Nobody had bigger plans at last week's trade deadline then the Chicago Cubs. New team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer were going to deal their top three starting pitchers - Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm - and stock up on minor league prospects.
Trouble is, the deadline did not go as planned. Garza injured his triceps muscle and could not be traded. Dempster exercised his rights as a 10-year veteran, the past five with the Cubs, to balk at a prospective trade to Atlanta.
The Braves had planned to send right-hander Randall Delgado, one of their two starting prospects, to the Cubs. Instead, about a week later, the Cubs settled for two minor league relievers from the Braves in exchange for Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson.
Granted one of those minor leaguers was Arodys Vizcaino, a power-throwing reliever with a dynamic arm, but he is on the disabled list recovering from "Tommy John" surgery and will not pitch in any capacity until next spring at the earliest.
As for Dempster, the Cubs could not get Delgado, so they tried to pry a top prospect from the Los Angeles Dodgers, a place where Dempster agreed to go. But the Dodgers would not budge, so within five minutes of Tuesday's deadline, Dempster agreed a trade to the Texas Rangers.
The Cubs got two lower level prospects in return - third baseman Christian Villanueva and right-hander Kyle Hendricks, both of whom are still playing in advanced Class-A ball, three rungs below the major leagues.
In at least one way, then, the Cubs met their goal - the younger the better.
"Look," Hoyer told the Chicago Tribune. "We have said all along we have to take our short-term assets and turn them into long-term assets."
The new front office is not tinkering or restructuring or even dumping a hefty salary or two.
The Cubs, who have a generous TV contract and a deep-pocketed owner in Tom Ricketts, have money to spend, with the US$30 million (Dh11m) spent to acquire Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler evidence to that.
They are paying part of both Maholm and Johnson's salary to play the rest of the season for the Braves.
And they are willing to pay a portion of left fielder Alfonso Soriano's contract when they try to make a waiver trade for him in August.
But the Cubs have no intention signing big-named free agents this winter, not unless that player fits with the new "Cubs Way" in their long-term plans.
So Cubs fans will do more of the same.
Watch and wait.
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