CHICAGO -- The Cubs tapped into their Minor League system to trade for three players this year, and they do not have a prospect in MLBPipeline.com's top 100 rankings. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer knows why: their future is playing right now.
"When we go play other teams, I'm still struck by how we're the youngest team on the field," Hoyer said. "We have this young core of position players at basically every position who are guys who were all top 10, top 15 prospects in baseball, who are wearing [World Series] rings on their fingers from last year.
"I do think it's difficult or challenging to look at our organization in that way," he said of the prospect rankings. "On the one hand, yes, we've traded an number of prospects. On the other hand, we've really protected that core of players who are in the big leagues. That's a very deep core of super talented players who are young and who we control for a long time."
Last year, the Cubs dealt shortstop Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for Albertin Chapman. Torres was the Cubs' No. 1-ranked prospect at that time. This year, the Cubs dealt their No. 1-ranked prospect Eloy Jimenez, No. 4 Dylan Cease plus two other Minor Leaguers to the White Sox for Jose Quintana.
On Monday, the Cubs sent Jeimer Candelario -- who had moved up to No. 1 after the Quintana trade -- to the Tigers along with another Minor Leaguer for reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila.
• Cubs add LHP Wilson, C Avila from Tigers
Hoyer said the Cubs are still strong, even if it doesn't show up in the prospect rankings.
"We're an incredibly healthy organization from a young-talent standpoint," he said. "Unfortunately, those rankings only rank guys who are in the Minor Leagues."
Did the Cubs win July? Hoyer dismissed that talk. Teams will find out who won in the fall.
"You try to make moves to set yourself up for October, and hopefully to get to October, you try to make moves to set yourself up for your future as well," Hoyer said. "I definitely feel we're a stronger team now than we were before we got Quintana in the middle of the month. We've added three pieces to our team who can really help us. We're going to try to win this division and hopefully beyond that. In the case of Quintana and Wilson, we got guys who can help us in the future."
Quintana is signed through 2018 with club options for '19 and '20 ($10.5 million each year). Wilson is arbitration-eligible and will be a free agent after the '18 season.
The addition of Avila gives Victor Caratini more time to develop at the Minor League level and possibly be a backup option for next season.
"We think we strengthened ourselves for the pennant race, but also we gave ourselves a lot more ability and certainty for 2018 and beyond," Hoyer said.