Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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Well Cubs fans, we will now begin to see whether or not the last three years of suffering under the leadership of Epstein and Co. has been worth it. Tonight, highly touted prospect, Javier Baez, will officially join the big league club for their contest in Denver against the Rockies.
With the shipment of Darwin Barney to the Dodgers organization, it’s expected that Baez will take over duties at second base, moving Arismendy Alcantara to the outfield to fill the vacancy left by Emilio Bonifacio.
Now personally, I’m thrilled about this. We Cubs fans have heard nothing but great things about this truckload of prospects that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been stockpiling in the minor leagues. We’ve waited patiently while many talented players have been shipped out of town and our team continues to spiral downward. Now, we finally get to see what all the fuss is about.
Will Baez start knocking the cover off of the ball right away? Probably not (his numbers after each of his call ups suggest that there will be a slight slump), but I fully expect him to be a big performer as soon as September rolls around.
We’ve all been pretty quick to be critical of Theo Epstein. I think we really were hoping for the quick turnaround that he got in Boston. But Boston was a different situation entirely, for a number of reasons. The easiest way to explain it is this, much like Billy Beane’s magical team that was portrayed in Moneyball, the Red Sox were comprised of a pretty solid roster and only needed a few key pieces to put it all together.
Chicago had no solid roster, but rather a couple key pieces…no…make that one key piece around which a proper roster could be built. The rest of the team was made up of age and high salary, and in some cases both (Alfonso Soriano to be exact).
At the very least, Epstein and Hoyer have done a great job at trimming the fat from this organization, the fat that was brought in during the Hendry era. Sure, it seemed like Hendry was spending money to build a winner, but it was all an illusion because the farm system was virtually empty. Winners aren’t built through free agency, but rather through drafting and shrewd trades, both of which Hendry seemed to lack the faculties to pull off. All Hendry bashing aside, he is responsible for both Starlin Castro and Javier Baez. So we have to give him some credit.
At any rate, I feel like this call up signals the end of the Cubs fire sale and the beginning of a rise to competitive greatness. Will big name players be traded along the way? Absolutely they will. The Cubs will need to fill vacancies and maintain depth as they promote the crop of young talent to the major leagues. But gone are the days of looking like a double-A team after the trade deadline.
Hang on to your hat and don’t spill your beer Cubs fans, the future is now.