Some stray items from around the Show….
- Can Theo Epstein’s front office get the Cubs back on track? Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times explores the question in a detailed look at the challenges facing the team this winter, as the team’s overhaul has already led to the end of Joe Maddon’s managerial tenure but seemingly no major shuffles coming to the baseball operations department. The Cubs’ lack of success in 2019 had arguably less to do with Maddon and more to do with the team finally paying the price after several ill-fated acquisitions clogged the roster and the farm system failed to produce much high-impact talent (especially on the pitching side). Wittenmyer wonders if Epstein and top lieutenants Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod can guide the Cubs through this reload period now that “the industry has caught up” to some of the roster-building strategies deployed by Epstein and company in rebuilding the Cubs, or in building the Red Sox into World Series winners last decade. To Epstein’s credit, his post-season remarks to reporters included several admissions that mistakes were made by his baseball ops group, and more significant change is on the way to the big league roster. “If you want to say we were stubborn with this group, I think that’s fair. We had a real belief in this group. That’s an area where I need to do a better job as a leader, letting go of the past and focusing on the future,” Epstein said.
- “It’s never an easy thing to drop $5.1MM on one player, but he made it pretty easy,” Yankees international scouting director Donny Rowland told Baseball America’s Ben Badler (subscription required) about Dominican prospect Jasson Dominguez. The 16-year-old Dominguez’s $5.1MM payday matched the highest bonus given to any player in this year’s international draft class, and his stock has only continued to rise now that he has seen some action in the Dominican instructional league. Badler’s piece details how the Yankees’ international scouting staff first came across Dominguez, and how the youngster is already showing potential as a five-tool center fielder (not to mention a sixth tool of plate discipline).
- While playing in the Arizona Fall League, Diamondbacks prospect Seth Beer is focusing on answering questions about his defensive future by improving his first base glovework, Baseball America’s Bill Mitchell writes. The Astros selected Beer with the 28th overall pick of the 2018 draft, though he is best known for being part of the prospect package Houston sent to Arizona in the Zack Greinke trade deadline blockbuster. Beer has carried the hitting prowess he displayed at Clemson into his pro career, but since sticking as an outfielder may not be feasible, Beer has seen a good deal of first base time in order to establish a position for himself. Playing in an NL organization, he also doesn’t have the future comfort of a designated hitter spot. On the plus side, Beer is “excited” to have a clearer path to the big leagues with the D’Backs than he did in Houston, calling the trade “a great opportunity for me in my career.”
You had me add Beer.
Yankees just got put to bed without a story by the Astros. 🙂
Same here. I immediately scanned the article to see what it said about beer and was disappointed to see the it is a player’s name. I’d like to see what his nickname is on player’s weekend in a coming season.
Theo’s predicament is sounding like it was in Boston. I wish Theo would return to Boston. I know it may never happen, but I can hope.
Epstein’s drat/scouting people were the same in Boston. He went after that “pitchability with strong frame” type rather than guys who might have been able to throw harder and needed tweaks, or had a bit thinner frames in many cases. His drafts were littered with wastes high picks that never sniffed the majors, or had a cup of coffee years later with another organization.
Clay Bucholz was his only real SP hit as a rule 4 draftee up high. Michael Bowman hung around a few years and of course Casey kelly had a lot of hype and was a big part of the Adrian Gonzalez deal, but got hurt.
Many were just flat out flamers.. bryan Price, kris Johnson, Caleb Clay a few come to mind and even after Epstein left? the organization continued with this flawd pattern and drafted brian Johnson #1 in 2012, Trey Ball #7 overall in 2013 and further compounded a wasteful 2013 draft by using the #2 pick on another useless Teddy stankowicz who will never get above AAA throwing junk.
If anyone watches Beer move around (i.e. jog, sprint, etc.) you will immediately recognize that he has stiff hips and is a complete non-athlete. He will have to learn first base (which is not easy) and stay out of the OF… he may have been a really good DH, but now that he’s in the NL, I just don’t see him playing everyday unless it is at 1b.
Theo, here is your blueprint:
1.DO NOT exercise Quintana’s option unless you plan to trade him.
2. Hire Girardi or Farrell
3 Sign Sir Didi, move Javy to 3B.
4. Sign Bumgarner
5. Trade Bryant and Almora to Cleveland for Clevinger and 2 prospects.
6. Trade Russell for cash and low tier prospect/reliever.
7. Welcome back to the postseason. You’re Welcome!!
8. To all haters, Of course this is for fun, just a hypothetical. BUT…I have took into account Rizzo, Schwarber, Contreras, and Baez getting raises and the payroll coming off the books.. They STILL can work this configuration with around the same budget from 2019, possibly less. Zobrist, Hamels, Quintana leaving and Bryant traded would save 60 million alone..
Ok, I’ll bite. Why would the Indians take a soon to be unattainable free agent and a defensive replacement for a top line starter and any prospect capital? How does this make sense? Doesn’t Cleveland already have some bodies on the left side of the infield of some note?
Indians would never do that
Sure they would. Theo just needs to click on “force trade”.
Right. Why would Cleveland trade an ace-type pitcher AND prospects for a $20mm OF and a defensive replacement CF. Cleveland is looking to shed payroll, not add it
I like it but I’d keep Javy at SS put Didi or Nico at 3B
Schwarber, Happ and Quintana leap off the page at me. And before the Schwarber apologists jump at the bit, he can’t play defense, a necessity in the 13 pitcher shouldn’t use your Back up C except in an emergency National League. Yeah he can hit 35 homers in a juiced ball season, but he doesn’t move runners, hits into a shift constantly and needs to go.
Sure he’s a nice guy, but he should be a nice guy in the AL.
Schwarb’s defensive numbers are fine. With the way he hit the second half, I can’t imagine he’s going anywhere.
Amen Uncle Mike!
Swarber hit 16hr in 69 games his rookie year, then 30,26, and now 38 (not 35). So a juiced ball had nothing to do with his power output…he’s not Lastella hitting 15 bones before All Star break. Your claim that “…can’t play defense” is also not accurate. He grades out as average to just below average, but def not “cant play defense”.
Now do I agree that he needs to go, yeah. But only if we get conpracle value, and his performance this year (esp 2nd half) should warrant that.
Unclemike, what if the league decided to give teams an extra bench spot that couldn’t be used as a pitcher in this “13 pitcher…National League”. Would you them want to keep Schwarber then? Cuz next year rosters move to 26 man and max of 13 pitchers.
Down with OBP
Me (unwise): the Cubs has a good season until the last month where they decided to have their worst month and went 11-16 and had a nine game losing streak. That’s 28 games out of 162
Wittenmyer (sage, soothsayer): the cubs are broken and off the rails.
they were a .500 team most of the season – put a real closer on the team all year and they probably win 93 games though.
Closers don’t generally provide 12 wins above replacement. They were more than a reliever away
Correct, but if they had a bonafide closer then that would help alleviate the 25+ blown saves that the bullpen had
The Yankees have the best bullpen in baseball and blew 28 saves, the same number as the Cubs.
Disappointed in the lack of clever beer-related comments in this post, but I suppose I can’t think of a good one either. Anyway, hopefully he one day he lands with Milwaukee.
I hope Seth Beer has a son someday and names him Duff.
He needs to be on the same team as Jake Burger
The Sun-Times article is a must read for all Cubs fans and one that all MLB enthusiasts should peruse. It is a great, comprehensive look at Theo Epstein’s success and failure as the architect of the Cubs rise to a 2016 World Series championship and fall when they missed out on the 2019 postseason after quick exits from the playoffs the previous two years. It hits on so many things I have been complaining about for some time now except one; the virtual free pass given to Joe Maddon by Gordon Wittenmyer.
With the closing of the international draft pick slot loophole/hack that Theo and Co. have explored for years, it’s going to be much more difficult for them to get the team back on track.
After seeing their body of work for so long, I think it’s safe to say they aren’t the best talent evaluators.
They have just dealt “in bulk” (if you will), and have been able to exploit that loophole and throw many draft picks at the wall and see what sticks.
With only two years left on his contract, I don’t have a lot of faith he will right the ship, and he will likely see himself out the door (on his terms, of course), and then go to another franchise.
I’ve been saying this for a couple years now. Given the sample size, it’s fair to say Theo and his staff have not done a good job evaluating talent. They’ve also shown poor judgement in trades, new contracts and free agent signings.
Theo kept Happ, Almora, Schwarber, and Russell because he “believed in them”. He decided to ship out Torres, Cease, Jimenez, and Soler as a result. The latter group is considerably more talented, but never mind that. I think people are fully aware the cubs got fleeced in trades for the latter group as well. That’s where the cubs screwed up. They have nothing to show for the amount of talent they’ve sent out the door the last three years, and it’s hurting them now.
And please, stop with the “we won a championship” thanks to those trades. Torres and the other pieces the cubs gifted NY for a 3-month rental of Chapman were wasted. Only a desperate fanbase accepts one-sided trades as rational and necessary to win ONE championship. Had they retained Chapman, or better yet, scoffed at the Yankees’ trade demand and found another team willing to deal, they’d be much better off in the long run. Theo’s goal was to build a championship caliber organization with longterm sustainability, meaning more than one championship. That trade, sling with the series of ill-advised closer acquisitions that followed, destroyed the cubs’ chances of winning another championship. I won’t even get into the missed opportunities to acquire impact star players. Or the decision to go without a leadoff hitter for years after successfully winning with Dexter Fowler in that slot. Or the cubs trading all of their bench depth away. It almost seems as if Theo wanted the team weaker/less capable after 2016. He certainly got what he wanted in term of a new (cheaper?) manager. He really should have resigned and moved on this year. Sometimes you have to just fall on your sword and admit you screwed up.
In regard to Torres only stop with the long run crap. The trade won the world series. I know that you are a White Sox fan and you find that a bitter pill to swallow but the fact is that is what it is all about.
Your argument that “had they retained Chapman” is weak. They made the trade to roll the dice in the world championship and won that bet. They never planned on retaining Chapman who as a free agent would sign with another team. Torres was a steep price no matter who signed Chapman. Had they not won the world championship that pisses you off that may be another thing.
As for your comment they should have found someone else to trade with I note you do not mention who that team would have been? Do tell! What pitcher other than Chapman should they have traded for? Do tell! What pitcher other than Chapman (Miller was already gone) was out there that would have had the same impact? Do tell.
To attempt to be critical without supporting your argument of well they should have just found someone else is weak.
As for the rest of your comment I would agree with you.
Your lack of creativity regarding the Chapman trade pretty much sums up the problem with Theo and his front office. Considering what the cubs gave up, wouldn’t it have made more sense to trade for a closer with time left on their contract after 2016? Especially if, as you say, the cubs never intended to keep Chapman? That just makes the trade look even more ludicrous. Torres is a star. It just doesn’t make any sense.
What about Jorge Soler? Jimenez and Cease for Quintana?
What about signing an injury prone setup pitcher to close for your championship contending team?
Not re-signing Jesse Chavez?
Tommy La Stella moved? Why? One of the best bench players in the league. All-Star for the Angels now.
I could go on amd on. These are nobrainers to everyone in baseball. Nobody agrees with or understands Theo Epsten’s moves. They never work, and they never make any sense.
Lastly, my comments aren’t hateful. If you think facts and truth are hateful, you have issues.
But I am asking what other closer comparable to Chapman/Miller was out there. They wanted a lock down closer and they got one of the few. They did not want just some reliever or some average closer. That is the point.
So again I am simply asking who did you have in mind? Anyone in particular?
What is your problem? My original comment said expect for Torres I agreed with you on the other trades. But you do not want to have a discussion. You want to attack me for not agreeing with you 100%
jorge Soler was doing nothing except looking like Ralphie’s brother in April/May and October. He had a great year. The lovely contract year..I’ll take Heyward over him.
The Torres Trade was definitely the right move and they and the Yankees won that deal. Yes it would be huge for them to have Torres right now but no Chapman that year means the ‘curse’ may very well still be alive today. It was a key move in their title run. Unfortunate for them that he developed into what he has in NY but trading him was critical to winning the WS.
It’s also worth noting how important that one WS was to the team and fans. And championships are what it’s all about. Better to be great for a short time and actually win a championship then be great for a long time and never win a championship. Could the Cubs have just won it in the near future anyway? Maybe, but nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes you have to go all in to take advantage of the current opportunity.
Well said Rocket!
ChiSoxCity is a troll who cannot stand the fact the Cubs won so now he tries to minimize it by saying any fans who would be happy with that trade for “just one” championship has no credibility like he is the judge of that. Lol
The Yankees were shopping Chapman around to everyone, including all the cub’s rivals. THAT trade had to be made. The Cubs outbid everyone else. Yes, they paid a lot, but they won the World Series. Cleveland then stepped up and got Miller. At the time that trade looked pretty steep as well (Frazier and Sheffield).
The rumors had the Yankees wanting Swarber over Torres, but the Cubs wouldn’t budge.
“Only a desperate fanbase accepts one-sided trades as rational and necessary to win ONE championship”.
Wow..just wow. Yeah….”one championship” One in what, 108 years??? 0-7 in their last WS victory back in 1908?
Besides, they had Baez, Zobrist and Russell were all ahead of him so at the time they made a tough choice.
What a troll that ChiSoxCity is. That person has no baseball knowledge
ChiSoxCity: Totally agree with your assessment as a lifelong Cubs and White Sox fan. Everybody knew Aroldis Chapman was going to be a 3 month rental, in part because of the heat the organization took from much of their fan base in acquiring a player with a domestic abuse issue that had resulted in a suspension from MLB. Of course, Karma bit them in the buttocks again with the Addison Russell situation that was even worse than Chapman’s incident and one the organization still hasn’t moved on from as we post.
again, ill believe it when i see it with Jasson. could be another Wander or Vlad, or could be Dermis Garcia.
Well I really don’t have a problem with the Torres trade as it won the Cubs the Championship along with Schwarber getting hurt in the first game of the season. For those who forget, the Cubs were the best defensive team in the league then and have gone steadily downhill since then so all the people who say his defense isn’t bad, get yourself a dog and a cane.
If he’s so good, why did they handcuff Maddon for 3 years after that by him having to replace him in the 7th inning on defense all the time? I don’t know what games you’re watching, But they aren’t the same ones I’m watching. Defense grades in baseball are skewed because they only take into account balls you ACTUALLY get to, which makes them worthless IMO. The second they figured out he couldn’t catch, He should of been launched.
Theo’s trading record and FA signings after that have been 50/50 at best, and probably in reality, aren’t even that good.
First the Torres trade was the right call. The quintana trade was horrible. Truth was the bullpen was horrible for the cubs that is why they did not make the playoffs.. Epstein has to fix the bullpen. Epstein and jed hoyer are on the hot seat now. I would say this will be very interesting offseason for both of them.
Jasondav I agree completely
Theo is a media made hype job. He would have been fired in Boston if he hadn’t left. His record in the draft is abysmal and in F/A a complete joke. His trades are ok at best but the Champman deal he was fleeced. The GM’s for Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, Rays, Indians, Padres, Cardinals and Brewers are all way better than the Crown Prince of Media Theo.
But yet the baseball heads of the Dodgers Padres Brewers Cardinals Rays and Indians that you mentioned all have a total combined zero championships compared to Theo’s 3.
Sure this current Cub fiasco is on Theo and he has made bad trades (and good ones) but when you start alleging those who have never won are all better than him you argument smells of jealousy and envy as obviously factually it is just not true.
I’m a Yanks fan who hates the Sox but weren’t:
w/ Sox- Papelbon, Ellsbury, Buccholz, Lowire, Pedroia, Rizzo, etc and w/ the Cubs Bryant and Schwarber all drafted on his watch? I get it. He wasn’t as prolific with the Cubs. But still, he ended two major historic droughts for two long suffering franchises. Seems to me you guys are selling him short.
They are selling very short
I think Theo should step away from the player personnel decisions and let Hoyer be GM and Mcleod president of player personnel. If he doesn’t they will probably leave anyway. We need to see what they can do.
Its is actually a collaborative effort with the Theo trio as they are known. Its not Theo just bossing everyone around. He has final say but they all discuss all the moves and are pretty much on the same page.
perfect time for cash to flip him for a reliever…..
They’re not off track. Re-sign castellanos and get starter.
I remember when the Astros drafted Beer the initial thought was even though he was an OF that he’d be a future DH.. Now that he’s in the ARZ system (D-backs are a NL team w/o a DH) he likely will have to learn 1B or continue his glove work in the OF.