Chicago Cubs: Re-examining Theo Epstein’s first year on the job

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
3 of 6
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The first offseason (continued)

Despite the trade with the Rockies not working out, the Chicago Cubs made two trades during the 2011-2012 offseason that were brilliant. The first one came when the Cubs decided to sell high on veteran reliever Sean Marshall, trading him to the Cincinnati Reds for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt, and Ronald Torreyes.

The latter two players didn’t do much, but Wood had a nice run with the Cubs. He had a decent 2012 season before he was an All-Star in 2013, posting a 3.11 ERA in 200 innings, making 32 starts. The left-hander then became a valuable bullpen piece during the Cubs’ 2016 championship season. While the Reds gave up on Wood, it ended up being the Cubs’ gain.

Then came perhaps Epstein’s most important trade and one of his most important moves overall in building a championship club: He acquired Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres for Andrew Cashner.

Epstein had previously traded Rizzo away while with the Red Sox in the deal that brought Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego to Boston. Now the Cubs benefitted from the Padres giving up on Rizzo and banking on Yonder Alonso being their first baseman of the future.

Cashner has bounced around as a starting pitcher in the major leagues over the past several seasons, but the Cubs clearly won this trade. Rizzo has had four seasons of over 30 home runs and four seasons of over 100 RBI, plus he’s won two Gold Glove awards. He’s the longest-tenured Cub and has been a cornerstone of this winning run.