When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last year, many people thought that their trajectory as a team was ahead of schedule. It was supposed to be 2017, 2018 and beyond where the Cubs really started to dominate the MLB. Whether you want to call it a World Series hangover, a regression to the mean, or simply a team playing bad baseball, the fact of the matter is that the Cubs are not where they thought they would be coming out of this season’s All-Star break.
50 wins at the break. 5.5 game lead in the divison. Cubs & Cardinals fans reeling. And…
Brewers Magic Number: 68 pic.twitter.com/pJWJgDxPSo
— Brewers Magic Number (@BrewersMagicNum) July 9, 2017
Enter Jose Quintana.
The Cubs acquired the left-handed pitcher from the White Sox today in a move that will likely shore up their rotation and help them climb back up the division standings. But – and this is the part that delights me as a Brewers fan – they had to give up a key piece (or two) from their future in order to better their chances of winning now.
First, there’s the positive part for the Cubs.
The Cubs have added a top-end arm in Quintana, who comes with a friendly deal and team control through 2020. That's a major win.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) July 13, 2017
Then, there’s the negative.
Thought #3: Eloy Jimenez is the key to this all. Top-3 hitter I've seen at @milb level over last 5 years. He's an all-star? Sox win deal.
— Alex Cohen (@voiceofcohen) July 13, 2017
In reality, this quote from Cubs head honcho Theo Epstein sums it up well:
Trade is priority today but Theo minced no words: "We had a bad first half. We have to own it."
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) July 13, 2017
As I’ve said before, if the standings were flip-flopped and the Cubs were 5.5 games up on the Brewers, they probably don’t make this move. They continue to ride the young bats that they have in their lineup, maybe make some smaller moves to shore up a few areas, but basically ride out what they have and don’t tweak the overall “master plan.”
The fact that the Brewers’ success even played a small part in changing that makes me happy. Is it enough for the Cubs to come storming back in the NL Central? Perhaps. Should be Brewers answer with an equally splashy move? I sure hope not.