It has been a while since I wrote a blog post and the reason being I have been swamped with other things. Like welcoming our 3rd boy to the family on New Year’s Day. We are truly blessed to have another Cubs fan under the roof! So the post for today is to support and go off a tweet I sent in earlier about the Cubs spending money and the direction of the team. So here we go!
First off let me say losing out on Tanaka hurt me and so many other fans bad. The Cubs had a chance to capitalize on a 25 year old righty in his prime years and lost out to the evil empire. But I am not mad they are not spending money I am mad that they lost out on spending money on a player that can not only help now but in the future. That is a major difference with a certain fan populous of the Chicago Cubs. There is a certain fan base that wants the Cubs to spend money like a big market team because they are one. Spend money to just spend money. They like the old regime that saw a large spending spree take them to back to back playoff appearances just to fall short of the promise land. They want action no matter who the player or what the cost. They want the Chicago Dodgers or the Chicago Yankees but that is not what the majority of the fan base wants. In fact that is not what Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, or any other person wants currently in the organization. The front office has a vision and a clear one that seems to just boggle and confuse the average “buy now, win now” fan. But I am going to try to correct that thought and have them leave this cult that has rendered them thoughtless.
The Cubs are and will be more willing to spend once their current prospects prove or disprove that their hype is real. Not all prospects make it and in fact more often than not many fail. We have seen that first hand on the north-side with guys like David Kelton, Felix Pie, Jason Dubois, Corey Patterson, and so many others. But we have also seen prospects like Mike Trout, Starlin Marte, David Price, Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, etc… truly excel and become above average to superstar players in the MLB. Not let us forget that for every prospect bust there is a surprise out of the bunch. Guys like Robinson Cano and even Greg Maddux were not expect to do anything significant in the ML and look at them now. The fact is being a prospect and depending on them is somewhat of a crapshoot but with technology and techniques in scouting used today is far superior to anything used even 5 years ago. Plus it also helps that the Cubs have a girth of talent in the minor leagues which brings the old saying “some of them have to work out!” ring true. Nothing supports that saying more than the release of MLB’s top 100 prospect this year that nets the Cubs 7 in the top 100 with several knocking on the door. So once these prospects fate is known or the front office has an idea where things will shake out they will then know what hole they need to fill either through free agency, trade, or even the draft.
The next question that is usually asked is “when are these prospects going to be ready? And why don’t they give them a shot now!?” Well, every prospects develops differently. Some prospects get stuck like Vitters and Brett Jackson. Some are slowed to the show because of injury which could be stated for Almora and Soler (both should be near the level of Bryant and Baez). Some develop quickly like Bryant and Baez who could see time in 2014. The fact is it seems to be an educated guess when they will be called up to the show. Many suggest including myself that 2014 we could see a trickle, 2015 a lot more, and 2016 if everything goes the way it should we could see all 7 prospects in the top 100 on the Chicago Cubs roster. So once the prospects establish themselves and if things go how most of us see them then you can expect the Cubs to start spending money on some impact free agents on the 2015 season and then spending a lot (and I mean A LOT more) before the start of the 2016 season. This is how I see it and the direction the front office is guiding us to believe and buy into. And I got to say it is brilliant.
Another thing people say that you HAVE TO sign the impact players when they are available and I tend to agree when it is a player like Tanaka. The Cubs currently do not have a #1 on their staff and the minor leagues is weaker in the SP department. Hence why I suggested they go to 8 years $180M offer if they had to but that is one area the FO and I disagreed but let me say it is not my money I am spending. Tanaka was the exception and anyone like Tanaka would be an exception on this year’s team because it still falls in the vision set forth. The Cubs have a need right now and in the future for a starting pitcher, they have the assets to acquire that pitcher, and he young. He checked all the boxes for a player like that you do have to spend money. A player like Robinson Cano the Cubs cannot and should not sign him. How does signing a guy like Cano, Pujols, Hamilton, etc make sense when you possibly have a better, younger, and cheaper version of the same player knocking on the door of the major leagues? It just does not make sense. You only sign players to fill the holes that are not filled by young impact prospects that have good success in the Major Leagues. This keeps the Cubs overall cost on the roster low and makes more money available for those prized free agents that will fill the needed holes in the Chicago Cubs roster. Once again this is a brilliant vision.
Here is where a lot of things come together when the Cubs. The Cubs have an outside shot to compete in 2015 and a more likely chance to compete in 2016. Starting in 2015 I see the Cubs spending a little bit more money while in 2016 I expect them to sign impact free agents to fill those positions not filled by their current rising prospects. Here is a peak at the potential free agents of 2015 and 2016. Please note it is likely some of these player will sign long term extensions, get injured, or regress but just like with prospects you will have those ups and downs. Here is the list and you be the judge why 2015/2016 look so bright.
Notable 2015 free agents
Notable 2016 free agents
So another words if pitching is what the Cubs need they can spend all their money in 2015 on a guy like Max Scherzer, Justin Masterson, or Homer Bailey. Or if an infield does not work out in 2015 how about spending the money on a guy like Hanley Ramirez? In 2016 let’s say the Cubs need multiple holes filled like a catcher, OF, and pitching. How about filling those holes with Matt Weiters, Jason Heyward, and David Price? The fact is 2015 and 2016 looms large for the Chicago Cubs as an organization. It seems like the turning point and always has to many of us.
The vision is clear, the movement is near perfection, and the process will sustain success for years to come. The sooner you leave your “Buy Now, Win Now!” cult and accept this amazing and beautiful direction the Chicago Cubs front office is taking the team and showing us; the sooner you can stop being upset, frustrated, and confused.
Until Next Time…