Now that the shock of Theo Epstein’s departure from the Chicago Cubs has set in, it is time to look ahead to the future. Brace yourselves Cubs fans; the immediate future does not look good.
This does not mean that the Cubs are going to return to being the Lovable Losers again, but there are going to be some tough times ahead. Jed Hoyer is the new man in charge and he has a mess laid out in front of him.
It is expected that Hoyer is going to start a rebuild almost immediately, and it was a big reason that Theo decided to step down. It seems crazy to think that this era of Cubs baseball is over, but it’s time to make some changes.
The Cubs have simply not been the same team since 2016, and it’s time to shake things up. Hoyer is going to take some heat for this in the beginning, but it is the reason he was put in charge.
The Core is No More
The biggest decision facing Jed Hoyer is what do to with the Cubs’ “core” of players that we have come to love. This group of players includes Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and Wilson Contreras.
All five of these players are absolutely beloved in Chicago and each of them played a huge part in the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series. This group has continued to lead the team to division titles and playoff appearances, but this group was supposed to bring more to this organization.
Let’s face it Cubs fans; it is time to break up the core. There have been plenty of rumors of this happening in recent years, but it is time to finally make the move.
The offense has been “broken” for a few years now, and it appears that this group of players will fall well short of expectations that were set for them. It’s never easy to see some of the fan-favorites go, but it is time to move on and begin rebuilding for the future.
Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber are the two most obvious pieces that are expected to be dealt with this offseason, and each will deliver a huge blow to Cubs fans. The Cubs simply don’t have the money to sign all of these players, and KB and Schwarbs have simply run out of time in a Cubs uniform.
Farm System Needs Rebuilt
The Minor League system was bare before Theo Epstein took over in Chicago, but he did a great job of building that backup. Unfortunately, Theo was forced to trade almost all of the top prospects in an effort to keep the Cubs on top, and the farm system is now bare once again.
If the Cubs are going to get back to a place where they routinely compete for championships then the Minor League system has to be replenished. This problem will be helped by trading away some of the core, but the Cubs also need to hit on some draft picks in coming years.
We won’t ever see another run of elite Minor League prospects like we had when Theo was running the show, but Hoyer will have to get this part of the equation figured out. A rebuild is necessary to get enough talent in the lower-levels to help build a perennial contender once again.
Cherish the Memories
This offseason is going to be rough for Cubs fans as they are forced to say goodbye to some of their favorite players. Major League Baseball is a business, and unfortunately, it is time to say goodbye to some employees.
As players from the core get traded away this offseason, don’t ever forget the memories that these players helped provide. The core has fallen short in delivering multiple championships, but the 2016 World Series Championship will live on forever.