Then, in the lead up to their historic World Series run in 2016, it became apparent that the curse-busting club was one closer short of a complete roster. A deal with the Evil Empire and the devil himself was consummated, swapping the long-term piece for a short-term, in Aroldis Chapman. You know the rest of the story - the Cubs rode Chapman's arm hard throughout the playoffs and (despite his hiccup with Rajai Davis in Game 7) if not for his presence, we might be talking about a 111-year drought for the Lovable Losers.
Setting all of those extenuating factors aside, would I rather have Torres than Chapman? Absolutely, 100x yes! Setting aside the fact that Torres has never repeatedly fired a gun into his garage and scarred his loved one for life, Gleyber will be an all-around talent for years to come, while Aroldis was a Cub for a scant three months. However, life does not occur in a vacuum (for that, my cats are quite thankful). I have to keep reminding myself that the 2016 World Series Championship was absolutely worth it and I wouldn't dare to meddle with anything that might affect it's happening.
Coincidentally, another Yankee prospect with Cubs ties recently made his Major League debut, as well. In fact, he was another prospect that was sacrificed at the altar of Brian Cashman in the name of winning October baseball games - Billy McKinney also swapped unis in the Torres/Chapman trade that summer. At least Billy got to play at Wrigley Field as part of the Under Armor All-American Game before he was sent off to the Big Apple.
Shortly after the season began, the outfielder was called up to replace the injured Aaron Hicks, then promptly hurt himself while crashing into a wall just two games into his MLB career. Currently, he resides on the disabled list.
Anyway, the reason that I bring all of this up is that I'm just a tad bit jealous that these former Cubs prospects are making the ultimate ascent for a different club. I truly wish I could be adding these cards to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection, as we Cubs fans dreamed on their future for years. Instead, they'll be sliding into my Coulda Been a Cub binder, which is made up of players whose rights were owned by Chicago, by never played in an MLB game for the team.
Also, also joining this Yankee pair is Christian Villanueva, whose turning the city of San Diego upside down in the early going of 2018.
Acquired as the second half of the Kyle Hendricks/Ryan Dempster trade, Villanueva eventually came to be blocked by a guy named Kris Bryant. A broken leg suffered in the spring of 2016 further hindered his chances and Christian was allowed to walk as a free agent at the end of the year. Signed by the Padres, he found a much clearer path to the Bigs and has not looked back since debuting at the tail end of last year. In just 30 games, the 27-year old has posted an eye-popping .344/.410/.733 slash line with 10 home runs for the Friars. Wowzer!
Again, I'm a little bummed that Christian is doing this for the Cubs and doesn't qualify for my CATRC; however, this is a first world problem if I've ever seen one. Good for Christian for seizing his long awaited opportunity.
The moral of this story, which is illustrated by these three recent ascensions, is that I just wish that every Cubs prospect could make the majors in a Cubs uniform and then be considered a Cub forever. I am self-aware enough to realize that this is a completely irrational and impossible wish, but nevertheless, that latent desire is there. I am far too attached to prospects for my own good.
With that being acknowledged, I wish nothing but the best for Torres, McKinney, Villanueva, etc. I truly do hope that they play for twenty years and make a case for Cooperstown. And, hey, if they want to return to Chicago at some point during their long careers, that would be okay with me too...
Happy Gleyber Day, Yankee fans!