Posts Tagged ‘Jed Hoyer’

by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.
twitter: @MRubio52

“…I do think it’s fair to say we have to spend some time rebuilding the pitching staff. I look at what happened last year from the outside with them losing two starters the first week of the season. It’s very difficult for any team to survive that, but the Cubs didn’t have the depth to do that. Even though we have confidence in some of the starters, we have a need to add more …. Injuries can never be an excuse for a bad season. You have to make sure that you have depth to avoid the inevitable and survive.”

-Jed Hoyer

Heading into the season I doubt many people would be surprised if the Chicago Cubs ended up trading Matt Garza for prospects at the deadline. The overwhelming feeling at the outset was that the Cubs were too far away to build a competing team while Garza was still effective. Garza is 28 which puts his window of being a good major league pitcher at 5 years, give or take. It’s fair to say that the Cubs felt they would be in competition outside of that window.

What is the reality, and what comes as a bit of a surprise, is that the Cubs are looking to extend Garza this year as it would appear they intend on keeping him. As the story indicates, Garza’s people wouldn’t be shocked if a trade happened, but the feeling is that he stays with the Cubs for quite a while.

The question this leaves me with is; Do the Cubs think they are closer than everyone else thinks they are? Do they believe they can build a contender within five years? Or is this just a ploy to drive up his trade value and the Cubs still feel that they are too far away to keep Garza. I can see both sides of it. Garza is eligible for free agency in 2013, it would be prudent of the Cubs to drive up his value for prospects by threatening to tie him up long term. However, the feeling I’m left with when I consider what it all means is that the Cubs think they aren’t too far away from competing.


I’ve been impressed with Samardzija since the spring. Since I wrote that article Shark had the expected uptick in BB/9, but he’s increased his K/9 rate and kept the other gains he made over the past few seasons.

What you’ll see there is a continued ability to suppress hits. Some of this may or may not be attributed to the defensive shifting the Cubs are employing, that’s another article for another time. Shark, it would seem, has turned himself into a solid #2-3 starter, depending on your definition of those labels. He’s done a remarkable job of keeping the ball on the ground and suppressing fly-balls. Some of these gains are unsustainable, but still bear watching over the long term:

The main knock on Samardzija have been his ability to miss bats, which looks like it was fixed last year, and his ability to command his pitches, which looks like it’s in the process of being adjusted this year. Remember when it was a surprise that Shark made the rotation this year? I don’t think that TheoCo was anticipating Samardzija’s progress this year.

Bryan LaHair

This is a major surprise. Bradley Woodrum over at Fangraphs (great site, go check them  out) posited that LaHair’s success might be sustainable. What’s important to keep in mind with LaHair is that while his BABIP has been crazy this year, it’s not insane to say that he can be an above average 1B or corner OF. If that seems like a massive step down from his current production, that’s because it is.

However, what it should be looked at is a massive step up for any projected production from a career minor leaguer who failed spectacularly in his previous auditions. He managed to keep improving past the age when such improvement is expected. He’s an anomaly and he’ll have a fairly long career crushing balls, but he’s not a 1.000+ OPS guy. I can see LaHair being the 25-30 HR guy with a decent average. He’s still striking out a lot, but his walk rate has also increased. It looks like LaHair got legitimately better, and when the Cubs can get rid of Soriano, they have the next LF on their squad. Rizzo will move LaHair off first. Speaking of which.

The Kids

Seriously, that’s stupid good. The BB-SO ratio is a little concerning, but the man is destroying AAA pitching. When he comes up there will be a lot of expectations placed on him. His swing looks different by all accounts, it’s shorter and more capable of handling MLB pitching, but there’s really only one way to test that out.

The rest of the known kids, Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Javy Baez, etc etc, are a mixed bag. We know that the Cubs lack any type of pitching at the minor league level, which is why the Cubs were entertaining the possibility of trading Garza in the first place. Josh Vitters started hot, but has cooled considerably. Brett Jackson’s defense is ready, but his bat is dragging a bit. Junior Lake is killing it, but his upside is limited and he’s still pretty far away. McNutt is having a good rebound year, but he’s the only pitcher of note in the minors that is doing anything.


The biggest factor in what the Cubs do with Garza will be the farm system. This year’s draft is important for the Cubs as they try to infuse a thin minor league system with some talent. There are some good pieces on the major league squad, the starting pitching has been a good surprise, but the Cubs biggest need is offense. I know the bullpen has been awful, but ‘pens are a funny thing to put together. You don’t build a good bullpen as much as you just fall into one. What’s more common is what the White Sox did in 2005, find live arms to stick in the pen and hope for the best. In that case, the best happened, despite running through 3 closers. The Cubs need a real CF, a better 2B, a 3B who can hit, and a younger catcher.

The fact that they are considering pulling Garza off the table suggests that they think they can acquire the pieces via other options. They can trade Dempster for a decent haul, and they will be looking at Latin America for a boost in player production. I think certain surprises this year have the Cubs front office moving up their timetables a bit, and that’s a good thing. The current squad is competitive, but not good enough to be a serious player. With shrewd management and smart maneuvering, they can be the real deal quicker than we all expected.

by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.
twitter: @MRubio52

For me, Opening Day is about two things, baseball and faith. Our most polarizing teams, the Cubs and Sox, will be going into a season of transition. Both teams are at the bottom in terms of expectations. Nobody can honestly believe that next year is this year, or that the Sox will have a miraculous rebound and compete with the Tigers for the division. Faith is running low around town, and that’s perfectly understandable.

Indeed, these two teams will struggle all year to win a combined 150 games. This is not breaking news. Sports illustrated didn’t exactly endorse either side of town as a real threat to do anything of import this season, but I think it’s important to keep perspective on what really matters this year. The White Sox are on the back end of an arc that must always complete itself before a normal team can be competitive again. Cubs fans are familiar with this arc, it occurred during the 2009-2011 campaigns. It was in those years that the front office panicked as they saw the talent on the field get older and less effective. The window was closing too quickly for an organization that was ill-equipped to deal with a reload. The Cubs fabulously fell flat on their faces as the bad GM moves by Jim Hendry caught up and overshadowed the good ones. The decade of being a sometimes contender was officially over on July 22, 2011 when Hendry was finally fired, but in truth the Cub window had shut at the end of the 2008 NLDS.

The arc had completed itself and the Cubs lucked into Theo Epstein, and a new arc begins on the north side. The White Sox championship arc hinges on what the overall team mission is moving forward. Kenny Williams loves to avoid the rebuilding tag, but perhaps the Sox best shot at competing once again lies in a complete tear down. The ghosts of 2005 have given Kenny a second life as GM, something that is rare in the current baseball climate. The bad money is catching up with this team as the contracts of Alex Rios and Adam Dunn have hamstrung an organization that begs its fans to come out and buy tickets in early April so they can acquire talent in June and July. This arc is about to complete and the question that faces Kenny Williams, assuming he survives another bad season, is how to restock an organization that is completely devoid of impact talent without having to face the realities of a rebuild?

Indeed, it’s a question that both front offices have to face. The Cubs farm system is ranked higher than the Sox system by almost everyone, but their impact talent is all in the batting order. The Cubs pitching depth is lacking, and it’s something that Epstoyer will need to address moving forward.

If we were looking at a graph both of these teams would be around the same point, but the arcs are perceived to be moving in different directions. Whether they are or aren’t is immaterial for this season, and for tomorrow. Yeah, I know the Cubs are targeting 2014 as their Championship window and the Sox have yet to lay out a plan for beyond this season, but for me this year I can just enjoy baseball.

I haven’t been able to do that as a Cubs fan. There was always a desire to win this year. “Oh man, we can’t let this get to 100 years, we gotta win now,” type deal was going on before 2008. I mean, we can dial this sucker back to when the Cubs unexpectedly won 88 games in 2001 and set the bar sky high in 2002 only to fall soooo flat on their face that the hopes and dreams of an entire fanbase were pinned to the arm of a 21 year old California kid with something called a slurve. Then 2003 happened and the Cubs were set to compete again in 2004. Then Nomar got hurt and then the White Sox won the damn thing, and then they signed Alfonso Soriano to a crazy contract and then Lou came and then they caught fire in 2007 and then they were the best team in baseball in 2008 and then the let go of DeRo and then Milton Bradley was an asshole and then and then and then…

It was fucking stressful.

Yeah, I don’t want to be that fan that doesn’t care if they win or lose even though it sounds like I’ll be that dude this year. What I’m saying is that I’m looking at different things this year while understanding the result isn’t the end all be all this year. I don’t know who on the roster besides Castro will be on the next Cubs contender. So this year I’ll get to pay attention to the simple things that made me fall in love with the game to begin with. I’ll care about Castro’s approach at the plate, I’ll enjoy the simple elegance of a well turned double play. I’ll be paying attention to outfield positioning and fundamental yet aggressive baserunning. I’ll get to sit back and just watch the damn game without having to stress out about the Cardinals/Brewers/Reds for a change.

It’s gonna be nice around here for a year. For me at least. Some of you will still care about this years record, a lot more of you aren’t going to watch baseball after June. That’s fine, trust me. When I get that dollar ticket and end up down in the front row with the rest of the 15%, I’ll be thanking you for not caring this year.

I actually don’t begrudge you for being skeptical, but here are somethings that I don’t want Cubs fans to say this year:


No, you’re just wrong. There’s a plan in place. I don’t know when you bought your season tickets, but I’m pretty sure that in a few years when I believe the Cubs will be contending you won’t be complaining about how much you paid to watch a playoff worthy product on the field ever day. Season tickets are a risk man, I’d love to have your problem.


No. The Cubs have a target date for when they want to spend money, and would prefer it not be tied into a guy like that for 10+ years.


Look at the money they are committing to scouting and development and then get back to me.


Cashner has a ceiling and it’s likely as a reliever. Those guys are a dime a dozen. Carpenter is hurt again and also had a ceiling as an RP. Epstein is worth more (although I do kinda wish the Cubs got the other Boargerts, but that’s neither here nor there).


Please kindly shut the fuck up and never speak again. It really doesn’t matter and I think the Cubs might suck worse this year. You’re giving me a bad name.


Cool, more cheap seats for me.


Someone from Iowa, I don’t care, it doesn’t matter in 2012.


Die in a fire.


Ryne douche


I would take a look if it were to happen, but it won’t so shut the fuck up.


I will shove your white sunglasses so far up your ass if you ever shush me at a baseball game.


Yeah that’ll happen at some point, but it won’t be because they lost to the Pirates in August.


He’s 30 and his name is Micah Jake Scales III. He’s not a young prospect, he’s about done growing up.


Mercifully, their record should limit the number of times I hear this.


I’m just going to enjoy the ride this year. Sox trash talk won’t bother me, douche Cubs fans won’t bother me to an extent. I’m going to go watch more games this year because my faith in what the organization has been renewed. I could give you a bullshit line about how anything could happen and the Cubs could find themselves in contention this year, but I don’t believe that. It’s fine really. I’m just here to enjoy baseball.

“Isn’t it strange? The same people who laugh at gypsy fortune tellers take economists seriously.”

I think it’s important for baseball fans on both sides of Chicago to understand that neither the Sox nor the Cubs will be seriously competing this year. The Sox have a better shot at catching lightning in a bottle this year if they get great years from their roster, but it’s a big if at this point and oddly enough it can all hinge on Jake Peavy’s health, which is a scary proposition. The Cubs have virtually no hope, the rosters of the teams in front of the Cubs are all better. The Reds, Brewers and Cardinals will fight for the Central lead leaving the Cubs in a slap fight with the Astros and the Pirates to avoid the cellar.

So a lot of people are going to tune out without properly understanding what you’re watching. For the Sox this is Kenny’s last stand. His acquisitions all have a strange propensity to blow up in his face. Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey Jr., Jake Peavy, Alex Rios and Adam Dunn were all massive faceplants to this point. He let fan favorites Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buerhle take their talents to Miami. He hired a manager that no one knew was a serious candidate and took full control of this team moving forward. Any success the team enjoys will be his, but so will the failure. Not many GM’s get to fire 2 managers, so Kenny’s on the clock

Epstoyer is enjoying a honeymoon currently, but they’ll have to work efficiently to rebuild a decimated Cubs organization. The Cubs have almost no pitching help in the minors. There are a few Cub fans that will want the Cubs to win now . When Cubs start getting traded most of these will get restless and wonder what the aim of the organization is. There are even a few that believe Theo and company only won because they spent Yankee money. This is true to an extent, but the Red Sox also drafted wisely and had good talent come up from their farm system. The make over the Cubs are going to get will be impressive, but the clock will start once the Cubs trade a marquee name.

Which brings me to the purpose of these two pieces. AL/NL Central “Predictions.” I’m placing the teams in order of believed finish, but I’m not going to place a W-L value on it. We’ll start with the AL Central. NL Central will go live tomorrow.

1. Detroit Tigers – They are the favorite to win the division and they are a candidate tot make some noise in the playoffs. They added Prince to Miggy and have a potent offense. The lose of Victor Martinez will hurt as Ryan Raburn will get more burn in the lineup, but Prince more than makes up for that. We all know what Prince can do with the bat, ditto with Miggy. The real question is how awful that IF defense will be. Prince-Raburn-Peralta-Cabrera has a serious chance at being the worst IF defense of all time.

Especially considering that this dude played third 60 lbs ago.

It would be pretty astounding to see what Verlander would do with a good defense, but as it stands the defense shouldn’t affect him too much. He probably won’t be as great as his 2011 season, but he’ll still be a Cy Young candidate in 2012. The rotation guy that might suffer is Doug Fister. Verlander and Scherzer both strikeout batters at an above average clip, but Fister’s career SO/9 is 5.5. He upped it to 7.3 in 70 ip with the Tigers, but I would expect that rate to fall. The ‘pen is solid and a name to look for is Daniel Schlereth. If he can gain some semblance of control he can become a high leverage pitcher.

2. KC Royals – It’s hard to predict a 2nd place finish for a team that boasts Bruce Chen in it’s rotation, but here they are, on the back of what should be a rather impressive offense. The kids can play, Hosmer is legit and should emerge as KC’s best player overall this year. Alex Gordon is going to be a great leadoff hitter this year, and Moustakas should make some positive gains at the big league level this year. The question with this team is when will the pitching help get here? All of their starters are projected to be below average this year, the only pitcher that may be worth his salt will be Jonathan Sanchez. Daniel Duffy is a few years away and like I said, Bruce Chen is an important part of this rotation. A lot of what this team does moving forward will depend on what they can do to solidify the starters. The bullpen has some names to keep an eye on, but losing Joakim Soria hurts. I think the Royals take a major step forward but the rotation will hold them back from competing for a wild card spot.

3. Cleveland Indians – Carlos Santana is the damn truth. He will emerge as the best catcher in baseball this year. He’s great with the stick and he’s a good defender. The Indians should surprise people this year, but a bad offense will keep them from really making noise in the central. Shin-Soo Choo is key for the Tribe. If he can get back on his star track this year the Indians can scare the Tigers for a few months. If not, the Indians will be relegated to fending off the Sox and the Twins in third place. Ubaldo Jimenez won’t be competing for Cy Young’s anymore, but he is a solid top of the rotation pitcher. He should emerge as the ace over Justin Masterson this year. Josh Tomlin needs to increase his K rate to his minor league levels to have a breakout year, but he should still remain as a decent mid-rotation option. The Bullpen will keep this team from being a complete cellar dweller.

4. Chicago White Sox – It’s not an awful rotation. Danks should have a rebound year, Gavin is a candidate to have a great year, Chris Sale will make some noise in the rotation, but their success or failure all depends on the offense. Adam Dunn was historically bad and that saved Alex Rios from more criticism. Gordon Beckham lost his swing and will have a difficult time getting it back. AJ Pierzynski is hitting second in the lineup. Brent Morel will get significant playing time. It’s just a bad offense. Dunn should rebound somewhat, he’s currently crushing fastballs which is a good sign considering how slow his bat looked last year. Dayan Viciedo has light tower power but we have to wait and see how his game translates in the MLB. Rios is likely to hit 3rd for most of the season. The Sox have too many questions regarding the offense to be a serious contender, you have to hit HR’s in the Cell to compete, because everyone else will.

5. Minnesota Twins – This team is awful. Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham will carry the load on offense, and their pitching rotation will be flat out awful. Carl Pavano’s K-rate might dip below 4 this year. They have no frontline starter in their rotation. The bullpen will be using gasoline to put out the fires this year, there’s little help down on the farm, Justin Morneau is probably done playing baseball, they will be in the cellar this year. They have a long rebuild ahead of them and Gardy should probably get fired this year.

Baseball is all romance, no fucking.

Robert Bykoski

This was a scary list to compile. For a few years I had read and heard about the bare cupboard that the Cubs farm system had become. Now, there are some gems here, but it lies mainly in the outfield. The Cubs have compiled a batch of CF prospects, but that’s just one position. Indeed the Cubs depth is pretty thin on the infield, and it’s going to be a growing need if Darwin Barney and Josh Vitters don’t pan out. This is more or less a list of players that you should pay attention to this year. There are some real young bucks in there, but their progress can yield more prospects or they could become future pieces of the hopeful Cubs championship puzzle. 

So without further adieu, he’s the fuckless romance.
-Mauricio Rubio Jr.
Follow me on Twitter, @MRubio52 


1. Geo Soto – Soto is once again coming off a season where his offensive production cratered. Soto was an older prospect when he finally broke through in 2008 and won Rookie of the year honors. In 2009 his offense fell flat and there were legitimate concerns about the bad weight he put on during the off season. Those questions were back again last year as he appeared to be heavier than he was in 2010. Soto was finally healthy but he was unable to properly square up the ball and his swing looked off. A .228/.310/.411 slash line sunk his value as he never possessed a cannon behind the plate. When he’s right, his stick is legit. There are two prospects that are legit threats to take serious playing time away from him, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him dealt this year if he re-establishes his value at the plate. Decent power stroke, good eye, and he doesn’t kill you at the plate, he could bring back a decent haul.

2. Welington Castillo – The Cubs are noticeably thin at catcher, their other prospects are fairly far away from the major league level, but Castillo is ready now. He’s a bit like Soto in that his offense completely bottomed out in the minors before having a renaissance with the stick. He has a strong arm, but in a more stacked organization he would start the year in the minors to work on refining his catching skills. In 2011 he hit .287/.359/.516 across three levels, and his career minor league OPS is .753. He projects to be a good defensive catcher that can hit at an above average rate for the position. The Cubs will need to figure out if Castillo can hit Major League pitching sooner rather than later.

3. Steve Clevenger – This is why the Cubs are thin at catcher, he’s 3rd on the organizational depth chart because he bats lefty. Clevenger did well at AA, but it was the second go-round for him, and repeating a level usually skews numbers. By all accounts his defense is far away from Major League ready, and he’s a year older than Castillo, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him travel north with the team in place of Castillo to allow Welington to get regular AB’s.

First Base

1. Bryan LaHair – If you’re going to be a Major League First Baseman you’ll have to slug. There are rare exceptions to this rule in the modern game, Daric Barton is one, but there is no doubt that First Base is a power production position. LaHair has obvious power, but there are several examples of players that slug in their youth down on the farm and can’t figure out Major League pitching. Matt LaPorta comes to mind. A 1.070 OPS is no joke, but consider that LaHair was 28, old for the level, and hasn’t really flashed that power consistently at the Major League level. He did well in an extremely limited sample size with the big boys last year, but he’ll have to do it consistently in 2012 to keep a hold of the starting job.

2. Anthony Rizzo – Jed Hoyer claims that he promoted Rizzo too early last year, and owns up to that mistake. I would caution him to not let a past transgression affect his decision making for the current team. Rizzo might be ready sooner than Hoyer thinks, When he was in the minors last year he absolutely destroyed minor league pitching. The problem there is the deep chasm separating the two parks he called home in 2011. PETCO is a cavernous stadium that kills flyballs. Tucson’s park is a bandbox by any measure. While his numbers are a bit skewed, the power is truly a plus-skill. He can be a legit 35+ homer guy if he can ever put it all together, and he’s the future of the Cubs at the corner.

3. Daniel Vogelbach – Vogelbach is rawer than raw, he’s a 19 year old that flashed decent power in extremely limited playing time in rookie ball, but he bears watching. Scouts are praising his ability to drive the ball to all parts of the park, he has plus-plus power and has started to creep into top 10 Cubs prospect lists. His conditioning a concern, he’s a big boy at 6’0 and 250 elbows, but he’s a name to pay attention to.

Second Base

1. Darwin Barney – He’s pretty much all effort. His offensive value is strictly tied into his batting average, which usually spells death for most prospects. Barney drew 22 walks in 570 PA’s last year, which is pretty awful. He has a high baseball IQ and he knows how to be aggressive on the base paths while still being smart, you know, kinda like the inverse Theriot. What he brings to the table is shortstop range and arm to second base. He’s a tremendous fielder and his glove will justify his fairly anemic bat for his career. If he’s hitting .280, he isn’t killing you. If he falls below that, it’s trouble. That usually spells UTL instead of 2B, but given the limited options at the keystone, he’s going to get another 500+ PA’s with the Cubs.

2. Jeff Baker – Baker struggles against right-handed hitters (.200/.229/.263) and his defense is only so-so. He’s a decent platoon backup at 2B, but it speaks more to the lack of depth the Cubs have there than any of the meager positives that Baker brings to the table. He’s 31 and clearly at the end of the road. He’s been in a decline phase for 3 years now and his willingness to play every position is a clear signal of that. His trade value is in the basement right now, so he’s likely to stick around on the club, but it’s looking like he’s limited to facing left-handers from here on in.

3. Zeke DeVoss – He’s pretty far away at this point, but I don’t feel like writing about Blake DeWitt in this space, so let’s talk about this kid. He doesn’t profile to have much power, but his main tool is a good eye at the plate and good speed. He’s going to have to show that patience again, the worry on DeVoss is that he’s too passive at the plate and that his lack of power will show itself as he progresses through the system. His ceiling looks like Luis Castillo, so make of that what you will.


1. Starlin Castro – Here are Castro’s statistical comps through his age 21 season. That guarantees nothing, but it’s usually a good thing when you’re putting up numbers similar to 4 Hall of Famers. Castro needs to work on his defense, he doesn’t set his feet when he throws and it makes him wild, but he started to cut his error rate last year, and that’s a positive sign. Tulowitzki and Jeter were making errors at a higher rate in the minors than Castro in the majors when they were 21, but that didn’t move them off the position. Castro should remain at short, his bat is maximized there and he has the tools to be a good defensive shortstop. Castro can hit the ball, he has incredible bat control. He can add power if he adds good weight, and he’s on the track to be a star. He doesn’t walk at a high rate, but his consistency with the stick more than makes up for that. For now at least.

2. Junior Lake – The man is solidly built and has climbed the prospect totem pole. He’s 21 and had a solid showing at High-A ball before struggling in Double-A Tennessee. Depending on how big he gets he can actually move to 3B and still project well enough with his bat. He’s very raw and has bad plate discipline (running theme with the Cubs ORG, it would seem), but his power is real.

3. Javier Baez – Baez is here over Bianchi because he’s toolsy and that makes people excited. Truth be told, he’s a long shot to develop into the player everyone wants him to be. Baez has concerns about his makeup. He’s immature, which is to be expected for a 19 year old, but he’s going to make people drool over his tools. He had a meh showing on the farm, but he has tremendous upside.

Third Base

1. Ian Stewart – He never really took advantage of Coors. He was a decent prospect and a startable 3B, but he won’t be replacing the sum of Aramis’ production. All that said, Ramirez did need to go and Stewart is just a stopgap en route to a better 3B. Hopefully the wait for the next one won’t be as long as the time gap between Santo and Ramirez. The Cubs hope that the fabled “change of scenery” will help him out, but I’m not seeing it.

2. Josh Vitters – It seems like he’s been in the organization forever, but he’s still only 22. Vitters has the habit of struggling after a promotion and adjusting fairly well the following year. That’s fine for now, especially since he was making solid contact in 2011. Youth will only be on his side for so long (ain’t that the brutal truth), and with Ian Stewart likely to struggle on the Major League level, the time for Vitters to show that he is the legit future at third is now.

3. Marquez Smith – He’s old and he’s hit his ceiling, so at this point he can contribute as a solid if unspectacular right-handed bat off the bench. He’s not a star anymore, and at this point he’s waiting on guys like Jeimer Candelario to pass him up in the organization. He’s a Bobby Scales type guy at this point, great minor leaguer, but he’s never going to develop into an everyday Major League Player.

The long road ahead

Posted: October 22, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Baseball, MLB
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m one of those guys. I get excited when big sports news items happen. I went nuts when the Bears traded for Jay Cutler. I was giddy (but not quite at a Martz like giddy level) when David Stern totally didn’t fix the ping pong balls and gave the Bulls the #1 overall pick, ensuring them Derrick Rose.

I’m a big sports fan. When rumors of Theo Epstein coming to the Cubs became reports and it started to look like a reality, I tried to temper my excitement. Now that it’s all official, I’m extremely happy, and it’s taking a lot of self restraint to simply not break down and type WOOOOOOOO over and over again (and I hate Ronnie Woo Woo).

It helps that I have a lot of legitimate questions about my little New England Savior. Epstein will be the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs. He’s bringing along his buddy Jed Hoyer, former Padres GM, to be the Cubs new GM.

This also makes me feel optimistic about the Cubs future.

But that old Cubs cynicism is creeping into my skull, leaving little seeds of doubt that while I love the hire, he is still in a situation that loves to set people up for failure. This is a Chicago Cubs franchise that for years devalued the walk to a perverse level. It’s an organization that did not produce home grown talent at all.

When you think about it, most of the major contributions to the big league team have all come from outside the organization. The Cubs do not draft well, they do not identify talent via the Rule 5 draft nor from international sources well either.

Theo can change all that, but it’s going to take a lot of time. I hope he keeps the itchy trigger finger in Boston, the one that pulled on Dice-K, Julio Lugo and gave Carl Crawford a tremendous contract.

He, like most GM’s, has his fair share of mistakes. The unfortunate reality is that his mistakes are big mistakes. He’s had the freedom to spend as much as he wants to acquire the talent he believes will win. I don’t think he’ll have that luxury here in Chicago.

Cubs fans are going to have to learn real patience. Not the fake “oh we’ve been losers for 100 years” kind, but the kind that understands there’s a plan in place, and it’ll take time for that plan to take shape.

I don’t think the Cubs will be in the Pujols/Fielder race.

Cubs fans should also understand that players like Marmol, Garza, Marlon Byrd and even the holy cow (see what I did there?), Kerry Wood are most likely not going to be on the next Cubs team that wins.

That could be a few years away.

Theo has a lot of work to do. Droves of the 15 per cent will be wanting a winner right now, not understanding that the “golden child” doesn’t lay golden eggs. He is going to change the way the Cubs evaluate talent, but ultimately, it’s on that talent to win games.

It’s a great hire, but there’s a long road ahead.