With Cubs still in the race, second half offers a new perspective
Compared to All-Star Game’s of the past few years, theChicago Cubs
have something to be excited about now that the midsummer classic has come to an end. Recently, we would watch the game, hope a Cubs player would do something notable–and then prepare for a second-half of misery. But things are different this year.
Instead of the talks of who the Cubs might be shipping out, it’s about who they may be willing to bring in. So many fans want to see a move to bring a guy like Cole Hamels to Chicago, but they don’t want to give up any of our young, stockpiled talent. But it’s understandable. We’ve become comfortable in that routine this time of year. It was about building or the future, so it seems weird to give something away.
But that may very well be the case, as the Cubs remain in the Wild Card hunt, and the St. Louis Cardinals have appeared mortal as their once large lead has dwindled down. There is still plenty of work to do, but the Cubs are in an unfamiliar yet welcome place.
It’s amazing to see how much things can change in a baseball season. In April, we were begging for pitching changes, as the bullpen looked like it could be the Achilles heel of this team. Now that bullpen is arguably one of the biggest strengths, as the offense has become the focus for a second half surge.
The team has made it clear that if necessary, the funds are there:
This sparks the debate of should they make moves, not what moves to make. It was believed this squad was a year away from contention. But even in a competitive NL Central, the Cubs have held their own and remain square in the chase for the postseason.
As the youth of the Cubs has started to sort itself out (depending how you ant to look at it), it may have also helped to identify potential trade pieces should the Cubs choose to pursue a notable move before the trade deadline.
Pitching seems to still be at the front of trade rumors, but I see it more ideal to go after a consistent bat, possibly a center fielder–or in a perfect world a guy that can play all three positions (Yes, possibly Ben Zobrist). But which route the Cubs go is anybody’s guess.
Some of the players that seemed to hurt themselves with poor starts turned things around in the minors. Arismendy Alcantara was a Triple-A All-Star, and Javier Baez–before his injury–was beginning to pick it up and looked like a potential call-up back to Chicago was imminent.
Whoever comes and goes, and whatever the team decides to do will be new to many Cubs fans. I’m old enough to remember some of the deadline deals that helped put the Cubs into the playoffs in the past. It’s been a good while since the Cubs were considered buyers at the deadline. Worst case, the team would stand pat and see where this season goes.
For once I won’t be looking ahead to the Bears season before baseball is over. Which recently has left me looking ahead to the baseball season before the Bears were done. The life of a Chicago sports fan. At least there’s the Hawks.