A trend that started with Arismendy Alcantara and gained steam with the call-ups of Kyle Hendricks and Javier Baez just got even stronger with news that Jorge Soler will be making his way to Chicago. Many had been hoping for this news even earlier, when word came down about Nate Schierholtz being released, but this gives the young Cuban the end of August in addition to the entire month of September.
CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan broke the news at around 10:15pm CST, first hinting at it with a coy tweet:
I will be on CSN Chicago on the phone with Cubs news right now. #Iwonderwhatitcouldbe
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) August 26, 2014
He then took to the air to confirm what most had suspected, officially sending yours truly hurtling out of my nice, warm bed to type. Of course, the Soler announcement coincided with news that my fantasy football draft, which had been cancelled 20 minutes previous, was now back on and starting in 2 minutes. Thanks, Tom!
And while some had lamented Soler’s recent mini-slump, he certainly seems to be peaking at the moment. He was 3-5 with a HR and 2 RBI on Sunday after going 5-5 with a triple and 3 RBI on Saturday. And Monday night?
Soler blasted a 3-run HR in the 3rd and was immediately pulled from the game early, fueling both speculation and worry. But the latter emotion seems to be fading more and more for Cubs fans, though I’m sure something will happen soon to allow nail-biting to recommence.
Still, this move serves to pump even more youth, life, and excitement into a once-moribund lineup. Where the early-season Cubs team portrait might as well have been a charcoal drawing, an updated print would look more like a Warhol work, bursting with vibrant colors.
Summer is the season of blockbusters, and the Cubs had one of their own on the 4th of July. But rather than allow a big trade to define their season, it’s the youth movement that has proven to be the team’s tentpole.
By spacing out the introductions their young prospects, the Cubs have given each the opportunity to acclimate to the lineup and to learn from the decreasing pool of veterans. At the same time, the constant influx of new names has assured that no one player garnered all the attention all the time.
Soon, we’ll see a lineup that features Soler, Baez, and Alcantara with Hendricks pitching. Oh, and I suppose Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo will be there too, just for good measure.
For the first time in a long time, fans can look to the major league roster and see more young core players than in the minors. Sure, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber are still scattered throughout the various farm levels, but the balance has shifted.
Cubs fans have been watching the previews for coming attractions for far too long, but now you get the sense that the lights are dimming in anticipation of the featured presentation.