Monday, January 17, 2011

Cubs Have a Plan That Will Make You Dizzy

I won't hash out the blow-by-blow details of the Cubs Convention since the guys at ACB did a nice job of aggregating many of the live-tweets from myself, @cubstats23, @ataccini and @JulieDiCaro to give a good play-by-play of the action.

What struck me the most on a bigger scale is that it turns out the Cubs have a very cohesive plan for going forward.  I know!  I was shocked as well, but it became very evident in the answers the Cubs' brass gave in various sessions throughout the weekend.

If someone at the Convention expressed concern about the Cubs parting with numerous high-ranked prospects, the Cubs would point out that giving up young unproven talent for an established veteran is necessary to compete now.  They would then tout Garza as a front-of-the-rotation starter to complete the holy triumvirate of top starters in the rotation that is set to go up against the Brewers, Cardinals and Reds.  This resulted in big applause from the crowd.

If someone was concerned about rising ticket prices and other worries about the club taking more of fans' money to pay for such a veteran-laden team, we would be reminded that many of the salaries that are causing the bloated payroll are coming off the books soon and the team would be more efficiently run.  This resulted in big applause from the crowd.

If someone asked about the minor league system's ability to replace veterans as they leave the roster, the Cubs would talk about the young talent like Cashner, Colvin, and Castro at the major league level and future stars like Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, and Brett Jackson as proof that they are dedicated to building "the right way."  Because organizations win championships.  This resulted in big applause from the crowd.

It seemed that very few people at Cubs Convention seemed to notice how there is really no end to this line of questions and thus no endpoint of improvement organizationally that could result in a World Series through anything besides dumb luck. 

Think about it: they are building the minor leagues the "right way," but trading off a good number of highly rated prospects in the process of trying to win now, which would lessen the chances of the minor leagues being successful in producing enough talent to replace departing veterans to win consistently and thus necessitating more veteran (and expensive) help in the future.  Here is a helpful diagram (click to see it larger):

It just goes round and round.  The Cubs have an answer that spins everything to result in applause and hope and rainbows, but the answers all eventually cycle around on themselves and nothing ever really changes. 

Luckily for them, there are plenty of Cubs fans who are very concerned about video scoreboards, naming rights, statues outside the park, replacing the organ with recorded music, and other non-baseball related items to help cloud the issue and the Cubs take every opportunity to strike the right chord on these nonsense issues to keep the fans happy while, again, not really making anything better on the field. "NO SELLING OF NAMING RIGHTS TO WRIGLEY FIELD!!"  This resulted in big applause from the crowd.

It turns out the Cubs do know what they are doing in at least some respects.


Schwa said...

It bothers me how right you are. Although, expecting anything but sunshine and rainbows from the brass at CubsCon is foolish. Not saying you were, but I've seen plenty of comments from people heaping praise on the management.

I just don't get how a professional franchise can operate with absolutely NO hint of a long-term plan.

Mercurial Outfielder said...

Outstanding, Tim. Tom Ricketts is a snake oil salesman. Not much to this stuffed shirt but brave talk.

FrankS said...

Just remember, they plan to own the Cubs for GENERATIONS. Has anyone seen any of Tom's kids? How old are they? They may be our only hope.

wpbc said...

cool diagram. something tells me p.k. wrigley came up with this and it is passed from cubs owner to owner.

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