Organizational Rankings: #18 – Chicago Cubs

Organizations like the Cubs present some challenges in a series like this. They have some very obvious strengths – the printing press that is Wrigley Field, the ability to support a $140 million payroll, new ownership that at least appears to be committed to improving how the organization is run, and some really good players on the field. They also have some similarly obvious weaknesses – a lot of committed money to aging players, a front office with a long history of questionable decision making, and a roster that needs some good luck to contend in 2010.

If you just focus on the strengths, you can make a case for the Cubs to be a bit higher than this. After all, they have a real resource advantage over the rest of their division and some really good players in place. If a few things go right, they could steal a playoff berth this year, and they’ve got the finances to be a real player in the future. Their strengths are stronger than most teams strengths.

Likewise, however, you can just focus on the weaknesses and make a case that they should be lower. Their core is getting long in the tooth, with most of their best players being past their prime. They have some good young talent, but not a roster full of it, and the big contracts will hamper their ability to rebuild around guys like Soto and Castro. And, even with a sizable payroll, you can’t expect Hendry to spend it all that well, based on his track record.

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. If the Ricketts demand that the front office catches up to the rest of the league, the team could rise pretty quickly – a more efficient front office could do wonders for the Cubs. There’s enough talent and enough money in Chicago that they should be a top ten franchise without too many problems. They aren’t there now, however. They may get there, but based on where they currently stand, middle of the pack is about as high as I can place them.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Sam
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Sam

So the Cubs are worse than the Mets? That’s kinda harsh.

Boomer
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Boomer

Two words: Jim Hendry.

mb21
Guest

2 more words: Omar Minaya

Ivdown
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Ivdown

Two more words: Omar Minaya

Neither one is a real genius, lol.

Tom Au
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Tom Au

Maybe the Mets are No. 17, and in a stabistical “dead heat” with the Cubs. We’ll see.

Boomer
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Boomer

Not a fan of either one, but I think Hendry has himself in a worse pickle than Omar. Also I think Omar will be fired before Hendry is. If the Ricketts didn’t fire him when they came in, that implies that he has their confidence and support (!)

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

The Cubs don’t have anyone nearly as good as Santana, Wright, Beltran or Reyes (although the latter two could be heading off the rails with injuries).

SchmidtXC
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SchmidtXC

I think the key would be that the Mets have a younger and better core in place, and quite a few solid prospects who will likely be in the bigs by opening day 2011.

OlSalty
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OlSalty

While the Mets have a horrible GM, they also have some pretty amazing talent in Beltran, Reyes, and Wright. I don’t think the Cubs can make that same claim.

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