The Chicago Cubs are starting to generate buzz. This process is unfolding slowly, to be sure, and the brands of optimism from the Cubs’ faithful will be of the most skeptical and cautious sorts. But even still, it is starting to look like the Cubs are building something with Theo Epstein in the front office.
With each move the Cubs kick things up another level. That happened when they called up top prospect Javier Baez this week and it will happen with each subsequent transaction, whether it’s calling up third baseman Kris Bryant or adding significant players from the outside.
When it comes to the latter, many people are wondering if the Cubs will move on a potential ace to put at the top of their rotation in the next year or so.
They could be candidates to make a run at free agent pitchers like Jon Lester or James Shields this off-season, and Buster Olney of ESPN offers an even bolder tactic they could pursue.
Olney wonders if the Cubs should claim Cole Hamels on waivers this month and try to acquire him, writing that the team should “see if they could coax the Phillies into a move that should happen at one time or another as Philadelphia rebuilds” (subscription required).
The Phillies seem more inclined to think about trading Hamels this winter, but the Cubs could also get in the mix there, even if it was in the midst of more of a bidding war. Either way, the common theme here is that the Cubs could try to land an ace to anchor their rotation for a number of years.
Do Epstein and company think they are close enough to contention to attempt such a move? We should learn a lot between now and the start of 2015 on that front.