The Chicago Cubs' Five Steps For Winning the World Seres By 2014
Yesterday afternoon, Lou Piniella managed his final game with the Chicago Cubs.
And in typical Cubs fashion, they lost, bad, 16-5.
Its hard to believe that, save for a few players, this is the same Cubs team that posted the best record in the National League in 2008. Now the Cubs are in 5th place, with only the bargain basement Pirates keeping them from last in the NL Central (but only by 9.5 games mind you).
In the past month, we've seen half of our infield and a starting pitcher traded away, as well as Piniella's recent retirement.
The Cubs aren't in a position to win for at least two years, but at least there's hope, right?
Well, there's some, but there are things that must be done for them to win the World Series before Wrigley's Centennial in 2014.
Step One: Fire Jim Hendry
I've already covered this, so this is a lazy slide. However, its time to revisit that, and I'll give you a slice of what I wrote earlier.
The Cubs hope in 2011 to reload, but what good is reloading if your trigger is broken?
Step One: Fire Jim Hendry Part 2
This needed a second part, and I'd look for another picture of Hendry, but couldn't find one, this will do.
So if Hendry has failed, why keep bringing him back? Why is the Ricketts family keeping him?
Like I said earlier, what good is reloading if the trigger is broken? All you'll have is a loaded gun that can't shoot.
Now before I come to a conclusion, let me set something up. In Great Britain they show PSA's, but they're called Public Information Films. Unlike in the United States where they're kind of cute and targeted towards children and it tells them to say no to drugs or to not start smoking, Britain's Public Information Films tend to either be extremely condescending (like this one telling you how to vote, which would be fine in a country where they're having their first free elections, except this is from 1970 and England wasn't exactly new at the free election thing), darkly funny (like this Clockwork Orange-inspired PIF), or just plain macabre (this recent one showing the results of texting while driving.)
Well not to compare this current Cubs season to people who don't know how to vote, kids who might or might not be doing the right thing, or texting while driving (don't text while driving people), but this Cubs situation seems to play out like a public information film.
Everything looks ok, and everything seems to be going well (2007, 2008) but then one little act (signing Milton Bradley over Adam Dunn) leads to outright disaster (2010) filled with blood and carnage, followed by a scary British Accented voice telling you a catchphrase.
Well here's our Cubs Public Information Film catchphrase that goes along with my trigger theory with Hendry: Fix the Trigger, Fire Hendry (it sounds so much better when you imagine Alan Ruckman or the late Alec Guiness saying it.)
Step Two: Name Steve Stone General Manager
He's been a pitcher and color analyst for both the Cubs and Sox. However he's been correct a lot in his latter job (including encouraging the Cubs to play Tyler Colvin.) While his age might either discourage him from taking the job or discourage the Cubs from hiring (he's 63) it should definitely be looked at as a candidate.
Stone definitely would've signed Dunn instead of Bradley, in fact he once said prior to Dunn hitting a home run that put the Reds up and won the game against the Cubs "I wouldn't pitch to that guy right now."
Step Three: Just Name Ryno the Manager
Gene Wojciechowski says it best, and is a much better writer than I could ever be (as evidenced by my second fire Hendry slide where my ADD attacked by bringing up British PSA's/Public Information Films) so therefore, I'll let him do all the talking here since its about the same thing I would say.
Just click the link (well, right click then select open in a new tab so you can keep reading the slideshow I mean.)
Step Four: Build and Trust The Farm System
I like the youngsters currently on this Cubs team. Tyler Colvin looks great and should at least be in the discussion of National League Rookie Of The Year, Starlin Castro is a star in the making, Geovany Soto, while he's had his struggles, has seemed to rebound, and Marmol has very quietly been outstanding (of course you can't judge a closer that well when you don't have the lead in the 9th inning very often.)
It seems to me that the farm system is on the right track, well sort of. They have a pretty deep roster of positional players, but its pitching where they need to bulk up.
The good news? They will likely have a top-5 pick in the draft next year. Hey I said before 2014, not next year.
Step Five: Be Smart With Free Agent Acquisitions
Instead of going after maybes when you can do the maybe thing cheaper with prospects, use the Rickett's family budget wisely and go after "sure things" (note: sure things don't exist, but at least be close to sure things, and not signings that even fans can tell are likely to fail.)
Its not signing Cliff Lee (who the Cubs should go after) or Carl Crawford (whom I'd love to see in there but highly doubtful because our outfield is pretty filled) for long term big contracts that hurts teams, its signings like Soriano (good signing, just too long) or Milton Bradley (just bad) that hurt.
Instead I'd say be more prudent, sometimes a cheap stop gap or Rule-5 guy will do instead of a potential albatross.
By following these steps, the Cubs will begin their rise and be a World Series caliber team by 2014, Wrigley's Centenial
It could happen sooner than that, or not happen at all (Cub fans will tell you its the latter.) But complete annihilation of the current team seems to be the correct thing to do in order to be competitive.
Thomas Galicia is still believing that the Cubs have a chance this year. Ok he's not, but he is on twitter, @thomasgalicia.