When viewing the Chicago Cubs, it is widely believed that the team will contend once their top prospects make their way through the minor league system and onto the major league team.
Most of the top prospects are advancing to the top levels of the Cubs minor league system but are not ready for the major league level. Despite that fact, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts believes that the team will contend for the playoffs in 2014.
“I think we have a team right now that can go to the playoffs,” the Cubs’ chairman said Wednesday during his annual spring media conference. “We have a good young nucleus. We have to have guys that step up. … We’ve not giving anything up this year. The fact is, these guys step up and they play to their potential, we’re going to be fine.”-Tom Ricketts, Chicago Sun Times
Ricketts may be a tad optimistic in his assessment of the Cubs chances in 2014 as the team has an incomplete pitching staff while lacking a true third baseman and questions over the offensive production at the second base position as well as in the outfield.
Cubs fans are not stupid. There is no need for Ricketts to defend the Cubs lack of inactivity by suggesting that the team will contend this season if they have “guys that step up.” Intelligent Cubs fans know why there has been a lack of impact major league acquisitions. The front office has been implementing a plan that has put an emphasis on building up the farm system as a way to create sustained success in the future for the major league team. The major league team has undoubtedly taken a step back during this process and Cubs fans are wising up and deciding not to attend games until the aforementioned prospects are ready.
That would be why Ricketts probably felt obliged to say that he feels the Cubs can contend in 2014; his comments acting as a way to bring Cubs fans back to Wrigley. But this current generation of Cubs fans are not the same as their predecessors. Cubs fans know that the team likely will not contend in 2014. But, Cubs fans also understand why Ricketts is obliged to make the comments he did.
Though, Ricketts was right about one thing he said about the team. The Cubs do have a good, young nucleus. The problem is a large portion of that nucleus will be playing in Iowa and Tennessee at the start of the 2014 season. May be those were the teams that the Cubs chairman was referring to.