It was inevitable that Luis Valbuena would be traded. Hey, not because he wasn’t pulling his weight around the clubhouse, but c’mon, he played third base and we all know who’s been waiting in the wings just chomping at the bit to get a piece of the third bag on the diamond.
During the Cubs Convention, a young fan asked Joe Maddon who he would pick at third base, Mike Olt, Luis Valbuena or Kris Bryant. We all know who the kid wants, but Joe still asked him anyway, “Who would you play at third?”
Of course the kid picked Kris Bryant. Of course Joe Maddon wouldn’t commit to an answer!
The reality is that the Cubs have been in such a great position lately stockpiling players to make room for these young kids coming up. Having too many guys at third was a great problem to have.
A fantastic problem.
Yesterday, the Cubs sent Luis Valbuena and David Straily to the Houston Astros for Dexter Fowler. On paper it doesn’t have any ink drying blockbuster deal but look closer and it’s a really good deal.
Luis Valbuena is a great guy and the kind of player teams need. He was consistent last year and at the odd time showed some pop. I’m a little sad seeing him go, but with too many elephants standing at third, there wasn’t a choice.
In comes Dexter Fowler. A switch hitting possible leadoff hitter(a position the Cubs are still pretty soft at) and hitting an awesome .366 On Base Percentage, he’ll anchor the outfield between Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara.
“It’s tough leaving my teammates and relationships I’ve built,” Fowler said, “but going to a young team like that is awesome.”
So, in my mind the team is set for Spring Training. It’s going to be a battle in just about every position. No kid is a sure thing and no veteran is a lock.
Let me put this in perspective:
You’re a batter. One corner has Kris Bryant/Mike Olt. Then Starlin Castro separates Javier Baez from third. Who’s on first? Anthony Rizzo.
Jon Lester? Yeah, he’s that monster on the hill staring you down.