After a crummy first half, we talked on the Dreamcast about how the Chicago Cubs might go about turning their season around to win the division as most of us thought they would this year. I think most of us figured that the Cubs had a lot of position player depth, and would therefore use their surplus to somehow bolster their one glaring weakness in starting pitching.
As you can guess from most of the reactions (some of which are curated here), nobody expected the Jose Quintana trade for various reasons (except for two very excellently named Reddit users). Even Theo Epstein was uncertain that the trade could ever happen between the Cubs and White Sox, but it appeared that logical minds prevailed and a fair trade was consummated.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 13, 2017
We knew that any trade for a young, cost-controlled starter would be painful, and losing Eloy Jimenez is a tough pill to swallow. But consider that Eloy was only considered the “top” Cubs prospect because, well, all the other prospects are now in Chicago. And also consider that both Eloy and Dylan Cease are years away from being impactful at the major league level. So while there might be some future regret here, this front office has already delivered on the highest level, so any regret will be tempered by that.
I do admit to retrospectively being annoyed by the Rich Harden trade, as nobody knew that Josh Donaldson would turn out to be an MVP-caliber player in Toronto way after the fact. Or the Matt Garza trade that now made us pine for Chris Archer. Or the Aroldis Chapman trade that I kind of hated at the time but still understood, that sent Gleyber Torres away. Not to mention the part where Adam Warren sucked as a Cub but was perfectly fine as a Yankee. But every single one of those trades (well, except maybe for the Garza one, ugh) had a purpose in the context of that season.
As humans with emotional attachments to nice things, we like to keep our own prospects, but ultimately we can see why some risks had to be made, the rewards that come from them (especially the Chapman trade, even after Game Seven), and we deal with the regrets further on down the line if they come. I imagine that the Oakland A’s still feel a bit of a stomach punch for giving up Addison Russell, and the Rangers probably weren’t too happy about Kyle Hendricks and Carl Edwards Jr working out so well with the Cubs. Again, like the Cubs during this competitive window, they just did what they felt was the best for the organization at the time, accepted the risk, and dealt with the regrets later just as I feel with Donaldson and Archer in retrospect. That, I suppose, is an appropriate analogy for all things in life. While they are obviously very good at baseball NOW, we will never know if that would have happened if they remained with the Cubs, kind of like how Adam Warren sucked as a Cub. So we make the best decisions possible at each point in our lives (or if running a baseball club) and deal with the consequences as they come.
Jed Hoyer has touted the Quintana trade as not just helping this year, but for up to three years past this season as he is under team control through at least 2020 with inexpensive team options. This means that the Cubs can continue to ride their young championship core (they already won one, remember?) and use their financial flexibility to fill in the gaps. We will accept that this was a good trade at the time it was made, and that whatever regrets we might have will be several years down the line after some rewards have been realized. With still a couple weeks before the trade deadline, it’s nice to know that even with the farm system seemingly depleted, there might still be enough left to make other moves (hello, Sonny Gray?), so stay tuned…
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 14, 2017