginning to the end.  Contract negotiations were rarely blabbered about and fans trusted that their star wanted to be playing for their city and no other.  It wasn’t just the star players either, it seemed that entire casts of characters made up teams back then.  It was like a good sitcom, the cast would just keep returning season after season, playing their role and occasionally a newcomer would be added or a bit player dropped, but the core was always there.

I don’t pretend to know the mindset of the modern ballplayer.  The money the average player makes will be unattainable in my lifetime, unless I hit the lottery.  The talent they possess, the talent which justifies these wages,  has also passed me by.  I have no clue how awesome it would feel to throw 100 miles per hour or hit a ball 440 feet.  I can’t imagine being able to do it, consistently at that, unless I was playing in a hurricane and the wind was at my back.

I also understand that it is the agents job, with cooperation from the player and to some extent GM’s around baseball,  to get the most money possible for the players efforts on the field.  In many cases, this requires leaving a team and their fan base for greener pastures.

I don’t pretend to know the why’s or the how’s of these negotiations between team and player/agent.  I do, however, have an opinion.  Somewhere between the stitches there is a certain amount of theater and a certain amount of honesty that gets played out for the public.  I also believe there are very few players (not all, just very few) that care where they play.  When it comes down to it, money will guide them.

The system they’ve been dealt has basically prevented them from free agency,” Boras said. “They want to make sure about their next step, whatever that will be. It means either signing a long-term contract now — and we’re still taking offers on those — or a number of other prospects that could occur after the season starts or in June, after the draft happens.

Like any players, they want to play baseball. But they’re also looking at the long-term aspect of their careers. This system has placed them not in free agency, but it’s placed them in a jail.

-Scott Boras regarding Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales

I would love to find this jail.  Pay me $14 million for next year and I will lock the jail cell and throw away the key.

When Boras makes this type of statement, I begin to wonder who he is actually speaking too?  Is he trying to plead to the fans of baseball for justice?  Is this a cry of outrage to the commissioner?  Is this a hint to the players union,  one that may suggest a stand needs taking the next time both sides are at the bargaining table?  Or is he just putting on a show?

I tend to believe it is the latter.

The bone Boras is picking has to do with the required forfeiture of an unprotected first round draft choice by the team that ends up signing the player.  Boston made a qualified offer to Drew ($14 million for one year) and Drews camp turned it down feeling he was worth a multi-year deal.  Draft picks are like gold in the modern game and Scott Boras feels this little wrinkle is hurting free agency, as nobody is too high on giving away draft picks these days, therein teams feel it is best to avoid these players and find other means to fill needs.

I , along with most sane baseball fans,  feel a certain amount of disdain for Scott Boras.  I constantly wonder what goes through the minds of his clients in these situations.  Is Stephen Drew at all worried he could become the next Jermaine Dye?  What about the oft injured Morales?  Do either of these guys really feel they are worth the Multi-year contract they (or their agent) is pining for?  If I could be a fly on the wall of their brain, I would love nothing more than to know what their desired income is….their “Ramen Noodle” minimum if you will.

As some of you know, I am a Tigers fan too.  The recent pre-season negotiations between Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers struck a chord with me.

Max Scherzer made a substantial long-term contract extension offer to the Detroit Tigers that would have placed him among the highest-paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected by Detroit,” Boras said. “Max is very happy with the city of Detroit, the fans and his teammates, and we will continue negotiating with the Tigers at season’s end.

-Scott Boras regarding Max Scherzer

See what he did there? Apparently players are the ones making all the offers now, teams just sit and wait to see what they need.  The teams are the bad guys, right?  Ultimately it is the teams that let the fan base down, never the player, right Mr. Boras?

Now from a fans standpoint I have always liked Scherzer.  However, I just downgraded him from likeable to “you better pitch your ass of this year” and  aside from the last two years, he has had a pretty middling career.  Last year he was exceptional, I mean, he won the Cy Young for crying out loud.  The year before he was good.  Prior to that he was not a household name and really did not warrant much consideration for anything higher than a middle rotation guy.  Oh, and by the way, the guy turns 30 this year.  His trend will be towards that of not living up to his contract, unless he manages to defy mother nature and get better with age.  The Tigers reportedly offered 6 years and something close to Verlander’s yearly wage…real close.  Boras and company reportedly asked for 8 years and probably more money.  That is dangerous territory in the post PED age of baseball.  30 might as well be 40 ten years ago.

I am sure many agents cause headaches for GM’s and teams when contract negotiations come along.  The problem with Boras is the grandstanding.  He loves to give the media a quote and I can’t help attaching the player he represents to his comments and demeanor.  It is probably terribly unfair but technically Scott Boras is “representing” the player.    I have to believe the player is in mutual agreement with all comments made.

So, I assume guys like Stephen Drew, ye of the .264 career BA (with help from his early years) and an average to above average glove, truly believe they are in jail with nothing but paltry one year $14 million offers to settle for.  I mean, I understand no team wants to give up a first round pick  and the millions he would most assuredly ask for, but it probably didn’t help that Drew only hit about .120 in the post-season last year, I am pretty sure that is a fact left out of The Boras Agency’s player novel , The Stephen Drew Volume, being passed around to prospective teams.

Look, I get that baseball has “matured” since the eighties and I also understand that contract negotiations are part of the game.  With the advent of increased media it comes as no shock we are privy to more details than a fan probably needs.  In my opinion the fan/player romance is all but gone.  In this day and age it’s best to cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, because you never know if the one on the back will stay for very long.

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Spring Training 2014: Five Burning Questions

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

I rarely watch Spring Training games.  I usually watch one to get my baseball fix and read the box scores from there.  However, this year has been a bit different as I have watched every game televised, which up tip now has been about three, but I digress…

I am attributing this new-found viewing interest to the prospects.   I actually don’t even look at the stats linked to the regular MLB level guys.   Some of these guys are keeping a seat warm and I find it difficult to get too involved.  Plus, it’s hard to get attached to guys like Luis Valbuena and Darnell McDonald.  Valbuena is a fine third baseman but not the spiciest option for the fan base.  McDonald is, well, not that fine.

My recent viewings have generated a few questions and I was wondering what the VFTB faithful think……

1)  Will Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters ever see extended time in the majors again?

- I am going with no on both counts, at least not in a Cubs uniform.  Unless something amazing happens for Vitters then Brett Jackson has the better chance, if any at all.  A rather sad story for two guys who were once the pride of the Cubs farm system for multiple seasons in a row.  These guys locked up the top spot from 2007 through 2011, or something like that.  Pretty sure both were top 50 prospects on somebody’s list somewhere.   Injuries have taken their toll but it is just another reminder that sometimes, even the highly touted ones don’t pan out.

2)  Who will get the majority of starts for the Cubs at Third Base in 2014?

-Kevin Orie. Whoops, speaking of highly touted prospects that didn’t pan out, wrong decade.  I am going with Mike Olt.  Something tells me he may just hit about .245 this season.  Actually, lets go further and say 13 HR’s , 43 RBI’s and a .241 average.  Here is the best part, if Valbuena gets his starts instead, the stat line won’t be much different.

3)  While everybody is wetting their collective pants over Javier Baez, I want to know when we will see Kris Byrant?

-Does Bryant make it to the big club in 2014?  Every bit of me wants to say yes, in September, but there is a part of me that thinks he spends the whole year in the minors at one level or another.  It’s the smart part of me, the part that is usually right, and it is a small part.  I feel as though Theo and Jed go out of their way to make sure these guys are not brought up to the big club one day before they are beyond ready.  I respect that, I am okay with that.  Drives me crazy as a fan because the product on the field is, in a wishful world, a .500 team.  Will these guys make the team better this year? maybe not.  Will it destroy them as ball players? It could.  Would it still make things more interesting? Yes.

4)  If you had to choose from one of the following prospects, which one is most likely to not make a Big League appearance in their career?

(A) Jorge Soler

(B) Albert Almora

(C) Arismendy Alcantara

(D) Kyle Hendricks

You don’t even have to have a reason, just let your gut speak.

5)  How many wins do the Cubs get this year?

I am going to sit right around 70.  If Shark is dealt then it could go lower.  Couple in the fact that we may assemble one of the worst outfields in the history of baseball and the 2014 high point could very well be spring training and the prospect talk.  That being said, on a more positive note, this could be the season we start to see the team turn a corner.  Some young pitching pans out and a few young position players start to pick it up and we could be in for .500 plus with a lot to look forward too down the road.

So, turning point or another lost season?

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It’s A Long 162 Games…..

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Did you know the Cubs are on the precipous of a monumental occasion?

Five straight losing seasons will be quite a feat, even for the Cubs.  Take a guess how long it has been…..your probably thinking, “Oh it just happened yesterday, right? Didn’t we lose for an entire decade once?”  Yah, we did, it was called the 50′s (it was actually the ten years between 1953 and 1963.)  The losing in the 50′s and early 60′s got so bad it brought about the idea of the “College of Coaches“, which ranks itself near the top as one of the worst ideas in the history of the sport.  Since then, no Cub team has registered a losing record for longer than four straight seasons*.

*Note- I left out the streak from 1979 -1983 as 1981 was strike shortened.

Since that glorious time, Cub fans got a repreave from the typical loveable losing ways, at least once every five years.  Now, here we sit.  I am pretty sure anybody with a baseball marble in their head will consider the upcoming 2014 Cubs season a wash.  Just like 2013, the prospects are not ready and the retreads will run the show until the golden geese are good and set to take the stage.  If the Cub conventions of the last two years are any indication, we as fans are supposed to hold our allegiance out for the future generation of players, and the remake of the landmark known as Wrigley Field.

That’s 810 games of losing.  No, they don’t lose them all, but when you don’t even sniff competing for five years, that’s what it feels like.  How many times over the last four seasons have you watched the Cubs win and felt a genuine sense that the team was good? Even when they win during this fine stretch of futility, I feel like they are losing.

Herein lies my biggest gripe with baseball.  It’s such a long damn commitment when your team is no good.  Each game, after a certain point of losing in a season, becomes meaningless.  Sometime in August I begin to wonder how professional broadcasters can stand sitting in the booth and calling the games.  Then I remember, that’s right, they get paid to do this.

If you can’t tell, I am having trouble getting excited for the 2014 season.  Rebuilding in baseball is a brutal task and I have never seen a front office do it with such malice towards fans.  It’s as if every day they’re looking at the fanbase and saying, “Just enjoy the beautiful history of Wrigley Field and the quasi-professional product we are rolling out there at a blue light special price tag, oh and don’t forget to sample a beer for $6″. I have also been wondering who I should back for the series with bwin.

What they are really saying is take your medicine, because this is the only way out.  I believe in what they are doing, but I don’t have to enjoy it.  Being a fan of a major market team should have its perks, and one of those is not having to eat a main course consisting of potatoes and bread when there is enough money in your wallet for a steak and then some.

The sad thing is, I don’t see us competing in 2015, like many at one time felt would be a realistic goal.  2016 anyone?




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Chet Chat, Vol. 2 – Let’s Discuss…..

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

I have three topics of discussion for this fine hump day.   I am sure there are varying degrees of opinion on each one and I am hoping we get to hear them all.  The first two are baseball related and the last one is not.  Here we go…..

Topic #1

I think we should trade Starlin Castro.  Now before you fry me for even mentioning this, take a few things into consideration.  First and foremost, I want to see Starlin do well.  The Cub fan in me wants Castro to beat all this negativity surrounding this season and come out a hall of fame player.   I am hoping he is just young….still, which in theory he is, but he is in his fourth season.  We are bordering on what might be called crafty veteran stage soon.

The realist side of me wants to break down Starlin as a player.  Lets start with defense, shall we?  The only two categories that have Starlin sitting atop the league are games played and errors.  His zone ratings are all in the negative.  His dWAR is negative, I know I am reaching here, but I wanted to try to find something positive about our supposed shortstop of the future.  It is almost impossible.  Some say he has improved….he has not.  Throw out all the wonderful stats and just watch the games.  The errors are still there.  The ball gets past him and sometimes he takes a rather pedestrian play and makes it, well, challenging.  It also seems to happen at all the wrong times.

Then he gets a bat in his hands.  This was a strength for Starlin but the strikeout totals and the walk totals are just two far apart.  Not too mention he swings at a lot of bad pitches.  Basically he is a free swinger who does not hit for power.

Yes, there is talent there but something is blocking it from shining through.  Is it his mental game? Is he not mature enough yet?  I don’t know.  Sometimes Starlin’s overall demeanor just strikes me as that of a student trying to get through a boring class.

I look at young shortstops like Jose Iglesias or Elvis Andrus and see an elite fielder with a decent bat.  Their fielding brings confidence and their bats are at the very least good enough.

The cupboard is not bare at Shortstop either.  The Cubs of yesterday did not have the depth that the Cubs of today have.  Sure this year is still a bit thin on Big league ready options but going into next year things could get interesting.  Theo and Jed have been stockpiling and Starlin may not be the only option in the next year or so.  If you need an example of trading depth look no further than Theo’s old team.  The Red Sox dealt the previously mentioned Iglesias to the Tigers for pitching.  Why would they deal such a bright young star?  Well, they have the number one prospect in baseball in Xander Bogaerts waiting in the wings!  This is what depth can do and the Cubs are going to start reaping the rewards.

The trick is, the Cubs must deal Starlin while he still has top value.  If he starts the season off hot next year…lets just say, if we are in the same position we are in now, then they should get what they can for him.  Don’t wait to sell at the bottom!!!  We have depth now!


Topic #2

I found this while surfing the web today. Basically, it is a homegrown player roster for each team in the majors.  You probably guessed that the Cubs roster is pretty lean, thanks Jim Hendry/Tribune and crew.  It takes the best of every current player and puts him back with his original team.

Back to this depth concept, I kind of wonder what it will be like to be a Cubs fan and see more then one good option creeping up the minors at a given position, other then pitcher of course.  Will I be able to detach myself from ever seeing that player realize his potential in a Cubs uniform?  I mean, I really want to see Dan Vogelbach make the bigs and crush balls in a Cubs uniform, but I love Rizzo!  What will give in the end?  As I said above, Castro, for reasons of insanity apparently, had me at hello as our shortstop of the future.  Yet, what happens with Baez? How can you not want to see what Javier Baez can do?  Maybe Baez will be a third basemen but I have longed to see Mike Olt in a Cub uniform.  Also, don’t forget, Kris Bryant is looking like he is on the fast track to the bigs too?  There is only so much room in the boat. Some of these talents that we have been reading about and waiting on may never see Wrigley.  They may turn into a new starting pitcher or reliever.

It is better to have depth but it will take some getting used too.  Long gone are the days of sitting on Corey Patterson and waiting for him to blossom as our only outfield prospect.


Topic #3

I am a big Bill Simmons fan. I have been since he started his page 2 stuff for ESPN.  I am also a big Rockumentary fan.  Basically any Documentary on a rock band can suck me in for hours.  Talk about a time suck, sometimes I manage to stumble on a random “VH1 – Where Are They Now?” bit and can’t let go.  The bad part is that it usually doesn’t matter who they are featuring.

Bill wrote a rather long piece about the recent Eagles Documentary on Grantland. Here is the link.  Bill is leveraging his sports writing to breach other topics and music and entertainment are his big hot spots.  I read this whole thing.  I feel like I already saw the documentary it got so in depth.

I am looking for recommendations for Rockumentary’s …does anybody have a suggestion?

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Chet Chat, Vol. 1 – A Tale of Two Cubs

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The non-waiver trade deadline is approaching within the next few hours and there are still a lot of playable cards left in the Cubs deck.  Actually, I am writing this on trade deadline eve, so maybe by the time I wake up guys like Jeff Russell, David DeJesus, Kevin Gregg, Shark (yes, lazy, don’t want to spell it all out),  Nate Schierholtz, Ronnie Woo-Woo, and the white haired lady with the visor they always show during the seventh inning stretch will have already been cashed in for the prospect of future wins.

Deep down I even feel guys like Junior Lake are being shopped in a weird sort of way.  Call me crazy, but he doesn’t really fit the Epstein mold.  I don’t see him sticking around if a team liked what they saw and offered up a nice package.

This brings me to a trade that happened last week.  The Soriano trade reminds me of death.  No, not the death of our beloved ball club, nothing that extreme.  It is similar to how we say nice things about somebody after they pass on, we chose to recognize Alfonso for all the great things he did after he was traded and then almost, maybe I am stretching here, but we acted as though we would miss him.  I can’t remember an outpouring of affection like this for Soriano in all his years in Cubbie blue.

I will admit, I was saddened a bit.

I think of my Cub fandom in two chapters; the Sosa years and then the Soriano years.  I liked Sosa for the first few years of his chapter.  He provided a certain amount of excitement that was above and beyond the norm at a sporting event.  He was doing things otherworldly there for a while.  I feel he may have been doing them with a little help (wink, wink) but that was when the league was the wild west.  I am shocked we didn’t see a cyborg jump out of the dugout and take a few cuts for crying out loud.

Sosa’s chapter ended with a teammate smashing his boom box while he drove off the Wrigley player lot before fan appreciation day made it to the latter innings.   Also, we must not forget the bewildering and sometimes downright idiotic defense in right field,  the at times stupid baserunning, the corked bat, and the late and ever so grand “This is my house!” entrances at spring training.  Most everyone on the north side of Chicago felt it was time for Sammy to leave, he had worn out his welcome.

Soriano’s chapter ends with glowing articles written by most of Chicago’s press and bloggers alike.  Everybody seemed to speak of his professionalism and love for the game.  Teammates couldn’t stop gushing over his leadership and value to the young players.

I begin to wonder, if Soriano had half the contract and gave the same effort and results, would he have been more loved by fans during his time with the team?  Could he have been one of the most loved Cubs of all time?  If Bob Brenly were not so quick to judge Soriano on his effort and heart during live broadcasts, would some fans see him in a different light?

The question for me will always be, was Soriano unfairly judged due to the size of his contract?

I know I enjoyed the Sosa chapter more, but most of the joy was not because of Sosa’s towering homeruns, but more because of what the team accomplished.

Soriano’s chapter will always be a question of what could have been and what should have been.  I begged on more then one occasion, usually while watching a game in frustration, for the team to trade him.  Yet, for some odd reason, along with many other fans and writers, I inexplicably miss him.

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Chet’s Corner – The Stove Is Heating Up!

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

It’s Hot Stove season and everywhere you look baseball fans are over-analyzing their newly acquired piece and crying over their lost hero.  They check and re-check MLB Trade Rumors and the myriad of other rumor mills pumping falsehoods and selling fantasies.  They obsess over the amount of wins a player will be worth or when their newly acquired prospect will start paying dividends.  Yes, from the All-Star game going forward it is skin trade at it’s best.

I can’t remember ever thinking about the trade deadline until about 12 years ago.  The 80′s and the 90′s did not produce this drama, did it?  Then again, present media has a way of buffing a concept to a perfect shine and presenting it as a “thing” we must follow.  The only way to get up to the minute news back then was to listen to the radio.  Now my iPhone alerts me to rumors, not trades mind you, but rumors before they even become a rumor.  They are the fetus of a rumor.  They are a writer hypothesizing potential candidates and it turns into a rumor from there.

Oh, and by the way, don’t be fooled by misinformation, which is actually a tactical play by a GM or organization, coupled with downright lying of course.  We are kept at the edge of our seats as Negotiation Theater plays on in the back rooms.  Sometimes, I wonder if GM’s see the tweets and the articles and have a grand old laugh at the chaos they have caused.  I could just see a GM thumbing through his twitter feed now, “HaHaHa, Matt Garza for Mike Olt…wasn’t even a thought!”

Then I start to obsess….

I wonder if keeping Matt Garza in a Cubs uniform isn’t the right thing to do?  You know, sign him to a three or four year deal.  

Think about that rotation for a minute…Shark, Wood, Garza, Jackson and a PTBNL….hmmmm. It really isn’t that bad.  I still think it lacks a true stopper, a true ace if you will.

If there is one thing any team needs it’s starting pitching.  We don’t need to give it away.  Then again, he would have to agree to a four year deal.  Maybe he thinks he can get more? Maybe four years is even too many? 

Just thinking out loud here.  Now, I know, the prudent thing may be to trade him away for some young guns that could be core pieces for the future say 2-3 years from now.  But what if he was the leader 2-3 years from now?  I say this completely regretting the amount of time the Cubs hung on to Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and just about every other viable trade piece they possessed over the last 10 years that netted very little in the end.  I want to smack myself for even thinking it, but I can’t help it….I can’t quit you Matt Garza!

You see what happened there, I just waffled back a forth and still don’t know how I feel about the whole issue.  Keep him or trade him?  Crazy or sane?  My brain actually produced the above line of thought a few days ago while reading the latest “hypothesis” on the web.

Should be a fun two weeks.  I wonder who will be left in a Cub uniform when the blood is wiped from the trading block?

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Recapping the Random – 5 Burning Questions

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Yep, let’s do this!  Five burning questions in honor of Hot Stove season.

It’s that time of year where Team Epstein gets out its construction gear and rips apart the current house to build a better foundation for the future…and I am all for it.  I am long on this team, meaning I don’t expect any returns until 2015 at best.  I could care less if they lose 100 games per season for the next two years.  2015 or bust baby!!!!

Which leads to my first question and as always feel free to explain your answers :

1) It was recently reported that Jorge Soler will be out 4-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his left tibia.  This all but ends his 2013 campaign.  In considering this,  who will be the first player acquired, either through the draft, a trade or signed through international free agency, by the Epstein regime to make their Major League debut?


2) If Matt Garza is traded what do you think he will fetch…

a) A top 100 prospect

b) A top 50 Prospect

c) A top 20 prospect

d) Nobody in the top 100

3) In your opinion, are there any “untouchable” players on the Cubs current big league roster? If so, who?

4) Rank the following in order of impact/importance to the city of Chicago:

a) A Cubs World Series Birth

b) A Bears Super Bowl Victory

c) The White Sox moving out of state

d) The Hawks winning a Stanley Cup

e) The Bulls winning a championship

5) With Carlos Marmol officially off the roster, who will be the new favorite Cub to hate going forward?

That will do it for this weeks edition.  Please feel free to share your answers with us!

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Recapping The Random – 06/19/2013

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Imagine if football teams had closers.

Basically, imagine Jay Cutler went three quarters and the closing QB came in to seal the victory in the fourth.  What if the closing quarterback came in up two touchdowns and then proceeded to throw 3 interceptions and fumble the ball.  The other team capitalizes , scores on the turnovers, and the Bears go on to lose a game they had well in hand.  What kind of quote do you think you would get from Lance Briggs in the post game press conference?  You think any of Jay Cutlers jerk face expressions would be caught on camera throughout the course of the final quarter of agony?  

Now imagine it happens time and time again.  This is the 2013 Cubs and that fourth quarter closer…. the Cubs bullpen.  Marmol leads the charge in heartbreak but he isn’t the only one.  When Gregg or Russell are unavailable there is nobody to put in that is more or less effective.  The real problem starts at the levels south of the big league club.  There isn’t a pitcher available in AAA or AA that is ready to take the ball.  There is no stud fireballer.

The bullpen’s consistency bounces from Kevin Gregg to maybe Russell and back to Gregg again.  Everybody else has the potential to go Three Mile Island at any point in time.  You can’t just roll Gregg and Russell out every day, eventually their arms will turn to Swiss cheese.

Don’t point the finger at Dale Sveum.  Who’s he gonna put in? He can’t go pull Lee Smith out of the ivy…or can he?  Plus, everybody knows there is a secret directive from up top to pitch Marmol back into a passable form so he can be traded to the first sucker that needs relief help at the deadline.  If I am Theo or Jed then I am doing the same thing.  Relief pitching is at a premium.  For crying out loud, the Tigers were forced to go dig up Jose Valverde!  If there was a reliever available don’t you think they would have found him?

If Carlos can look effective for just one month, the Cubs could get a prospect back for him.  It won’t be great, but at least it will be something.  So the rest of this Cubs team and it’s fan base just need to suck it up and realize this is still experimental mode.  Maybe we should all just look at this as one long spring training…that lasts until 2014.





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Recapping the Random (Draft Edition) – 06/05/2013

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

As we all wait to see what Epstein and Co. has up their collective sleeves for the 2013 draft, I figured it would be a good idea to look back at previous Cub drafts.

The only problem? There are very few positives coming from the north side of Chicago where the history of the draft is concerned.  Sure, we have had our would be, might be, could be stars littering the rounds of every draft for years, but how many of these “prospects” have panned out?

Before I continue, I should preface everything by saying that a true star player in the making will not spend more than 4 years in the minors.  You say your team has a star in the making but he has been in the minor league system for 6 years?  Guess again.  He may be a fine ballplayer, but star he is not.  You get four years…that’s it.  Look back at history, any true star, and I am not talking occasional all-star or one time ballot topper here, I am talking Sandberg, Mantle, Ripken, Banks, Ryan…you get the picture.  That’s rookie ball and a year each at A, AA, AAA then it’s off to the majors.  Oh and bouncing back and forth does not count, you get four years to stick.  Yes, there are probably a few with a freak injury/illness or maybe some service time for our country that you can use to debunk my theory, but 99% get four years.

Now that we have that covered, back to the Cubs draft woes…..

Below is a list of Cub first round draft picks since 1992.  That covers 20 years and pretty much any player that could have any effect on the team in the last 5 years.


*The number on the far right represents the overall pick of the draft

2012 Albert Almora CF Mater Academy Charter, Hialeah, Fla. 6
2011 Javier Baez SS Arlington Country Day School 9
2010 Hayden Simpson RHP Southern Arkansas 16
2009 Brett Jackson OF California 31
2008 Andrew Cashner RHP Texas Christian 19
2007 Josh Vitters 3B Cypress (Calif.) HS 3
2006 Tyler Colvin OF Clemson 13
2005 Mark Pawelek LHP Springville HS (UT) 20
2003 Ryan Harvey OF Dunedin HS 6
2002 Bobby Brownlie RHP Rutgers 21
2001 Mark Prior RHP U. of Southern California 2
2000 Luis Montanez SS Miami, FL 3
1999 Ben Christiansen RHP Wichita State U. 26
1998 Corey Patterson OF Kennesaw, GA 3
1997 Jon Garland RHP Granada Hills, CA 10
1996 Todd Noel RHP Maurice, LA 17
1995 Kerry Wood RHP Grand Prairie, TX 4
1994 Jayson Peterson RHP Denver, CO 15
1993 Jon Ratliff RHP LeMoyne College 24
1993 Brooks Kieschnick OF-RH U of Texas 10
1992 Derek Wallace RHP Pepperdine U 11


So basically 20 years and we got Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, and Cashner (which turned into Rizzo) to show for it.  The extremely depressing years are 2002-2010, which explain exactly why Epstein has had nothing to work with.  You’ll notice the Cubs have selected in the top 10 half of those years.  For crying out loud, 2010 first rounder Hayden Simpson was let go during spring training and is now toiling with a Frontier league team!  The guy should be mid-way through his minor league progression at least.

Oh well, while there are no guarantees in the world of prospecting baseball players, the new regime seems to have a better handle on the concept….from the owner on down.


Draft News:


  • Here is a small but telling article regarding Hayden Simpson and how/why he was drafted in the first round.  Still shaking my head…..that damn Crane Kenney!
  • Each pick in the first 10 rounds of the draft now has a value assigned to it.  You can go under, but if you go over you will get penalized.  An Article explaining that is here.
  • Here is a reason why the Cubs may pass on some of the popular players like Appel, or Gray.
  • Read VFTB’s very own Holden Clark and his take on the Cubs potential picks beyond the first round.
  • Here is a blurb on the top pitchers in this years draft.
  • As Bleacher Report likes to do, here is another Top 10……this time it’s “who could be the Boom or Bust signings of the 2013 draft“….how about all of them?
  • This is a take on the top position players in the draft.
  • The potential top pick failed a drug test recently.


That should get you started.  Draft coverage on the MLB Network starts at 6:00pm EST on June 6th.




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