Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com spoke to current Reds and former Cubs manager Dusty Baker about the Cubs’ rebuilding effort. And about how Theo Epstein, Dale Sveum and the new regime are basically asking that Cubs fans be patient during the team’s rebuild.
Baker wishes Sveum the best, but he noted that, based on his experience, patience isn’t an easy sell for Cubs fans:
“From my experience, patience wasn’t a real virtue here,” Dusty Baker said Monday. “They’ve been patient for a hundred years. That’s a hard sell in Chicago – more patience. They might be patient for a little while, but unlike any other place I’ve been, they count. People count. They can add real good in Chicago. Everybody – men, women and children.”
He probably has a point. But at the same time, when was the last time a Cubs rebuild was particularly well-thought-out? I think fans, even Cubs fans, are likely to respond better to a rebuild that is driven by smart people and makes baseball sense as opposed to one that appears to have more emphasis on the tear-down than the build-up.
All of which is to say that maybe this time, with Theo and Jed Hoyer running things, Cubs fans may surprise Dusty Baker a bit.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.