I once compared the Cubs plan to a symphony in an age where we have become accustomed to the instant gratification of pop songs. Symphonies are relatively long and the tempo and mood changes throughout. But it never loses sight of the overarching theme. If you listen carefully, you see hints of what is to come and how everything fits together from beginning to end.
The Cubs had been subtle thus far, the promotions of Arismendy Alcantara and Kyle Hendricks were signs of things to come, but they did not yet signal a shift. Both of those players were already on the 40 man roster, both of them had already had significant time at AAA. We could see those moves coming but the tempo was still, well, Adagio Molto. The Cubs just dropped a big hint that the tempo is about to change to Allegro Energico.
I am, of course, talking about the Javier Baez promotion.
We've suspected it was coming because we have been listening carefully, but it doesn't make it any less exciting when it does happen. Now the anticipation grows...
Baez is different because he was not on the 40 man roster. The Cubs could have played this by the book by waiting until early next season. It would have saved them an additional roster decision this offseason and saved them money down the road. It would have made sense from a technical standpoint to delay this move.
But it would have been, well, boring and predictable. Variations are also essential and a good composer...errr, um, front office, knows when it is appropriate to introduce them and yet keep the overall framework together.
The Cubs will undoubtedly try to seamlessly adapt this variation. I suspect they have done their homework here and believe Baez will be open to a long term extension, much like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were.
But what really has me excited is that the Baez promotion isn't a culmination. It signals a shift to the next movement of the rebuilding plan, where things begin to really get exciting. The implications for this coming offseason and stretching into 2015 should be plain for us to see. The Cubs intend to build on this. This is not simply a cookie.
Baez has shown a certain pattern in his career and that is to struggle with each new league. The Cubs likely expect this pattern to continue. We will probably see some of the initial excitement slow down as Baez works through some rough patches. We will also catch glimpses of what is to come. As we have seen throughout his career, Baez will eventually adapt. The 50 games left will give him a head start on making adjustments so that he can hit 2015 on the ground and running.
We should keep in mind that this move isn't only about Baez. It is about the big picture. It's about the organizational plan and Baez is just one part of it, albeit a major one. But then again, so is Castro, Rizzo, and Alcantara. So is Jake Arrieta. And so, come September, is Jorge Soler.
The Cubs will have a foundation of some of the best young talent in the game going into the offseason, yet they recognize that alone will not be enough. They need to add veterans to the mix. Some of those veterans are in house but the Cubs will add from outside the organization this offseason as well. And I am not talking about one year flyers this time. The Cubs have moved beyond that now. The Baez promotion is a shift in that the future is not a distant, abstract concept.
The future, the next movement, begins now.
This is what we've all been waiting patiently to hear. This is where the crescendo starts to build.
It's all starting to come together.
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