When President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein took over the Chicago Cubs organization prior to the 2012 season, he urged Cubs fans to have patience during the rebuilding process. In year three of the Cubs overhaul, patience is starting to run thin. Fans have bought in to the rebuilding project of the team, understanding that the Cubs problems would not be solved overnight. However, after watching two of the worst seasons in Cubs history, fans would at least like something to give them hope for the future. The Cubs’ fans will not tolerate this kind of effort for much longer.
Once seen as a three year rebuilding project now seems like a five, six or seven year process. Most people turned a blind eye to the poor play at the major league level the past two years, hoping that the Cubs would turn things around in the near future. Two months into the 2014 season, the results are not much different, and fans are starting to get restless. Sitting eleven games under .500 with another fire sale at the trade deadline looming, the outlook on the rest of the season is not bright.
In 2013, the Cubs statistically had one of the worst offenses in baseball, and with much of the same roster this year the hitting woes continue. Obviously there has been positives for the Cubs this season, but they are hard to come by on the North Side. As all Cubs fans sit and wait to see when their highly touted prospects reach the major league level, fans can only hope that the Cubs will eventually compete for a championship. The fact of the matter is no one knows how many prospects, if any, will turn into difference makers in the big leagues and when.
As the trade deadline becomes closer and closer many rumors are swirling about which players will be leaving the North Side. Jeff Samardzija has been at the center of trade talks for over a year now, and a trade for him might actually come to fruition next month. Samardzija has pitched extremely well this year and he might be turning into the star that the Cubs hoped he would, but it seems almost certain his days in a Cubs uniform are numbered. Trading their ace for young prospects might be more beneficial in the long run, but it is proof that the Cubs are waving the white flag on competing anytime soon. Although his record is abysmal, wins and losses don’t show how dominate Samardzija has been, and he is the type of guy that a team can build a pitching staff around. However, he will turn 30 before next season, so by trading him it shows the Cubs do not think they will be competitive until he is out of his prime.
As a die hard Cubs fan it has been hard to watch games over the past few seasons. I would like to think that reinforcements are on the way, but until the Cubs prospects prove themselves at the major league level I won’t get my hopes up. Once promised to be around a three year project keeps getting longer and longer with every losing season. As long as their plan is working then I am alright with it taking a little longer than expected. However, we still have not seen hard core proof that the rebuilding process is working. With their poor play the Cubs have turned into the laughing stock of the MLB. Then again, a few short years ago the Blackhawks were ranked the worst franchise in sports, and we all know how that story turned out. Can lightning strike twice in Chicago? I guess we will have to wait and see.