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

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: A key signing and trade in-season

After the draft, the Chicago Cubs continued to try to make in-season moves that would improve the long-term outlook of the ballclub. There were two key moves that the team made to that end.

The first was the signing of free agent outfielder Jorge Soler to a nine-year, $30 million deal. This was an interesting move; even though the annual salary wasn’t that high, committing to nine years with someone who had never played in the majors carried a lot of risk. Soler was mainly a reserve outfielder for the World Series-winning club in 2016, and he could never quite put it together while with the Cubs.

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After the 2016 season, the Cubs gave up on the right-handed hitting outfielder and traded him to the Kansas City Royals for one-year rental closer Wade Davis. Davis was solid in 2017, but Cubs fans started regretting the trade in 2019 when Soler finally figured it out and led the American League in home runs with the Royals. I don’t think this was a bad trade by the Cubs; they got some value for Soler, and I feel like they were patient enough with him.

The other big move was when the Cubs cashed in on Ryan Dempster‘s great start to 2012 by trading him to the Texas Rangers for Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks. Villanueva didn’t do anything with the Cubs, but as we know Kyle Hendricks has had a great run with the team, posting six straight seasons with an ERA under 4.00, including a league-best 2.13 in 2016. The Cubs clearly won this trade.

The Cubs made two other notable trades at the deadline in 2012. They traded Maholm and Reed Johnson to the Atlanta Braves, while they also sent Geovany Soto to the Rangers. Neither trade netted anything of long-term value.