OK, I'll admit it. I'm spoiled.
After years of seeing Cubs ownership pocket the profits while the play on the field suffered, it was refreshing to see the Cubs actually go out and spend money on free agents and become an instant contender. Sure, it was mainly done to drive up the price of the team, but it was nice to finally see the Cubs act like a large market team.
Now I'm concerned that we are heading back towards the old way of doing things. I'm not talking about the Cubs apparent unwillingness to go out and sign Prince Fielder to a 10 year $240 million contract. I actually think that's probably in the Cubs best interest, in the long run.
What concerns me is the Cubs dangling pitchers Matt Garza and Sean Marshall, guys who are actually paid what they are worth, in an attempt to acquire younger, cheaper players. These are guys who the Cubs should be trying to sign to extensions, not trade.
The Marshall rumors make the least sense to me, as the Cubs appear to be looking to trade him to the Reds for starter Travis Wood (and perhaps a couple minor leaguers). If the Cubs are really that desperate to find starting pitching, why not just convert Marshall back to a starter role? C.J. Wilson worked as a reliever in the majors for the better part of 5 years, before becoming a starter. It worked out so well for him, that he was the most highly sought after free agent starter on the market this year, eventually signing for 5 years and $77 million.
I could see Marshall becoming a successful starter in the majors, if the Cubs would just give him the chance. However, he was pigeonholed into the bullpen and, largely due to his success in that role, that is where he has stayed.
With Theo Epstein (large market) and Jed Hoyer (small market) at the helm, the Cubs should have the experience to work both sides of the equation. Utilize the draft and international signings to build from within, while spending when necessary to fill in the gaps.
While the carryover effects of some of the large contracts from past management may limit the clubs ability to go out and land the big fish, they should not prevent the Cubs from retaining the valuable commodities they already have.