A Step Forward and a Step Back for your Chicago Baseball Teams


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September 25 – Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs pitches at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, IL against the Chicago White Soxs.

By Emily Chin, Staff Writer

Attention to all Cubs fans. The upcoming season is not looking good. The 2020 season was not at all terrible until it reached the postseason, and the Cubs ultimately lost to the Miami Marlins in the wild card series. Based on the rather slow offseason, some ideas have been pushed to the surface about a possible rebuild. Whether it will be a full tear down or just small changes, fans will have to cope with the idea that another Chicago based team will be taking the time to go through a rebuild.

This rebuild that we saw in 2011-12 which resulted in the Cubs winning the World Series in 2016 is going to be way different than the one that we’re currently seeing. One major change that we immediately saw is that Theo Epstein has stepped down as the team’s president of baseball operations after nine seasons. Therefore, general manager Jed Hoyer will replace Epstein. Hoyer’s situation has been considered much more difficult than Epstein’s because while Epstein had the ability to let go of some free agents, Hoyer got stuck making difficult non-tendering decisions on players such as Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.

Bryant was a name that was constantly passed around during trade rumors. The Cubs were able to create a quick one-year contract extension that will keep him in Chicago until 2021. Fans hope that the Cubs will be able to make a long-term contract agreement with Bryant when he becomes a free agent. Unlike Bryant, other players that include Schwarber, Jose Martinez, Albert Almora, and Ryan Tepera were put on the non-tendered list.

On Dec. 29, the Cubs announced that they traded, National League (NL) Cy Young Award runner-up, Yu Darvish, and catcher Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres in return for pitcher Zach Davies and four other prospects. Whether this trade was the right call is still up for debate. Darvish didn’t have the best record with the Cubs, suffering from a tricep strain during the 2018 season, and having one of his most disastrous years in 2019 by giving up 33 home runs, 11 wild pitches, and hitting 11 batsmen. But during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Darvish had amazing numbers with an 8-3 record and a 2.01 ERA, leading the NL in wins. By trading Darvish halfway through his contract (potentially at his highest value), it saved the Cubs organization about a whole whopping $59 million in the deal over that time.

Out of this 7-person trade, the four prospects received are still years away from playing in the majors, so the Cubs will probably see the full effect of this trade at the minimum of the 2023 season. Another big player that came attached to this trade was Davies, who had an outstanding lone season with the Padres last year, but realistically he’s a short-term piece for the Cubs.

All fans can do is wait it out and hope that whatever Hoyer has in mind will make a drastic impact in a couple of years.

As for the White Sox, fans may be looking at a very bright future for the team. Last season no doubt, didn’t end with the expectations the team and fans wanted. Losing during the wild-card series was a bit disappointing considering that their roster is profoundly promising.

Within the last couple of seasons, the Sox have been undergoing a rebuild. Based on the trades seen during this year, it looks like they’ve entered their final stage of the rebuild. The biggest and most significant acquisition to their team this year is starting pitcher Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers in return for pitcher Dane Dunning and pitching prospect Avery Weems. The whole deal was a big steal for the Sox. General manager, Rick Hahn, just added maybe one of the best AL pitchers to their roster at an affordable price of $8 million. Lynn will reunite with the new Sox manager, Tony La Russa, who he worked with in 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He will also join starting pitchers Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel to become one of the big three in their new rotation.

Still imposing a big threat is the Los Angeles Dodgers which will be a difficult team especially since they won the World Series last year and still have players like Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Dustin May, and Julio Urias. Another team that is certainly seen as a huge threat for this year and future seasons is the Padres. They not only have Blake Snell, but players like Luis Patino, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Jake Cronenworth will definitely be a force to reckon with. But Sox fans don’t worry, now that they’ve left the rebuild phase and are currently in win mode expect them to make playoffs somewhere in the next couple of years.