C’mon, What’s Ol’ Gil Gotta Do to Get a Bunch of Overpaid Players on the Cubs?

The Patience Plan that the Cubs are executing was first met with wide appeal when Theo and Jed first arrived on the scene about a year ago. They came in and stated quite clearly that they would be building from within, re-stocking the largely barren farm system they inherited from Jim Hendry, and any free agent signings in the near future would be safe, low-risk signings that would not jeopardize long-term fiscal flexibility for when they do have an actual competent team that can contend. These declarations were music to most fans ears at that point.

Finally! A regime that will address the organization as a whole instead of concentrating solely on the major league level every five years or so! It was a miracle. We danced in the streets as we dreamed of a day when the Cubs would have a true organization and not a hodge podge of minor league teams all teaching their players different things depending on who is coaching them at any given time.

It was a big project. A HUGE project. This wasn't about fixing a single team. It was about re-creating the philosophy and operations of an entire organization from top to bottom. They were very clear about this from Day One. This was going to be a process. This was going to take time.

Well, Theo, your time is up with some fans. We've already heard from Chet Coppock live from a high school gymnasium. Today we're hearing from a blog I didn't know existed until MB referenced them the other day. Gil Gerard at RantSports.com is fed up with patience. He has been patient for a whole year, and now he is just plain upset about what an embarassment the Cubs have become under Theo.

You can't spell "short-sighted, moronic, ramblings" without R-A-N-T, so let's see what Gil is so mad about:

The Chicago Cubs continue to show their fan base they don’t want to win now.

Gil has already made the mistake of confusing desire with ability. The Cubs want to win now. Of course they do. None of the people in charge of making decisions on the baseball operations side has reached the level they have in the industry by not wanting to win. The question is whether the Cubs have the TALENT to win now and I think we saw over the last couple of seasons that the resounding answer to that question is: No, they do not.

With the trade that went down between the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins, there is simply NO excuse for the Cubs to not have been involved in talks for Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson. The fact the Blue Jays didn’t even give up their top prospects shows that it was a salary dump by the Marlins – one that the Cubs could have easily been in on.

Well, Josh Johnson, I'll give you, but Jose Reyes? Don't we already have a shortstop? Of the many issues the Cubs have, their shortstop isn't anywhere close to the top of the list. And what makes Gil so sure that the Cubs weren't having conversations with the Marlins? Who is to say that Jed hadn't been on the phone with them to talk about Josh Johnson and the Marlins were more interested in dumping every player on their team who makes more than league minimum in one fell swoop? Why piece together multiple deals that bring back bit players from many teams when you can lump all your garbage together and get a decent little package of talent from one place? That's what I would have done if I were the Marlins.

Yes, that’s right: the Cubs could have turned themselves into a World Series contender – but no.

Wait… what? Adding Josh Johnson and a shortstop that we don't need makes the Cubs a World Series contender? You do know the Cubs lost 101 games last year, right? You also know that even if Josh Johnson returns to the value he had pre-injury, that adds about 6 wins. I won't even subtract anything by plugging in Reyes because I should since Castro was actually more than half a win better than Reyes last year. That brings the Cubs up to 65 wins. Even if you buy that they were unlucky last year, I think the most any rational person could expect is 75 wins. The most optimistic projection in the world would still be putting a Cubs team with Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes on it as below .500. Unless baseball does the old hockey thing and lets everybody into the playoffs, the Cubs aren't contending for jack shit next year with or without Johnson and Reyes.

The Ricketts family bought this team and promised the Cubs faithful they want to win; well, that went quickly out the window. The lack of funds, or perhaps the simple inclination to be cheap, have essentially turned them into the enemy – one that sports the opposite message: winning is not part of the program.

Nothing the Ricketts have done since they took over convinced me they didn't WANT to win. I questioned whether they had any clue HOW to win or WHO would be able to execute their vision of a consistent winner, but the WANT was never the problem. They started sinking money into the infrastructure of this team from Day 1. They are building a new state-of-the-art Spring Training Facility, they are building a new training facility in the Dominican Republic, they are upgrading the facilities up and down their minor league system. That costs money and it doesn't generate revenue right away, so if an owner was "cheap" as Gil contends, these are the first things that a cheap owner wouldn't bother with. And it is exactly why the Cubs are in the situation they are in now, since the previous owners didn't sink money into anything that didn't directly impact the ability to raise revenue. Wrigley Field isn't an ancient hole because the Wrigleys had a vision of creating a historical tourist destination. They didn't pump money into it to keep up with the times. So blaming the Ricketts now for having to allocate money into solving long-term problems that weren't their fault is pretty unfair.

Not even if the cost comes down to simply taking a calculate risk on salary.

There are a finite amount of dollars to spend on the baseball budget. I'm sorry if you think it should be infinite, but the Cubs aren't the Yankees. No team is the Yankees.  Even the Yankees have finally found the ceiling of what they can spend before it starts getting self-defeating. The Cubs are allocating their money as much as possible to development. Again, this is not a surprise to anybody who paid even the least little bit of attention for the last year. This team will not squander salary on cosmetic, short-term solutions that do not help the team in the long-run. I don't think they could be any clearer.

They want to make profit; that’s great and dandy for the Ricketts as business owners, but for a Cubs fan like myself? I’m disgusted. While the Cubs are signing the Scott Bakers of the world, mid-market teams like the Blue Jays have turned themselves into a contender overnight while not blowing up their farm system.

Overnight? They dropped off last year because Jose Bautista and a million other Blue Jays like Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus, Brandon Morrow and others got hurt. They finished over .500 the previous two seasons in the AL East. There is nothing overnight about anything the Blue Jays have done if they contend this year. Just because you weren't paying attention to them, Gil, doesn't mean they didn't exist or sucked.

It makes me sick.

Your incredibly shallow, short-sighted analysis? Me too.

Let’s look at this logically.

Yes, for the love of God, let's finally look at this logically.

The Cubs could have sported a rotation of: Josh Johnson, Matt Garza, Mark Buerhle, Jeff Samardzija, and Travis Wood/Scott Baker. They could have picked up a REAL lead-off hitter in Jose Reyes to play short. They could have moved Starlin Castro to third, brought in a catcher that isn’t a total travesty in John Buck, AND add a super-utility guy like Emilio Bonifacio to the bench in one fell swoop.

I don't think you know what "logically" means, Gil.

And they could have done all this without giving up Javier Baez, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler.

HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW THAT, GIL? Baseball America had Marisnick as their 2nd highest rated prospect in the Blue Jays' system. Nicolino was #5 AND he's a pitcher. The equivalent pieces in the Cubs system would be Baez or Almora (depending who you ask) and Dan Vogelbach. The closest pitcher comparison would be Arodys Vizcaino. PLUS they gave up a young major league arm in Henderson Alvarez along with the rest of the group. I don't even know who the equivalent there would be, Travis Wood? If you squint really hard and drink enough alcohol, maybe. I don't know what the depth of the Blue Jays' system is, but that trade would re-fuck everything Theo and Jed had just started un-fucking about the Cubs' pathetic level of talent in their farm system. And for what? Overpaying Mark Fucking Buerhle? Your little dream scenario there gets the Cubs major league roster back to the same talent level they had at the beginning of last season, AND THEY FUCKING SUCKED AT THE BEGINNING OF LAST SEASON!

What the heck. Seriously.


I don’t want to hear this garbage like “the Cubs are rebuilding from within”, blah blah blah. The Cubs once spent $300 million in an off-season and it gave them a window to win a world series.

LOOK WHERE IT FUCKING GOT THEM, GIL! IT GOT THEM HERE! They pissed a shitload of money down the toilet to make the Cubs APPEAR like winners to FALSELY INFLATE the value of the team. If you think Sam Zell gave one flying fuck about the Cubs' record in any way other than how it made his team more valuable on the market, you need to go back to whatever school educated you and demand your money back.

The Cubs are supposed to be a big-market team, and frankly, they could – and should – be spending money and rebuilding at the same darn time. Letting this trade go down and not getting involved sends the message to me, as a fan, that the owner doesn’t give a damn about winning.

Yes, the Cubs are supposed to be a big market team. But you know what big market teams have that the Cubs don't have? Stadiums with huge money-making luxury suites. They have signs from advertisers that scoop money into the owners' pockets. They have television deals that provide ungodly sums of money. The Cubs don't have any of that compared to a real major market team. Again, this is shit that doesn't get the headlines until it goes hilariously wrong, but the Cubs are at least trying to change these factors so that they can act like a real major market team. So yes, they SHOULD be a major market team, but the difference isn't Ricketts just snapping his fingers and saying, "Make it so."

He only cares about the bottom line.

Again with this. Look, saying it repeatedly doesn't make it any more true than the first time you said it. You just look dumber.

The Chicago Cubs are never going to win by “rebuilding” from within like the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’ll be even more hilarious if the “blue chippers” don’t ever become the stars the Cubs are trying to tell us they’ll be.

Who said it would be like the Pittsburgh Pirates? You know why the Pittsburgh Pirates never finished a rebuild? Because it eventually costs money. Because every time they had players that were any good at all, the rest of the team was still so bad that that they had to trade off the good players. The Pirates have to hope that all of their prospects eventually all get good at the same time. If the Pirates had the resources of even a medium market team there is no way in hell that Barry Bonds ever plays for the Giants. Certainly not through the height of his career. The Cubs aren't in that position. Even with all of the restraints put on them by the ballpark and their crappy television deal and the bitchy neighborhood, they still have more money than the Pirates do. They just extended Starlin Castro didn't they? Aren't they talking about locking up Jeff Samardzija? The Pirates would be trading Jeff Samardzija without even thinking about it.

It’s laughable and I for one am FED UP with the clown car that is the Chicago Cubs.

I think it's laughable that you sat peacefully by during the Trib and Zell years without calling them out, but now that they have an actual owner trying to make the team great by addressing more than the cosmetic issues, you can't take it anymore.

Someone tell the Ricketts family that they need to sell the team to real owners. Cubs fans have waited long enough for an ownership group that, oh, I don’t know, wants to celebrate a winning team in October?

Oh, I see where this is coming from. You see the Dodgers gobbling up salaries like the fat kid at a hotdog eating contest for no apparent reason and Toronto taking on bloated salaries in a desperate effort to stay relevant in their division and equate spending with effort. Here, as a present from me to you, something for your spank bank:

Now shut the fuck up and let Theo and Jed work.


About aisle424

I used to write lots of things about the Cubs. Now I sometimes write things about the Cubs.