Chicago Cubs: Epstein pulls a fast one in deal with the White Sox

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

On Wednesday, I wrote a piece on how the Chicago Cubs chances of landing a “top-tier” starter were minimal at best. Less than 24 hours later, the Cubs acquired Jose Quintana from the White Sox. I knew I could be wrong. But I never thought this was HOW I’d be wrong.

The first thing I’ll say is that if you don’t read a post, don’t comment on it on Facebook. After I posted my piece on why I though the Chicago Cubs wouldn’t go big, they did just that. There were plenty of “Oops,” and “What an idiot!” Except, I wrote that Theo Epstein could prove me wrong and leave me with egg on my face. Read my opening paragraph, and you’ll know I thought it was possible.

But here’s the deal, NEVER did I believe that we’d be doing business with the White Sox. Rick Hahn has done a masterful job of putting together a farm system with the potential to be HUGE. Where the Cubs and Epstein did it with trades and draft picks, Hahn has assembled nine of the MLB’s Top 100. In case you were wondering, the deal leaves the Cubs with just one player in Jeimer Candelario at No. 81. Nothing is guaranteed for the Sox, but Hahn has put them in a position to be successful for years to come.

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Not what I had in mind

When I talked about the Cubs not making a deal, I was thinking of teams like the Tigers and Justin Verlander. Or the Oakland Athletics and Sonny Gray. In no way, shape or form was I thinking the White Sox. I mean, Epstein and Hahn have made comments before, and this piece made me think it just wasn’t going to happen. You don’t trade with your rival. Well, they are crosstown rivals, but you could hardly call them rivals. But it was this unspoken rule that you didn’t trade with others teams in your city.

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on this move, I don’t hate it. Now, God knows that by the time this posts anything could happen. But the fact that Epstein has been so adamant about Kyle Schwarber makes me think he isn’t going anywhere. And I believe that Ian Happ is off the table as well. Again, who knows what the next 24 hours will bring.

To be determined…

The Cubs shipped off Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, along with minor-league infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete. Many were upset about Jimenez. I was more upset about Cease. If the Cubs are committed to Schwarber than outfield if spoken for. If the Cubs are ging to get behind Happ–at least for the time being–then Jason Heyward, Schwarber, Albert Almora and Jon Jay have that full-up. Happ can move around, which leaves me not to call him strictly an outfielder. So Jimenez was blocked, at least that’s what the Cubs are telling themselves.

Next: Not the team to beat, but not out of it

Cease was pitching in South Bend for the Cubs Class-A affiliate. In 51 2/3 innings, Cease had struck out 74 while posting a 2.79 ERA. His K/9 was at 12.9, and his ability to hit 100+ on the radar gun showed his potential. But alas, he’s only in A-ball and was several years from cracking the Cubs roster. And as I’ve seen several times today, many of us thought that Jorge Soler was going to be huge for the Royals. The Cubs won that deal, so maybe I’ll just sit back and see what happens.