The Super Bowl is a grand spectacle for the National Football League. The Chicago Cubs do not figure to have many grand spectacle’s this season. But one day that will count as the Chicago Cubs’ Super Bowl is next Tuesday. Next Tuesday is June 5th. No, the Cubs season will not be over. Rather, June 5th will go down as a date that will live in infamy. June 5 is draft day. A day that Cubs’ president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, and vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod have marked on their calendars since they took control of the baseball department.
For the first time since taking control of the Cubs’ front office, the new regime will have the opportunity to lay their own footprints into the Cubs’ organization.
Epstein, Hoyer, and McLeod have all spent the first two months of the season focusing on the draft. In fact, there has admittedly been less of an emphasis on the Major League team while the Cubs’ front office has constructed their draft strategy.
There strategy could be on display in the players that the Cubs bring in for their pre-draft workouts. Shortly after Wednesday’s victory over the San Diego Padres, the Cubs brass–Epstein, Hoyer, McLeod, etc–were all on the field to observe shortstop Carlos Correa. Correa is a high school shortstop out of Puerto Rico that is expected to go in the top five and has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez. The Cubs also put Max Fried through a workout. Fried is a left handed high school pitcher out of California.
The Cubs are expected to focus on pitching overall in the draft, but the team could be leaning towards a position player with the sixth overall selection in the draft. Correa is now the second position player in addition to outfielder Albert Almora to be linked to the Cubs and their first round selection.
Cue the one liners in 3…2..1
Theo Epstein dismissed any speculation that the Cubs are shopping shortstop Starlin Castro. In response to a USA Today report that suggested every Cub besides Jeff Samardzija was available in a trade, Epstein said the team is not going to move Castro and that the shortstop is the player they want to build the organization around. There is no question that Castro is not the ideal Epstein player. However, Castro has the potential to be an elite shortstop for many years to come. For that reason alone, it would make no sense to trade the 22 year old shortstop.
Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune suggested on twitter on Wednesday night that the Detroit Tigers could have an interest in second baseman Darwin Barney. Barney does not appear to be as valued by Epstein as he was by former general manager Jim Hendry, considering that fact, it would make sense for Barney to be one of the Cubs on the move prior to July 31.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has yet to hear from Mayor Rahm Emanuel regarding a potential deal to allow public funding to renovate Wrigley Field. Ricketts reached out to Emanuel shortly after the New York Post story was published that featured anti-Obama comments from Tom’s father, Joe Ricketts. I wouldn’t worry however. Emanuel has already been on record as saying outside influences will not play a factor in his negotiations with Ricketts. Emanuel is a busy man, after all, he is the Mayor of Chicago.