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A Guide to Interpreting the Front Office

During the Cubs Convention, I was granted a lot of opportunities to listen to Cubs executives over the course of the weekend. Being in the same room, I was able to get the full picture, instead of lots of cherry picked statements that Twitter and the news might feed you. In general, twitter is a great platform for getting information. Unfortunately it tends to be quick snippets, rather than in depth and fully accurate.

There are some key issues facing the Cubs that fans have expressed their short sighted impatience on, which I'd like to clear up.

On financials:

One fan asked a question about the team's financial picture, and alas, I don't remember what it was. What was important was Theo's response, which outlined exactly how much information they can share.

Paraphrasing: "We can't share lots of individual details with fans. We love and respect our fanbase, which is one of the most knowledgeable in sports. They deserve the best. That said, there's lots of specific day to day details we cannot share publicly. Reason being is that we cannot lose advantages we have with 29 other teams and hundreds of agents if they had access to specific financial information. Teams would have leverage with us if they knew that we had to cut spending by a specific amount, or if we have a set amount of dollars which we could spend in free agency." But clearly spending is an issue.

On Bullpen Assembly (same video): Theo and Jed took some time at the same session to discuss their philosophy on bullpen building. It's already very similar to a plan I've outlined previously.

Translation: Thed recognizes that the shelf life on RPs is short. Rather than throw money at who was good last year, they are trying to find who might be good for next year. This both saves the team money, keeps things flexible, but also is better for production. Considering the Cubs' multiyear success with different parts, the system works.

On the lower level of Activity:

We are usually wrapped up by CubsCon, and that's not the case this year. This is generally true. While Kimbrel and Darvish were later signings, the Cubs often jump the market by getting a guy or two in early in the offseason to plug a hole (Lester, Chatwood, Lackey, and Heyward specifically come to mind). They then fill in the gaps with bargains for the second half of the offseason. Since the convention, that's what they've done, picking up players like Souza and Kipnis. It helps that KB's service time agreement got resolved.

On the TV situation/Marquee not being carried by Comcast:

Many fans were upset that Marquee is not on Comcast at the moment. Team president had this to say:

Translation: They are playing hardball with Comcast, and expect them to cave. Between Comcast's potential loss of Cubs content and the fair deal the Cubs are offering them, they are just waiting Comcast out to sign their deal at this point. Have a little patience. Comcast will wake up and smell what they are missing.

Please have more faith in the front office. They've proven that they deserve some benefit of the doubt. Just because they can't give you the answers as detailed as YOU may want, doesn't mean they aren't working behind the scenes. Or unaware of problems. All of the above issues they clearly acknowledged. They aren't clueless, and as always are doing what they can to address things.


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