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When I first saw rumors on Twitter that the Cubs were about to make a blockbuster trade to the A's involving both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, I wondered if we would be getting Yoenis Cespedes in return.
Instead, we got Addison Russell.
Now, maybe Cespedes wasn't realistic. On the other hand, both he and Samardzija were just named All-Stars, and by some measures Hammel has been having a better season than his trade partner. A two-fer for the A's!
And the Cubs certainly have a need in the outfield.
On the other hand, the Cubs weren't interested - according to every report I've read - in an actual major leaguer. They were looking for prospects from the get-go. You see, that aligns with the business plan, which is to cheap it out until someone else - a TV contract, a Jumbotron advertiser, the fans - can pay the freight.
After all, how hard is it to build the world's greatest farm system by making no-brainer picks at the top of the draft and trading your best players for other organizations' best prospects?
We don't live in Des Moines, Daytona Beach or Jackson, Tennessee, though. All that really matters is the quality of the team in Chicago - even in a rebuild.
Even still, I'm generally agnostic - though also generally skeptical - about the trade. What I'm really allergic to, though, is the hype and sycophantry of our local media geniuses. Just because Theo says it doesn't make it so, folks. Suddenly every expert is repeating Theo's line that stocking up on shortstops is no problem because their athleticism allows them to be easily moved to other positions. Please. Can't you imagine Starlin Castro lost in his thoughts in the outfield?
It's not that I don't get it. At some point, theoretically, some of these prospects will be traded to fill needs at the major-league level. That's why position doesn't matter.
And suddenly, collecting bats instead of arms is where the game's competitive advantage lives. Tell that to Billy Beane.
It's not that I don't get that, either. At some point, theoretically, some of those bats will be traded for arms. I understand the value of simply collecting talent.
But I also understand that The Plan is driven by ego and greed. Ego, because this is a rare chance for guys like Theo and his pals to basically start their own franchise. It's the next best thing to managing an expansion team from the start - and you get to do it with your friends. Not so much fun for the rest of us.
Greed, because the real bottom line is the bottom line: The Cubs have a baseball plan that "aligns" with a business plan that may never come to fruition - while the Ricketts sit on their incredibly huge family fortune.
Who knows, it may all come together just like Theo says it will. In the meantime, though, it is incumbent on all of us to not believe the hype.
The Week In Review: The Cubs swept the Red Sox in Boston and beat the Nationals in the series opener, so Theo made the big trade to get back into prime draft position. It worked: The Cubs dropped the last two games in Washington and lost the series opener against the Reds in Cincinnati. Equilibrium achieved.
The Cubs: Where winning is losing and next year never comes.
The Week In Preview: The Cubs are scheduled to lose the following games the rest of the week: The remaining three games against the Reds, including a Tuesday doubleheader, and a weekend series at Wrigley against the Braves.
Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: The Cubs continue their quest to acquire the game's top 100 prospects.
Theo Condescension Meter: 10.
Jed Hoyer Condescension Meter: 10.
Prospects Are Suspects: "Russell, 20, was the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He had played in only 13 games with Double-A Midland this year because of injury problems," the Bay Area News Group reports.
"McKinney, 19, was the A's first pick in the 2013 draft, a left-handed hitting outfielder who could become a solid prospect. He was hitting .241 with 10 homers, 12 doubles and 33 RBIs for Class-A Stockton this season.
"Straily, 25, finished 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 starts for the A's last year. He started this season in the Oakland rotation but struggled and was sent down to Sacramento. He's 4-3 with a 4.71 ERA for the River Cats."
That's Ricky: "He did good," Ricky Renteria said of Samardzija's debut performance with the A's. "He did a nice job."
Um, he did a little more than a nice job: He held the division-leading Blue Jays to just four hits in seven innings and topped out his fastball at 97. He also did it on 108 pitches, 75 of which were strikes. He also got first-pitch strikes on 17 of the 25 batters he faced and struck out five.
Laughable Headline Of The Week: "Big Trade Brings Cubs Closer To Winning."
Only in an alternate universe where "closer" means "farther" - which happens to be where this franchise and their sycophants exist.
Mad Merch: Friday is Gale Sayers Bobblehead Day at Wrigley, because there are no Cubs left to honor.
Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: From Mark Gonzales's Cubs Mailbag:
How come we never see the new Cubs' mascot? Anthony, Pensacola, Fla.
The Cubs promised Clark wouldn't be a distraction during games, and that's been the case at Wrigley Field. However, Clark was quite visible during one of the games at Fenway Park and even stood next to manager Rick Renteria during the national anthem.
The Junior Lake Show: Who?
Mustache Wisdom: ""Samardzija had been here for a while, and Hammel was a good guy here, but they're gone now. Other guys are going to come in, and they're going to be our brothers here. You get forgotten quick. And they'll love those guys in Oakland, and when they leave, they'll be sad for a couple days. You got to keep working. We're here to do a job. That's it."
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Tanking Inc. is trading higher as investors see another strong year in 2015.
Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of visiting Cy Young award winner and World Series champ Jeff Samardzija.
Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021.
Over/Under: Number of days until Jake Arrieta gets hurt: +/- 7.
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that if you have three shortstops, you don't have one.
Hashtag Cubs The gold rush is on.
The #Cubs are an attractive destination for free agents who perform well because they know they'll be dealt to a contender after 3 months.— Beachwood Reporter (@BeachwoodReport) July 8, 2014
The Cub Factor: Unlike
Alfonso Soriano Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!
The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.
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