As we all know, things have been rough for the ‘Lovable Loser’ for over a century and there is no sense in dwelling on a horrific past. Now is the time to realize the significant progress that Tom Ricketts and the Cubs organization have made in these past few months. Patience will be the key to long term success for the team as we have seen with the Chicago Bulls. Yes, the Bulls defied all odds in winning the NBA Draft Lottery with a mere 1.9% odds, but if you look past that, the organization made many key moves to put the Bulls where they are now. First off, retaining Luol Deng has proven to be an extremely smart move as he is arguably the best defensive small forward in the game and still averaging 17 points and just under 8 rebounds per game. Also, when the Bulls drafted Joakim Noah, many fans were extremely disappointed, but he is now the heart and soul of the team. With smaller additions such as Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Omer Asik and newly acquired Rip Hamilton, the Bulls are certainly the deepest team in the league.
Comparing the Bulls to the Cubs may seem like a stretch, but was there much hope for the Bulls in 2003 when they were 23-59 led by Eddy Curry, Eddie Robinson and Ronald Dupree? No, not at all. The Chicago Cubs will almost certainly not be in contention for the playoffs in 2012 and the sooner that is realized, the better. The Cubs showed that they are truly rebuilding after backing out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, trading their best relief pitcher, Sean Marshall, to the Reds and are actively shopping their best starter in Matt Garza. In the Marshall trade, they picked up 24 year old, lefty starter Travis Wood, who has shown some promise in his young career. In the Garza sweepstakes, Theo & Co. aren’t going to be settling for a few hopeful prospects, rather at least one proven starting pitching prospect such as Toronto Blue Jays budding star, Kyle Drabek. They have also been mentioned in talks with the Padres for 22 year old first base prospect, Anthony Rizzo, who could be the power bat for the middle of the order for years to come. The reason that Cubs can ask for such a high price is not only because he is one of the best clubhouse guys in baseball today, but he is a great pitcher who is only 28 years old and has two years left on his contract.
The Cubs need a complete detox of the way they have played, scouted, and managed baseball. Theo Epstein has done this before, although with a better roster, but let’s remember, he is the guy who drafted and/or traded for players like: Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury and the list goes on and on. While we will most likely not see the Cubs in the playoffs this season, they are on the right path for being playoff contenders for the next several years. However, a World Series? Let’s make the playoffs before we get too crazy.