Cubs plan on retooling, not rebuilding, for 2012

Cubs plan on retooling, not rebuilding, for 2012

ST. LOUIS -- Aramis Ramirez said he doesn't believe the Cubs will ever be in a full-blown "rebuilding" mode because of their status as a big-market team.

"You can't rebuild with a big market," Ramirez said Friday. "When you get 40,000 [people] every day in the stands, you can't try to rebuild. You have to put a winning product on the field. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You can't get rid of everybody and try to rebuild in a market like this."

Yet the Cubs will do retooling -- if that's a better word -- after this season.

"You always need some kind of rebuilding when you're in fifth place," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Friday. "But you don't look at it like we're not going to compete. When somebody says, 'Blow the place up and start over and do it right,' OK, does that mean we should get rid of the people who are young?"

Hendry said the team needs only to add a few pieces, continue the development of young players like Tyler Colvin, James Russell and Starlin Castro, and next year should be different.

"Why couldn't we be right back in it?" Hendry said.

The Cubs GM said chairman Tom Ricketts and his family have made a commitment to develop players in the system, investing more in scouting and the First-Year Player Draft.

"I've seen the long-term plan for player development and scouting and facilities," Hendry said, "and certainly I think Tom's well aware of the quality job [scouting director Tim] Wilken and [player development director] Oneri Fleita do in the two main departments. You're nothing down the road if your scouting and development people aren't good.

"We're having a bad year. There's no way around it, no excuses for it."

And plenty of reason for optimism next year.