The Padres traded 1B Anthony Rizzo to the Chicago Cubs last week. This move gives Chicago their (projected) 1B of the future and takes them out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. I believe the Orioles’ management can learn something from this transaction.
Passing up Fielder for Rizzo removes any doubt that the Cubs are in a full fledged rebuilding program. Fielder would have put up good numbers in Wrigley and assured that the seats would have been full of fans for the next couple of years. It also would have meant the Cubs would have tried to surround Fielder with players good enough to keep them in the wildcard race until mid to late August, year after year. Chicago’s new owners wanted something different – a winner, and Theo Epstein knows something about turning a perennial lost cause into a winner.
With the Dodgers and Mets temporarily on the financial sidelines the Cubs are probably the third most financially capable team in baseball. A 6/160M commitment to Fielder was within their budget. Epstein instead chose to trade his most marketable players for prospects so that he could build a winner and then support it with a strong farm system. This method will probably produce some 90 games or more losing seasons for a year or two, but it gives the Cubs the best chance of being a consistent winner. Certainly, a much better chance than year after year of 80 to 85 win seasons that half way
measures have and would accomplish for that team.
Despite the fact that the Cubs have minimal organic talent on the horizon they have chosen to forgo premier “free” agents as part of their rebuilding process. Perhaps they have learned that such an approach never really works. It would not come as a shock to me if Theo Epstein uses some of the money they won’t
be spending on big money “free” agents to invest in international talent before the new rules on spending limits take effect in July.
What I find most ironic is that the Orioles have a better stocked farm system than the Cubs at this point even if most of our real talent finished last season at A ball or below. Unfortunately, we have not yet committed to the rebuilding process that could make us a perennial winner.
Do you think the Orioles should rebuild around Matt Wieters
and Zach Britton
or do you believe we should try to “win now”? Please explain why?