Nowadays, to be a Cubs fan, you need to have a financial degree to follow the team.
When did it stop just being about baseball? When I became a Cubs fan, I was told there would be no math. Debt load, TV deals, rooftop negotiations, missing profits? I was just starting to figure out all the new metrics and now this?
Lately, when I have written or talked about the baseball operation needing more resources, I've been shot down with retorts to the effect of, "They don't need the money now" or "It would only be poorly spent".
"They are building through the system, the right way".
Now, I have never disagreed that building through the farm system is the right way to build the organization for, wait for it...sustained success.
However, and this is a big however, the front office has been lacking, and still needs much more from the business end soon to make this thing click on all cylinders.
Don't believe me? Just listen to Theo Epstein.
“We’re not saying that you can build a championship team through the minor-league system alone,” he said Thursday. “That would be extremely challenging, if not impossible.”
“We need to make sure that when the next wave of prospects comes up, they don’t take too much of a burden. We hope to have strong players around them, hopefully an impact player or two around them on the club so that they can break in the right way. You don’t want your prospects breaking in carrying too much responsibility.
You don’t want them hitting in the middle of the order. You don’t want them having to carry a club or playing an instrumental role on the club.
“That’s important and that’s something that we’ve thought about, and we’re going to have to act on it.”
I've been saying all along that these kids are going to need protection in the form of some veteran players. That is where a signing like Masahiro Tanaka or otherwise would greatly help take some of the focus off the Baezes and Bryants of the world.
But I have another question after hearing those thoughts: Why doesn't that logic apply already to Starlin Castro or Anthony Rizzo?
I wrote just the other day that Rizzo is unfairly being counted on as both a leader and middle-of-the-order hitter. Just imagine the protection afforded, both on and off the field, for young players in, say, the Cardinals organization.
“I have faith that our situation is going to change,” Epstein said. “As the team plays better, and most significantly when the TV deal happens, we’re going to be in a position to hopefully overpower the other teams in our division financially".
Sounds good, sounds like actual big market thinking.
Maybe it's not time yet, but soon the Cubs might want to think about making their Jason Werth-type move, so they can field an actual major-league lineup around these kids.
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