With the 2014 trade deadline now come and gone, winners and losers are still being determined around the league. At the deadline, the Chicago Cubs made one move in addition to their blockbuster deal at the beginning of the month. After being sellers at the deadline once again, it may not seem like the Cubs can be viewed as winners, but deep down the Cubs are lined up to become big time winners.
Over the last three seasons, Chicago has moved players and contracts out of town and re-tooled an entire farm system. In a major market, they have spent less and less the last three years. Fans have had to sit through an on-field product that has been hard to watch at times, all the while being promised countless times of stadium renovations and a plan for the future. However, the Cubs appear to be on the cusp of changing everything and putting the seller mode in the rear view mirror.
The Cubs have developed one of the top farm systems in the league. They have eight players in the latest top-100 rankings, and with the addition of Addison Russell Chicago now has three of the top seven prospects in baseball. Theo Epstein and company has also successfully moved all of the heavy contracts and money out of town to free up cap space for the future. The roster has been turned over so much that Starlin Castro is now the longest tenured player on the current 25-man roster at five seasons. With the exception of Wellington Castillo playing four games in 2011, the remaining roster has only been around for three years or less. Much like in Boston, Epstein has molded the team with his guys and his philosophy that could set up years of depth, talent, and success in Chicago.
With renovations finally in place, and a radio deal lined up, the Cubs will soon be buyers once again. The most likely target area for spending appears to be within the starting rotation. After Jon Lester and David Price were moved at the deadline, the arms race in the next two offseasons figures to be aggressive and expensive. With the young, offensive talent ready to burst into Wrigley Field, Chicago is just a starter or two away from being a force within the NL.
After this year, Lester and Max Scherzer will be free agents and the Cubs could be in on the bidding. Price will be a free agent in two seasons in which the Cubs could be a potential destination as well. With an emerging Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks, the North Side just may be a signing or two away from the full puzzle finally coming together. It is just a matter of time before the Cubs could be viewed as deadline winners and no longer sellers.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.