You can haul out the hardy perennial again, the eternal question, the refrain that rings down the decades if you happen to root for a certain baseball team on the north side of Chicago.
"What are the Cubs doing?" once more is as in as smartphones.
This after the Lovables dealt more starting pitching for more prospects, which again will force their fan base to dig deep into their most abundant commodity, patience. If you've waited 115 years for a winner, what's another three or four? Or five or six?
That's what management is asking now that they've shipped starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A's for, well, prospects, including shortstop/star-in-waiting Addison Russell. Which again makes it fair to wonder, yes, what the Cubs are doing.
The obvious answer, of course, is building for the future. The equally obvious response to that is, "Great. When does it get here?"
Well, not this year. Samardzija and Hammel are the fifth and sixth starting pitchers the Cubs have sent off in the last two years -- anyone remember Ryan Dempster? Matt Garza? -- and that means that once again there will be no playoffs for the northsiders.
On the other hand ... there wasn't going to be, anyway. Even with Samardzija and Hammel, the Cubs were still comfortably renting-to-own the cellar in the National League Central. So it wasn't like those two were going to lead them to the promised land, or even the land down the street from the promised land.
So, why not bring in more kids in Theo Epstein's continuing mission to rebuild the Cubs' shattered farm system?
Sure, it might seem dumb in the short term, continually gutting your pitching staff (and taking two more steps backward) in an era when so much is dependent on pitching. But if the kids pan out the way the smart money says they will, the Cubs will have the resources to go after more arms. Or at least that seems to be the working theory.
What are the Cubs doing?
God help management if they can't removal the "eternal" part from that question.