The Anthony Rizzo era begins tonight! Cubs fans have only a couple expectations for the left-handed, power hitting, first baseman; win a World Series and end corruption in the Windy City. Sure they may want him to occasionally jump on Engine 78 before or after games to help out the neighborhood Fire and Rescue crew, but that’s about it. In other words, just pitch in and do your part, like any normal superhero would.
In watching the Cubs struggle this season, one thing has become painfully clear; this team needs a big injection of talent to even consider contending. Anthony Rizzo is but one player, this team will not be rescued by one player. Looking over the position players on the Cubs current roster (not counting Rizzo), I could find exactly ONE player who is All-Star talent level. The kind of talent that you say, “hey, we can build a championship team with a guy like this.” That player is of course Starlin Castro.
Other guys like Geo, and Soriano, have bursts where they play at All-Star levels, but they can’t seem to consistently play at that high level. Anthony Rizzo may give the Cubs another player of the type I am talking about. However, it’s unlikely he will start playing at an All-Star level from day one in a Cubs uniform. If he does, fantastic, but not likely. And here is where Theo Epstein’s advice comes in -“Patience”, he says. Trust me, I hate quoting and saying it myself, but it is our reality as Cubs fans right now.
We definitely appear to have patience, all these years without a World Series title, and somehow we still root for the Cubs. It’s kind of crazy when you think of it, how so many of us continue to hope and dream and follow this team in spite of over a century of not winning the big one.
During the off-season patience is fairly easy. The trouble comes when we have to watch a team like this year’s club, that is currently the worst in all of baseball. A club that is losing at record setting franchise levels! And so tonight, Anthony Rizzo gives us something shiny to look at, a new toy, something to take our minds off this miserable season and hopefully give a glimpse of a sweeter Cubs future.
We can also expect to see the Cubs make several moves before the July trade deadline. Of those, most will be with an eye toward the future…patience. There is also some talent in the Cubs minor leagues, Brett Jackson and all his tools, but he needs to strike out less (107 K’s in 281 AB’s at Iowa)…patience. Javier Baez with his power and hitting potential, he’s only 19…patience.
So while we are being patient, entertain us Anthony Rizzo with defense and monster home runs. Show us that we have at least two position players that we can build around. If you struggle out of the gate, don’t worry, we have patience. At least I hope we do, it’s been wearing a little thin this season.