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A Look At The Cubs Team Theo Epstein Built

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Here’s how Theo & Co. put together the outstanding team that’s headed to the postseason.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

A month shy of five years ago, Theo Epstein first met the Chicago media and Cubs fans as President of Baseball Operations. The team was in shambles; the system, almost nonexistent.

As you know, Theo went to work to build a winner, and has done so, perhaps better than we could have imagined.

There are seven players remaining on the 40-man roster (plus the five currently on the 60-day DL) from the Jim Hendry era: Javier Baez (first-round pick, 2011), Matt Szczur (fifth-round pick, 2010), Willson Contreras (signed as an amateur free agent, 2009), Dallas Beeler (41st-round pick, 2010), Jeimer Candelario (signed as an amateur free agent, 2010), Zac Rosscup (acquired by trade from Rays, January 2010) and Felix Pena (signed as an amateur free agent, 2009). Three of those players were significant contributors to this N.L. Central championship season.

Here are the 38 other players and how they were acquired by Theo over the last five years, listed in alphabetical order. And now we’ve got five more years of Theo & Co. to put together more great teams like this.


Andury Acevedo: signed as a minor-league free agent November 19, 2015

Albert Almora Jr.: drafted in 1st round (sixth overall) in 2012

Jake Arrieta: acquired in trade from Orioles (with Pedro Strop) for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger, July 2, 2013

Aaron Brooks: acquired in trade from Athletics for Chris Coghlan, February 5, 2016

Kris Bryant: drafted in 1st round (second overall) in 2013

Jake Buchanan: signed as a free agent April 3, 2016

Trevor Cahill : signed as a free agent August 18, 2015, re-signed December 4, 2015

Aroldis Chapman: acquired in trade from Yankees for Adam Warren, Gleyber Torres, Rashad Crawford and Billy McKinney July 25, 2016

Chris Coghlan: acquired by trade with Athletics for Arismendy Alcantara, June 9, 2016

Gerardo Concepcion: signed as an amateur free agent March 11, 2012

Carl Edwards Jr.: acquired in trade (with Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez and Mike Olt) from the Rangers for Matt Garza, July 22, 2013

Tim Federowicz: signed as a free agent January 14, 2016

Dexter Fowler: acquired by trade with Astros for Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily, January 9, 2015 (re-signed as free agent February 25, 2016)

Justin Grimm: acquired in trade (with Carl Edwards Jr., Neil Ramirez and Mike Olt) from the Rangers for Matt Garza, July 22, 2013

Jason Hammel: signed as a free agent December 12, 2014 (previously with Cubs in 2014, traded to Athletics with Jeff Samardzija for Addison Russell, Dan Straily and Billy McKinney)

Kyle Hendricks: acquired in trade (with Christian Villanueva) for Ryan Dempster, July 31, 2012

Jason Heyward: signed as a free agent December 15, 2015

Pierce Johnson: drafted in the first round (43rd overall) in 2012

Munenori Kawasaki: signed as a free agent January 21, 2016

Tommy La Stella: acquired by trade from Braves for Arodys Vizcaino November 16, 2014

John Lackey: signed as a free agent December 8, 2015

Jon Lester: signed as a free agent December 15, 2014

Miguel Montero: acquired in trade from Diamondbacks for Zack Godley and Jeferson Mejia

Mike Montgomery: acquired by trade from Mariners (with Jordan Pries) for Dan Vogelbach and Paul Blackburn, July 20, 2016

Spencer Patton: acquired by trade from Rangers for Frandy de la Rosa, November 20, 2015

Anthony Rizzo: acquired by trade from Padres (with Zach Cates) for Andrew Cashner and Kyung-Min Na, January 6, 2012

Hector Rondon: selected in Rule 5 draft, December 5, 2012

David Ross: signed as a free agent, December 23, 2014

Addison Russell: acquired in trade from Athletics (with Dan Straily and Billy McKinney) for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, July 5, 2014

Kyle Schwarber: drafted in 1st round (fourth overall) in 2014

Joe Smith: acquired by trade from Angels for Jesus Castillo, July 31, 2016

Jorge Soler: signed as an amateur free agent June 30, 2012

Giovanni Soto: purchased from Indians April 11, 2016

Pedro Strop: acquired in trade from Orioles (with Jake Arrieta) for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger, July 2, 2013

Christian Villanueva: acquired in trade (with Kyle Hendricks) for Ryan Dempster, July 31, 2012

Travis Wood : acquired in trade from Reds (with Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes) for Sean Marshall, December 23, 2011

Rob Zastryzny: drafted in the second round in 2013

Ben Zobrist: signed as a free agent December 8, 2015