This Chicago Sun-Times article on the Chicago Cubs can, with a little spin, be considered in a positive light, if you really squint. Exclaiming a Major League team’s Opening Day roster “has little” on its Triple-A counterpart is a..peculiar way of praising the club’s minor league depth of talent.
Or, more accurately, it is a not-so-gentle reminder that the rebuilding curve in Chicago is just beginning, not ending.
It is often said that the biggest jump in professional baseball is from triple-A to the Majors. Which makes ledes like the one below a little worrisome:
If you’re wondering who might win a three-game series between the Cubs and their Class AAA Iowa affiliate right now, you’re not alone.
Openly wondering if your AAA team might beat the big club does not inspire much in the way of confidence, does it? Sure, the article goes on to note that a few of the clubs better prospects will start the season at AAA softens the blow but, then again, does it?
Of course creating depth at all levels is important. As discussed on last week’s Up and In podcast, the current trend in baseball isn’t to keep more premium “talent” at Double-A: it is where teams store their prospects. Triple-A is more a repository for insurance policies, guys who can zip up to the big leagues in a pinch to fill holes and make spot starts. It is a replacement-level open pit mine, offering its grimy coal to the eager world above.
Which makes quotes like this somewhat troubling:
That’s the idea (loading up AAA). Well, maybe not the part about Iowa being more athletic, faster and better defensively, with what looks like more power in the lineup, than the big-league club.
Your 2012 Chicago Cubs, everybody! Sing for your supper or you’re off to the cornfields.
Are the Cubs headed in the right direction? Yes. Could the triple-A team win a game against the Chicago Cubs, with all their starters in place and best pitcher on the mound? No, they likely could not. Is the future of the Cubs in good hands with Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein making decisions? Of course! That doesn’t mean this summer will be any less arduous for fans of the Baby Bears, nor does it make this story any less sad/funny. This season is about watching Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija and waiting for Anthony Rizzo. Enjoy, Cubs fans. It’s always darkest…