Chicago Cubs: Epstein and Co. made all the right moves at the deadline

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs’ Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took the hot start to the second half and made several moves to improve the club. It could be the crucial piece if the Cubs hold on to the NL Central.

Fans were clamoring for a young starter under team control. The Chicago Cubs went out and got Jose Quintana from the White Sox. Then the improved the bullpen and added an experienced backup catcher to the mix. After Quintana’s first start, people were sold. But some weren’t sure about the move for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila from the Tigers. With the way Willson Contreras was playing, were they going to play Avila?

Just a few short weeks later, some fans are questioning if Quintana was worth what they gave up, but the Avila pick up seems like a genius deal. The Wilson portion of the trade is still up for debate, but we’ll not pass any judgment on him just yet. The Cubs couldn’t have seen this coming. Injuries are always a part of the game, and all teams are dealing with them in one form or another. So the Cubs aren’t the only snakebit team. But please don’t let that have dual meaning tonight against the D-backs.

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Maddon “knew” it was coming

When the Cubs made the deal for Avila and Wilson, Joe Maddon was thrilled about the deal. So much so that he couldn’t help but say that Avila “wasn’t a backup,” and could still lay every day. Well, Joe. You hit that one right on the head. He isn’t a backup. He’s going to be your starting catcher down the stretch.

And for the fans that are freaking out about Quintana, please hold your hot takes and judgment for later. Quintana has had some issues early in games, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t worth what the Cubs gave up for him. Five starts, four of them were quality starts. New league. New receiver. The pressure of a playoff race. We seem to expect him to be perfect every time out. It doesn’t work that way.

Fans as a whole hated Brett Anderson (can’t blame anyone, there), and John Lackey. But Lackey is pitching well, and Quintana is what the Cubs needed for this year and beyond. With Kyle Hendricks back, the Cubs have a strong rotation in place for the rest of the season. It will be up to the everyday guys to get the job done.

Next: With or without, Cubs need to step up

The Cubs are averaging 4.69 runs per game. So looking at their last eight games, they’ve scored that just three times. Two of those they won, the other was that 10-8 “forever” game that was delayed by rain against the D-backs. The gist of this is, if the Cubs score what they average, they’re in good shape to win the game. No Addison Russell. No Contreras. A sub .200 Kyle Schwarber. Someone needs to pick it up, but the Cubs’ front office has done what they can. The players have to play.