After getting our brains beat in by the rival Redbirds, our spirits are down. However, in times of depression, I like to think that the grass is greener on the other side. For our purposes, the other side is the future of this organization. Obviously, I do not have a crystal ball. So guessing trades and which free agents we sign is nearly impossible. With that being said, I'm going to do my best in providing you a rough sketch of the Cubs two or three years down the road (25 man roster).
Catchers TBA and Steve Clevenger/Wellington Castillo- Soto will and should be gone. Clevenger has been decent enough to gain a role as a back up on this future team. However, if we want to make any noise we may need a veteran free agent with more experience. I'm thinking someone who follows the Jason Varitek, A.J. Pierzynski mold. We'll just have to wait and see who exactly that is.
Corner infield Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Josh Vitters- Hopefully Rizzo is on this team for a very long time. Despite the recent sweep, his presence has benefitted our current Cubs greatly. I'd actually be shocked if anyone other than Rizzo is playing first base for the Cubs over the next three years. After all, he is just 22 years old. Even though Baez is playing shortstop right now, he has the physical make-up and power to be a third baseman. He may not be ready until 2015. Until then, third will most likely belong to Mr. Vitters.
Middle Infield Starlin Castro, Logan Watkins, TBA- I have a very high opinion of Logan Watkins. I think his defense is underrated as well as his bat. He hit .261 in Peoria which is low, but managed to hit .281 in Daytona the following year. His OBP will always be high because he is a good contact hitter and draws walks. I think of him as a Todd Walker type of player; nothing special, will get the job done. Obviously, Starlin will be our shortstop. My TBA is reserved for a MIF who is solid defensively and has enough of a veteran presence to mentor Castro and Watkins. I'm thinking along the lines of Cesar Izturis.
Outfield Jorge Soler, Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, Tony Campana, TBA- Out of the four names listed here, Soler and Jackson are pretty much the only locks to be with the Cubs in 2-3 years. We talk enough about Soler on this blog, I feel redundant just writing his name down. Jackson's BA (currently .262 in AAA) is not high enough to be a productive MLB center fielder. Hopefully, he can improve that without sacrificing power. I'm hoping TheoJed can package a trade to get a star as my TBA. I go to bed at night praying for Justin Upton, but I don't see that happening. Szczur and Campana are good options off the bench for different reasons. Szczur is versatile, does everything good, nothing great. Campana has amazing speed and will always be useful on the bench.
Starters Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Justin Germano, TBA, TBA- Our starting pitching looks awful... right now. Hopefully, TheoJed can get enough in return for Dempster/Garza/Maholm to get some quality starters. Samardzija and Wood are good back-end starters, but nothing special. Germano is a 5 starter at best. Best case scenario, TheoJed sign/trade for a true ace (Cole Hamels?) and a good two starter (re-sign Dempster?). It's tough for me to comment on the rotation in too much detail. It's too "up in the air".
Relievers Dolis, Corpas, Beliveau, Russell, Frank Batista, Alberto Cabrera, TBA- At first glance, this pen looks pretty bad. Dolis and Corpas have been pretty decent in the majors so far this year. I wouldn't bet my life on them pitching a scoreless inning, but they certainly are capable. Beliveau doesn't have great numbers but he should be able to fill in a role pitching only/mostly to lefties. Despite Russell's horrendous outing (6 ER in .2 IP saturday), he has been good against lefties and righties; definitely would be the 8th inning guy in this crew. Frank Batista is simply listed here cause he has been fantastic with the Smokies this year. In 34 IP he has a 1.06 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Cabrera has a chance to be our closer 2-3 years from now. He's got the best stuff out of this group of gentlemen and is tallying 11.7 K/9 at the AA level. My TBA here is a guy similar to Shawn Camp. Just a low-budget veteran who can be thrown into any spot and do a decent job. Those guys aren't hard to find.
Well folks thanks for reading. This is my first article. Hope you enjoyed looking at out potential future!