“When you make a mistake in the draft, you just keep drafting. You keep finding another player to develop. When you make a mistake in free agency, you’re stuck with it for the duration of the deal and it can be a real impediment.” ~ Theo Epstein in a recent interview with Boston Globe

I recently stumbled across a piece from Jon Greenberg,  journalist for ESPN Chicago, that not only confused me but left me somewhat irritated.  The column basically states that waiting for prospects to pan out, or building the core of a team from within, is not a realistic way to run a major market ball club.  He then goes on to make note of the recent disastrous high dollar free agent signings made by Theo’s former team, the Boston Red Sox, while Theo was still at the helm.  What left me irked was his blatant pandering to the casual fan with the win now mentality.  He almost encourages the exact same mess we witnessed from the last twelve years.  He also sends a message that high priced free agents can be a risk, after all look what happened to Lackey and Crawford!

I guess I can’t figure out which way he wants the Cubs to go, or maybe he is warning us that Theo has a penchant for making poor decisions on the free agent market.  Whatever it is, the column sounds as desperate as some fans.   I had the pleasure of watching the Cubs play the Tigers last week at Wrigley and also had the pleasure of sitting next to a few terribly ignorant Cub fans.   They spent a chunk of the game bitching about Soriano and his large contract and the rest lamenting the fact that the Cubs didn’t sign Fielder or Pujols.  Some of us aren’t really learning from the past are we?

So here are a few questions for the readers of VFTB…..

1) While every team technically  has a chance to be competitive year in and year out (I mean, why bother playing the games right?), what year do you mark as the Cubs first realistic chance at competing for the post season?

I am going with 2015.  Realistically this team needs a lot of pieces.  It could happen before then, but I don’t see it.

2) Would you support a large, long term free agent signing before the start of the 2013 season at a position of need, or would you rather see the Cubs hold on to the money and attempt to build that position from within throughout the next season or two?

Call me gun shy from Soriano, Bradley, or Fukudome but I would hold the money until we get closer to competing for the division.  Keeping this seasons coming trades in mind and the current youth we have in the system,  I would hate to see a player get blocked by another big contract before we even get out of the gate.

3) This trade deadline should be a busy one for the Cubs, what potential move or moves will mark it as successful in your mind?

I am keeping mine simple, I would like to see us acquire a top 15 overall prospect and try to find a suitor for Soriano.

That’s about it, what are your thoughts on the rebuild process? Can you wait it out or do we need to start competing for the post season soon?

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Chet West is an IT professional living in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and two daughters. He has a pug named Banks and loves photography. Follow him on Twitter @chetwest19