Chicago Cubs Fail Again and Lose to the White Sox: Where Do They Go from Here?
With two straight walk-off wins against the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs were in position to post their first three-game winning-streak of the season on Friday.
They failed again, this time losing to their crosstown rivals, the Chicago White Sox.
It makes Jim Hendry wanting to wait until the July 31 trade deadline before deciding if the team will be buyers or sellers even more ludicrous.
Just a few days ago he was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times saying, "We still want to see how we play in the next month or so."
It's time for the Cubs to end the charade and admit the season is over. Hopefully, they realize that (though I'm not so sure), and that's an even scarier thought.
It's an insult to Cub fans to pretend a team with the third-worst record in baseball is still in the race.
Acknowledging the obvious, everything they do from now on should be focused on the future of the club. That involves making trades, releasing people and giving their young players the bulk of playing time the rest of the season.
The way to go forward would be to bring in a baseball guy as the president of the team before the trade deadline to get the best value for the players you are trying to move.
It's unlikely the Cubs will do that, however, so you have to put current GM Jim Hendry on a tight leash, and not let him make major trades that involve guys that could get you maximum value in return.
I would make everybody on the roster other than Starlin Castro available if a new person came in to oversee deals. Otherwise you are limited to trying to dump salary, and trading away fringe players who have no future with the team but might get you a prospect back in return.
That means the Reed Johnsons and Jeff Bakers should go, along with Kosuke Fukudome. While they might have value to a contender, they have none to the Cubs at this time, and are hindering the progress of young players not getting an opportunity because they are here.
Carlos Pena is another valuable piece with his recent power surge and an attractive contract for suitors.
In an ideal situation, you could trade a guy like Carlos Marmol and get back a great package of prospects to help rebuild your team for the future, but the current situation is not ideal.
They should release Koyie Hill, or 'Hilly' as Mike Quade likes to call him, and immediately call up Wellington Castillo to take his place. Hill does not belong in the majors, and Castillo needs a chance to play and develop.
Seeing as much as they can from their minor leaguers should be the main focus for the rest of the season. Give them a taste of the majors and find out what they have to offer.
After the season, thank Jim Hendry and Mike Quade for their hard work and wish them good luck in the future working for someone else.
If you keep team President Crane Kenney, and I don't know why you should, his title should be 'Creator of Revenue Streams.' He should have nothing to do with anything on the baseball side of things.
Finding a top baseball guy to run the show is paramount to the success of the franchise in the future. Everything rides on making the right hire.
Tampa Rays GM Andrew Friedman's contract is up at the end of the season. He has done a great job of drafting and developing young players, and has done it well enough to compete in a division with the Yankees and Boston.
He's accomplished this with limited money to spend. Imagine what he could do if he had the Cubs' budget.
I know this would be up to the new GM, but I would apologize to Ryne Sandberg and tell him he belongs with the Cubs and make him the new manager.
He's the right guy to teach young players the right way to play the game. He will not be afraid to let veteran players know that not giving effort will no longer be acceptable with him running the show.
I would bring in Wally Backman as his bench coach. Between the two of them, this team would be fundamentally sound, and know how to run the bases and play situational baseball, which is a must if you play at Wrigley Field.
The whole minor league system should be evaluated, and changes should be made based on that evaluation, including managers, coaches, and roving instructors.
There is no "Cub Way' of doing things and that has to change. Successful franchises have a philosophy on how to teach the game in the minors, and unfortunately, the current 'Cub Way' is doing nothing.
The entire scouting system should be scrutinized. That includes scouting current Cub minor leaguers and other teams' players, along with advance scouting.
This is important if you remember how the Cubs performed in the playoffs in 2007 and 2008. Those teams had Cub batters habits down where they couldn't do anything. That's scouting! Something the Cubs don't do quite as well.
It's time to do this right, and quit trying to fix things with Band-Aids like they have ever since Jim Hendry has been here.
They need to tell the fans they have to rebuild and are revamping the entire organization. Admitting you are wrong and saying you now plan on doing things the right way will win over skeptical fans.
They will accept a rebuilding effort as long as there is change and they can see the team is headed in the right direction. Keeping the same old faces around will result in fans avoiding Wrigley Field like the plague.
And last but not least, the Cubs should again ask the city and state if they can help out with renovating Wrigley Field like they helped the White Sox and the Bears.
If they refuse, the Cubs should then offer to fix it themselves, but on one condition: allowing the team to play 45-50 home night games a year instead of the current 30.
That would take away the disadvantage the team has having to play mostly day games in the dog days of summer.
If they turn down that offer, the Cubs should in no uncertain terms let the city know they will explore other options and mean it.
The Cubs continue to strike out attempting to win three in a row, but they can't afford to strike out on the decisions they make moving forward.
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