There was a comment left on one of my previous articles from a fan voicing his frustration with what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer had done to the club thus far in their short amount of time at the helm of the Chicago Cubs. It was not the first time that sentiment had been shared with me.
In past postings I have let it be known I am a proponent of patience regarding the new administration. Maybe it is being a Cubs fan for so long that has instilled this principle within me—or maybe it is an irrational loyalty to an incomprehensibly unfortunate franchise—but I believe Epstein and Hoyer need time to fully institute their organizational plan.
Nevertheless, I understand his/her frustration. But I do not subscribe to it. It’s only been 10 months, chill out.
I believe Cubs fans are illogically frustrated with the new management because we live in a world of “right now”.
Twitter, Facebook, texting, dressing\getting ready for work, in the car as we drive there, express shipping, all of these are the evil enemies of patience. No longer do we have the staying power to wait and let things play out at their natural pace. Rather, now we force conclusions—positive or negative—to happen so we can go about our lives.
It would be easy to rush the process of putting a team on the field that could be competitive for a few years through free agency and trading our best prospects for proven MLB talent. But after those few years of competitiveness we would be back in the exact same place we are now: having to rebuild the organization and restock the farm system with high rated prospects.
However, building a team is like building a home. First, you need to hire a proven contractor that can take the vision of what you want your home to look like and transfer that into actionable blueprints. Thusly, the Cubs hired Theo Epstein as VP of Baseball Operations, who then hired Jed Hoyer as general manager.
Then, before construction gets underway the house needs a good foundation. Strong and sturdy, one that will last for years and years to come.
In this case the farm system serves as the team’s foundation. If there is a crack at the Single-A, Double-A, or Triple-A level, the foundation can become weak and compromise the entire house.
A healthy farm system can be easily sustained with a mixture of smart drafting and intelligent personnel.
Once the foundation has cured you can lay the floor joists and then start framing the house.
When a team frames their ball club, they will want to use a combination of low-cost proven veterans and young players.
As the house continues to be built, the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems are added along with exterior walls, insulation, a roof, and interior walls and ceilings.
After the house if built you can start adding all the furnishings as fancy as your wallet is big.
But no matter how fancy the furniture and appliances you get are, nor if your counter-tops are made of granite and floors of marble, the future of your house relies upon its foundation.
And there are cracks in the foundation of the Cubs’ organization.
In March of this year, Baseball Prospectus ranked the Cubs farm system as No. 20 in the league—albeit in January—and summarized the state of their farm system as the following:
“It’s not a bad system by any measurement, but it has far more depth than star power.”
According to Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein, the Cubs have only one 5-star and one 4-star rated prospect in their minor league system. However, the Cubs do have a good amount of 3-star prospects that could move up in class as they develop.
Even so, the Cubs farm system is not chock-full of major league talent. Cubs fans will need to wait for those prospects to develop and make their way through the farm system as Epstein and Hoyer undertake organizational rebuilding.
Since joining the Cubs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have acquired seven of the Cubs top 20 prospects—that is not including Anthony Rizzo—and that number should go up during the offseason with the probable trade of Matt Garza.
Their mission with the club has been discussed at length. But the fan’s mission with the club has not yet been; but it is simple.
Patience is a virtue my friends. And that is what we will need to have with the new management.
I’ve been a Cubs fan since I was three years old—that’s 25 years—and I know what it is like to keep waiting…and waiting…and waiting for “Next Year” to finally be “This Year.”
I would easily sacrifice four seasons to losing or .500 records, if that would set the club up for 10 playoffs-contending seasons
I have faith the new management will eventually bring the organization a World Series title. And if their plan works out, there could be multiple championships in the Cubs’ future.
Who knows, if all goes well the first may come sooner rather than later; because according to Marty McFly, the Cubs will win in 2015.