Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cubs Hellbent on Looking Like They Are Doing Something

I was reading Andy Dolan's post about the 2001 season at Desipio and found myself reading the names of Cubs players that I have tried very hard to forget: Delino DeShields, Ron Coomer, Kyle Farnsworth, Jeff Fassero, Jason Bere, Robert Machado.  The list goes on, but I fear that by doing so I will cause my three readers to furl up into a permanent fetal position beneath their chairs.

Then I started looking at the names of players that the Cubs supposedly have (or had) interest in acquiring:  Scott Podsednik, Marlon Byrd, Jose Contreras, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Spilborghs, Kiko Calero.  The lists are eerily similar in their lack of baseball talent.

This continues to fuel my growing belief that whoever the Cubs acquire is going to suck.  So my question is, why in the world wouldn't we let our own farm system provide the suckiness at the league minimum salary?  If something is going to to be terrible, and you know it is going to be terrible, wouldn't you want to pay the least possible amount in return?

I am not one of the people who thinks that Sam Fuld is an All-star in the making.  I'm guessing we would get a very similar season from him as we just got from Mike Fontenot if the Cubs gave him more playing time as many have suggested. I know that RBIs aren't a great measure of a player's hitting value, but we can all agree that he probably should have accidentally driven in more than two by now, right?

But here's the thing about Sam Fuld.  He is cheap.  There is still the possibility that he could improve.  That possibility, as infinitesimally small as it might be, is still greater than the possibility that Scott Podsednik, age 34 when the season starts, will improve upon his career OPS+ of 87 (league average is 100).  He has exactly one season in his career where he has an OPS+ of over 100 and that was in 2003 when he was 27 years old.

Fuld put up an OPS+ of 111 last season in limited duty.  What does that mean?  Probably nothing except that he has already almost matched Scott Podsednik's best year of his life.

So I have to ask myself, why in God's name are they even talking about Scott Podsednik or any of the other shitty players outside of sentences like, "Scott Podsednik's agent called me today.  I laughed at him." or "I wonder which is higher, Jose Contreras' actual age or his ERA?" or "Can you believe that Phil Rogers doesn't know the difference between Paul Byrd and Marlon Byrd?"

The only answer I can come up with is that the Cubs know that Fuld truly has no upside.  Nor does Tyler Colvin, or any of the other Not Ready for Prime Time players they have out in Iowa.  They have more information and data on these players than anybody else, and they have determined that the Cubs farm system blows and will not be of any actual help this year.  Thus, they will pay far above market value for guys that probably shouldn't be on major league rosters anywhere anymore because it looks like they are doing something.

You have to look like you are doing something to sell all of those single-game tickets in the middle of February.  Even if you are actually not.


Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is that the farm system sucks ass and they overpay for average players... and this is news how. I mean if this season sucks (I'm talkin 2006 level) Hendry should be fired (should been fired for the farm system and Milton Bradley long ago.

Aisle 424 said...

It isn't news, but anyone who thinks the Cubs are making moves to make the team better are going to be disappointed, as are the people who believe that the farm system is somehow going to save them this year.

Hendry should have been fired after last year seeing as he failed to build a championship team from the farm system up, and then failed to build a championship team through trades, and then failed to build a championship team through spending like Steinbrenner. He has failed all around.

Raoul Duke said...

Hendry probably should go. I read a horrible stat today that last year's team ranked 10th in the NL in runs, behind the Nationals and Brewers. Now I know we were better than those teams but ouch....

Anonymous said...

I remember being a broke college student in 2001 and scraping together some cash for a trip to Houston to see my Cubbies play a game against the Astros.

Jason Bere started that game.

The Cubs lost.

Thank you, Jason Bere.

Jason said...

Sadly, the single game tickets well get sold no matter what they do or don't do. But I agree, I'll take cheap, young crap over aged, expensive crap.

Aisle 424 said...

I don't know, Jason. I know the ticket sales would still be brisk no matter what, but I don't know if those weekday games during April, May, and September get pre-sold as easily this year without some misdirection by the Cubs marketing department.

The Cubs need to maintain that 99% capacity rate as much as possible because they need every nickle of revenue to keep flowing into that park. That means locking in the pre-sales because no one is going to be walking up on game day when the weather sucks to see a crappy team.

Duey23 said...

The Cubs will do what they've done for the last 2 years and offer those on the waiting list a chance at buying 9 games and THAT'S where those crappy April/May weekday tickets go. Since they HAVE to offer something of value in that package, they swing in one of the White Sox games and maybe a Cardinal game here or there. when the waiting list is peaking at 50,000, well, even 10% of those people (being generous) help fill those seats.

Aisle 424 said...

True, Duey, whoever thought of offering that "service" to the folks waiting patiently to fork over even more money was a genius.

If teams won the World Series based on marketing schemes, the Cubs would put the 27 titles by the Yankees in their rear view mirrors.

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