At some point, teams have an all-in moment. Eventually, the Chicago Cubs will too. But that's not now, so they will continue to collect talent to make a run starting in 2016.
On Friday night, they made another huge move in that direction, trading with a first-place Oakland Athletics team having it's all-in moment.
For years, Athletics general manager Billy Beane has remained patient and made the best long-term moves of anyone in baseball. This year, his team is in first place and trading for Jeff Samardzija with a year and a half on his contract and Jason Hammel with a half season on his.
In doing so, Beane contributed to a more stocked Cubs farm system than the Athletics ever had.
Funnily enough, it's Beane's model that the Cubs and so many others in baseball are now using. They look at market inefficiencies and try to take the most calculated risks in a game filled with uncertainty.
At this point, pitching prospects are the largest gamble in the sport with so many arm surgeries and outright failures. So the Cubs have stocked up on the brightest collection of hitters any team has owned in recent history.
And they've used one-year contracts on former prospects who have yet to pan out but have the experience and potential for breakouts.
Think Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel, Jake Arrieta and now Dan Straily there.
The best pitching prospect in the Cubs' system is C.J. Edwards, obtained in a deal for Matt Garza last season. But the hitters are now almost too many to count.
They added shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney, both recent first-round picks of the A's and the best two prospects in Oakland's system. Add that to Cubs first rounders Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber from the past two seasons and Javier Baez (SS), Albert Almora (OF) and Jorge Soler (OF) along with youngsters Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Junior Lake who are already in the majors.
That all amounts to a Cubs team that, in the near future, will be ready to compete with any team in the majors. All they'll need is pitching.
That's certainly not a small team but they've made the picks to get the best collection of players with the best chance of being successful in the future. They've crunched the numbers, and they know that experienced, successful power hitters are the biggest certainty in the draft.
So they've gone in that direction and, when the time comes, they know they can use those resources to obtain pitching if necessary. But they also know that the next Feldman or Hammel will be out there in free agency.
They just have to continue to guess right. Some of it's luck. Some of it's taking the right risks. To this point, that's exactly what the Cubs have proven they can do.
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