Anthony Rizzo card was played perfectly

I had a thought yesterday that many of us probably have mulled over.

It may have been the best thing for the grand plan that Anthony Rizzo wasn’t brought up earlier in the year. This team is playing pretty well since the call up (11-4) and just looks like a different club.

Maybe it is Rizzo’s production or his leadership that the line up needed, but either way this team is playing perfectly into the big picture after all.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer couldn’t have asked for a better scenario when it comes to the trade deadline approaching. There are many pieces that teams will be interested in including two of the top (Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza). The recent play of the entire team has to bode well for player values.

There is no better time for Dempster to be setting team records for scoreless innings (currently tied) and for a hot streak from Alfonso Soriano.

Hoyer has to be licking his chops right about now.

Now a Soriano deal still may not make sense on some levels but we will get to that another time.

The reality is if the Cubs had Rizzo and this group playing even .500 ball all season it would be in that grey area where fans would be clamoring for the club to be buyers rather than big time sellers. It is possible they could have been players in the division and made Hoyer's job more difficult. As it stands now the stars are aligning just right.

As fun as this team is to watch now, it won’t look the same soon. However, Hoyer says they will still put out a product to be proud of. In fact he sounds like a GM who values some of his chips enough to keep, though that may be deadline posturing.

 "Sure we do, but you look at each individual case and see if it's something that can help the organization," Hoyer said Saturday. "But we're not going to focus on numbers and how it mixes up.

"We're going to field a team that we're proud of after July 31. That's something that is important as well."

The Cubs GM knows that the future looks bright in regards to position players like Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Brett Jackson, etc. Unfortunately for now, there is a great need for young pitching and that is what they will focus on stocking up on as the deadline nears.

On top of that Bruce Levine reiterated yesterday what I had told you recently, they are also searching for their future third baseman.

I’ve had some fun watching this team play lately and breaking it up will be hard for some fans. However, the goal is to be a dominant team in the next few years and this is the front office’s chance to strike gold and put them in just that position.

Let's give some credit here, the Rizzo hand couldn't have been played better.

Now let's see what Jed does with the rest of his cards.

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  • Great article, Tom. I confess I had deep frustration at their reluctance to bring up Rizzo, possibly leaving his offense at Iowa, but that does not appear to be the case. He also looks extremely fluid at 1st, making difficult plays look routinely easy. I would like to see the roster with a dozen or so fresh faces on August 1st, but not as a result of a fire sale, just a "seasonal" sale, if you will. I wonder how Hoyer intends to reconcile his position of not bringing up players before lighting it up at Iowa, but maybe they have some players they deem to be not long term solutions but temporary fixes while the young'uns mature. It will be interesting however it plays out.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    Thanks Ivy, I have to give them credit they in fact know what they are doing. Rizzo just seems ready now.

  • Now (2013) or the future (2014-) a my opinion a not to hard choice.
    Trade any veterans, and maybe a few young players, for the
    good of the team. What difference does it make if Garza wins
    13? games in 2013. If he goes into 2013 without a long term
    he is gone.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    No question, it's all about 14/15 I think we could be scary good.

  • I am happy with just the way things have gone except for Geo's slow start, Volstad and Stewart ...Garza could be sharper. As Cub fans, we need to keep our eyes on the prize. That's winning a WS. Let's not stop short and settle for winning the NL Central or even the NL. Let's pay the price for being repeatative WS Championship's. I trust the FO.

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    Yeah Volstad and Stewart were good gambles IMO. Volstad may still have some value down the line but boy is he frustrating.

  • Totally agree that the stars are aligning for the long term plan as well as they can.

    Listening to 670 you hear casual fans calling in complaining about the 'Taylor Colvan' trade for 'Ion Stewart', not everyone is going to be on board, but who the hell cares. I personally get equal amounts of satisfaction following the transactional side along with the actual games, so it's like Christmas morning every day right now.

    I've heard several sources mention the FO looking for an impact answer at third base, which clearly indicates they are not sold on Vitters along with reputable scouts. That's fine, but if we did acquire someone like Castellanos (I know the Tigers say he is off limits but can you trust anything front offices are saying right now?), what would happen to Baez? And what would the infield look like in three or so years? If they wanted a short term guy to keep third base warm until Baez gets there, Vitters seems like the in house answer. Does Baez or Castro move to second?

  • In reply to Abe Froman:

    I don't know the answers yet but they sure seem intent on finding a 3b. Maybe they aren't sold on Baez or Vitters at least at third.

  • I'm not sure what the interest is in Castellanos as a future 3rd baseman. The Tiger blogs have him ending up as a power bat at a corner outfield position. His defense seems to have a hole or two. And sure he played shortstop in HS ... that's one of the places you put your better players. I think Baez is our answer [or Candelario (meh), or possibly (but not likely) Geiger] at third at the moment.

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    I think Baez is going to be the answer too, but let's see what they get back at the deadline.

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    Tom, a young 3rd baseMAN? They must have no confidence in Vitters and his 850 plus OPS. Will Vitters be part of a trade package then? Also, I thought Baez was eventually going to move to third? I realize you can never have enough good young players but I think they have decent 3rd baseMAN, prospects now and down the pipeline in Peoria and Boise to look at other positions first .

  • In reply to Barry Bij:

    I'm not sure but they don't seem to like Vitters glove at 3b and John isn't crazy about it either I think.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I read somewhere, maybe even one of johns articles that the Tigers prospect wasn't a glove glover either and might have to move to the outfield eventually.

  • In reply to Barry Bij:

    So if they do nothing at the position, they are committed to trying Vitters/Lake for the next two years until Baez is (hopefully ready). But what if you can get a Rizzo-type 3B prospect now? I'd do it. Then those three can be traded for pitching/whatever.

    I know scouts aren't always right, but nobody seems to think Vitters is going to be a very good big-leaguer. I hope he proves everyone wrong, but all the same, it's an obvious area of need. I haven't checked the stats but the Cubs production at 3B this year has to be one of the worst in baseball.

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    In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    If you can get a blue chipper that plays 3rd base go for it. Rizzo 's situation was pretty unique tho. The pads just traded for a young supposedly farther along prospect, and our GM's were familiar with Rizzo. I think Vitters will be a quality MLBer. Maybe not an allstar but a 800 ops guy

  • I think I'd rather stick with Barney (love his D, he's just great as a DP combo with Castro) and see if Vitters and/or Baez make it at 3rd.

    Don't get in a hurry to go off looking for the 3rd baseman of the future. He may already be in the organization.

  • Tom, any truth to the trade rumor of garza, barney, and vitters to Detroit for turner, castellanos, and 2 other prospects? I'd be estatic if the cubs did that trade.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Oh lord we would go crazy if they pulled that off. I'd be shocked at that haul. However, I will keep my fingers busy texting peeps to check on that one. Where did that originate?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I read that on hot stove cubbies. I'm guessing it's probably just a rumor.

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    In reply to Joshnk24:

    I don't even read Hot Stove Cubbies any more. They tend to have a lot of rumors you don't see anywhere else. I believe they might make up their own rumors just to get people worked up.

  • Um yes, that pretty much it. Compiling rumors that are out there and just throwing something together based on other info.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Ya f hot stove cubbies! Cubs den is the best place to get them most update and accurate info for the cubs! I love it,keep up the great work Tom and John!

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    In reply to Joshnk24:

    You guys do a great job. In the midst of a horrible season I still look forward to reading the stories on cubs den. I cannot get enough of the prospect / draft news.. Is it to early to start talkIng 2013 draft? Only sort of kidding.. Thanks guys

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Thanks Josh.

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    Seems to come from another rumor site, just speculation from a blogger, no inside info.

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