Cubs first-rounder Ed Howard wants to add another parade to his resume.
When the Chicago Cubs picked local Mt. Carmel standout Ed Howard in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, it was a feel-good story. He’s already hard at work, driven by a desire to play the hero again and enjoy a city-wide championship parade – something he’s already experienced in his young career.
No, I’m not talking about the Cubs’ 2016 parade after winning the first World Series in over a century. I’m talking about the 2014 parade the city had for Howard’s Jackie Robinson West team after they reached the finals of the Little League World Series.
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"“We had a parade around the city after the Little League World Series, so I want to do it again with the Chicago Cubs,” he told NBC Sports Chicago. “But I know when I get the chance and I’m able to get up there and start playing, I’m ready … That’s my goal. I want to bring a championship to this city.”"
I like where his head is at. Although who knows when (or if) this dream will come to fruition. It’s hard to even imagine what the Cubs roster will look like when Howard makes his big league debut.
Maybe Javier Baez is gone, and he’ll be the next shortstop. After all, he’s just one year from free agency and Chicago faces a tough decision in whether or not to try and hammer out a long-term extension before then.
The roster picture got a little clearer with Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora being non-tendered. The Cubs picked up the team option on Anthony Rizzo ($16.5 million). You all know the speculation surrounding Kris Bryant this offseason. The only other member of the ‘core’ left is Willson Contreras, who becomes a free agent in 2023.
Due to the canceled Minor League Baseball season this year, Howard is yet to play his first professional game. All this talk about championships and parades is great – but there’s a lot of work that needs to be put in before we get there.
Still just 18 years old, Howard has a lot of the raw skills that could make him a great big leaguer someday. Teams, including the Cubs, are hoping for a more normal 2021 calendar – one that will let Howard and other young talent continue their development on the road to Wrigley. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best on that front.
As for Howard, he’s staying positive – with his eyes on the prize, despite the lost season.
"“Honestly, I don’t look at it as a loss,” Howard said. “It was just more time to grind and get better. I took it as an extended offseason, putting on a lot of muscle, getting stronger and working on my game, offensively and defensively.”"
I am here for all of that.
We may not know how long it’ll take for the sport – and the world – to return to a sense of normalcy. But with change in the air on the North Side, we know one thing for sure: the Cubs see Ed Howard as a critical piece in their future plans.