It's Year One of the Jed Hoyer-Theo Epstein regime, and the two baseball masterminds have already begun shaping the Chicago Cubs in their images. Sure, they've let some big-name guys head to other teams (Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena, to name two), but they've also kept intact a solid foundation of youthful talent (Jeff Samardzija, Starlin Castro, Matt Garza, et al.)who should provide a solid base to build a championship team around.
Chicago brought in some depth at the catcher position to help Geovany Soto push his game to the next level. He fell off the map a bit last season, batting only .228 and making an uncharacteristic number of errors. Should he falter too much at any point this season, Jason Jaramillo, Wellington Castillo or Steve Clevenger are each capable of taking his position behind the dish.
The Cubs also added some quality arms to the starting rotation. None of them are "big-name guys," to be sure, and they haven't dominated hitters in the past. But Epstein and Hoyer have a history of judging players based on their future potential and not on their past statistics.
It will be interesting to see how all of the newly installed pieces fit together this season and beyond.
That said, here are four players that Cubs fans should be excited about watching this season.