Commentary

What Theo Epstein inherits

There are bad contracts and a limited farm system, but plenty of opportunity for a GM

Updated: October 12, 2011, 1:49 PM ET
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus
Starlin CastroJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesStarlin Castro may not stay at shortstop, but he's a cornerstone of the Cubs' future.

Congratulations Theo Epstein, you're the new Chicago Cubs general manager! Win a World Series and you own this town and have an instant legacy. So, what are you inheriting?

Well, it's a veteran roster with some brutal contracts and a farm system that is more deep than star-studded. But a walk through the roster and a look at some of the talent on its way shows that this team can win, but it will take some smart maneuvering.


Catcher

Incumbent: Geovany Soto (2011 salary: $3 million). Soto still has a couple of years of relative cost control, and while he's frustratingly inconsistent, he'll always have above-average power for the position and has improved a bit defensively.

What's coming: Like most systems, the Cubs are weak behind the plate. But while he's been in the system for a long time, Wellington Castillo still deserves note, maybe more than ever following a .286/.351/.524 season at Triple-A Iowa. He's almost a Soto type with a better arm, but he also has a propensity for injuries. It might be best to let him fill a back-up role for a while in preparation for the job upon Soto's departure.