I understand what the Cubs front office is trying to do: build up the minor league teams so that they'll be able to bring up young guys as they're ready, rather than trying to win right now by signing overvalued free agents, as the team did in the past.
I am concerned, though, about how they're treating the current big league players. They mishandled the Dempster trade, and made Garza feel like he'd been manipulated, for two examples.
Some teams, like the Detroit Tigers, have a reputation for being honest with their players about their status with the team. I fear the members of the Cubs’ front office are getting a reputation for not doing so, and that could very well come back to haunt them in the future.
What are your thoughts about this? -- Amy, Chicago
The phrase “Baseball is a business’’ applies in this case. When a team changes regimes, all bets are off unless an agent finds a way to go over the head of the baseball operations department and negotiate directly with the owner. I know of a few occasions this has happened, and the team eventually is saddled with a old team with too content players and a bloated payroll.
Jim Hendry wasn’t the first GM to go for a title by trading multiple prospects for a player of Garza’s stature. But if you make deals like this continually (and come up short), you’re going to deplete your farm system.
In the case of Dempster and Garza, each were dealt to playoff contenders, so it wasn’t all bad for them.
I could not believe this news report: Trevor Gretzky, 21, played for Boise and Kane County in Class A last year, hitting a combined .274 with a home run and eight RBIs. Matt Scioscia, 25, never has played higher than high Class A ball, hitting .194 last season between three teams.
No wonder the Cubs are so bad when management continues to make deals like this, trading a seventh round draft choice with a .274 average for a 45th round pick who hit .194. I can't wait to hear your spin on this. -- Russ, Los Angeles, Calif.
Great to hear from someone from Southern California. Can’t wait to get out to the Ravine in early August after the trading deadline. I’ll be at Tommy’s one of those nights.
I never met Trevor Gretzky, but I wish him well. I’ve seen him only take batting practice. I was surprised at how skinny he is, but if he fills out and adds some muscle, he could pose a frame similar to David Justice.
But he hasn’t possessed much power, and the Cubs’ outfield is well stocked with outfielders. I’m curious to see how Jacob Hannemann, the Cubs’ third round pick in the 2013 draft, fares. Hannemann hasn’t played much baseball but is a terrific athlete who needs to stay healthy.
As for the addition of Scioscia, he’s merely adding depth to a farm system shallow in catching. I would have liked to seen Gretzky get more of a shot with the Cubs, but maybe they’re doing him a favor by dealing him to a team that has interest in him.
The Cubs are the only team to announce they're going to be bad before the season even begins. They then announce that they're going to be bad in 2015, too. No wonder fans are alienated. Surely "being bad is good" is a questionable marketing ploy. A team can rebuild and still remain competitive. Or at least not embarrassingly bad. Why does Epstein continue to insist that the Cubs have to be really bad for four years in order to be good? Does anyone still believe this conundrum?
Competitive teams such as the Rangers use their major league players to mentor the rookies and prospects. Since the Cubs only have rookies and prospects, who will provide clubhouse mentoring? Is this a flaw in Theo's plan? -- Jaime, Universal City, Texas
Owner Tom Ricketts said last month he expected the Cubs to compete for a playoff berth. He has to say that and can’t publicly throw in the towel. I haven’t seen any team official say publicly that they’re going to be terrible, but all signs point to a 90-plus loss season.
The progress of Baez indicates that things will start to get better. But many things need to start blossoming, particularly the pitching in the minors and the continued development of Bryant and Almora, along with the growth of Starlin Castro, Travis Wood and Anthony Rizzo.
The current danger is the obvious need to load up on pitching and counting on many to blossom. The free agent pitching market exploded this winter, and many teams were reluctant to give up draft picks for those pitchers who had compensation attached to their status.
A veteran evaluator told me last weekend that one of the biggest dangers for teams in the Cubs’ state is putting a lot of weight on drafting and developing pitchers, and then striking out on many draftd pitchers and having to resort to signing marquee free agent pitchers with draft compensation attached to their status.
As for the mentoring, veterans like Jeff Samardzija lead by example and have been instrumental in passing along what they’ve learned from the likes of Ryan Dempster.
If the Cubs are so concerned with Mike Olt at third base, why not play him every day to see what he can do? Obviously he can hit, but yet they start Roberts at third base, which makes no sense.
A lineup featuring Rizzo, Olt, Castro, Baez, Castillo and Lake would surely give us an indication of where we’re at. -- Bill, Oley, Pa.
As of this writing, Olt still has a chance to make the team but he needs to show remarkable improvement in the field as well as hit with authority.
His throw to first base on Sunday wasn’t too impressive, but he’s missed most of the spring because of a sore arm that the team continues to monitor closely.
What is the status of the Player-To-Be-Named-Later from last year’s trade to Washington involving David DeJesus. I haven't seen anything listed among Transactions and we are getting close to opening day. -- David, Austin, Texas
A: The Cubs had the option of selecting either a player to be named later or settle for cash, and they took the latter. I don’t think they were going to get Stephen Strasburg or Drew Storen in this deal.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun