The Chicago Cubs have been at the very bottom of baseball for the past couple of years. Ever since the Bartman game back in 2003, it seems as if there has been a darker cloud over this team than ever before. To quote Moneyball, “There are good teams, there are bad teams, then there’s 50 feet of crap, and then there’s us.” That has been the epitome of the Cubs in the past decade.
Now, the North-siders seem to have a new identity. They hired a new manager in Joe Maddon, spent some money to get Jon Lester, and their big prospects are now ready to take that next step to the Major Leagues. They have been bad for so long that it’s almost as if they deserve something to go their way. Theo Epstein and the front office have built this team up the right way. Chicago has gone through the path of the draft. It has been a lengthy wait, but in the end, it might have been worth the wait.
Theo Epstein has dealt with a team that has gone through a World Series drought when he was in Boston. Well, the Cubs are going through the longest drought ever. Is it just me or does something sound a little similar there? Epstein has done this before and thus far in Chicago, it looks like he is pushing the right buttons.
Just like Theo Epstein is for his job, Joe Maddon is the right man for the Cubs managerial job. He has a laid back atmosphere in the clubhouse and with a young team, which is what they have, that could bode well for the Cubs. Maddon has made this work in past while he was in Tampa with a similar team. They were young then as well and this is another young team. If you aren’t catching on, this Cubs team is very similar to teams that have been to the World Series before. Now, they just have to go out and get results at Wrigley.
The Cubs have some fantastic prospects who are just about to break out in the Majors. The big three of Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez are all some of the top prospects who will be in an MLB city near you in the near future. They can all bash the ball around the yard and putting them in a lineup together will be quite a sight to see. In a recent Spring Training game, these three guys went back-to-back-to-back. They weren’t cheap shots either; these were mammoth home runs that showed everyone what they are capable of doing.
It’s not just the three rookies; there are already some veterans in there who can make a difference. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are two guys who can get it done at the plate and in the field. They should be good mentors for the younger guys who are up and coming. But beyond these two and the other “Big Three,” the Cubs have more top prospects down the pipeline who will be up as September call-ups. Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell are two names you will see roaming around Wrigley not too far down the road.
These Cubs prospects have been groomed nicely on their way up. They haven’t been rushed and by giving them some time in the Minor Leagues, the Cubs organization has let them grow into their own. They knew they weren’t going to compete right away, but by giving them that time, these prospects are ready for “The Show.”
This is a new era for the Cubs. Wrigley is being remodeled, their lineup is totally revamped and they finally believe, for the first time in a long time, that they can compete. It will be good to see Cardinals-Cubs rivalry games that are competitive and mean something again. As for competing in the division, that may not be this season because the Reds and Cardinals are already there, but a Wild Card is a real possibility. It would surprise me however if they did creep up to the top of the NL Central.
When the Cubs are good, it is good for baseball. They seem to be one of those teams that are hard to hate. The Cubs are in a great position to compete if not this year, then in the very near future. Who knows, maybe “Back to the Future: Part II” will be right about the Cubs.