Friday, August 06, 2010

Rebuilding Internally

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry spoke to the media before today's game. He laid out the plan for 2011:

"I'm here to tell you it's not some kind of a major rebuilding job," Jim said. "When you start seeing the improvement in the young people that we have and the type of young arms that we have and the arms that we have coming, you make three or four solid moves in the off-season and your young guys keep developing, then you're right back to being a contending team, and that's the way we're going to go about it."
Only Jim Hendry would have the chutzpah to tell us that major renovations to over 10% of the roster isn't major rebuilding. Then again, you really can't fault Hendry for not suggesting that the Cubs are going to stink in 2011. That's not a great season ticket holder retention strategy.

But the key part of Hendry's talk was in the second sentence: "the young people that we have."

It's been pretty obvious since before 2010 started that a youth movement was coming, and not simply because Hendry thinks he has some young players ready. The youth movement is coming because the young players are cheap. They'll play even if they aren't ready because the Cubs have some serious debt service to pay off.

Ted Lilly is gone and Derrek Lee is leaving because the Cubs need to cover private placements more than they need the mound and first base covered.

When Hendry says that three or four moves are all this team needs, he means ON TOP of the young players he plans to promote of give more playing time. He wants us to count only players acquired from outside the organization are the only solid moves.

When you consider all the changes this roster will see over the next 7 months, it's going to be hard to call it anything but a rebuild.

I still think with a Dunn,Berkman or Vic Martinez at first. This can be an 85-88 win team.

Signing a big bat to place at 1st is of critical importance.

aaron b
If Hendry survives , he is Hendry Houdini
Why sign Dunn? Move Soriano to first and fill OF with rookie?
Because the Cubs offense is terrible. Soriano to 1st and random rookie to the OF does nothing to actually address that.

Since most of the media is saying that the Cubs are going to cut payroll, I'm not expecting to sign anyone. More than likely they are going to switch deck chairs on the Titanic.
The empty seats in the ballpark will insure that somebody is brought in. No way does Ricketts invest 800 million on a ballpark to watch it die on the vine.

DLee is making 13 million this year. At bare minimum they can earmark that for a DLee replacement. Not even taking into account Lilly,Nady and Theriot and the 18ish million they took up on the payroll.


The media in Chicago gets it cues from Cub management. And all they are talking about is cutting payroll and paying the bulk of the salaries due to Zambrano and Fukudome so those guys can play on other teams.

Just about every person writing or commenting on blogs expected this Cubs team to maybe be a .500 team, yet the Ricketts had Hendry do next to nothing to improve the team other than swap one malcontent for another. And the media has been intimating that the Cubs would like to get rid of that malcontent now as well.

The Cubs were better than a .500 team last year and there were plenty of empty seats last year. So why didn't Tom use his head and see that this year's team needed more than band-aids?

The voices of reason keep saying that the Cubs have too much debt and too many structural problems with the stadium to spend a ton of money on players for the near future. And so far Tom and family have shown more interest in restroom improvements and adding signage to the ballpark than putting a winning team on the field.

It's possible that all this talk has been started as some sort of smoke screen to hide the Cubs' true intentions. I suppose we'll find out this winter.

My gut feeling is that with the debt level. This current 140 Million payroll is top end of where the Ricketts want to go. However there is a big difference between 140 and the 101 that is committed to next years payroll.

I doubt they give Jim Hendry a blank check to spend as he wishes. Everyone knows that would be disaster.

However I can see them going 4/48 to 4/52 on an Adam Dunn, or less on a Lance Berkman. Both to keep the fans interested, and because neither guy would any prospects on the horizon.

Maybe the media is wrong, but based on what they have been saying and writing I don't think next year's payroll will be $140,000,000.

Also, of the money committed for next year, several tens of millions of dollars is committed to players who won't be playing for the Cubs. The Cubs will more than likely not only have to pay Zambrano, Fukudome and Silva's salaries, but also have to pay guys to take their places.

Adding an Adam Dunn or Lance Berkman isn't going to fix the Cubs for next year. And Berkman is coming off a dismal season anyway. Plus the Cubs are going to need starting pitching. Do they go after an ace this off-season or wait a couple of seasons?

I think the only way the Cubs can be fixed is to totally rebuild the team. And that means they are going to be bad for a couple seasons while they get the bad contracts off the books and develop players at the Major League level. I just don't see how 3 or 4 moves can fix this mess.
I think the media is just speculating. I haven't heard anything from Ricketts stating that the Cubs are slashing payroll in 2011.

I just can't imagine a guy who grew up a fan. That spent 800 Million to buy this thing. Would risk hurting his brand by playing Scrooge McDuck?

It's possible he does. I just don't see it.

More contract dumps to follow, will likely see 2012 as the year to get it going right.
The Cubs will sell out the season tickets next year regardless of the product on the field. That gives owners more room to make moves when they feel compelled.
All I can say is that Ricketts wasn't compelled to spend money for better ballplayers before this season. Most people thought this team would be .500 at best. Where did Ricketts spend his money? On new troughs for the men's room and a new restaurant to serve buffalo meat. Bleh!
True he only spent about 8 million on free agents this year. But he also had the Bradley and Aaron Miles situations. And north of 130 Million already committed.

Lee,Lilly and Theriot clears up 30 million in payroll. Surely some of that can get re-invested.

Even if you have to backload an Adam Dunn and a rehab pitcher like Brandon Webb or Erik Bedard. SOME money is going to be spent.

To think that this guy spent 800 million on the club, only to run it like the Kansas City Royals just seems silly.

If this guy promises to spend 130-140 on payroll and funds the ML program like he should. I see no reason not to trust him.

Payroll was raised 10 Million from 2009-2010. Ricketts allowed Hendry to spend 9 million on Byrd,Nady and Grabow. We didn't non-tender anyone of note. We even kicked in 1 million to the A's to get out from under Aaron Miles.

Problem seems that Hendry really sucks at his job, moreso than the owner is pinching pennies. No reason we can't have 15-25 Million to spend on Free Agents this year?

Hey tough guy,

Where your email address? Oh yeah that is right - not working.
Or the money coming off the payroll can be used to pay for needed stadium repairs or debt service.

What you seem to be proposing is that the Cubs should get into an endless cycle of trying to patch the team together by buying free agents every year. I think the best thing for the Cubs to do is to lay fallow for a couple years, get the bad contracts off the books, develop the kids and then be in a position to get some really great free agents.

So far Castro appears to be a keeper. Colvin may be better than average. Cashner still needs to add a pitch.

For the pitching staff to be good next year, you are looking at replacing Zambrano and Lilly. Who knows if Silva will be back or if he'd pitch well if he is back? Wells has been a major disappointment this year. So you probably need two starters unless Spellcheck is ready to be an MLB starter. Then you have the mess that is the bullpen.

You've got holes at first and second. Your bench is less than mediocre. You have a terrible defensive left fielder.

It doesn't look pretty and even throwing $30,000,000 at it isn't going to fix it. But the upside is the more that I say this, the more likely it is that the Cubs will find a cosmic miracle next year and compete.
Spam, wonderful spam.
Where's my e-mail? Where it says, "Ivy Chat E-Mail."
The only way to quick fix this team would be to spend drunkenly. The only way that happens is if current salary is offloaded.

You want to fix it? Trade Fukudome, Soriano and Zambrano without taking back more than 10% to 15% of their salaries.

2012 is the year.
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