The Cubs Column: May-June Edition

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images/http://dealbook.nytimes.com/ Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Since the Cubs have firmly cemented themselves as the worst team in baseball and it’s not even June, I figured that not much will change over the coming month either. With that happy thought in mind, I’m giving you two months of solid-gold Cubs content for the price of one (which around here, always guarantees you to get your money’s worth). Anyhow, buckle up for the Cubs Column: May-June Edition.

Off the Field

Cub’s ownership has finally had it up to here with the rooftop owners and has decided to move forward with the $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field…lawsuit or none. I both love and hate this move.

On the business side of things, I’m glad that the Ricketts family is pouring their own money into this renovation. There is no public funding being used to finance this deal, like so many other teams have done. No, this is one family sinking a sizable chunk of their fortune into their business. This will help out the whole city. Did I mention that they are doing this without governmental funding? That’s right, good old-fashioned capitalism is doing its job! Quite ironic in the city of Chicago, no?

Anyhow…as a fan, this makes me a little sad. One of the signatures of Wrigley is the rooftop bleachers and you hate to see those potentially go by the wayside. But, if it means building a winning team on the north side…I’m in.

On the Field

Bottom line, the Cubs flat out suck. With a blazing record of 19-30, the Cubs are firmly in last place behind the Houston Astros (20-32) and none other than the Boston Red Sox (21-29). Now, do I find it mildly funny that the Red Sox suck so hard? Absolutely! But right now, my focus is on the North-siders.

I get that we are in a long rebuilding process. I get that long rebuilding processes take time. I get that we need to let all of our glorious prospects that team Epstein has hauled in properly develop in the minor leagues. I get all that, I really do. But shouldn’t the fans at least be able to see some improvement on the field at the big league level as well?

Well, in some ways, we have seen that. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro seem to be playing back to form again, batting .263 and .273 respectively. Now I know that those don’t sound like earth shattering numbers by any stretch, but when you consider that Rizzo struggled to stay above the Mendoza line for most of last season, a jump of this magnitude is a welcomed surprise. Also, Junior Lake and Emilio Bonifacio seem to be providing some nice performances as well, with both players at the top of the stolen bases and batting average categories.

So where are the results?

When it comes to a team like this, you can’t just look at results in a strict wins and losses kind of way. Right now, rooting for the Cubs requires much of the same patience and wisdom that my wife shows me on a daily basis. Do I mess up and tick her off on a nearly constant basis? Sure. But as long as I don’t leave my underwear on the floor, it means I’m making progress. So Cubs fans…here’s to “progress”.

Recent Front Office Activity

Apparently, Theo Epstein will hire absolutely anyone who has worked in the Boston Red Sox organization. It was announced this weekend that Manny Ramirez has signed a minor-league contract with the team as a player/coach. This means that he will be a full-time coach and a part-time player. So sure, maybe Ramirez shows second life as a 41-year-old outfielder with mildly severe attitude problems and the Cubs can find a way to get a couple of prospects for him. But really, apart from that one potential bright spot of the deal, what good does it do you to have a guy who has been twice busted for PED usage mentoring your young prospects? The answer…not a whole lot.

Required Front Office Moves

As much as I hate to say it, Jeff Samardzija really needs to be traded. The young hurler finally managed to get his first win of the season this weekend. You heard that right…his first win…at the end of May. The horrible thing about that is that Samardzija is currently second in baseball to Adam Wainwright for the league lead with an ERA of 1.68. That’s right, Jeff Samardzija is currently 1-4 in 11 starts with a 1.68 ERA.

Bottom line, keeping him on this team is a waste of a good arm. The longer he is with this team, the less valuable he becomes. The Cubs are not ready to start locking in pitching for a title run, so getting prospect value out of Jeff Samardzija needs to be objective number one for the front office.

The same can be said for Emilio Bonifacio as well. He’s actually been my favorite player to watch this season, but a switch-hitting speedster that can play multiple positions will surely be a hot commodity as the trade-deadline approaches. I fully expect Bonifacio to be in another uniform after the deadline.

Conclusion

Well Cubs fans, we all knew it would be a rough season to sit through this year. I myself hoped that at least a finish of .500 or better would be possible. But that hope seems to be vanishing with every passing day. Sure, if this whole rebuilding and renovation process results in a championship for my Cubbies…I’ll be happy…but hopefully that is sooner rather than later.

Also, a friendly reminder to join us on July 5th for the 2014 ‘Our Sports Report’ Wiffle Ball Summer Classic in lovely Fredericktown, Ohio. For more information on playing in or sponsoring the tournament, PLEASE CLICK HERE! Hope to see you on July 5th!