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Chicago Cubs: Which young star will be the first to leave the Cubs?

Feb 27, 2017; Mesa, AZ, USA; General view of the Chicago Cubs player's tunnel prior to a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2017; Mesa, AZ, USA; General view of the Chicago Cubs player's tunnel prior to a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs have all the tools they need in order to repeat in 2017 and beyond. From multiple stars on their big league roster and a few brewing on the farm, the future is bright.

As we all know, professional sports can be a harsh business. For the Chicago Cubs, business has been booming since they won the World Series. Despite the departure of Aroldis Chapman, Travis Wood, and Dexter Fowler, Chicago remains at the top of the food chain.

Now, going back to Fowler. Dexter’s heartbreaking exit opened the door for Albert Almora Jr. even though the Cubs signed Jon Jay. Still, Almora is set to be the everyday center fielder in the future.

With Opening Day a month away, there is no telling who Joe Maddon will pencil in as the starting center fielder.

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When looking at the rest of the depth chart, every position is locked down. Well, every position except for second base. Before anyone gets upset, I’m thinking about the future beyond Ben Zobrist.

Let’s be honest here, there is no telling how long Zobrist is going to continue playing. And I’m aware that Javier Baez is behind him, ready to fill in whenever he is needed. Which is why we are all here.

It’s a harsh world

At the beginning of this piece, I mentioned how professional sports can be harsh. No one is guaranteed to wear the same uniform throughout their career. For example, remember Starlin Castro?

At the time, we all thought Starlin was going to remain a Cub until he retired. That was until he was traded to the New York Yankees for Adam Warren and an outfielder who was waived. What a deal.

It may not be next year or even three years, but Baez may very well end up being the first Cubs star to leave the organization. Javier emerged as a postseason hero for the Cubs in 2016, flashing leather with quick tags while swinging a hot bat.

Co-MVP

His performance during the LCS earned him Co-MVP honors alongside southpaw Jon Lester. An improvement compared to his first year in the league when he struck out 95 times in 213 at-bats.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Baez at second base or any spot on the infield. I just don’t see him being part of this organization for more than four years. Since he’s under contract for a while, the Cubs could flip him for prospects or a starting pitcher.

Last year, prospect Ian Happ (a top prospect) went from moving around the outfield to seeing playing time at second base. Between the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Tennessee Smokies, Happ started 91 games at the position.

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In those 91 games, he fielded .969 while hitting a combined 15 homers with 73 RBI. As for Baez, he hammered 14 home runs with 59 RBI at the major league level. Could Happ be the man to replace Baez?

Well, he very well could be. Only time will tell.

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