Brief excitement turned to disappointment when the trade set to go down between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels fell apart on Friday night. It’s a feeling that has been all too familiar for fans on the North Side over the past 104 years and counting, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
The Cubs were set to send Carlos Marmol to the Angels for Dan Haren. It was a trade that the Cubs would have won by a mile. Not only would they have cut Marmol and his contract loose, but they would have gotten something of value for him. Yet, it was the Cubs side that backed out.
It’s the second time in just a few months that a trade that was set to go through has fallen apart at the last second. Both trades would have been big wins for the Cubs. The first took place before the trade deadline, when they were all ready to send Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves for Randall Delgado, among others. A wealth of factors contributed to that one falling through, but the fact that it has now happened twice in a span of a few months is nothing short of embarrassing.
When Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over at the top of this organization, many expected the road to respectability wouldn’t take too long. A World Series would come in a few years, but the transition from being the laughingstock of Major League Baseball would be a relatively quick one.
But it hasn’t been. The Cubs remain one of the most inferior organizations in all of sports. Twice since July, they’ve failed to push trades through that seemed on the cusp. An overlooked aspect by many is the fact that, in addition to their incompetence in making trades, they’re apparently attempting to make themselves into a small market team.
Despite the available payroll and plenty of needs all over the roster, the Cubs are set to openly throw away the 2013 season, settling for middling free agents and journeyman pitchers. They have the money to spend, why not attempt to actually build up your team on the field at the same time that you’re building up the organization as a whole? For a market like Chicago, it shouldn’t be difficult.
Yet, it appears to be just that. Projecting a playoff berth by 2014 or even 2015 might be giving this organization way too much credit. This has nothing to do with impatience for the new regime. They had little to work with. This doesn’t even have anything to do with a playoff appearance within the next couple of years.
This has to do with becoming a respectable organization. This club is not one, and it’s going to be quite a long time before they will be. But as long as fans continue to flock to Wrigley Field every summer, who cares?