2011 Organizational Rankings #19 – Chicago Cubs

The Cubs wield great financial strength, which gives them an advantage over the bulk of their competition. But as their ranking indicates, they haven’t necessarily put those resources to best use.

Present Talent – 74.17 (t-22nd)

Cubs Season Preview

Future Talent – 75.00 (t-20th)

Cubs Top 10 Prospects

Financial Resources: 83.46 (t-5th)
Baseball Operations: 71.67 (29th)

Overall Rating: 76.46 (19th)

The FanGraphs staff does not have a particular affection for Jim Hendry. Not only do his 2011 team and farm system rank in the bottom third of the league, but the entire baseball operations ranks ahead of only Houston, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for one of the longest-tenured GMs in the game.

Hendry took over the Cubs on July 5, 2002, when the team had a 34-49 record. They went 33-45 the rest of the way, but then experienced a 21-win improvement in 2003, winning the NL Central and making it to Game 7 of the NLCS before ultimately falling to the Marlins. The run certainly bought him some favor in Chicago. Since then he has produced a mixed track record.

For the Cubs, the baseball ops score goes hand-in-hand with the financial resources one. It’s not as though they’ve performed poorly since Hendry took over. In three of the eight years of his tenure they’ve finished below .500, but in another three years they made the playoffs. For many teams, perhaps most teams, that would be considered a favorable set of outcomes. But for a team that wields the financial might of the Cubs, the inconsistency comes as a disappointment.

In terms of trades, Hendry has a decent, perhaps even good, track record. Trading for Kenny Lofton and Randall Simon in 2003 helped them in their World Series quest. (Hendry also receives praise for acquiring Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek before 2003, even though they represented downgrades at their respective positions.) Getting Aramiz Ramirez along with Lofton was an even bigger steal. He won huge on the Derrek Lee trade. Acquiring Rich Harden in 2008 proved a solid move, as did swapping Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva last season. He even turned a profit on Tom Gorzelanny. There are some losers on the list — trading Ricky Nolasco and Juan Pierre, for example, but for the most part Hendry’s trade record has been a net positive.

The problem is the way Hendry has deployed his considerable financial resources, which has come mostly in recent years. Sure, signing Jeromy Burnitz in 2005 might not have been a great idea, but it was only a one-year deal. Re-signing Nomar Garciaparra might not have worked out, but it was a swell enough idea. Perhaps the only glaringly bad move, in both process and results, that Hendry made before the 2006 off-season was continuing to employ Neifi Perez. There were some good moves mixed in there, too, such as bringing back Greg Maddux and signing Ryan Dempster (the first time, though the second was quality, too).

In 2006 his track record took a turn for the worse. It started with the eight-year, $136 million contract for Alfonso Soriano. Perhaps Soriano was worth a $17 million annual investment, but not for eight years. After a stellar debut season, Soriano’s production has, not surprisingly, declined. Even with a rebound in 2010 he was worth only 2.9 WAR. His three-year, $21 million deal for Jason Marquis that same off-season was also misguided — Marquis, remember, had produced a 6.02 ERA the year before, with a nearly matching FIP. Ted Lilly‘s $40 million deal worked out well, but it was almost negated by Marquis.

Hendry was quiet the next few offseasons, save for re-signing Ryan Dempster. It was a risk move, considering Dempster had just moved back to the rotation after years in the bullpen, but the move has worked in Chicago’s favor. But the next offseason Hendry again misguidedly handed out a multi-year deal – Milton Bradley for three years and $30 million. Only the Silva trade fixed that. And while it wasn’t a major move, paying $7.5 million for two years of John Grabow wasn’t a well-advised signing. While we’re at it, neither was two years and $4.9 million for Aaron Miles.

There is also the team’s draft record to consider. Since Hendry took over in 2003, this is the list of the team’s draft picks who have made the major leagues, whether with the Cubs or another organization: Jake Fox, Sean Marshall, Casey McGehee, Mitch Atkins, Eric Patterson, Sam Fuld, Sean Gallagher, Jerry Blevins, Micah Owings, Donnie Veal, Tyler Colvin, Jeff Samardzija, Josh Donaldson, Darwin Barney, James Russell, Andrew Cashner, and Casey Coleman. Few names stand out, and one that does, McGehee, was placed on waivers, only to realize success elsewhere. The 2005 draft was particularly poor. Veal was the only pick to make the majors, and that came only because the Pirates selected him in the Rule 5 draft.

Every GM has blemishes on his track record. General Managers with big market teams are prone to them, because they can afford to outbid others on big talent, and we know that it’s not a rarity for big talent on the free agent market to provide less value than their contracts suggest. But, again, this is more about the baseball operations in relation to the team’s strong financial position than it is strictly about a poor GM and front office. For the last two seasons the Cubs have ranked third in the league in payroll, spending a combined $269.62 million. For their efforts they have won just 158 games, finishing second with 83 wins in 2009 and fifth with 75 wins in 2010.

For a while it appeared as though the Cubs were headed for big things. They made some splashes, and in 2007 and 2008 won the NL Central. But behind the scenes things weren’t completely set in place. The Cubs might have finished second in 2009, but there were definite problems abound. Before last season we ranked them No. 18. You can basically look at Dave’s summary there and say the same thing about the team this year. The first line in his concluding paragraph has aged well. “When I try to balance the strengths and weaknesses, this is where the Cubs end up – in the middle of the pack, getting less out of what they have than most clubs, but having enough to keep them from being too bad.”




Print This Post



Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.

63 Responses to “2011 Organizational Rankings #19 – Chicago Cubs”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Xeifrank says:

    I have the Cubs ranked 21st, so no argument here. Given the Cubs bloated 2011payroll of around $147M one would hope they would be a little better team than they are (Vegas expected win total of around 79 games). They do have deep pockets and a franchise that is worth a lot of money, but they haven’t done a good job of putting that money to good use of late. If win trends meant anything, the Cubs would be “buy low” stock in terms of wins as they won 97 games in 2008, then 83 in 2009, only to see their win total drop for a third straight year last year with 75 wins.

    There seems to be a bit of an American League bias so far in these results. Mariners and Orioles are hitting their 10th month of pregnancy. In other words they are both long overdue. :)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • RC says:

      The biggest problem with the Cubs is they have HUGE amounts of payroll locked up in players that don’t produce at an elite level. IE, they won’t be able to use their considerable financial might for a whole lot until those contracts run out (IE, 3 or 4 years)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jaybandit says:

        Good point, but two of those contracts are up after this season:
        Carlos Silva & Kosuke Fukudome

        Soriano has a few years, and I refuse to say that Zambrano’s deal is a “bad” contract. He can play at a high level and earn the value of his contract.

        Ramirez’s contract is also up after this season (option for the following season), but that is not a “bad” contract.

        There really isn’t any massive money tied up in anyone else besides those named above. But, when you have $25 million tied up in a scrub pitcher and a 4th outfielder, you don’t have money invested in a viable good player. This offseason will be addition by subtraction for the Cubs at the very least.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jack Nugent says:

      Agree very much so re: Mariners and Orioles.

      Seriously, how have the Mariners not come up yet?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bronnt says:

        Orioles even worse than the Mariners, I think. Mariners likely have greater spending power at their disposal and a plan designed at a contending team by 2013 or so. I really can’t see how the Orioles have anything on the last 6 or 7 teams in the rankings.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • erich1212 says:

        to piggyback on the NL heaviness of the rankings thus far:

        i wonder whether following a division–say the al west/al east–closely over 162 games leads to a increased familiarity with those teams that, in turn, makes the authors/rankers more likely to evaluate the teams in those divisions more favorably by simply being able to cite more positive things about them.

        having said that, given that two of the NL’s biggest markets– LA and NY–are both in the bottom ten because of their ownership messes, the bottom of the list probably isn’t surprisingly nl heavy. absent those issues, the eight-two split is more likely six-four.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Luke in MN says:

        What’s the Mariner’s contend-by-2013 plan based on? Do they have a big free agent or two in their future? My perception was that their farm is ok, not great and the MLB roster is a disaster. They seem far more buried for longer than the Cubs, Padres, Mets, and Brewers to me. Orioles too although I think the Orioles are buried a more more due to division than talent.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bronnt says:

        I didn’t say it was a good plan, and I wasn’t trying to be too specific about the year. They at least seem to be looking toward the future with an idea of putting a team together just competitive enough to win the division-much easier task for them than it is Baltimore.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Kyle says:

        i think the eric bedard trade alone make the mariners below the o’s

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        The Orioles have, under this ownrship shown a willingness to spend when competitive. They have money, a middle of the pack team and a middle of the pack farm system. They should be up fairly soon, but the Orioles are better than the cubs (and Seattle).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jim says:

        Contrary to what Luke in MN and others above me said, I can’t see how you put the O’s or Cubs above the M’s.

        The M’s have no major competitor in the Pacific Northwest, a great ballpark, stable ownership(Nintendo of America), the ability to put up $100 million payrolls, and 2 superstars who they can build around(Ichiro and King Felix).

        The negatives are the ones apparent to those who’ve paid attention(and given c*ap to Dave Cameron because of last year’s ranking at #6–hence, the #6org meme we see repeatedly used(and yes, it’s tiresome.) A minor league system left almost bare by the previous regimes, a major league roster littered with sub-replacment level talent, and a few onorous contracts(at least in 2010 and 2011).

        However, the reason for a decent ranking this year is the arrival of some future building blocks in Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak(who arrived last year), and Micheal Pineda(which means, no, their major league roster is far from a disaster–that was last year, FYI). A rejuvenated minor league system and the promise of some soon-to-expire contracts(Milton Bradley and the money owed to Carlos Silva) leave them looking a bit better going forward than the Cubs, if you ask me.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jim says:

        And to Kyle–seriously, the Erik Bedard trade? That was 3 years ago, dude. The M’s have recovered from that, for the most part.

        It’s the Carlos Silva fiasco that they’re still dealing with, but only for 1 more season. :)

        And to Luke in MN: I think the Mets are a bit more buried than the M’s, given that they’ve got 2 teams currently clearly better than them in the Phillies and Braves; a team with its own different problems in the Marlins who could likely challenge them this year and in future years for that 3rd place, 85 win scenario; and the Nationals, who figure to just get better with each passing year and could catch them by 2013 and perhaps even surpass them.

        The M’s can at least count on a bit of decline for the Angels and A’s, who both have weaker minor league systems currently(and for the A’s, financial restrictions based on the lack of a new stadium.) And there’s only 4 teams in the AL West, too. ;)

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jaw says:

      Unrelated to baseball, but very related to Chicago – are you THE “Z-Frank?” Or just a fan? Or is your handle a reference to something else?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. JoeIQ says:

    The only thing I really break on is present talent 22nd?

    Zips projects that with “a bit of luck” the Cubs will be contenders this year. I don’t know if that’s true of the 22nd best team, unless you are just making this objected and taking last years standings? The Cubs had a lot of underperformances and will rebound this year to a respectable level.

    You missed the worst signing, Lou Piniella. Lou was worth at least -8 wins last year.

    I agree with most of the other criticisms. The Farm is pretty horrendous. I doubt many teams can match the failure the cubs have had over the last 10 years in that area.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • RC says:

      “Zips projects that with “a bit of luck” the Cubs will be contenders this year. I don’t know if that’s true of the 22nd best team, unless you are just making this objected and taking last years standings?”

      I don’t see that as being all that wrong.

      If the playoffs were “take the top 4 records in the NL (balanced schedules),” I don’t think the Cubs would have a snowball’s chance in hell at the playoffs. But they play in the NL Central, which means in most years, somewhere around 90 wins will get you the division, and 3 of the 5 teams you play on a regular basis are terrible. The only team I’d be surprised to see win that division next year would be the Padres.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • JohnOrpheus says:

        i think only 2 of the teams in the central are terrible in any given year. you are right about one thing though, no chance in hell the padres win the central this year.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • RC says:

        I think 4 of them were terrible last year, the Cubs included.

        St. Louis and Cincy were the only teams in the division who were >.500 outside the division, and both just barely.

        Cincy was only 1 game above .500 outside the division, and St. Louis was 47-37 outside the division, which is pretty decent.

        Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Houston were all nowhere near .500 outside the division, and Milwaukee was 5 games below.

        This is the sort of division where you have to look at 78 of each of their games and say “well, someone has to win them”

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • JohnOrpheus says:

        “This is the sort of division where you have to look at 78 of each of their games and say “well, someone has to win them”

        well, i think you could say that about the nl west, al west, and al central as well. we basically have one super division – the al east – and one other division with a pretty damn good team – the phillies – a legitimate contender – the braves – an average team – the marlins – and two “terrible teams” – the nats and mets, which doesn’t make them much better than the other non- al east divisions.

        i don’t know why you are targeting the central as so much worse then the other? doesn’t seem to make sense.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • RC says:

        I’m “targeting” them as a justification that a team that is in the bottom half of the league still has a shot at being a playoff contender.

        4 of the 5 teams in the NL West had a >.500 record against the NL Central. Arizona sucks.

        3 of the 5 teams in the NL East had a >.500 record against the NL Central, one was .500, and the other was 1 game below .500

        Of the 10 National League teams not in the central, 7 played better against the Central than the rest of their record.

        One had the same (Colorado, .512 against the league, and the central),.

        One played slightly worse (Arizona, 16-27 – .370 against C, 49-70 -.430 against everyone else

        One played significantly worse (Philly, who was pretty much .500 against everyone but their own division.)

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Charlotte says:

      How many teams in baseball couldn’t make the playoffs with a little luck? Orioles and Blue Jays, Indians and Royals, Mariners, Nationals, Pirates, Astros and Diamondbacks? Maybe the Mets and the Padres. Marlins aren’t trying to win on account of evil, but they were they’d be ‘a bit of luck’ away.

      Put the Orioles and Jays ahead of Chicago out of respect for their existential plight and promote the Padres because they came so darn close last year, and that leaves Chicago both totally a reasonable playoff contender, and also #22.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Al Dimond says:

      I think the #22 ranking for present talent is probably a closer evaluation of the Cubs than the notion that with some luck they could make the playoffs. Look at it a different way: where do the Cubs rank in their division by present talent? Looks like the FG crew rates them fourth, and that sounds about right to me. Should the fourth-most talented team in the NL Central be ranked any better than #22 in current talent?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. RC says:

    “His three-year, $21 million deal for Jason Marquis that same off-season was also misguided — Marquis, remember, had produced a 6.02 ERA the year before, with a nearly matching FIP…. but it was almost negated by Marquis.”

    According to your numbers, the 2 years Marquis was with the Cubs, he was paid 11.2M and produced 3.6WAR, worth $15.5M.

    After the cubs got rid of him, he produced 3.8WAR, and another 17.3M. He outperformed his contract by over 50%.

    I’m not a big Jason Marquis fan, but this part of the article is utter tripe.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Orangeman94 says:

      You’re looking at this in hindsight though. At the time, the move was widely panned as being another “Jim Hendry is bidding against himself” type of deal. After the fact, Marquis earned the contract, but at the time it appeared that Hendry paid significantly more than was necessary to obtain a #5 starter.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Jilly says:

    Wait, Jim Hendry is worse than Ned Coletti? Really? That seems a questionable assertion at best.

    And you hammer them for their drafting in the early 2000′s. Okay, very fair, those drafts were pretty much awful. However, I’m sure you realize that Tim Wilken took over in 2006? A guy considered by most to be a top 5 scouting director?

    Also, you hammer the Jason Marquis signing, but ignore the fact that, based on the metric right here on your site, he was worth more over the life of his contract than he was paid, providing surplus value.

    No offense, but this article reads like you had him ranked 29th and then started writing with the intent to justify that.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Rob says:

    In fairness to the Cubs, I think it’s worth pointing out that the farm system has made significant improvement since Tim Wilken came aboard as scouting director. It may not look great at the moment, but they did just graduate Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, and Andrew Cashner last year, as well as trade half of what was left for Matt Garza. Keeping an even slightly below average level of talent still on the farm after that is impressive.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jack Nugent says:

      Very good point. By and large, Wilken has done a pretty good job.

      Isn’t his fault so much of his hard work was spent on Matt Garza…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • mister_rob says:

      Using baseball references WAR, Tim Wilkens drafts have thus far produced an overall WAR of 0.0 for the Cubs
      I love some of the international signings, but thus far his drafts have been unipressive. When you see other division teams getting guys like Rasmus, Bruce, Braun, etc in the first round, Tyler Colvin (no obp or contact skills) doesnt look that impressive

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. jaybandit says:

    Something that is not mentioned in this post is that the Cubs underwent an ownership change from a corporation (the bankrupt Tribune Corporation) to a private investor (Ricketts Family). That multi-year transition has had major impacts to how the Cubs were run during Hendry’s tenure. For instance, Hendry never offered Soriano an 8-year contract; it was always intended to be a 6-year deal, but Tribune management upped the ante when Hendry was in the hospital in order to guarantee they got Soriano…the flashy player they needed to help boost the valuation of their club to potential suitors. The Milton Bradley signing was also influenced by this need to sell the club, which obviously was not a good deal.

    So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that Hendry is not soley to blame for the woes of the Cubs contract signings. Things can only improve now that there is firm ownership that doesn’t have to ask a board of directors when making big-ticket decisions as was the case in the past. I’m very interested in seeing how things improve in the next few years based on the ownership change alone.

    I think if the Cubs were owned by a private investor, there would have been a bit more “baseball-sense” used in years prior, and there wouldn’t have been such desperate attempts to make the team more competitive in the short term only to shortchange the future for years to come.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • ofMontreal says:

      This.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Boomer says:

      The Soriano comments have always been rumored, but how does anyone know this is true?
      First I’ve heard about the Bradley contract.

      I believe, despite lack of evidence, the Soriano comments, I don’t believe the Bradley stuff.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • mister_rob says:

        Even if Bradley was a normal human being that deal made no sense. That entire offseason all we heard was that the Cubs wanted to get more left handed. In reality they replaced a productive lefty (edmonds) for a switch hitter who had always been better as a righty (bradley)
        In order to make him fit, they moved a corner OFer to CF, and inserted Bradley (a DH) into the toughest RF in baseball
        And of course in addition to the above problems, you have the fact that milton rarely stays healthy and is a complete whackjob…….and yet Hendry STILL thought 3/30 was a good idea. It was a stupid idea from the get go, an offers a window into the mind of jim hendry

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jimbo says:

      The Chicago papers have always said that the intention of the Soriano signing was to increase the value of the franchise for a potential sale. But how does a $136M guaranteed obligation increase the value of the organization? The Ricketts due diligence was more concerned with the media deals than they were the left fielder. Plus, the Tribune Co ended up paying for three years of that contract, which had to significantly eat into any increase in value. Seems as though the Tribune could have made a better investment in the value of the franchise if they took just one year of Soriano’s salary ($18M) and signed a few ceiling amateurs.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jocko says:

        Because the Tribune management of the Cubs has always insisted that if they don’t make some gesture to give the impression to the run of the mill know nothing baseball fan that they are improving, they won’t sell as many tickets or attract as many eyeballs.

        And the are right about that.

        Not that Hendry’s not a bafoon.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. sean says:

    What people get wrong about the Soriano deal is that it was basically a long, backloaded deal to make him a key cog in the Cubs being world series contenders in the past four years, with payment through 2014. If you think about it, it was actually rather successful (at least for two years). And the 2008 Cubs were probably the best Cubs team since World War II (1984 is the only other year with a real argument) and Soriano was indeed a key part of that. They just happened to s**t the bed in the NLDS. I’m not saying it’s a great deal or anything, but I don’t think it’s fair to ignore his contributions when considering this deal.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Rob says:

      The best Cubs team of recent years was the 2004 version.

      C – Michael Barrett
      1B – Derrek Lee
      2B – Todd Walker
      SS – Nomar Garciaparra
      3B – Aramis Ramirez
      LF – Moises Alou
      CF – Corey Patterson (coming off an awesome half season in 2003)
      RF – Sammy Sosa

      SP1 – Kerry Wood
      SP2 – Mark Prior
      SP3 – Carlos Zambrano
      SP4 – Greg Maddux
      SP5 – Matt Clement

      I still don’t know how that team doesn’t make the playoffs…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • mister_rob says:

        This team was another example of Hendry’s failed train of thought

        He took a team that was a couple outs from the WS, due in large part to the fact that they were very strong up the middle, and within a year has barrett (horrible catcher), walker (my grandma has more range), and nomar (injured) up the middle

        All the changes up the middle, but he nver thought maybe to get a backup closer, and instead trusted Borowski to have another career year. Oops. When that didnt work, we were treated to Latroy who even said he didnt like closing. and prved it

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Brandon says:

    The Cubs are just not quantifiable. They have been and will continue to be 31 out of 30.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joe says:

      Wouldn’t 31/30 be a quantification?

      Though they have not been #1 for a very long time, and it might be a lot longer before it does happen, they are not 31 out of 30. That’s trying to be creative/not trying to be accurate.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • JohnnyComeLately says:

        Joe, I bet you’re a real riot to hang out with at parties.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Joe says:

        lol – I like jokes, but only “it’s funny cause it’s true” jokes.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brandon says:

        Well, that’s kind of the joke, 31 out of 30 is not possible therefore not quantifiable. You’re are correct, I was not trying to be accurate — obviously. Again, 31 out of 30 is not possible. Relax, Joe!
        You are correct again, they have not been #1 for a very long time. I would like to add to your acurate assessment and add another “very” into that. “They have not been #1 for a very, very long time.” Perhaps longer than the radio (yes, RADIO!) has been around. Even those big arch-shaped wood ones that Theodore Roosevelt used to address the nation with. Back in the “olden days.” FM stereo?! Fuggetaboutit!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • odbsol says:

        Franklin Roosevelt not Teddy

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Mike Green says:

    I guess Fangraphs is satisfied that the AL is still way ahead of the NL.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • RC says:

      Is that really inaccurate? Like has been said, the last 10 years of interleaugue play has had the AL beating the NL pretty badly. Are you really surpised that the bulb of the terrible teams in MLB are in the larger league with less revenue?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jocko says:

        Interleague will always favor the AL. NL teams don’t employe Vlad, Thome, Matsui, Hafner, Ortiz and the like to take five ABs a game and do nothing else. Every game an NL team plays in an AL park puts them at a disadvantage because the players who can hit but can’t play D play d anyway.

        But even so, they aren’t so much better that the rankings should fall this way. The example of Cubs v. Orioles/Mariners is a perfect example of how this is skewed. One might also add Oakland to this list, but considering how much this clique fawns for the Beanester, that would never happen. ‘Poor Billy doesn’t have the payroll.’ Well neither does the Brewers or Padres, but they are more competitive than the As most years.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Jack Nugent says:

    Don’t you love when the author of a post doesn’t even try to defend some of the claims he makes?

    I dunno… might be easier said than done, but I think the authors here should be encouraged to participate in the discussion at least to a certain degree.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. boxx says:

    I can’t believe you spent multilple paragraphs killing Hendry for the contracts he gave out but didn’t mention the fact that he made Carlos Fatbrano the third highest paid starter in baseball at the time of the deal.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jocko says:

      I can’t believe visitors to this website have your maturity level and fail to understand the economics of baseball and the value that Zambrano brings and can still bring to the Cubs organization. Seriously, take it to the cubsdotcom board.

      The reason he didn’t kill Hendry for the Zambrano deal is it hasn’t turned out great, but it was and still might turn out to be well worth the money.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Boomer says:

    Forgot to mention the Zambrano extension at $18M per and the Fukudome contract….Neither one very good.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. boxx says:

    Boomer- Haha one minute apart. Good catch, I forgot about Fukusuckme

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. CircleChange11 says:

    Wow, after reading this … Hendry has actually been better than I thought.

    In the last few years, IMO, the Cubs problem has been their manager. I’ll leave it at that.

    The Cubs have had some decent success. Their problem has been the same problem the Padres and Twins have … When they do make the playoffs, it’s generally a quick and heartbreaking exit.

    Was the Marlon Byrd signing mentioned? It was as good as the Fukudome one was bad.

    All jokes aside, the Cubs aren’t better than the Orioles?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joe Pawlikowski says:

      I had the same reaction when writing it.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jack Nugent says:

        Good points re: Byrd, His deal was better than Fukudome’s was bad.

        I agree– don’t see how the Cubs are behind the Orioles. Or the Mariners for that matter.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Daniel says:

      I’ve always thought the Fukudome contract was ok, not a win for the Cubs by any means but not a disaster either. The same applies to Zambrano. People are very quick to assume that a player has no value whatsoever just because he’s been paid an obscene amount of money.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        Zambrano was something like the third highest paid starter at the time of his contract. Regardless of whether or not he earned it, that contract, when given, was bad. They could have gotten an equal pitcher for less money.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jocko says:

        At the time Zambrano signed the contract his career ERA+ was something like the third best of all active starters. Further, a few months later, Burnett and Lowe also got 16M and 15M (approx.) respectively. Even with his slide from 2007-2009, his ERA+ is still the 8th highest in baseball, his WAR 14th with most pitchers ahead having far more service time.

        You have to consider the market, which you are not doing. Simply declaring that they could have gotten an equal pitcher for less money simply does not make it so without the benefit of hindsite.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Jon says:

    So of the 12 teams ranked so far, 10 are in the NL. 6 NL teams remain unranked, compared to 12 AL teams.

    So of the top 18 teams, 2/3 are in the AL.

    This seems rather unlikely to me, and suggests some sort of systematic bias in the ranking.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nick V says:

      The fact that it “seems rather unlikely” suggests systemic bias? These aren’t random, there’s no reason to assume it would go AL-NL-AL-NL or that there wouldn’t be a grouping like what we’ve seen. “Seems weird” isn’t a justification for negative peer review…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jon says:

        Except that we should the leagues to be very close to balanced, since the teams are mainly competing against their own league.

        Let’s suppose that the objective function we’re considering is something like discounted expected wins, plus bonuses for things like making the playoffs, winning divisions, winning playoff series, and winning world series.

        Except for inter-league play, one NL team’s win is another NL team’s loss, and same for AL. This is exactly true for playoff berths and playoff wins outside of the world series.

        So in general we should be quite surprised if the leagues aren’t reasonably balanced throughout the rankings. It suggests to me that the authors are not applying the right league correction (i.e. not giving the NL teams a big enough boost due to playing in the weaker league).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. mister_rob says:

    White sox have got to be coming up soon
    2 postseasons in the last 10, despite a very winnable division, spending lots of money, worst farm system in baseball, an not much payroll flexibility going forward
    imo, Cubs near future looks much more promising than the Sox. At least the Cubs can make a push for pujols,fielder,cc.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Jeffrey Gross says:

    The Cubs have 50 MM coming off the books this year

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Garrett Hawk says:

    Hendry must be a hell of a politician. He’s even charmed Ricketts, which means that JH will probably remain at his job through a few more abysmal seasons, minimum.

    I have to admit, I’m impressed by his behind-the-scenes backslapping and posturing, because for him to have held onto his job this long is stunning.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *