5 Early Signs Cubs GM Theo Epstein Did Everything Right at the Deadline
Despite being winless thus far in August, the Cubs made several moves that we are going to have to live with for some time. Trading Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm and Geovany Soto in the span of three innings wasn't enough, they finally unloaded Dempster minutes before the deadline and then traded Jeff Baker to the TIgers.
They may not be done either.
With Bryan LaHair publicly voicing his displeasure about being relegated to the bench, he could be put on waivers to see if a contender wants to give him a shot.
Alfonso Soriano could also be dealt if he can stay healthy in the next few weeks, but the stars would have to be aligned for a deal to be struck.
Let's take a look at some early signs that the Cubs made all the right moves at the deadline.
5. Christian Villanueva Is Playing Well
Third baseman Christian Villanueva came over in the Dempster deal and got off to a good start by hitting two home runs in his debut.
He is hitting .333 in five games with High-A Daytona and was hitting .285 in 100 games with 10 home runs and a .356 OBP before the trade.
Villanueva was ranked ninth by Baseball America in their preseason rankings and is easily one of the Cubs' intriguing corner infield options going forward.
4. Arodys Vizcaino Is Throwing off Flat Ground
A highly touted prospect coming into the 2012 season with the Braves, Vizcaino developed elbow soreness and underwent Tommy John surgery.
Vizcaino has the ability to be an impact pitcher and will get his shot next March in Cubs spring training. For now, he is throwing off flat ground and meeting his new teammates.
3. Cubs Call Up Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson
The Cubs welcomed what they hope will be their future to the team this week, calling up Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson to some everyday roles. While Vitters will platoon for now, the Cubs hope he can settle into big league ball and develop into an everyday third baseman by 2013.
Jackson, who led the Pacific Coast League in strikeouts, has the ability to be a 5-tool star but has yet to settle down or even make good contact.
Hopefully with a little time and seasoning, they leave Cubs fans happy and content going into 2013, not doubting and questioning their ability and will to be here.
2. Door Is Open for Welington Castillo
Since rejoining the Cubs, Castillo has played five games and is hitting .350 with two home runs. He is a talented catching prospect who hit .260 in 44 games with six home runs and a .375 OBP in Triple-A.
Clevenger does not project as an everyday catcher but Castillo does have the ability to play everyday. With Soto gone, Castillo has a chance to steal the spotlight and make something happen.
1. The Next Phase Is Underway
The Cubs executed what they said they would do all year, rebuild and look to the future.
It is going to be a bit messy early on, we've seen that after losing eight in a row to start August. But the future is here and were getting a glimpse of what it could look like now and for the rest of this season.
The pitching is one of the worst in the league, but the offensive pieces are in place and the ones arriving now will hopefully usher in a young and athletic era for the Cubs.