When Theo Epstein came to Chicago in 2011, many realized that the rebuilding plan would consume the 2012, 2013, and likely 2014 campaigns. However many thought 2015 would be the yer the Cubs could start competing, and as we draw nearer to 2015, perhaps we should examine that assertion. Indeed, 2014 has been lost in the name of progress, but with each passing day, the organization draws nearer to bringing up the bright prospects within our organization.
Indeed, we may be just weeks away from seeing Cuban outfielder, Jorge Soler, who has been drawing favorable comparisons to his compatriots, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. While Kris Bryant, and his foot contusion seem unlikely to see 1060 W. Addison this year, he could make the team out of Spring Training. His numbers this year have been beyond impressive. Between AA and AAA, Bryant has 40 home runs, he won the Southern League Home Run Derby, he’s also hitting .306, with a .417 on base percentage.
An infield of Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo could be one of the best in the league. Offensively, the Cubs are as set as any team in baseball.
Pitching wise, the Cubs are deficient. While they have some parts that could be useful done the line, the Cubs could be looking to bolster that rotation this offseason. The Cubs have been heavily linked to former Red Sox ace, Jon Lester. Lester’s familiarity with the front office could help sway his decision. The Cubs have also garnered buzz around Tigers pitcher, Max Scherzer, who turned down a 6-year, 144 million dollar deal before the season began from the Tigers.
If the Cubs were to land either pitcher, they could immediately become playoff contenders. A rotation of Lester/Scherzer, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Travis Wood, and CJ Edwards would rank as one of the best in baseball for years to come. Also noteworthy, is the connection between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets. Rumors have it that the Cubs an the Mets could be discussion a deal that would send top Mets prospect, Noah Syndergaard to the Cubs for Starlin Castro. The deal would shock the baseball world, but, it could be what is needed.
So, assuming the Cubs land Lester or Scherzer, the Cubs could theoretically compete in 2015. However, if they don’t, 2016 seems like the safest bet. By then, we could expect to see the final wave of prospects make the majors (Addison Russell, Victor Caratini, Kyle Schwarber, etc.) The Cubs could start making serious waves next year, and if it all pans out, the Cubs could be playing meaningful baseball in September.
Photo: Trends International