I Hate the What If Game

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Well, the Chicago Cubs have opened the season with a record of 1-2, which as one would expect has set some fans off with a slew of statements they deem to be true. These statements range from something like call up Kris Bryant already, the Cubs need offense to Addison Russell is ready, trade Starlin Castro (even though he might be the best option at short stop going forward).

Some fans are so desperate to see things moving forward with these exciting players who we are all excited to see, that they forget the small fact that they do not know what would have happened, if either one of them were actually on the team, This is a simple case of the known vs the unknown; and as we all know the unknown is very intriguing, especially when things are not going as well as one would have hoped.

I will not beat around the bush, the Cubs offense has been sleep walking through the first three games of the year, scoring a grand total of three runs. That includes only one run in that hitters heaven known as Coors Field. There is no doubt that the Cubs need offense, and the sooner they get some the better. The starting pitching is going to keep the team in games all year long, and the bullpen (unless your name is Brian Schlitter apparently) is going to keep the opposition from either extending the lead or prevent them from closing the gap. Small sample size or not, I have been impressed with the bullpen; minus the hiccup from Schlitter last night. The pitching is not a concern of mine, but the offense will be what wins or loses the game for the Cubs all year long.

Thanks to Randall J. Sanders for the image!
Thanks to Randall J. Sanders for the image!

The easy answer would be to call up Bryant, and he would insert instant offense into the lineup making everyone around him better and more of a threat. Fans do not like that Mike Olt is playing third base over Bryant (who clearly outplayed all competition). Many fans would have loved to see him up to start the year, but there is no way of knowing how much (if any) impact he would have had if he were here from day one. All we do know, is that he has not been much help to the Iowa Cubs so far. All we know is that in his two games thus far (small sample size noted again) he is 1-8 with zero home runs in Triple A.

While those stats could very well be different at the big league level, there is no way to know with any certainty. So we would have to assume he would have performed the same here. Going 1-8 with no home runs would not have helped the Cubs win another game. But as I stated, his 1-8 in Triple A Iowa likely would not be a 1-8 in the Majors. But there is no way to know if he would have done better, or worse.

How will Bryant do when he gets called up to the Majors (whenever that will be) is anyone’s guess. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Cub fans everywhere hope with all they have that he will be the dominating force he has been since joining the organization, or everything will be much harder going forward.

The Cubs offensive slump makes the wait for Bryant all that much harder, because he brings the potential for a difference maker on the offensive side of the ball. But until he does get called up, there is no way to know how much of an impact he would have had if he were on the team for the entire season.

Any excuse to use this picture... #dreamy
Any excuse to use this picture… #dreamy

Today is the seventh day of the baseball year, Bryant has missed three games on the Major League calendar. There are at least five days and five games left until the Cubs have their first chance to call him up while still securing that most valuable seventh year of service time. However, if he continues to play at the pace he currently is, Cub fans might have to wait longer than those five days before they see him in a Major League game.

Epstein might be happy to see him struggling early though, so he can point to that to “justify” sending him down for “legitimate baseball reasons” for a brief stay while he works on “stuff”. That stuff is basically getting a little crisper with the glove and feeling a little more comfortable playing left field. This struggle would also give him a little more leeway to keep Bryant down a little past those 12 mandatory days, which would make his claim of “baseball reasons” look a little more legit, and not just a way to get an extra year of cheap service time.

Bryant will be worth the wait when he finally gets here, but until then there is no way anyone can say with any type of certainty that the Cubs would have a record any different than the 1-2 they sport today.

Patience is hard to ask for from Cubs fans, but you need to have just a little more. Bryant will be up sooner rather than later, Russell might be as well. Until then though, there is no sense in playing the what if game. Because at the end of the day, you have no idea how much of an impact either man would have had at the Major League level.


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