There’s Always Next Year, But Not Next Year

Photo is courtesy of Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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As you know, I’m always the beacon of positivity when it comes to my beloved Cubbies. As you also know, sarcasm abounds here on Our Sports Report. That said, unless the Cubs win every game in September, their season is pretty much done and the Cubs fans are echoing what they’ve been saying all season, “There’s always next year.” Well…probably not.


At any rate, some positive things have been happening in Wrigleyville lately. Most noticeably, the young crop of prospects that Epstein and company have been harping about for the past few years are now starting to see playing time in the big leagues! That’s right Cubs fans; it’s time to see if any of these guys are the real deal.


Now before we all get too high on life, let’s remember one thing: None of these new hitters have seen big league pitching before, and big league pitching has never seen them. Therefore, we should probably wait until these guys have made a full turn through the league before making any bold predictions. Once the scouting reports are fully formed, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez (both of whom I’ve been bugging Curt about non-stop) may begin to look a little more pedestrian than they do now.


Sure, maybe I’m jaded, but I’ve seen it before with Tyler Colvin, Brett Jackson, and even Kosuke Fukudome (none of whom are with the organization any longer). The second time through the league can be humbling and frustrating for players and fans alike.


So before we crown the Cubs the 2015 World Series Champions, let’s pump the brakes a little bit. We are about to enter a phase of this rebuild that will be more frustrating than the fire sale was over the past three seasons. We’re beginning the phase in which we will see a lot of good talent leave town in order to keep stocking the farm system and collecting prospects. This is the exact phase the Cleveland Indians are in right now (though I heavily question the fact that they gave Nick Swisher $15 million per year in the middle of a rebuild…but…I digress). Just ask any Tribe fan, this is frustrating.


Don’t be shocked when Starlin Castro, the golden boy at shortstop, is traded away at the deadline to bring in pitching prospects and maybe a big arm or two. It may not happen in 2015, but it’s bound to happen in 2016 or 2017. The same can be said for Anthony Rizzo. The Italian Stallion has smacked 30 home runs so far this season. You don’t think that if he keeps putting up those numbers that the Cubs won’t move him? Come on…you’re fooling yourself.


If the A’s are willing to trade for Adam Dunn in order to put a little left-handed pop in their lineup…a young slugger like Rizzo is sure to demand a nice price tag in a couple years.


Oh yeah, don’t be surprised when Jake Arrieta, Blake Parker, Felix Doubront, Travis Wood, and Jacob Turner are all moved when they begin to pitch well and look nice at the trade deadline over the next few seasons.


One thing is certain, we may be past the halfway point for this build, but we can’t pretend that there still isn’t a long way to go yet. It’s certain that now is the time that Team Epstein is going to have to get a little more creative as they continue attempting to build a winner in Chicago. As fans, we can either stick it out or leave. I recommend sticking it out because nobody wants to be labeled a bandwagon fan when they dig out their Cubs gear in the heat of a playoff push.


Am I excited about these new prospects? Absolutely! Who wouldn’t be? But I’m trying to be realistic here. Is next year THE year for the Cubs? No. Save yourself the embarrassment and quit claiming that it is. 2016? Maybe…but it’s still a very long shot. 2017? Maybe…there’s a better chance than in 2016 but still a long shot. 2015? No…just no.