COMMENTARY | Patience is the name of the game during a rebuilding process. I can readily admit that being asked for more patience is about the last thing fans of the Chicago Cubs want to hear. After all, Cubs fans have done more than their fair share of being patient when it comes to waiting to win.
As names like Giancarlo Stanton and David Price begin circulating the airwaves (and the Cubs' reported interest), it's going to be easy to dream for us Cubs fans. But for a team knee-deep in rebuild mode, I think the Cubs will be relatively quiet on the trade front this season.
Their Minor Leagues are Just Now Starting to GrowIn order to land a player like Stanton or Price, the Cubs would have to part with a large amount of young talent -- more than likely cleaning out a great portion of what has been brought in since Theo Epstein took over. It isn't that Stanton or Price aren't worth the investment, it is that the Cubs have numerous holes to fill up-and-down the lineup and pitching staff. One player, no matter how good, isn't going to change all of that.
Epstein would risk handicapping the entire farm system to bring in one player. We're talking about electric players here, but ones that just don't seem worth the risk. Unless circumstances dictate that the Cubs are able to get one of these players for an especially good deal, I wouldn't bet on it.
The Cubs Don't Have A lot To TradeWe hear about every minor-league move Epstein makes. It is easy to get stuck in the thinking that all of these talked-about prospects -- Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler -- are guaranteed success stories. Don't get me wrong, the Cubs have some solid talent in their farm system, but not enough that they can throw around high-end prospects carelessly.
The Cubs will assuredly make a few moves around the trade deadline -- most all sellers do. However, the players they have to trade -- Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, David DeJesus, Scott Feldman, etc. -- aren't going to net them all that much. We can fawn all over the season Feldman is having, but potential buyers aren't going to ignore the fact his career numbers are not close to his 2013 numbers.
As fans, we want to see high-end prospects pumping into the organization, but the truth is that the Cubs aren't going to get a whole lot for these mid-tier players they are potentially planning to ship off. The only place the Cubs can turn right now to have a chance at top-notch players via trade is through their minor league prospects. I'd be surprised if the Cubs choose that route.
MoneyIn terms of new contracts, the Cubs are doing great work locking up cornerstone pieces for reasonable sums of money. Anthony Rizzo's seven-year, $41 million feels safe from a Soriano-level of regret, as does Starlin Castro's seven-year, $60 million. The Cubs will undoubtedly need to spend money to build the team they ultimately hope to, but I can't see them getting on the hook for a big-ticket free agent this early on in the rebuilding process -- especially if they plan on signing Jeff Samardzija to a long-term deal in the near future.
Stanton and Price would be working with arbitration numbers, so they would only be expensive in the short term, which would give the Cubs time to make the decision to sign or not to sign a long-term deal that would undoubtedly be worth a ton of money. The money doesn't keep these players from being Cubs (the organization would have the money), but the package of prospects required to get them just doesn't make a lot of sense right now for the Cubs. With so many holes to fill, the Cubs will want to have as much free money as possible to work in quality players across the board.
The Cubs have the draft and the offseason to add to their team without subtracting anything. I don't expect to see the Cubs involved in any blockbuster trades presuming they don't get some ridiculously good deal. It would cost too much in a still-depleted, though improving, farm system, and the Cubs don't have the firepower in the majors to command much in return.
But then again, the Cubs did get Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton for Jose Hernandez back in 2003, so I guess anything is possible.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him a chance to closely follow and report Chicago sports as a freelance writer through Yahoo! Contributor and Yahoo! Sports. He is also a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing.
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