Theo Speak

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Theo Speak

Postby David » Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:21 pm

http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2 ... mcadam.php

These are a couple of the Q&A I found interesting. More at link.

On the young talent like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber currently on the roster that enables the Cubs to have a contending team, how did we get here where young players are so valued throughout baseball and relied upon perhaps more so than any time in recent history of the game?
“I think it’s a combination of factors. I think you have to recognize that the testing that we have now. The Commissioner’s office and Union present attempts to clean up the game have contributed. I don’t think it’s impacted young players that much, but maybe players in their 30’s aren’t able to prolong, some players, I’m not speaking in generality. Some players in their 30’s are able to prolong their window of physical tools and performance at a high level as long as they were 15 years ago if they made certain choices. It’s really shifted the balance back to players in their 20’s. Throughout baseball history players’ peak age has really been 27. That shifted a little bit during the steroid era. I think we’re totally clear back to that now. The other thing is the game is played at such a high level now it requires full commitment, physical ability and strong knowledge of the game, a strong mental game. One way to view a player’s evolution, all players’ evolutions, when they are in their early 20’s and they’re breaking in they are at the peak physically. They are never going to be fresher. They are never going to be faster. Once you get to your mid 20s you’re probably never going to be stronger, but as inexperienced as you’ll ever be and maybe haven’t fine-tuned the knowledge of the game, instincts, the mental game. That’s a process that improves with time. So the irony of baseball development is usually right around the time you’re figuring out the game in full and you become a very knowledgeable, heady and mentally strong player that’s when your physical skills start to erode and you see that nexus. The great players will also be able to figure out the game more quickly from a mental standpoint while really strong physically or prolong their physical peak as they become experienced, heady players. I think what you’re see now is that the game is played at such a high level that’s it is just about impossible to keep up unless you have those physical tools too. It’s just harder and harder with the velocity like you see in the game now and how hard it is to hit, how hard it is to get the hitters out on the other side of things. Once your physical tools really start to go, you don’t see too many guys hanging around on craftiness and knowledge of the game and know how quite as much as I think you used to. The game is just being pushed … the caliber of players has been pushed higher and higher and higher and it gets harder for older players to hang on once their physical tools start to go.”

On the greater appreciation and valuing of defensive skills, spending a lot of money on a player considered to be one of the best defenders in the game in Jason Heyward, and since Moneyball began almost 15 years ago where it’s been all about trying to find undervalued variables, it used to be on-base percentage, certainly defense is now highly valued. What’s behind an appreciation and valuation of defense in baseball?
“I think it is human nature when it’s time to make important decisions I think human beings tend to rely a little bit more on things that are measurable, that are proven or quantitative, quantifiable in some way I should say then things that are a little bit more ambiguous and a little bit more difficult to define. Not that you don’t factor, when it comes right down to it you want to be able to, in your own mind, demonstrate some inferences. It’s the reason why certain things have been overvalued in the game too. And you can argue that we’re at a point that all the sudden now that defense is a little bit more quantifiable it’s being overemphasized. There’s certainly an argument to be made in that regard. It’s something that we are aware of. We try not to … just because we can measure something now we try not to overvalue it. I think it’s ironic that sort of the arc of the game. If you go back to this quote unquote old-time baseball, say like pre-Moneyball or pre-information age, defense was extremely valued. If you talk to any old-time baseball guys, huge part of the game … talk defense and run prevention first before you talk about offense. You couldn’t really get on the field, especially before the DH, you couldn’t get on the field unless you could really play defense. And as offense became very quantifiable and all these metrics evolved offensively with emphasis on on-base percentage the industry trended … started to follow a trend of maybe deemphasizing defense just because there wasn’t … it was more ambiguous while offense was very precise. The evaluation of offense was really precise. And the industry, and I’m right there with it in some of the decisions that we made along the way, went too far underemphasizing defense and overvaluing offense just because it could be measured. Now that defense is catching up you see it swing back the other direction. I just think it’s important to be aware of your own sort of vulnerabilities to numbers. Most importantly make sure you see the big picture in that if you are going to rely on numbers, to manage your scouting reports and inform your decisions to make sure they are very accurate. Because a lot of the new generation of comprehensive stats are proven to be really unreliable, so put in a little work to find ones that can help predict performance and go from there.”
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby biittner77 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:20 pm

Have defensive metrics really improved that much or is it just a matter of not seeing as much overwhelming offense from somewhat marginal defenders?
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby David » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:36 pm

biittner77 wrote:Have defensive metrics really improved that much or is it just a matter of not seeing as much overwhelming offense from somewhat marginal defenders?


I'm guessing that what is available to them is something like the glimpses we get of Statcast but on steroids.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby David » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:23 am

http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2 ... seball.php

On 2015 being a hugely successful year and coupling that with the off-season the Cubs had by adding Ben Zobrist, John Lackey and some other pieces, when did you actually know that signing Jason Heyward would come to fruition?
“Well as Jim [Bowden] knows there’s always a point in the negotiation where it transitions from offer-counteroffer back and forth and you start to get just a better vibe from the agent that maybe this thing’s close. You start going over smaller details like the contract language and other elements of the contract that maybe aren’t quite as significant and then you get a … the mood of the talks improves and you get a feel like it may really happen before they actually, technically say yes. Coming out of the meetings we had a couple of good calls the next morning. Jason [Heyward] slept on things and I just got feel that with all the offers that he had that he really wanted to end up as a Cub and had given that directive to his agent. We really wanted him so it was on us to find a way to make it work and we did. It was a great moment. It’s been a theme of our acquisitions this winter. Every player has really wanted to be here and has taken a little bit less money to make it happen. That says a lot about the culture that our players and Joe Maddon have created and the tone that our ownership has set. Certainly if you look back a year and a half, two, three, four years ago this was not a destination for any player mainly because we weren’t competitive but it was sort of the old clubhouse and it just wasn’t … we didn’t have enough things going for us. And now I think someone like Jason who got to see us play from across the field and got to experience the great atmosphere at Wrigley during the post-season, the fact that he wanted to be here and to be with players who are similarly aged forming a nucleus of a team we hope will thrive at the highest level for years to come that says a lot and meant a lot to us.”

On the young players on the roster, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber playing in the outfield with Jason Heyward along with Javier Baez also getting playing time in the outfield, what are your expectations of Soler, Schwarber and Baez this year?
“They are all at different points in their careers and they all have their own individual strengths and weaknesses so we will take them one at a time.”
“[Jorge] Soler, really interesting case in that coming over from Cuba he hadn’t played a ton of baseball. Hadn’t played the long season before and then his minor league development was interrupted a couple of times due to injuries. He still hasn’t had that season where he has to go out and play every day for a 150 games. I think there’s still untapped potential in there. All you have to do is really watch the post-season last year to understand what type of offensive force he can be. He’s got tremendous raw power, hits the ball as hard as anyone but he’s not just a slugger, a power hitter. He really can work an at-bat. He really can recognize pitches. He really can adjust his swing. You saw he reached base nine straight times in the post-season against the best pitching the league has to offer. It was a glimpse into what he can be when he reaches his potential. Continued development as a right fielder is important for him too. He has an extremely strong arm and continuing to work on his reads, it will be important. He did slim down a bit this winter, got a little bit more athletic, a little bit leaner in order to make himself a better right fielder. So, we are excited about that.”
“[Kyle] Schwarber, another really short development path. Easy guy to scout as a hitter in college. Probably one of the best college hitters that I’ve ever seen. We knew his bat would come quickly, maybe not as quickly as it did, but we knew it would come quickly. The issue for him was always going to be position and would we have the patience to allow him to develop as a catcher when the bat was so good and so Major League ready would he transition full-time to the outfield to get his bat in the lineup every day? We’ve ended up taking a hybrid approach with him where he’s come into camp he’s going to play a lot of left field but we’re not giving up behind the plate because he’s working extremely hard there and shows some signs of being able to develop, even if it’s at the big league level, which is a tough place to develop as a catcher. Just unbelievable makeup kid. A team first player who’s got special, special recognition skills in the box, special rhythm and sense of timing in the box, barrel to ball skills are incredible and tremendous power not just to the pull side but all over the ballpark. And really quickly established himself for a kid who was in college the year before he came up and all the sudden earns the respect of his veterans and is putting huge swings on the ball in the middle of playoff games on National TV. It was a testament to what this kid can handle not only physically and fundamentally but also mentally.”
“And then Javier Baez is somebody who has had a longer development path drafted out of high school. He had a year last year where he faced a lot of adversity. He lost his sister at the end of Spring Training, who he was very close to. He came back and started playing really well primarily at shortstop in Triple-A and was about to be promoted and ended up breaking his finger stealing second base and that set him back. So, by the time … he then came back from that and ended up accomplishing one of our development goals for him which was to really calm down in the batter’s box. Not try to hit every ball a mile and just be as instinctive and under control in the batter’s box as he is when he’s in the field and on the basepaths. He really accomplished that. I thought made some strides as a hitter last year at Triple-A. Came up, really helped us out playing a number of positions. Looked like Brooks Robinson when we put him at third base right away. And then low and behold when Addison Russell got hurt in the post-season, he became our starting … Javy became our starting shortstop in the playoffs and hit a huge game-changing, series-changing home run off John Lackey, opposite field three-run home run that really helped us win the series. And then backed that up by going to Winter Ball, embracing center field just to give him some more versatility and looked really instinctive and natural out in center field. He’s a very instinctive baseball player overall despite some of the wild swings you see him take from time to time. We think he’ll thrive getting his at bats all around the diamond. He’ll be our backup shortstop, our backup third baseman, our backup second baseman. He’ll be one of our backup outfielders. I think he’s going to see a lot of time this year.”


On the Addison Russell deal with Oakland, Jim Bowden and Theo Epstein are good friends with Billy Beane. Bowden feels Epstein “pummeled” Beane when he acquired Addison Russell along with Billy McKinney and Dan Straily for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Beane does not want or like losing a deal. When you talk to Billy do you even get a little embarrassed about the deal that was made?
“No. I don’t think it’s fair to say we pummeled him because at the time I give Billy credit for making the deal. At the time of the deal he knew that he was going to have [Jeff] Samardzija for a year and a half and [Jason] Hammel for half a season but that was what was important to him. He sensed, I think rightly, that they had a legitimate chance to win The World Series. Their starting pitching, he knew before anyone else knew that their starting pitching was starting to crumble. There were a couple of guys that were hurt. It wasn’t out yet, but there were a couple of guys who was reaching innings limits, a couple of guys who were not throwing the ball quite as well. He needed to go out and get starting pitching and here was an opportunity from one deal for him to get 40 percent of the starting rotation that he could just plug in and really increase their chances of winning the whole thing. Obviously a deal like that comes with at a cost, but there aren’t too many GMs that would make a deal in which you know going in that there is going to be seven years of Addison Russell on the other side and that you’re going to have to read about it and hear about it. But that was the only way for him to make that deal. The 40 percent of a starting rotation that he was buying was more important at the time. You have to understand where you are in the success cycle and so I give Billy a lot of credit for having the intestinal fortitude to make a deal like that which you don’t see … it’s not commonplace around the game these days. And for us it made sense because we were in a mode where we could trade 40 percent of our starting rotation and not worry about it because we were so far away from being competitive. It turned out that deal really marked the turning point for us. It was the last deal that we would make where we’d give away big league players in order for a better payoff in the future. Addison was, you know, a special talent. He’s not a guy that’s really hard to scout as long as he’s healthy and on the field. How quick his feet are and the way his hands work and the calmness in which he plays the game and the bat speed and the explosiveness in the batter’s box. Everyone has known he’s going to be a really good big league shortstop for a long time including Billy. So, it wasn’t like I snookered him from a scouting standpoint in the deal it was just matched up that way.”


Lots more at the link
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Bryant's Disco Ball » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:38 pm

For those of us who want Theo back next season, is there reason to be concerned at all that he hasn't come to an agreement on an extension?
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Not saying it will happen, but the Cubs coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series does seem like the appropriate way to cap off this season and make the 30-for-30 even better.

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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Cubswin11 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:43 pm

Bryant's Disco Ball wrote:For those of us who want Theo back next season, is there reason to be concerned at all that he hasn't come to an agreement on an extension?

No, he and Ricketts have both publicly said they aren't worried about/will get to it. Seems like they wanted to focus on other things during the offseason that they felt were more important/pressing. In terms of Theo's actual job that has to be one of the busier times of the year so he probably didn't want to focus on something viewed not as dire, he probably gets extended by the ASB. If I had to guess.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby jersey cubs fan » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:46 pm


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Re: Theo Speak

Postby UMFan83 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:03 pm

I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Hairyducked Idiot » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:07 pm

UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.


When the list of things that concern us starts including what we will do after we win the WS, I'm not too concerned about anything.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Cubswin11 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:14 pm

UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.

I think the much more likely scenario for him waiting for the end of the year/a WS is that he's hoping to negotiate a ridiculous compensation package with the Cubs that dwarfs any current GM/President of Baseball Operations compensation package. Also if Theo leaves because we won a world series and he feels he's run his course for whatever dumb reasons I don't really care if we bring back Hendry to run things BECAUSE WE JUST WON A horsefeathering WORLD SERIES.
Last edited by Cubswin11 on Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Bryant's Disco Ball » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:15 pm

UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.


I don't want Theo going anywhere, but I would LOVE to see this happen.
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Not saying it will happen, but the Cubs coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series does seem like the appropriate way to cap off this season and make the 30-for-30 even better.

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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Bryant's Disco Ball » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:17 pm

Cubswin11 wrote:
UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.

I think the much more likely scenario for him waiting for the end of the year/a WS is that he's hoping to negotiate a ridiculous compensation package with the Cubs that dwarfs any current GM/President of Baseball Operations compensation package.


That's what I find unusual, although I haven't checked to see if it is actually unusual. It just seems that most GM's don't enter their final season of a contract without signing an extension by opening day if they are thought to be a huge part of the team's future.
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Not saying it will happen, but the Cubs coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series does seem like the appropriate way to cap off this season and make the 30-for-30 even better.

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Re: Theo Speak

Postby David » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:32 pm

UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.


Theo isn't leaving.

And his thing about staying in one place too long specifically referenced 10 years as the amount of time to spend in one place.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby jersey cubs fan » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:34 pm

Bryant's Disco Ball wrote:
Cubswin11 wrote:
UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.

I think the much more likely scenario for him waiting for the end of the year/a WS is that he's hoping to negotiate a ridiculous compensation package with the Cubs that dwarfs any current GM/President of Baseball Operations compensation package.


That's what I find unusual, although I haven't checked to see if it is actually unusual. It just seems that most GM's don't enter their final season of a contract without signing an extension by opening day if they are thought to be a huge part of the team's future.

I'm pretty sure every Brian Cashman extension was signed the day before his previous one expired.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Butterscup » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:51 am

David wrote:
UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.


Theo isn't leaving.

And his thing about staying in one place too long specifically referenced 10 years as the amount of time to spend in one place.


wasnt it also basically a way to PR-spin the collapse in boston? i dont really take that as anything serious.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Butterscup » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:51 am

also this is hilarous in a few ways

A major league source told ESPNChicago.com that at one point Boston proposed that the Cubs take pitcher John Lackey's contract. Lackey has three seasons remaining on an $82.5 million deal. He was 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA in 28 starts for the Red Sox in 2011.

But the expected agreement will include Cubs minor leaguers, although not top prospects Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt or Matt Szczur, the source said. Cash will not be part of the compensation.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby David » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:08 am

Butterscup wrote:
David wrote:
UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.


Theo isn't leaving.

And his thing about staying in one place too long specifically referenced 10 years as the amount of time to spend in one place.


wasnt it also basically a way to PR-spin the collapse in boston? i dont really take that as anything serious.


yes. i doubt he's gonna just up and leave after 10 years if things are good on the field and with ownership
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby SouthSideRyan » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:49 pm

UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.


He also said 10 years when talking about that.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby UMFan83 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:22 pm

SouthSideRyan wrote:
UMFan83 wrote:I'm sick of hearing them talk about it. My unfounded fear is that Theo wants to wait until the end of the season and if the Cubs win the World Series he will leave.

I hope he doesn't but I remember his thing about staying in one place too long when he signed on with the Cubs.


He also said 10 years when talking about that.


yes yes i know. I don't think the point was an arbitrary 10 years. He walked out of Boston in a gorilla suit after 5 years with the Sox (or was it 4) before being talked back into being GM.

Anyways, I'm just being my normal worry wart, but I agree with everyone that said that if the end result is a World Series victory, I would be ecstatic although it would of course suck to lose Theo.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby ConstableRabbit » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:46 pm

What did Theo mean when he said "Y'all thought it was over, horsefeathers"?
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby treebird » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:54 pm

ConstableRabbit wrote:What did Theo mean when he said "Y'all thought it was over, [expletive]"?


he told the team earlier that day that he was dead
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby minnesotacubsfan » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:15 pm

Maybe he was talking about Jed's bout with food poisoning from the local Little China Buffet from the night before. Seems it wasn't over...was it muthafukkas
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby JudasIscariotTheBird » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:16 pm

ConstableRabbit wrote:What did Theo mean when he said "Y'all thought it was over, [expletive]"?

I could have sworn it was the ghost of Harry Caray, just by the way that Theo turned like he has seen an amusing apparition. It is all there on tape.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Sammy Sofa » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:52 pm

ConstableRabbit wrote:What did Theo mean when he said "Y'all thought it was over, [expletive]"?


Theo is a gigantic racist.
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Re: Theo Speak

Postby Sammy Sofa » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:09 am

Does this count as a general Theo discussion thread?

This has nothing really to do with anything, but I've been re-watching one of my favorite shows, Homicide, and found out one of the main writers, Anya Epstein, is Theo's sister. What a cool family.
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