I am not sure if you have been paying attention or not, but the Chicago Cubs are looking as though they are going into full rebuild mode as I blogged about yesterday. Nothing is more evident of them doing so than their trading Sean Marshall, who is on his last year of arbitration before reaching free agency, to the Cincinnati Reds for Travis Wood, who is still under team control with his rookie contract for four more years, and prospects. Another sign is their very obvious attempts to trade Matt Garza, who is starting to get relatively expensive for prospects. When you are in rebuilding mode, these are the moves that you make, preparing yourself for the years to come. Now, I know there are fans out there that believe a major market should ever be in rebuild mode, but that’s crap. I am sorry, that is ridiculous. Big market teams have gone through rebuilding, the New York Yankees did so in the 90s and had a roster filled with their own young prospects like Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada just to name a few.
I do not think the idea of rebuilding is really a problem with most Cub fans, instead the problem is them trading away proven veterans for prospects. For years under Andy McPhail and then Jim Hendry, Cub fans have had no problem with them being on the other side of the deal, trading away prospects for proven talent. Things have worked out well, especially in 2003 when they traded away Bobby Hill for Aramis Ramirez. But when the shoe is on the other foot and the Cubs have a player that they want to trade away, fans expect to get more than just a prospect back.
That is what I believe to be the main argument they have with the idea of rebuilding, because the Cubs are only getting prospects back for already established stars. Fans do not like that they are getting back players who are unproven at the major league level because prospects are hit or miss. They do not understand why the Cubs would trade players like Marshall and Garza and only get back players who may never amount to anything at the major league level. I guess this is where I get confused by a lot of Cub fans, and baseball fans in general. The very same fans who do not want you to trade away your proven veterans for prospects from another team, are the same exact ones who get upset when rumors come up about the team trading a top prospect in their own system.
Can someone please explain to me what the difference is between another team’s prospects and our own? Granted you typically know more about your own prospects than those of another team, but the logic is still flawed. What makes our prospects more valuable and untouchable than those on another team? If memory serves me correctly, before Starlin Castro came around the Cubs have not produced a top notch superstar player in years. What makes you think another up and coming prospect like Brett Jackson will be any better than Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, Hill or Tyler Colvin? All of them had outstanding numbers in the minor leagues. Where are they now?
You hear the complaints all the time from fans about young prospects who the Cubs have traded away for proven talent. For example, look at the trade the Cubs made for Garza last year. A lot of fans were upset with some of the players the Cubs sent to the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as how many. Granted, looking at some of the players that were traded in that deal gives a solid indication that the Cubs overpaid for Garza, but again, they are only prospects right? Are they not all hit or miss? If that is the argument you use when the Cubs trade established players for them, why get so upset when you send some packing in a deal?
This topic baffles me, because the vastly different view point of prospects depending which side of the deal the Cubs are on. On one hand, they want to know how the Cubs could trade away one of their top prospects, because the Cubs have been promoting him as though he is going to be a star! But when the tables are turned, and the Cubs are the ones trading away an already established star, fans want to know why the team is only going after prospects when they should get back some major league talent.
I know that prospects are hit or miss, so I can understand why fans feel sick to their stomachs when they loose a player like Marshall or Garza and only get potential back in return. But what I can not understand is why using the same philosophy people get so upset when they trade away the same hit or miss prospects.