The Chicago Cubs may be preparing for a youth movement during the second half of the season. The Cubs are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline and will look to move the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker, and other veterans that do not fit into the mix for the 2012 season and beyond. If the Cubs are able to trade such players, it will create openings on the major league roster for some of their top prospects. The Cubs are already preparing said prospects for their respective arrivals at the Major League level.
According to Brian Bedo of miCubs.com, both outfielder Brett Jackson and infielder Ryan Flaherty have been promoted to Triple A-Iowa from Doube A-Tennessee. This may be an indicator for what the Cubs plan to do at the deadline and in the second half of the season. Both Jackosn and Flaherty are among the top positional prospects in the Cubs farm system, and both figure to be on the cusp of making it to the Major Leagues.
The Brett Jackson watch has been on since about early-May. But now may be the official time to start the Brett Jackson watch. With his promotion to Iowa, this could mean that Jackson is few weeks away from making his debut with the Chicago Cubs. Jackson started the season on a tear with the Tennessee Smokies but has seen his numbers regress since returning from a hand injury he sustained in late-May. In 66 games with the Smokies this season, Jackson was hitting .260/.376/.450/.826 with 10 home runs. Though, Jackson was hitting .300 in the month of July before his promotion.
News of Jackson being promoted to Triple A should symbol that one of the current starting outfielders with the Chicago Cubs will not be with the team much longer. The most realistic candidate to be traded is Kosuke Fukudome. Though, the Cubs are trying everything they can to be able to trade Alfonso Soriano. However, more than likely Fukudome will be the odd man out. By moving Fukudome, that would allow Jackson to start in center field and Marlon Byrd would shift over to right field. I also would not count out the idea of the Cubs trading Byrd. Byrd is hitting .333/.379/.370/.749 over the last seven days and has looked comfortable since returning from missing a month of action. The Phillies and Nationals were among teams that had interest in Byrd before he was hit in the face with a pitch, so, they may still be monitoring the center fielder.
Meanwhile for Flaherty, this has been his breakout season. It could be argued that Flaherty may have stolen the spotlight from Jackson this season as the two were teammates with the Smokies. Flaherty got off to a sizzling start with the Smokies as he hit .350/.407/.675/1.082 with 7 home runs in the month of April. Flaherty has come back down to earth since his hot start, but still had an impressive season with the Smokies. In 83 games, Flaherty hit .301/.384/.523/.907 with the Smokies this season. Now like Jackson, Flaherty takes his talents to Iowa, and soon after that, Chicago.
Flaherty is an interesting case in regards to the impact he will have on the Major League roster. To simply put it, Flaherty is a Mr. Everything. The Cubs’ prospect has experience at second base, shortstop, third base, as well as in the outfield. Though, Flaherty will likely be viewed as an infielder on the Major League roster. Though, he could become the team’s utility man if Jeff Baker or Blake DeWitt are traded. Another intriguing option is the Cubs could use Flaherty at third base if they decide to trade Aramis Ramirez before the trade deadline. With no future third baseman set for 2012, Flaherty may look to lock down the position if given the chance this season.
We can only hope that promotions of Jackson and Flaherty are the beginning steps to what should be a movement to a brighter future for the Cubs.