Given the Cubs farm system is deep with talent begs the question, which of the top seven prospects (Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler, Edwards, Alcantara, Johnson) will be traded before meeting the qualification for rookie of the year? (130 At-bats or 50 innings pitched)
I would like to think that Baez and Bryant are near untouchable at this point (but you would never know)
I can’t see a situation where Bryant, Soler, and Almora all make it to the Cubs outfield. Though no one has high expectations for 2014, 2015 will be year 4 of the Theo / Jed regime and an expectation of improved results on the field will be present (translated – in the playoff picture).
As for pitching, I think Edwards is closer to reaching the bigs than Johnson at this point. I think Alcantara will be replacing Barney after 2014 and will be a low cost, high value player for the next few years.
So here is my opinion. There are 2 players of the top seven prospects that will have very limited / no major league experience with the Cubs prior to being traded….. Mr. Almora and Mr. Johnson. I feel Almora could be the centerpiece to land a low end #2 or high end #3 starting pitcher with 2 years of club control or 2+ years remaining on contract at some point after the 2014 season. He may be a September call-up to “audition” for potential suitors (hopefully he fairs better than Joe Carter did in 1983 – though he did help land Sutcliffe…)
For pitchers, I feel Johnson will be dealt at near the trade deadline in 2015 as I do not see him being major league ready until 2016 while I am hopeful the Cubs will be buyers at the trade deadline next year. What piece of the puzzle will he help land? I think it will be the best setup man available, or a catcher if Beef is struggling/hurt.
Curious to hear of others opinions, have at it.