July 25, 2016

Cubs acquire Chapman, future is still bright

by Daniel Conmy

Chicago saw a World Series victory in 2005, but that was on the South Side. This time around, the Cubs are going all in for the World Series. Tonight, the Chicago Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman in a blockbuster deal close to the deadline. Sure, the price was steep, but the Cubs are in a precarious position.

As everyone knows, the Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. Some call it the curse of the Bill Goat. Others still blame Bartman for something that wasn't his fault. Nevertheless, the Cubs know sadness and they might be on the verge of ending that sadness with the fantastic team Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer put together.

The Cubs are trading off future value since Gleyber Torres is the marquee prospect in the trade, but the Cubs time to win is now. Torres, is playing high-A ball in the Carolina League and the major league club has a wealth of infield ability. Along with Torres, the Cubs departed with Billy McKinney, Adam Warren, and a fourth player to be named later. Chicago's one weakness could lie within the middle relief, but they shifted that thinking after acquiring Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners for Dan Vogelbach. To add to the bullpen depth, they have two shutdown closers with Hector Rondon and Chapman.

There's always been concern with the value from a midseason rental, but this move is not for the rest of the season. Given that the Cubs are likely going to keep pace to make it into the playoffs, this is for the playoffs where you can deploy your best relievers with more frequency, The extra days off for travel benefit the elite bullpens, just look at the Royals bullpen last year. The game is becoming an affair between bullpens and it's a wise decision to build up the best one for the playoffs. For example, Chapman threw 4.3 percent of the innings for the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 season. That would be a foolish investment for the Cubs if he is only throwing that often in the postseason. Given Joe Maddon's forward thinking approach, that probably won't appear as an issue in the postseason.

Beyond Chapman's innings, this is a unique situation for a baseball team. If the Cubs won a World Series in the last few years, many would be calling this trade an overpay, and it still likely is. We have to throw all of that out the window when it comes to the Cubs. They are in a position to end the worst drought in all of American major sports. Taking a chance on one of the best, if not the best, reliever in the game is a no-brainer. Also, this one move does not damage the long term health of the major league roster.

Their farm system is a little weaker after the trade, but prospects have recently been overrated to an extreme. Everyone is looking for the next Mike Trout, but that likely won't exist for a while. To add to that, Chicago has a young, cheap, and controllable core. Yes, Jake Arrieta is up for arbitration starting next year and Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Ben Zobrist all signed healthy offseason contracts, not to mention Jason Heyward. The point being is, Kris Bryant is a young superstar that is filled with other young talent up the middle of the field. No, I did not forget about the all-star at first base in Anthony Rizzo. This is not an overpay for a longshot chance to make the playoffs and blow it up after this year. The Cubs have staying power for the next couple of years and management decided that most important value to receive is present value.

To add on, the price of relievers has gone up astronomically in the past seasons and it start with Craig Kimbrel and Ken Giles this offseason. Make no mistake, the price is steep, but the team to unload prospects is the Cubs.

People will always argue whether or not something is an overpayment,  but if the Cubs win the World Series, no one can argue with the trading of future value.

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