Chicago Cubs: 4 reasons why 2024 is the year you should have circled

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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Willson Contreras / Chicago Cubs
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There’s no joy in Wrigleyville since the Great Trade Deadline Massacre. The Chicago Cubs have won exactly two of their last 17 games, a .117 winning percentage. That’s how a teardown and rebuild goes.  All you can do is grab a cold one, sit back and embrace the suck.

However, it is fair to ask, how long will this rebuild take? Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has said the Cubs could compete in 2022. Don’t bank on it. There isn’t nearly enough MLB-ready talent in the minors. So, they’d have to spend like crazy and trade what thin talent is available to put together a championship-caliber roster.  Not going to happen.

Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer has said he can’t tell how long until the team will be ready to compete.  Unsatisfying as heck, but fair given the uncertainty that comes with an expiring CBA. However, there are four signs that fans can look and know when the rebuild is turning into the time to compete.

Chicago Cubs: The selloff at the MLB level

It’s not that they won’t trade at all from the MLB roster, it is for whom they trade that will change. Like from 2012-2013, in 2021 they traded core players almost exclusively for minor league talent, some of which is years from being big league-ready. Expect that same approach through the 2022 trade deadline.

You’ll also recall the Cubs moved several MLB players as late as mid-2014.  Most notably, they traded Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily. Russell went to Iowa, McKinney went to Single-A ball and Straily went to the MLB roster.  McKinney and Straily would later be parts of two extremely consequential trades.

Straily wound up being traded in January 2015 along with Luis Valbuena to Houston for Cubs leadoff man and Mr. ‘You Go, We Go’ himself, Dexter Fowler. Russell would come up in May 2015, and was later be part of the Cubs-loaded 2016 NL All-Star infield.  McKinney progressed to Double-A before becoming part of the Aroldis Chapman trade in mid-2016.

So, when you see moves like those from 2014-2015 involving players on the MLB roster, you’ll know something is changing.