05 June 2011


It started as a Zambrano quote, turned into an avid Twitter discussion (and a trending topic that probably won't happen), and now I'll make it a blog post. I support Carlos Zambrano and his calling out of Carlos Marmol and the Cubs organization. I respect the decision because he seems to be the only on the the team with the cajones to take such action, as well as be one of the few who might get away with it.

Lately I've been lucky enough to have the Mets and their follies exist and for once, East Coast Bias worked in my favor as the Mets have taken at least some of the attention off the severely underachieving Cubs.

Big Z takes a highlight to one of the Cubs many problems. I've said blindly a couple times that the Cubs are one of the few teams that haven't embraced the sabermetric revolution of the past decade. This past weekend I took the time and I actually looked it up and found that when the Rickettses bought the team they hired a "Manager of Statistical Analysis," Ari Kaplan. Later that day I happened to be googling the book I'm currently reading, The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, and found in a forum for the book that Kaplan is one of the most critically panned sabermetricians out there, staying true to typical Cubs fashion. Now, the guy is obviously intelligent (graduate of CalTech in 1992), but I'll bet that either a) he doesn't have enough say to make a difference, or b) he's a hire the Cubs made for the sake of hiring someone to the position....or both.

Flat out, Jim Hendry needs to go. Period, end of story. There have been far too many ill-fated moves and throwing money around that at this point it's beyond ridiculous. A buddy of mine pointed out that as long as Jeff Samardzija stays in the bigs it's another problem altogether. I replied that I agreed, Samardzija is dead money, but he's an easy target simply because he went to Notre Dame. He's quite correct. The Cubs have been shelling out money for names instead of empirical results for years. I want to see the organization throw some money at something other than past-their-prime, over-priced free agents.

The Cubs need to decide whether they are trying to win now (which is obviously not working) or rebuilding and developing to win later. A team can't do both. Ownership put the Rays in that position of trying to do both and it did nothing but make them average nearly 100 losses a season. They should take a clue from from small market teams like the Rays (as well as the A's of the early 2000s and soon to be Royals of the mid 2010s) and stick some dough into old fashioned R&D. I remember, but not exactly when, that Tom Ricketts came out and said that he wanted to cut payroll. The teams mentioned have done nothing but prove that you dont need a $140 million payroll to put out a winner. I'm saying it can be done, but only with a big demolition of the current front office staff.


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