2021 has not been kind to the Chicago Cubs. From injuries to losing streaks and even trades that sent the team’s best players across the MLB landscape, the Cubs have had their fair share of misery this season. However, not all was lost for the organization after the Cubs fire sale, even if the old core of players is gone but there are some key bright spots for the organization moving forward into 2022 and beyond.
With the trading away of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez the Cubs have made a statement to the rest of the league: it’s time to rebuild. Considering the Cubs have significantly lowered their prospective payroll for 2022 by trading away their superstar core, this rebuild could end faster than expected. The Cubs payroll for 2022 is a whopping $41 million dollars according to Spotrac and with the 2022 luxury tax to be set around $200 million, the Cubs can look to add a superstar or two in free agency and speed up this rebuild. The Ricketts can win back their fanbase by simply opening their checkbooks and putting the Cubs back on the map for 2022 and beyond.
With big trades comes big returns, and the Cubs sure did need a big return for their depleted farm system. Before the trade deadline, the Cubs had a farm system ranked toward the bottom of the league in terms of prospect star potential and they desperately needed to replenish an almost empty farm system. Javier Baez may have netted the best prospect of the bunch when the Mets sent over outfielder Pete Crowe-Armstong. Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant each brought back two high-value prospects apiece with the Cubs getting Kevin Alcantara and Alexander Vizcaino in exchange for Rizzo and Caleb Killian along with Alexander Canario for Bryant.
There were many holes left in the Cubs lineup after the trades of Baez, Bryant, and Rizzo which meant it was time for the young prospects to experience life with the big league club. Guys like Rafael Ortega and potential Rookie of the Year Patrick Wisdom have benefited from becoming everyday staples in the Cubs lineup while Keegan Thompson, Justin Steele, and Adbert Alzolay have given Cubs fans a glimpse of what the pitching rotation could look like in the future. Another guy who has used his opportunity to play every day is Frank Schwindel who has taken over Wrigley field by storm and become a fan favorite. Although there is no playoff shot in 2021, the Cubs have given their fans a team that they can be excited about for the foreseeable future.
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