Fans Want the Kids to Play, but Do Not Want a Rebuild. Time to Make Up Your Minds

Yesterday, after Aramis Ramirez declared that he would be filing for free agency, I wrote up a blog which voiced my opinion that the Chicago Cubs should now begin the rebuilding process. Some fans agreed with the thought process, while others completely disagreed. This is probably the most confusing situation for most Cubs fans to be in, as a majority of them are completely contradicting themselves when saying they do not want to sit through a rebuilding phase.

For starters, there is a portion of Cub fans who have strong feelings against the Cubs, a big market team, going through a rebuilding phase. They do not believe that a team in a major market should ever have to rebuild, and be able to spend the money needed in order to contend. This is very true to a point, that would be what is expected from a team in one of the three biggest markets in the country. The problem comes into play, is that several fans of the Cubs want the team to bench, trade or cut several of the current veterans on the team to play various kids.

You will not go a single day without hearing at least one fan begging Cubs management to trade Alfonso Soriano or to just outright cut him. They beg and plead for the Cubs to give more playing time to both Tony Campana and Tyler Colvin. This situation will not take place unless Soriano is off the team, or at very least regulated to bench duty.

Fans also want to see Bryan LaHair get more playing time, if they want to see Campana and Colvin more the only likely position for him to play would be at first base. You could put LaHair in one of the corner spots, and either Covin or Campana in center, but I feel that would be counter productive. No one wants to see Colvin playing center field again, last time he was out there was a disaster. You could put Campana in center, but if you want him to make the team next year, you have to think about who you would rather have playing center field, him or Brett Jackson. No offense to the scrappy Campana, but I would rather have Jackson roaming centerfield and let Campy learn to play the corner. That means Byrd would remain in center leaving LaHair the odd man out, unless he plays first base. With LaHair at first base, that would result in the benching of Carlos Pena. He can not play third base so he would also be out of a job.

Then we have the problem of third base. Several fans want Ramirez back, while others do not want to waste the money on him since he rarely shows up in April and only occasionally comes to play in May. This leads up to who replaces him? There are no good free agent third baseman out there this off season or next, so that would lead to another kid playing third.

You see the problem yet? To me, a vast majority of fans can not make up their minds as far as what they want. They want to see the Cubs play the kids, but they also do not want the Cubs to go into a full rebuild mode. So I propose a question to all the fans out their who take the time to read my blogs.

Do you want the Cubs to ditch the veterans and play the kids to see what they have, or do you want the Cubs to go out and buy players to help them contend? You can not really have things both ways. Sure, you can do a mix of kids and veterans, but you would then have to decide which kids you want to see. Fans will have to chose between the overflowing population of young outfielders and which kids they really want to see.

Which kids do you want to see playing, and which are you willing to write off? From all of the calls for playing time I have seen on my Facebook page ( fans want to see a team filled with kids, but they do not want a rebuilding phase.

Confused yet? So am I.

One comment

  1. Jonathan Henderson

    As a Yankees fan, I see this from multiple angles. First, the Cubs should undergo a rebuilding process. That is the only way the that the Yankees became competitive in 1993 and either won their division or appeared in the playoffs all but once from 1995 through this season, including winning five world championships.

    When I started watching the Yankees in 1990, they were a last place team with no light at the end of the tunnel. They had suffered a losing season in 1989, but most people attributed that to Dave Winfield missing the entire year and not having anyone other than Don Mattingly to carry the load in driving in runs. In 1990, Mattingly injured his back in what would prove to be a career-shortening occurrence, Rickey Henderson had been traded to the Oakland Athletics in the middle of 1989, and Dave Winfield was traded to the California Angels at mid-season after a feud with owner George Steinbrenner got out of control. The Yankees would suffer through losing campaigns for four consecutive season: 1989-1992, lacking offense and stable pitching.

    In the 1992 draft, the Yankees drafted the man who would be “the savior” and the centerpiece of the great Yankee teams from 1996 through the present in Derek Jeter. During the span from 1990-1992 drafts, the Yankees would draft players such as Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte. These players would go on to enjoy great success in their careers. In the case of Derek Jeter, he would eclipse the 3,000 hit mark during the middle part of this season, while Mariano Rivera would become the Saves King in 2011 as well. Bernie Williams won a batting title one year in the early 2000s, while Jorge Posada became the latest in a long line of great Yankee catchers that date back to Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, and the often underappreciated Thurman Munson. Andy Pettitte was the team’s rock in the starting rotation from 2005-2010, with a brief stay in Houston in the middle part of last decade. The New York market is the single biggest market in America, but despite this, the Yankees went through a relatively quick rebuilding process that galvanized the franchise and propelled it to a string of successful seasons not seen even in New York since the team posted a Major League record 39 consecutive winning seasons from 1926-1964. A rebuild is highly important if you want to sew the seeds for a sustained period of success over a long period of time. Just ask the Yankees.

    That being said, it is also important to fill in needs through trades and free agency as well. The Yankees did just that from the very early stages of their redevelopment in the 1990s onward. In 1992, the Yankees acquired Kansas City Royals slugger Danny Tartabull, who would for about two or three years provide the team some much needed pop since Don Mattingly’s back woes had essentially sapped him of his power. In 1993, the Yankees went on a major spending spree, purchasing the contracts of Wade Boggs, Paul O’Neill (who experienced a renaissance after coming over to the Yankees from Cincinnati), Jimmy Key, and Jim Abbott. The end result would be that they finished second in the American League Eastern Division with an 88-74 record, their first winning season since 1988. In 1996, the team acquired former Detroit Tigers slugger Cecil Fielder. Around 1996 or 1997, the Boss opened up his wallet and signed David Wells, only to trade him after the 1998 season to the Toronto Blue Jays for Roger Clemens. In the 2000s, the major pick ups were Alex Rodriguez, Mark Texeira, Mike Mussina, and C.C. Sabbathia. Most recently, the Yankees signed Curtis Granderson as a free agent prior to the 2010 season.

    Despite the rebuilding in the early 1990s and the free agent splurges of the past decade and a half, the Yankees still manage to find time to cultivate talented players. Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks was a product of the Yankees farm system; he was ill-suited for playing in New York and was thus traded away. Alfonso Soriano was another product of the Yankees farm systems before he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez. Phil Hughes, whom I believe still has an opportunity to blossom into a great pitcher, is a solid starter despite the fact that he spent much of this season on the disabled list. And finally, the best second baseman in the game, Robinson Cano, was developed in the Yankees farm system while also making it to the big leagues with the team. The Yankees recently called up rookie catcher Jesus Montero, who is expected to be a major star with his bat. They have the best baseball scouting and development complexes in Latin America of any team in baseball, and that is how they continue to acquire much of their young talent since they precluded from having the top draft picks as a result of stellar finishes since 1993.

    In conclusion, I think you have to have both a rebuild as well as the ability to go out and sign free agents to fill holes as you need. This model that the Yankees followed has led them to unparalleled success in winning championships over the years. The Cubs have the resources to do much the same if they follow this model.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s