We’ve seen it many times. The most obvious example is the Pittsburgh Pirate organization. They go into something I call the dump phase. Hopefully, the Chicago Cubs will not be entering that phase, but there is a chance that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer begin to dump every veteran-player worth anything in a trade. If so, the Cubs might be in for a long climb up the hypothetical mountain.
The dump phase is exactly as mentioned above, when a team begins dumping, or trading, any player they can get a decent deal for. I mentioned the Pirates above, as they are the most recent and obvious example. The Pirates would grow a single solid prospect into a respectable player, then trade him for multiple prospects and/or cash. Of those prospects, only one would grow into a legitimate major league player, the rest would be career minor-leaguers. From there, the team would repeat this move, and trade him for prospects and/or cash. This is a vicious cycle, that does not bode well for the organization. An example of the Pirates using this is Jason Bay. Bay was a two-time all star with the Pirates, before being a part of the blockbuster deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Pirates got Andy LaRoche out of this deal, but three other players who never contributed to the team as well. LaRoche has played well for the Pirates, and the team has broken out of that cycle to make the playoffs, but it shows exactly what the team was doing.
The Cubs have been trading good players away the past few seasons. Notably, they traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers. This move gained prospects for the Cubs, of which only one is considered a legitimate MLB player, that being Mike Olt.
While I believe the future is bright for the Cubs, they need to make sure not to enter this cycle, as it could lead to years of humiliation and an even longer drought without a World Series.
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