COLUMN: Cub (fans) lose!

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

   We all knew this day was coming, July 30. We also knew what was going to happen, our favorite Cub players were going to be traded at or before the deadline and the rebuild would be official.

     But after spending a few days reading comments online, scrolling through Facebook and hearing water cooler conversations, most Cub fans must have been in denial. I get it, no one likes to see their favorite players get traded away, become free agents or retire, me included.

     Let’s face some facts: No way were the Cubs going to be able to sign Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javy Baez, all three who are in their last year of their contracts.

     Most complaints I’ve heard from fans are that they feel the Cubs could have afforded to sign all three guys. Maybe they could have financially afforded to sign all three. According to Cubs GM, Jed Hoyer, the Cubs offered all three substantial contracts and none of them signed their name on the dotted line.

     I’d like to break this whole thing down a bit. The three guys I mentioned plus Kyle Schwarber (not resigned after last season) and Wilson Contreras are the heartbeat of this team. All of them brought us Cub fans a World Series in 2016. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

     Since 2016 the Cubs have been a consistent playoff team. They have failed though, to make a return trip to the October Classic. With that type of talent, the Cubs should have at least made it to another World Series.

     This is probably going to upset a few fans but Baez, Rizzo and Bryant have not performed consistently over the last four-five years. I’m just going to say it, they have under-performed.

     Bryant lacks consistency when it comes to power and clutch hitting, Baez strikes out way too much and Rizzo’s average always seems to hover in the low .200s. Maybe that lack of improvement doesn’t just fall on the player’s shoulders. Maybe the organization as a whole hasn’t done a good job in the continued development of their young stars.

     Look at Schwarber, a change of scenery seems to have lit a spark in his bat. (he’s since been traded). All three guys have debuted with their new teams with success. Rizzo homered in his first at bat with the Yankees. Baez and Bryant also homered in their first games.

     Time will tell if all of the moves the Cubs just made will pay off. Most of the young guys that are joining a depleted farm system are young and it will take years to see any dividends. The Cubs did free up a ton of money with their trades.

     There still are a few other guys that need to be flushed from this team, Ian Happ and Jason Heyward. David Bote is also a question mark in my opinion. The past few years the Cubs have been close to the top of leading the league in K’s. That trend continues with Happ, Heyward and Bote.

     Now that three of my favorite players are gone, I’m going to cheer on these new guys and hope that maybe in a year or two the Cubs can be competitive again. Let’s also not forget, any one of those three, Baez, Bryant or Rizzo, could come back to the team this winter as a free agent. I know, wishful thinking. Go Cubs!



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