Blog Entry

The Value of Organizational Depth: The Cubs Farm

Posted on: January 19, 2009 10:49 am

We have all at one time or another questioned Jim Hendry and his moves.  He has basically been in control of player development since the mid-nineties and we have failed to bring impact players to the major league level.  Of course there have been successful player in that time and even some all-stars (i.e. Carlos Zambrano, Kerry Wood, Geovany Soto), but the overall assumption is that Big Jim has been a Big Failure when it comes to the young guys.

What the Cubs have done over that time is build a team that is a contender.  They have won 3 division titles in the last 6 years.  They have accomplished this because of two thing.

1. the trib decided at some point that if they opened up the purse strings that the team would be more valuable.  This value was important for the first time in 30 years due to the fact that the trib wanted to squeeze every last penny out of the club before selling them.  We have brought in top talent such as Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Milton Bradley, Kosuke Fukudome, and Mark DeRosa.  The Cubs have also been able to re-sign their own top talent instead of letting them leave via free agency (Ryan Dempster, Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, etc...). 

2. Through trades.  

We have all questioned the bringing in of so-called "mid-level prospects"  but what have mid level prospects given us over the years?  Lets compose a list of what we have gotten from the "garbage" prospects, as most people refer to them.

Aramis Ramirez:   Ramirez was brought in during the 03 season and was acquired for at the time current major leaguer Jose Hernandez and two mid level prospects;  Matt Bruback, and Bobby Hill.   Plus we received Kenny Lofton in the deal as well

Derek Lee:  acquired before the 04 season for who some cubs fans would call a top prospect Hee-Seop Choi.  However, when examined in comparison with the rest of the league Choi was merely a mid-level guy.

Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin:  Cubs trade 4 mid-level prospects for two solid pitcher to help down the stretch in 08 who were both under contract for 09. 

Nomar Garciaparra:  This trade didn't really work out but it could have.  We landed Nomar for more of these mid-level guys. 

Some of these mid-level guys have also contributed at the major league level for the cubs.  

Ryan Theriot:  this is a player that no one thought would ever be an everyday major leaguer.  He has proven to be slightly above average in the field and a decent hitter.

Geovany Soto:  reigning NL Rookie of the Year.  a mid-level prospect?  yes in fact he was.  he was drafted in the 11th round and until 07 was not even considered to be one of our top prospects.

Mike Fontenot:  even if Aaron Miles take the majority of starts at second base this season, Fonty has proven his worth as a mid-level prospect.  

Carlos Marmol:  converted catcher who appears as if from nowhere with the nastiest slider that I would guess most hitters have ever seen.

Sean Marshall:  Gives the Cubs solid starting depth and allows them to use guys like Rich Harden with out too much worry.

almost every player that fits into that fill-in role in our bull pen would also fit into this list.

The moral of the story is that while the Cubs farm has not been a monumental success, I do not think that you could say it has not been a success.  



Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2009 6:57 pm

The Value of Organizational Depth: The Cubs Farm

I actually have no idea how i forgot about jeff samardzija.  he would fit into a top tier player IMO.  had it not have been for football he would have been taken in the first or second round.  So i guess we could consider him to be a top prospect that we developed.  he is definitely going to be an asset for a long time.

Since: Nov 24, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2009 4:29 pm

The Value of Organizational Depth: The Cubs Farm

I agree with the poster above me.  Very well thought out and I thank you, Samardzija didn't really need to be developed as much say a Pie.  Pie is a case where either he will be a late bloomer (read: Cliff Lee), or just a bust, but I don't blame Hendry at all.  I think Hendry has a good head on his shoulders and makes some pretty decent moves.  You can't really blame him, when we have guys like Theriot, Soto, Samardzija, Hoffpauer, and Fontenot coming out of the farm systems and immediately possitively impacting the team.

Since: Mar 14, 2008
Posted on: January 20, 2009 11:17 pm

The Value of Organizational Depth: The Cubs Farm

nice post next year, there's jeff samardzija too.  he was only up for part of the season last year, but he looked pretty solid and the cubs drafted him.  while we may not have as much success as we want, jim hendry has been able to put together a successful team.  hopefully we will be able to trade some proven talent for some more prospects like we have this year.

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