By Nick Schaeflein @ptchr2424 on June 25, 2014
This season was not projected to be a big win year for the Chicago Cubs. It lined up to be Year 3 of the rebuilding process. While the team has played better in the month of June, there is still a lot more development that needs to be done in Chicago. The Cubs have one of the best June records in the NL, but the real intriguing part of the year could be what happens during the trade deadline. At the midway point, what else have the Cubs learned?
The plan that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer set forth a few seasons ago is still progressing forward. For fans, it may be a slow moving process, but it is going in the right direction. The club appears to have nailed down plans for a Wrigley renovation finally, a new radio deal is in place and a new TV deal is not far away either. Those dollars will help the on-field product. The farm system is also a top-three unit in the league as well. Patience.
For as good as the farm system is, pitching depth in the minors is still lacking. The bullpen is slowly getting better as a unit, but a true closer has still yet to be established. The starting rotation is performing well, but how many of those parts will still be in uniform come August? The Cubs still need to find quality arms to keep things heading in the right direction long-term.
In this game, anything can happen. It is very rare that a can't-miss prospect comes along for a franchise. Mike Trout looks to be one of those guys. The Cubs could also very well have one in Kris Bryant. He continues to just impress in the minors. He is booming through all of his stops and continues to mash baseballs into orbit. Bryant is one of the reasons why the future is hopeful for the Cubs. His home run total seems to change nightly.
After a down year in 2013, both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are putting up All-Star worthy halves this year. The duo is showing that they are capable of being leaders and the faces of the Cubs for years to come. Still young in their own right, the duo is developing and evolving into the cornerstones that the organization had hoped for. Once they do eventually get some help from the minors, the lineup will start to fill out and become a core.
Jeff Samardzija trade speculations began in November and are still ongoing. The rumors of an extension are also out there. Ultimately, the decision on Samardzija will put a lot of things into place once resolved. The right-hander is pitching incredibly in the first half. The results will either lead to him being the ace of the Cubs' future, or a trade piece that will cash in a hefty return. Once resolved, the Cubs will finally be able to move on.
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