Perhaps it’s our unfailingly hopeful nature, but folks around here have been discussing the possibility of a 2015 emergence for the Cubs – in spite of report after report citing a timeline for initial competitiveness that stretches well into the 2017/18/19 range (that is, and always was, preposterous) – ever since … well … the day we collectively decided that it wasn’t going to happen in 2014. I suppose that means somewhere around January 22, 2014.
With the impressive minor league seasons – and big league debuts (for some) – of some of the Cubs’ top prospects, the possibility that a roster featuring a mix of those youngsters, carryover talent, and well-selected imports could leave the Cubs with a great deal of upside in 2015 (albeit with plenty of downside, too) has become very real. And the feeling has built throughout the year, such that, despite the Cubs’ woeful record and the calendar flipping to the time of the year when some Cubs fans dread the grind of “meaningless” games, the fan base might feel as excited about the team right now as it has at any point in the last five years.
Things are happening.
Further evincing that the kindling under the Chicago Cubs is starting to show signs of smoking, the organization is also starting to get some early attention as a 2015 surprise team. That, too, will likely build throughout the coming months (probably going too far if/when the Cubs sign an impact starting pitcher. Don’t buy into that, though, folks – winning the offseason is easy. Winning the season is hard).
Somewhat to that end, Rany Jazayerli has written a thoughtful piece at Grantland on the Cubs. You must read it.
Observing from the outside, Jazayerli artfully describes an organizational philosophy that has not only placed the Cubs in a position to emerge with waves of positional talent in the coming years, but also leaves them able and willing to add the pitching necessary to complement that positional talent.
It’s simply a good, good read that articulates many of the scattered thoughts we’ve had – at BN, in the comments, on Twitter, etc. – over the past six months. The piece also digs in quite a bit on the Cubs’ move to claim and trade for Marlins discard, Jacob Turner. Suffice it to say, Jazayerli is impressed by the move, and the good fortune it could bring in the coming years.
If you’ll excuse the spoiler, Jazayerli’s piece concludes like this:
If they do sign a Max Scherzer or a Jon Lester this offseason, the Cubs won’t just be a sexy pick to make the playoffs in 2015 — they might be a smart one. This franchise is a whole lot closer to being a contender than most people realize.
And, as the kindling lights in the coming months, more and more folks will start to realize.