The Chicago Cubs made a big splash in the age of the pitcher. The front office traded their best hurlers, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, for a package highlighted by top shortstop prospect Addison Russell. It didn’t matter that the Cubs already had the 24-year-old Starlin Castro excelling at short or that minor league SS Javier Baez was ready to jump to the majors.
After their 2011 hiring, Cubs President Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer set their sights on restocking the organization with highly touted position players like Russell, but have traded starting pitchers like Scott Feldman and Matt Garza, Samardzija and Hammel. Pitching supposedly wins championships, but one year after trading away their best starters, the Cubs think they have the tools in place to end their six-year playoff drought. It’s not crazy; they’ve just taken a different approach to finding an ace.