Rozner: Would Cubs go fishing for Stanton?
As it turns out, the sky did not fall after the Cubs dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland.
And for all the screaming and hysteria after the blockbuster trade -- that served only to bolster a burgeoning farm system -- fans and media so angry then are just as suddenly optimistic as prospects begin to arrive and cloudy skies give way to a bright future.
It would seem, then, that this is not the time for the Cubs to consider moving a couple top prospects to acquire another position player.
After all the work they've done building up the system, and seeing the results start to show up in Chicago, the Cubs wouldn't turn on a dime and move a couple of them for an established player.
Or, maybe they would.
The Miami Marlins have one the best players in baseball right now in Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the National League in virtually every offensive category and is a fabulous right fielder to boot.
He is an absolute monster, and the Marlins know that in two years he will walk as a free agent. He's also going to get big dollars in arbitration in the off-season, so they're preparing to shop him this winter and are hoping the Cubs -- with the best farm system in baseball -- will be a buyer.
The Cubs have the young, cheap and talented players Miami will want in return, and the Cubs will have to at least listen when the Marlins call.
They'd be crazy not to.
With Cubs unlikely to win in the next two years, they might be better off waiting until Stanton hits free agency, thereby giving up nothing except money to acquire a beast.
Or maybe they believe he'd be a perfect part of the puzzle when they're ready to win a World Series a few years from now and they don't want to risk letting him get to free agency, where he will command an even bigger contract than if the Cubs extended him immediately after a trade.
Position players are hardly a scarcity in the Cubs' system these days and Jorge Soler just got the call to play right field in the majors. The Cubs already have in place Starlin Castro, Javy Baez, Matt Szczur, Arismendy Alcantara and Anthony Rizzo, and on the way are more very, very big bats in the form of Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.
They also have shortstop Addison Russell playing up a storm, and the Cubs will be moving at least one major infield name in the next year or two.
So what if the Marlins asked for Castro and Soler? Or Baez and Soler? Or Russell and Soler? Would the Cubs trade young, unproven players under financial control for a 24-year-old Stanton who is a bona fide superstar and will be looking soon for a very big contract?
Good question, but you're talking about the National League MVP here. How would Stanton look in a lineup with Bryant, Schwarber, Rizzo and anyone of those shortstops?
It's a frightening thought for the rest of the league.
But it's just the kind of decision the Cubs will be making over the next few years, as they hype the players they intend to move and keep the prospects they believe are essential to the franchise moving forward.
Not every one of these kids is going to make it big, or make it at all. Some will wash out in the minors, some will fail in the majors, and some will be traded.
The key is self-scouting and getting ahead of the moment that prospects lose their value.
Mostly, the Cubs will be making those deals to acquire pitching, and some of their bigger names -- like Bryant and Schwarber -- are untouchable.
So while a Stanton deal doesn't appear to fit the Cubs' model on the surface, scratch the surface and you can see how the Cubs would have to kick the tires on a trade that might move up the timetable and give them a genuine star who doesn't have to develop or live up to superstar potential.
Stanton is already there.
It might be just a pipe dream, and ultimately Theo Epstein might consider the price too high, the contract too long and the prospects too valuable to trade for anything other than pitching, knowing he can still take a shot at Stanton in free agency if another team doesn't lock him up first.
But rest assured that some prospects will be dealt and deals will be made to improve the roster.
In the meantime, the conversation for Cubs fans is starting to move away from, "When and how?" And it's moving toward, "Who and which position?"
That's a good thing. That means they're closing in on competing like a major-league team again. Even if that's another year or two away, it's starting to feel much closer than it was when fans and media were screaming about injustice only seven weeks ago.
What a difference a few fresh faces make.
• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.