A few short years ago, a self-important, self-appointed spokesman for Cubs fans all over asked, “Theo how long do you expect us to wait?”
Theo, as it turns out, didn’t expect us to wait very long at all. Â Within four years he’d turned a joke of a franchise into a playoff team. Â Then, this offseason the Cubs made moves designed to put them over the top.
If any doubt about their intentions still existed, Theo and the Cubs snuffed them out on Thursday. Â In a matter of minutes they announced they traded fourth outfielder mediocrity Chris Coghlan to the A’s for some pitching depth, and then, incredibly they surprised their team before that day’s workout by bringing back their old centerfielder.
Dexter Fowler will go down in baseball annals as the man traded for Luis Valbuena. Â But he enjoyed a solid season with the Cubs as centerfielder/leadoff man in 2015, and especially the second half of the season.
But when the Cubs signed Jason Heyward, there wasn’t any room for Dexter in the lineup. Â On Wednesday, it appeared Fowler was going to sign a three year deal with the Orioles.
Until he didn’t.
Instead of taking three years and $35 million from Baltimore, Dexter signed for eight million in 2016 with a mutual option for nine million dollars next season and a five million dollar buyout.
In essence, Dexter gave up $20 million of guaranteed money for the chance to win a World Series with the Cubs this year, and most likely another crack at free agency next year.
I guess that depends on what immortality is worth. Â Baseball’s deepest and most talented roster just got deeper and more talented.
If they really do it. Â If they really win the World Series this year, every player on that team belongs to the ages. Â You don’t put an end to 108 years worth of misery and ineptness without earning hero status for eternity.
The Cubs major acquisitions this offseason all have something in common. Â Heyward, John Lackey, Ben Zobrist and now Dexter all took less money than they could get in other places to run away and join the Cubs circus. Â Granted, all of them were dealing in shades of filthy rich, but turning down money isn’t easy for anybody, ever.
A lot could go wrong between now and October. Â Injuries, underachievement, a team outing to Chipotle with Anthony Rizzo’s card that results in them all dying of the norovirus…
But there is no disputing that this team is stacked. Â They have too many outfielders, too many infielders, too many starting pitchers and, well, you can never have enough bullpen. Â They also have a manager who is relishing all of this options.
On any given day the Cubs will start games with Javy Baez and Jorge Soler or Kyle Schwarber on the bench.
Their lineup is so deep that Addison Russell’s offense is an afterthought.
When the trade deadline comes in July the Cubs should be in position to add a major piece, without sacrificing anyone on the big league roster unless they want to.
The Cubs are the favorite to win the World Series. Â People will tell you that’s ridiculous, because they’ve never won anything when people thought they were going to.
But hell, they’ve never won anything when people didn’t think they were going to, either.
So let’s all take comfort in this. Â The Cubs aren’t fucking around.
This is going to be one helluva ride.