It’s been a rough 24 hours for Chicago Cubs fans. First, we lose Anthony Rizzo late Thursday afternoon after he was held out of the finale against the Cincinnati Reds – stripping fans of one last chance to give him an ovation. Today, we lose Craig Kimbrel, Javier Baez and a buzzer beater of Kris Bryant to the San Francisco Giants – not to mention the likes of Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera, Trevor Williams and Jake Marisnick – all of whom were dealt ahead of the deadline.
Just when you thought it was over, Jon Lester departs to the division rival St. Louis Cardinals.
Oh, the treachery. Although Lester is having a down year, 3-5 with a 5.02 ERA and even higher 5.41 FIP in 75 1/3 innings of work, seeing Jon go to the Cardinals is one of those things that are just, gross. The Cubs don’t see the Cardinals again until late September, though with a Cubs team that has completely entirely scrapped itself over the last 24 hours, it is pretty much impossible they will have anything to play for at that point.
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As we all know, Big Jon was terrific with the Cubs. Going 77-44 with a 3.64 ERA over six years, Lester was one of the main staples in Chicago’s starting rotation during the team’s historic run, reaching the NLCS in three consecutive seasons and helping to capture the first World Series title in 108 painful years. Of course, we wish Lester all the best. Even if it is for St. Louis.
How much of an impact the veteran can make with the Cardinals, who aren’t necessarily going for it, just shaping up the rotation as much as possible, will remain to be seen. It isn’t a significant move by any means, but enough was enough already after losing Rizzo, Kimbrel, Baez and Bryant in just one day.
Chicago Cubs: It’s now about the future
The Cubs currently sit at 50-54, now an overwhelming 11 1/2 games back of Milwaukee and 9 1/2 back in the Wild Card. The return haul Chicago got for their core isn’t bad and the best thing now is that we will have a real opportunity to see what our younger talent can do by playing every day. After losing Williams, someone will have the opportunity to step up and prove they have what it takes. Perhaps Brailyn Marquez gets the nod at some point this season or early next year.
Although it is all doom and gloom now, I do think freeing up as much salary as we have will help us to complete this rebuild in the offseason and move forward sooner rather than later. Understandably, people aren’t thinking that way yet. Though the 2016 team is a memory, the Cubs will look toward a new core in the coming year or two and hopefully find the same success.