05 January 2012

Meet The New Cubs, Same As The Old Cubs

"I hella gotta piss. Where's the bathroom?"

When the tag team of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer came to town, I thought things would be different. When Epstein said the Cubs were going into complete rebuilding mode, which most likely meant no Prince Fielder, I agreed.

But now Carlos Zambrano is on his way out of town and all the Cubs got in return was Chris Volstad.

Did I mention the Cubs are paying $15 million of his salary next year?

If you're not a baseball follower, there are basically 3 different paths you can take when you have a player you want to move that makes a ton of money:

1. Trade that player for an equally undesirable, high priced contract. The thought behind this is that maybe the crappy player you're getting back can turn things around with a change of scenery.

2. Unload the player onto a team willing to take a chance on them. You don't pay much, if any, of that player's salary yourself, and you don't get much of a player in return.

3. Trade the player AND pay most of his remaining salary. Usually you get a few decent prospects in return.

The Cubs' front office took the third route, but forgot to get anything decent in return. They got Chris Volstad, who doesn't go deep into games, walks too many and doesn't strike enough out. His lifetime ERA is 4.59, which is even more alarming when you remember that half if his games were pitched in the offensively unfriendly Marlins Stadium. He's a flyball pitcher with an ERA of almost 5.00 in 2 Wrigley Field starts. So yes, I'm expecting Shawn Estes performance out of Volstad next season.

I don't believe that Zambrano's attitude was so toxic that the rest of the players wouldn't give him another shot. After last season, Zambrano pretty much hit rock bottom. I wouldn't be surprised to see him return to the form he had circa 2008, which could have been worth a few good players in return if the Cubs had waited until the trade deadline to deal him.

Instead, the Cubs are paying him $15 million to (potentially) pitch well for another team while getting nothing worthwhile in return (which is the only reason you pay that much to a departing player to begin with).

Look, I'm not saying this is the worst move in the world and I'm not already condemning the Epstein/Hoyer era. I'm just saying that I think we should have held out for a better deal. There's a reason Zambrano is getting $19 million this season: talent. Carlos Zambrano has it. Chris Volstad does not.

Then again, Theo Epstein was the General Manager of a Major League team at 29. The only thing I can generally manage at that same age is my checkbook. Barely.


Tuna? said...

Unfortunately for Epstein, Zambrano had a full no-trade clause, which severely limits what "other deals" he could hold out for. Miami is likely one of the only destinations he would go to, they knew it and took advantage of a shitty situation. Epstein really had little choice in the matter.

Rich said...

Maybe, although I bet he would have been open to a lot more places at midseason if he could go to a contender. Who's going to turn down the playoffs?

I'm sure there's a lot going on that I don't know about. But it really sucks if this is the best deal we could have got. I would rather have kept him. If he misbehaves, send him home again. It would cost the same amount.

Jake said...

You forgot to mention the biggest crime committed thus far and that's Theo saying on Kaplan's show that BRYAN LAHAIR WILL START AT FIRST BASE! That's way worse than any bad Zambrano trade.

O'Connor said...

Typicaly, Big Players receive Big Contracts based on previous preformance. Zambrano has the talent, no doubt, but he's a headcase who has turned into clubhouse poison (' member Sammy ).
Ditching him and his contract is good for all.What the Cubs get for him is not nearly as important as the fact that they DID pull the trigger.
In the Wrigley Rulebook " Wait til next year "
means " I hope we make it to June ". Cub Fans have never really gone through the difficult process of rebuilding. The Cubs have always had one or two Nameguys to root for during lean seasons. And they were rewarded for that. When they were no longer servicable they were traded for next to nothing.Not many cared because management then spent big money on Some One Else.
Year after year.
With the arrival of the New Kids in Town the Rulebook seems to be going the way of the corded phone. Shake it up, wake it up and get the app!!!
More moves will be made. The Franchise players will be passed over in favor of the guys who want to play and do their job. Guys who know the value of small ball.

Rich said...

Jake, I didn't mention LaHair because this article was negative enough as it is.

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