While attending my first Cubs game of the season on Thur(I used to be good for about 15/yr prior to wife & kid), I tried to ignore the massacre occuring on the field and take a "long" view as to where the team and organization are headed. To help some shed some light, I decided to compare the near-term prospects of the Cubs and their opponent, the Giants. I understand that the Giants aren't a division rival but are a fellow NL team that has also suffered a fairly recent run of mismanagement. The result of my comparison(s) was far from encouraging.
On the offensive side of the ball, both teams feature an outstanding rookie, who figures to be a lineup anchor for years to come. Both players, Posey and Castro, also have the benefit of providing serious offense at traditionally defensive positions, C and SS respectively. As much as I like Castro, you clearly have to give the edge to Posey in both current output and likely future output. Outside of Posey, the Giants are a mishmash of deadline pickups and vets on short-term deals. The beauty of this is that, despite their poor offense this season,the Giants have significant financial flexibility ot addresss their offensive problems in the offseason, along with promoting worthy minor-leaguers. The Cubs, on the other hand, have Soto providing cost-controlled offense at a traditionally defensive postion(C) to go along with Castro but after that it gets a little murky. Despite some signs for hope based on his power production this season, Colvin can hardly be considered a lock to serve as a future lineup cornerstone, considering his lingering plate discipline isues. After the trio of Colvin, Castro, and Soto the Cubs lineup is a collection of overpaid vets who are either flatlining or in outright decline(Aram, Sori, Dome, and even Byrd) along with the decidedly mediocre DeWitt. The problem is that , due to financial and contractual restraints, there is little room to improve this punchless group- save 1B.
I'll make my analysis of the pitching shorter and to the point , by just focusing on the respective rotations. To be frank, I would rather have ANY of the Giants' top four starters(Cain, Lincecum, Sanchez, Bumgarner) over ANY of ours. The comparison becomes scarier when you take into account the cost and contract statuses involved. Furthermore, the Giants have the luxury of using some of their pitching depth to solve some of their offensive issues, in addtion to the financial flexibility that I mentioned before. The Cubs, unfortunately, have neither the money nor the depth of talent to effectively address their myriad of issues. I'm usually a glass half-full type of guy but I found these conclusions to be a bit sobering. It is especially scary to think that there are plenty of other teams sporting such advantages over the Cubs.