Thursday, 8 March 2012

2012 Previews: Chicago Cubs

It was ugly until this happened.  Now it's just bad.

The Majors
Man, Jim Hendry really did a number on this team.  Now I'll be honest, I'm not exactly sure what the difference between a GM and a President is, or what the President does, or what Theo is going to be doing now relative to what he was doing in Boston, but I'd be surprised if this team stays terrible for long under his/Jed's direction.  Hereon, when I refer to Theo, I'm saying it as if he is also the GM and is in charge, because he probably is.

Now that Carlos Zambrano has been traded, the Cubs only have $33MM and change (plus arbitration raises and minimum contracts) committed to their 2013 payroll, which should leave them plenty of flexibility going forward.  Now, the team isn't very good, but Theo is really good at his job, and if he really feels the need to compete, he can get creative.

You'd like to just go and trade everything that isn't nailed down, but there isn't really a whole lot of value on that roster beyond Matt Garza, since everything else is stuff that you'd rather build around (and Garza could feasibly be locked up long-term).

The Minors
Theo has already said that he'd like to rebuild this team slowly and properly, through drafting and developing prospects and building up the team internally, supplementing that with trades.  The new CBA should make it a bit tougher to do that without making some trades from his major league club, so it should be interesting to see what that plan turns in to a year or two from now.

The Verdict
The team isn't very good, especially when compared to three above-average teams within their division.  I don't think they plan on contending much over the next few years, and I think they're going to have trouble rebuilding given the state of their franchise.  The Cubs are one team that should really get nailed by the new CBA, since they don't have very many major league assets to turn to prospects, and they don't really have a great farm system to build on to.  I can't see them being any better this year than they were last year, especially if they make any trades (Garza, Dempster, Byrd, Soriano, Marmol could all go).

Projection: 72-90, 5th in the NL Central

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