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.


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.

To read how the rest of the Cubs organization shakes out and what the new GM will have to work with, sign up for ESPN Insider.