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The Cubs are on track for “a complete and total rebuild”

Dec 21, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein speaks at a news conference at Wrigley Field in Chicago Reuters

Still thinking the Cubs are going to get in on Prince Fielder? Think again. David Kaplan of reports that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are looking to completely blow things up and that Fielder is not in the offing:

“After speaking with several baseball sources over the past few days I am hearing that a complete and total rebuild of the Cubs is more likely than ever to take place during the remainder of the off-season … [Sean] Marshall along with several other players on the Cubs roster are all being shopped as Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and company look to maximize their value as they look to completely overhaul the team.”

A weak farm system and no real parts that, right now, could form the core of a World Series winning team are what’s forcing their hand, Kaplan writes.

This obviously has big implications for the Cubs over the next couple of years. But boy howdy does it always have some implications for Prince Fielder’s market this winter. I mean really, where does he go?

  1. b7p19 - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Sounds good for the Cubs. Unfortunately the Central will be at it’s weakest while they rebuild. Bad timing I guess.

    • El Bravo - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      The Cubs have never had good timing. They are good at keeping streaks though: 103…

  2. theonlynolan - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Miami or Washington would be my guess. He still makes so much sense for Texas but idk if they’ve got the money anymore.

    • Old Gator - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:16 PM

      The Feesh won’t be interested unless his price drops through the floor. Nor should they be. He’d probably have to agree to a staged set of weight loss incentives before Beinfest would touch him.

  3. mikeyrivs23 - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    I’m still hoping he signs with Nationals and this lack of market is pushing things in the right direction. Make the move Nats, but offer 5 or 6, not 8 years.

  4. proudlycanadian - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    The signals coming from the Blue Jays indicate that he is very unlikely to be a Blue Jay.

  5. spudchukar - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    While it is always difficult to accept, and it is easy for me to say, cause it isn’t my team, this is the intelligent choice. It won’t be easy to unload Zambrano, Soriano, and Marmol; they are not the type of guys you want to build your future around. Unfortunately this probably means Garza, Byrd, and Soto will find new homes too, but they will bring the most in return. It is hard to wait, but the only way Chicago can become legitimate competitors is to completely overhaul the roster and bring in fresh quality guys to augment Castro and Barney.

    • Alex K - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:09 PM

      You mean just Castro, right? Barney is not a building block.

      • spudchukar - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        Maybe more of a mortar guy than building block. He slumped towards the end of the year, but the Cubs need a lot more guys like Barney, and a lot less like Zambrano, Soriano, and Marmol.

      • Alex K - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:44 PM

        If by like Barney you mean young, yeah. But Barney is a bench guy on a good team. I don’t think he slumped as much as his true talent level started to show through.

  6. bigleagues - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    If this is the case, and we have seen nothing to indicate it isn’t, Cubs fans should ecstatic! I am and I’m a Red Sox fan (and a self-confessed TSF).

    Why bother patching this roster when the system is barren and 75% of the roster sucks?!

    Sell off the assets you do have to the top bidders (at the right time to maximize value and return) and rev up that player development engine for Theo & Jed’s first draft haul.

    Then go all out in international scouting and signing int’l free agents.

    This is gonna be fun to watch! Almost as fun as 2002-2004 were. I think the 5-year window is about right . . . and while the Cubs might start being feared at the end of those 5 years, the WS may take just a tad longer.

    • b7p19 - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      I agree with you 99%. One thing I would say is I think it could be done faster than what you’re implying. Don’t forget that the core of the Sox first WS team was guys that had already had ML service time (Ortiz, Manny, Damon, ect.). The Cubs are a big enough market that they if they have 3 good drafts, they can turn that some into 25-27 year old ML talent that is ready to win right away. All of this depends on limiting stupidity in the mean time of course.

      • spudchukar - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:42 PM

        Yeah, if the Cubs play it right, they could compete by as early as 2014, and for sure by 2015.

  7. icanspeel - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Fans usually don’t like to hear this, but it makes more sense to rebuild. At least the Cubs have money to spend so their rebuilding shouldn’t take as long as say.. the Padres.

  8. Alex K - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    This doesn’t bother me, a Cubs fan, one bit. It is what I expected after Hendry was fired and Theo was brought in.

  9. El Bravo - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    As a Braves fan in Chicago, I must say I’m excited for the new Cubs organization and look forward to watching ball games at Wrigley again. Go Cubs (except when playing ATL of course)!

  10. screaminzab - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Seriously, the Barney love needs to go away. He shouldn’t be a part of any team’s future. He’s a bench guy at best.

  11. stex52 - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Speaking as an Astros fan, I feel your pain. But how many years of bad baseball are you willing to absorb to get back to decent. That is a question I am struggling with right now.

    • bravojawja - Dec 22, 2011 at 11:42 AM

      Ask Pittsburgh. Or Kansas City.

  12. dad95 - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Carlos Zambrano for Dellin Belances.The Yanks can afford his last year of salary and I think this kid will be lights out.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM

      And the Yanks are interested in giving away one of their top prospects for a head case who’s already burned his bridges with his current club, why?

      • randygnyc - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:37 PM

        This Yankee fan wants no part of zambrano at league minimum and a pack of gum. You want betances? We’ll take Garza AND Castro.

  13. mojosmagic - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    I don’t know? A 27 year old slugger entering his prime would be a pretty good place to start. Prince is a leader, hard working, and a good club house guy. He cost you money not talent and the Cubs have several large contracts that will be expiring over the next several years. How long is this rebuild going to take?

  14. edavidberg - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    The Cubs of old would be content with deluding themselves and fans by making a couple signings and then trying to just get into the playoffs. It is much better to rebuild, get a group of core guys and then build around them. Plus, signing a 350 pound first baseman for $25 million a year is just going to set you back further. Wait until there is a legitimate superstar out there and go and get him.

  15. mojosmagic - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Talk to me in 5 years.

  16. Robert - Dec 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Do Cub Fans really want Prince/

  17. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 21, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Does blow the Cubs up = wait until next year or the year after next or the year after that?

  18. steelersfan1983 - Dec 21, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    How come if they are rebuilding, They can’t start with a player like Fielder as a corner stone? I do believe he is only 27 right?

    • steelersfan1983 - Dec 21, 2011 at 6:24 PM

      Sorry mojosmagic din’t mean to copy your comment. Missed it the first time through.

    • baseballisboring - Dec 21, 2011 at 7:07 PM

      Well…they’re way more than one player away from being contenders. I think when you’re in a drastic rebuild like this one you have to wait until you’re at least close to being a contender before you pull the trigger on a marquee free agent. If they sign Fielder now, then trade for a bunch of prospects who don’t pan out, his contract becomes an albatross. They gotta have a lot of financial freedom to right this ship.

  19. pastabelly - Dec 21, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    All of that crap and they still can’t deliver compensation for Epstein.

  20. 1historian - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    Good idea for the cubs top start all over. In that case Fielder would be useless.

    Then again maybe I’m completely wrong.

    Wouldn’t be the first time.

    Merry Christmas

  21. jwbiii - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    And they commence this rebuilding process by. . . re-signing a 35 year old backup outfielder and a reliever who didn’t pitch last season. Yay!

    If this leads to trading Byrd and Marmol for potentially useful things, I guess it’s ok.

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