The draft and the trade deadline are now over, and it will take years before we know whether Theo Epstein and his crew were right on these players.
In less than 24 hours from Monday night into Tuesday afternoon the Cubs had traded two rotation pieces (Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm), a former Rookie of the Year (Geovany Soto) and a valuable bench player (Reed Johnson) for five prospects.
The Cubs (43-59) are planning for a future that wont include many of the current players. For now, they will be playing short-handed.
A.J. Burnett flirted with a no-hitter until Adrian Cardenas who was just called up from Triple-A Iowa amid all the roster moves knocked a pinch-single into right field with two outs in the eighth inning.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (59-44) went on to win 5-0 at Wrigley Field, while the Cubs are glad they no longer have to listen to all the repetitive questions about the trade deadline.
Im very happy to stay here, Alfonso Soriano said. Its sad that a lot of people (left). Now the team looks a little different, but we got to come every day strong mentally and try to do the job.
We got to keep grinding, keep playing hard. I know they want to build a new team (with) young guys, and thats good, (but) you have to finish the season. Its not over yet.
The three deals werent exactly blockbusters, but the haul included four pitchers, trying to address what Epstein believes is a real deficit.
Were getting there, general manager Jed Hoyer said. I dont think you ever are satisfied. We have to have a lot more good drafts and make some good trades and keep adding over and over.
The best teams are able to replenish their bullpen internally. Theyre able to bring up starters from the minor leagues whenever they need to. Were not at that point yet.
Casey Coleman, another call-up from Iowa, will be auditioning again. The 25-year-old right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits and four walks in 4.2 innings. Every pitching staff needs a leader to set the tone, and for so many years that guy was Dempster.
The one thing about Ryan was how consistent he was on the mound and off the field, Coleman said. He kept everybody loose, no matter how the team was doing. The best quality I learned from him was he would have a bad outing and he would be the first one to say: Hey, you go to work.
He would have a good outing and come in and do the exact same thing. Thats what you model yourself after, thats what you learn from and look up to the guy that can separate (everything.)
Thats how Dempster will be remembered in the clubhouse, as a model teammate, no matter how his image seemed to change for Cubs fans after he tried to engineer a deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dempster will miss walking to work at Wrigley Field, and had a genuine appreciation for the city. He still plans to keep his charitable foundation in Chicago.
But the Cubs front office and the old fan favorites are moving in two opposite directions.