And Now It’s Done
Finally, the biggest move Thed Epstoyer has had to make in their 18 months in charge is over. Because they haven’t had a chip like this before. Dempster was older and not as dominant (and more of an asshole), and the Cubs were finally able to cash him in.
And for what seems like a pretty justifiable haul, and for more than I was expecting but maybe not quite as much as I was hoping. Such is life for a Cubs fan, as your expectations are never anywhere near your hopes.
Without going nuts and breaking down the numbers, the key to this deal is obviously whether Mike Olt can bounce back from his struggles after getting a breath in The Show and how C.J. Edwards develops and more importantly how his frame keeps from breaking in half on his way through the system. Good thing Chicago is one of the fattest cities in America, because he’s going to need the food.
Olt was the Rangers positional prize just a little over a year ago, behind Jurickson Profar. He actually projects as the kind of hitter Anthony Rizzo does, or at least has been this year. Olt isn’t going to hit for a high average, or an obscenely high one. .288 is the best he did in the Rangers system. But he walks to make up for it, and a lot. His seasons saw a BB rate hovering around 15%, which is far better than just about anyone in the Cubs system can manage. He also smacks the shit out of the ball when he does make contact, as his two full seasons so far have seen slugging of .509 and .574. This guy should easily be a .850+ OPS guy at 3rd, which you have to have at 3rd.
It’s been a rough ride for him this year, and there were the eye problems you’ve heard about. He’s been on fire his past 10 games in Triple A though, and hopefully that continues. If it does, he could be here in September to give us a glimpse.
Edwards has the explosive stuff, but is a while away. He’s only 21, but a K-rate of 11 per nine and not having given up a homer in two years definitely makes you excited. But he’s only 155 pounds on a 6-2 frame, and while you might think of Chris Sale, he’s not anywhere near that yet. He doesn’t have Sale’s wicked slider yet, though he does have a change that people say could be real good one day. Apparently, Jed and Theo love pitchers who have change-ups, probably due to the lack of stress it causes on elbows and shoulders. Or it could be because they grew up watching Pedro Martinez. Or both.
Justin Grimm won’t top out as a star as the other two could. But it looks like he’s been rushed to the Majors because of the Rangers entire rotation calling for a medic. He had a really nice year in Double-A last year, with a sub-2.00 ERA and a sub-2 walks per nine innings. He’s got a lot of control for sure. But it didn’t translate upon promotion to Triple-A, and he’s been knocked around the majors this year when forced into duty. If the Cubs let him work on things in the minors to finish this season, he will at least regain confidence and could be a mid-rotation guy (or Travis Wood insurance if he chooses to not sign here).
All in all, I got what I asked for, which is something that I could actually lay my eyes on to finish this season and/or to start next. Olt will be here before a year’s time, and Grimm could be too. It could be a steal if Garza doesn’t stay in Texas (has anyone ruled out him coming back?). You can’t really ask for more.