5 Things We Learned About the Cubs Through the First 4 Weeks of 2014

Jason S. Parini@@JasonPariniBRCorrespondent IIApril 29, 2014

5 Things We Learned About the Cubs Through the First 4 Weeks of 2014

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    Charles Rex Arbogast

    As the Chicago Cubs celebrated the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field on Wednesday, Cubs fans around the country will rejoice in the fact that they have...well, something to rejoice.

    Although the team hasn't won a World Series since they began playing at Wrigley Field in 1916, fans of the team are optimistic that a championship may very well be on its way to Chicago's North Side in the near future.

    Unfortunately, that time is expected to be a few years away still. The team finds itself in last place in the National League Central, already 10 games behind the first-place Brewers only four weeks into the season.

    Cubs fans have had plenty to yell about, both good and bad. From multiple blown saves by Jose Veras to an 11th-inning game-winner against the St. Louis Cardinals by Welington Castillo, 2014 has been an emotional ride.

    Here, we look at five things we have learned about the Cubs in 2014.

     

Trading Matt Garza May Have Been Even Better Than Expected

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    David Zalubowski

    Good riddance, Matt Garza.

    Since the Cubs traded the 30-year-old to the Texas Rangers for prospects C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm and Mike Olt, Garza has shown his "chump" side on multiple occasions. 

    Last August, Garza went on a Twitter rant against the Oakland Athletics' Eric Sogard and his wife, Kaycee. Garza referred to the two as "chumps" and said that "certain people can't shut there women up."

    Real classy.

    Most recently, Garza voiced his opinion on the Cubs, saying that they cost him at least 30 wins in three seasons. He continued to advise Cubs' starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija to "pitch his way out of it."

    Garza's blatant disrespect toward the organization is better off elsewhere. The Cubs are looking to have gotten the better end of this deal, as all three prospects have the potential to be contributors down the road.

     

Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo Were Paying Attention to the Criticism

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    Bill Boyce

    Remember that time last year when former Cubs manager Dale Sveum threatened to demote first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro to the minor leagues?

    You can stop laughing now.

    Though they finished the 2013 season with batting averages of .233 and .245, respectively, both have bounced back quickly early in 2014. Going into Tuesday's game against the Reds, the two have combined to hit .288 with 21 RBI.

    The two were highly criticized throughout last season, and it's refreshing to know the boys were listening.

    Castro and Rizzo are both expected to be the core of the Cubs for future years, as the team has already wrapped up $101 million between the two.

     

Wrigley Field's 100th Birthday May Be the Most Exciting Aspect of 2014

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    M. Spencer Green

    Let's face it. 2014 has already been difficult for the Cubs.

    As mentioned earlier, the Cubs are already occupying the basement of the NL Central, which is looking as difficult as it was expected to be. 

    Bad news has already begun to be heard about the prospects, as the Cubs' top pitching prospect, C.J. Edwards, was revealed to have shoulder inflammation and will be sidelined for the next month.

    Javier Baez, the Cubs No. 1 overall prospect, is hitting only .172 with three home runs this season in Triple-A.

    Youth is key for any future success, and any bad news from the farm system may only compound this year's struggles. 

    Luckily, the organization is celebrating Wrigley Field's 100th birthday all season, with promotions and celebrations planned throughout the year. 

    At least there's something to take everyone's mind off of the on-field struggles.

Emilio Bonifacio Was a Solid Pick-Up for the Team

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    Nam Y. Huh

    One of the brightest spots at the start of 2014 was Emilio Bonifacio's record-setting hot start. Bonifacio inked his name in the record books by going 9-for-12 in his first two games, marking the most hits a player has recorded in the first two games of the season.

    Although Bonifacio isn't quite as hot as he began, he enters Monday's game with a .333 average in 22 games, the highest on the Cubs.

    The Cubs signed the 29-year-old to a minor league deal in February. Bonifacio was a good signing because of his versatility and reliability for only $2.5 million.

    Too bad the rest of the team won't produce that much for $2.5 million.

Jose Veras Wasn't the Answer for Closer

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    Ross D. Franklin

    Can the Cubs have a mulligan on Jose Veras?

    After blowing two saves and subsequently being removed as the Cubs closer, Jose Veras was placed on the disabled list on Sunday with an oblique strain.

    After signing him to a $4 million deal in December, the 33-year-old only lasted four games before being relieved of his duties. At the time that he was removed from the closer spot, he had compiled a 12.27 ERA.

    Closer problems are not a new concept to the Cubs. The now-banished Carlos Marmol was a thorn in the side of the Cubs last season and was ultimately traded to the Dodgers.