Cubs 2012 Recap: Under Construction
Well, weren't the 2012 Chicago Cubs an epic display of futility? But that's not what this year, the first in the reign of Theo Epstein and company, was all about. It was about the complete demolition of the organization, leaving it bare and ready for reconstruction.
After one year on the job, the cupboards are empty and, other than the expired foie gras that is Alfonso Soriano, the refrigerator is absent of all over-priced and underperforming veterans.
In his press conference Thursday following the season, Epstein reminded fans of the long-term vision and pleaded for patience. He also offered little hope for a competitive team next year.
"I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Don't worry about 101 losses because we have a magic plan to win the World Series in 2013, (that) it's gonna happen, so be there now," he said. "That's not the case. There is a plan, there is a vision. It might be a little bit longer turn than we all want it to be, but that we're committed to it and that there is a great reward at the end."
As for the foundation already at the major league level, there are still plenty of questions surrounding Starlin Castro. His batting average and on-base percentage dipped severely from last year. Dropping from .307 and .341 respectively to .283 and .323. His lackadaisical fielding also remained an issue and left many to wonder if he is a long-term fixture at shortstop or just another player who gathers numbers and is expendable.
Anthony Rizzo lived up to the hype, delivering a solid rookie year that saw him hit .285 with an on-base percentage of .342. He suffered through August slump when pitchers adapted to his strengths but delivered a solid September, showing that he can be a middle of the order hitter for years to come. As for Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters, both will start next year at Triple-A Iowa. They have a long way to go to become full-time major league players.
Don't look for the Cubs to be in contention for a few years. After the trade deadline, they showed just how deprived the organization is of pitching and major league ready position players. They will most likely add a few inexpensive starting pitchers in the mold of Paul Maholm in the offseason, but the strides will be made via the draft or possibly by trading pitcher Matt Garza.
The major league team will be in a holding pattern for the next few seasons until they can restock and develop young players. So prepare accordingly Cubs fans, and add a few extra bucks to the beer fund.