We’ve all heard the cries from fans of the Chicago Cubs since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over as president and general manager in the front office, respectively, and they seem to come from entirely opposite ends of the spectrum. Some preach patience, while others vent frustration over the slow pace of this epic rebuild.
While there is some validity to being frustrated in seeing players acquired simply for the purpose of being traded, with no real timetable for success, there’s no doubt that this is an organization that is headed in the right direction, even if it is at a snail’s pace.
Offensively, there is plenty to be excited about, in both the present and future. In some spots, the Cubs are set for the next decade, while others are well on their way to the show.
The infield in place now is almost identical to what we could see when this team is ready to contend. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are on the cusp of superstardom, while Darwin Barney has proven his worth as one of the game’s best with the glove. Welington Castillo looks like the man for the job behind the plate, once his defense improves.
Third base and in the outfield are a concern for this team as it stands now, but as poor as the big club looks, they are loaded throughout the organization. Javier Baez, Christian Villanueva, and Junior Lake are all proving their meddle in the minors for a future shot at the hot corner. The likes of Lake could also make a transition to the outfield, where he’d join top prospects like Jorge Soler and Matt Szczur.
There’s little question that the Cubs are set for the future in the field, assuming it all goes according to plan (rarely a safe assumption in baseball, mind you). They have potential on their current roster and in the minors that could make for a dynamite lineup some time in the future.
The team in the field isn’t nearly as much of a concern as the pitching is. With the exception of a few pieces, this starting staff is a long way off. Or is it? Jeff Samardzija is a front-end starter and Edwin Jackson is very solid as a no. 3 or a no. 4 guy. Matt Garza will probably be traded though, leaving those two as the only real options in the starting rotation for the future. Now if they end up adding a guy like David Price within the next year, then that changes things considerably.
But they still lack organizational depth beyond what they have on the current roster. Beyond possibly Arodys Vizcaino, who still needs to be stretched out and proven healthy before potentially making the jump to the rotation, who is there? Dillon Maples? Trey McNutt? There’s reason that the front office has spent so much time looking for pitching. They generally lack it, almost from top to bottom.
The long and short of it is that this organization is moving in the correct direction, even if it is what seems like the pace of a glacier. There are plenty of prospects to be excited about, and some may even be knocking on the door by the end of this year. The overall message here? Be patient Cub fans. The organization is in good hands, and this patience will pay off. Someday.