Theo Epstein Lays Foundation For Off-Season Construction
104 Seasons. The Chicago Cubs have gone 104 seasons since last winning a World Series title. Cubs fans can not help but dream about being in the position that the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers fan bases are currently in. After all, there was a video game commercial that depicted the true amount of overwhelming emotion that would pour out for Chicago once the Cubs win the World Series. Speaking of the Tigers and Giants, those two are teams that are examples of where the Cubs hope to be in a season or two. The Tigers are a contending team that used their wallets to assist in their efforts in making the World Series, while the Giants are a mixture of home-grown prospects in addition to veterans who serve as quality role players.
June 15, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein greets reporters before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein is no stranger to big market organizations. After all, Epstein’s reputation was built during his time as general manager of the Boston Red Sox. Epstein has certainly had his fair share of trophy free agent signings in the form of Carl Crawford and John Lackey, but they also developed prime talent in the form of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, and Dustin Pedroia. While Epstein has been criticized for his prize free agent signings, he has been praised for the talent that he has produced through the Red Sox farm system.
Epstein has already shown his skill-set in acquiring talent to improve the team’s farm system. Arodys Vizcaino, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Albert Almora–all of whom were acquired over the past season–figure to be among the Cubs’ core nucleus of players when the time is ready for the team to contend for a post-season spot.
As Epstein enters his first full off-season as the Cubs’ President, the former Red Sox general manager is feeling optimistic about the team’s rebuilding project. While Epstein has admitted that the focus is not on contending for the 2013 season, the Cubs’ front office is prepared to fill holes on the current roster. The largest hole figures to be at the starting pitching market. Hoyer has already gone on record as saying the Cubs will look to add two starting pitchers this winter, though, Epstein indicated in a press conference with reporters this week that the number may actually be three instead of two.
There have already been free agent pitchers that have been connected to the Chicago Cubs. Those pitchers are Shaun Marcum, Edwin Jackson, Francisco Liriano, and Brandon McCarthy. Marcum is an interesting pitcher to watch as he has been fairly successful in the National League Central division with the Milwaukee Brewers, and is familiar with Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum. There is a growing consensus that the Cubs will add two starting pitchers from outside the organization, while Vizcaino will be the third addition to the starting rotation. Vizcaino is rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, but will be ready for Spring Training. The Cubs have already put on record that the former Braves’ farm-hand will be put on an innings limit for the 2013 season. Despite of the innings limit and the Tommy John Surgery, Vizcaino has the potential to be a top of the line pitcher in a starting rotation if he deemed healthy.
With several prominent infield and outfield prospect making their way through the Cubs farm system, the Cubs don’t figure to be looking for a long term option at either the third base or outfield positions this winter. Kevin Youkilis has been linked to the Cubs for their vacant third base position, and wouldn’t prevent a prospect like Josh Vitters, Javier Baez, or Chrisitian Villanueva from taking over the position when they are ready for the Major Leagues. In the outfield; Jorge Soler, Brett Jackson, and Almora likely will make up the Cubs outfield of the future. Meaning, expect the Cubs to add another David DeJesus type for the outfield this winter.
Cubs fans have been patient for over 100 years, and with another full off-season of Epstein and the regime, the patience of Cubs fans will likely be paid off within the coming seasons.