A lot of the apathetic “cubs won’t do anything this offseason” chicago media, seem to be framing Theo as a guy who takes waivers on exiled players who have failed to reach their potential and builds from within. I don’t think he’s like that at all I think he recognizes the need for power hitting in the middle of the lineup and a dominant first of rotation pitcher. The Cubs as currently constructed have only one of any of the above, its taking waivers on mediocre players like DeJesus and Stewart but lack a true cleanup hitter, first of rotation pitcher (Garza and the reanimated corpses of Z and Dempster do not count), and obviously have no talent in the farm system (its not like Jim Hendry would draft Wayne Gretzky’s son just to skate on the ice with his father, oh wait that did happen, fuck)
Theo inherited one of the most dominant hitters of modern baseball in Manny Ramirez a player who at the time was signed to the largest contract ever awarded to a Red Sox when his small market team the Indians could not match his level of play and the amount of dollars it demanded. After the ensuing world series victories (plural) he traded away manny to the dodgers (we remember this right? Killing our season) and signed J.D. Drew to a 5 year 70 million dollar contract, put him in Big Papi’s batting slot moving Papi to Manny’s spot and let that work itself out for two years before realizing J.D. Drew was serviceable could maybe even lead you to the playoffs but to win a world series with him as a focal point of the batting order NO WAY. He then signed Adrian Gonzalez to a 7 year 154 million last winter and it worked until that late season collapse it looked like Red Sox vs Phillies WS. In the situation here we don’t have anyone (A Ramirez and Pena are gone 26 million in cap space for you playing at home) so its not a question of well our 3 or 4 hitters will be ok if we sign a middle of the road veteran and hope he can play to his originally perceived potential. We are at zero which is why we will sign Prince Fielder, look at up coming free agent lists, who do you want more Mike Napoli or Prince, a 32+ year old Josh Hamilton next year or a 27 year old Fielder?
The second part to this is the need of a top of the rotation ACE who can carry your team to victory in the post season. Josh Beckett who was more important to the red sox world series victory in 07 than curt schilling (He was also the MVP of the Marlins 2003 WS victory). He started game one of the ALCS in 07 and dominated the game, the red sox lost the next 3, and Beckett came back and dominated again leading them to another world series appearance and a ALCS MVP. How did Theo go about obtaining a World Series MVP to help his team win another world series? By trading his best prospect who happened to be one of the best players in the game Hanley Ramirez. A quick look at our pitching staff shows a mix of young and promising Garza, Cashner, old and fading Z Dempster, and never was Jeff the
Wide Receiver. Regardless none of the above are anywhere near the caliber of the Beckett. So now I’m going to say something crazy, the cubs should trade Castro for Tim Lincecum. The Giants are entering the final year of arbitration for Tim and they’ve already invested somewhere between 30-40 million and Tim is due to get a huge pay day. Let the giants ride out cheap arbitration on Castro while we pay Lincecum market value. You can develop all the grinders in the world but Theo knows you win championships with dominant pitching.
The last part is the farm system and man did Jim Hendry give two fucks about that during his tenure, good thing they lucked out with castro. I would bet a good amount of money that Jim spent more time looking at delivery menus than the box scores of the minor league teams. Theo will make good draft choices and obviously will do a far better job scouting these players using advanced statistics while Hendry just used his “gut” to make decisions (I hope Z dumpster Milton fukudome and the rest leave him with an ulcer) This will improve you can be absolutely sure of that.
I know the question is always why sign these big free agents they never turn out well, but sometimes they do (Rodriguez, Alex; Texiera, Mark) Soriano was never a 3rd 4th guy in the batting order so they never should have paid him like one its no surprise he didn’t work out, along with signing a DH in Bradley to play RF when he never made it through a season unhurt. We need Fielder at bare minimum this year. I’m not sold on Garza’s ability to win in cold weather so pitching is a big priority one I’m willing to let ride out knowing we can actually generate some runs. No I don’t think the giants would take that castro trade its just in there to make a point that we cubs fans overvalue our own players way too often (I hope you didn’t baulk when I mentioned that trade above because TL>SC in every aspect of everything) Now if the majority of our offseason money was spent on 2 GMs and some fliers on underperforming players that will be the great tragedy of the 2012 cubs season ticket holders like myself that even a second summer of 2 dollar beers can’t fix.