We knew at the beginning of the season the National League Central was going to be a hotly-contested race from start to finish. But I don’t think too many experts could have envisioned the way it has played out.

With the All-Star Break in the rear view mirror, the five teams in the division are separated by less than seven games. That means two strong weeks of baseball with help from the leaders could put the Pirates or Reds in first place. It’s bizarre, but it is 100 % true.

Cub fans have been anxious about their team since April of 2017. They were coming off their first World Series title in more than a century, their roster was virtually the same and the pieces for a real, modern-day sports dynasty were in place.

But they came out flat that spring and, with the exception of a good week or two here-and-there, they have not resembled the glory of 2016 in any way in the more than two seasons since then.

The Cubs of ’16 took an early lead in games and forced you to try to come back against solid starting pitching and an equally stout bullpen. At the plate, they took pitches and ran pitch counts up so that the other team would have to use pitchers they really would have prefered not to. They won the first two games of a three-game series and pressured you to salvage the final game.

They were relentless.

Monday’s game at Wrigley was a microcosm of the current Cub disposition.

Having come out of the All-Star Break with three very impressive wins over the Pirates, they started a series against the Reds. Now, the Reds have played very well this season and they’ve owned the Cubs. But it’s a series the North Siders need to win two out three in to solidify their position in the standings and to force the Reds hand in being a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline.

That they lost 6-3 doesn’t nearly mean nearly as much as how they lost Monday’s game. They were sloppy in the field—two errors and a missed foul pop up allowed the Reds new life in innings in which they did real damage. When those things happened, the Cubs’ relievers couldn’t work their way past the mistakes. They let multiple opportunities with runners in scoring position get away with really bad at-bats, which has become the hallmark of the 2019 squad.

When the game was over, loyalists were left with the foul taste of apathy… again.

It’s time for the front office to make a major move. It’s time to start packaging up players and sending them out to new home teams.

I am not talking about giving up. The opposite is true. Outside of the failed Yu Darvish deal and the signing of Craig Kimbrell at a bargain price, the Cubs have made no real significant moves to try to help stir the tanks.

It’s time to take players like Addison Russell, David Bote, Pedro Strope and maybe even Kyle Schwarber and use them to get a strong arm in the bullpen, an “A-list” starting pitcher and/or a leadoff. They cannot sit back and hope for the best from what they have—not anymore. Their window of opportunity is going to close after next season and this wonderful run we have enjoyed will end. A lot of guys are going to want to get paid, and that means there will be fan favorites who will be moving somewhere else.

The front office needs to get bold and go for it right now. No holding back. Any one of 15 guys on the big league roster and their entire minor league enterprise is fair game.

With the way it’s going, the Cubs could put some real distance between themselves and the pack in the Central, but they will never do it the way they are constructed. There is no evidence to suggest that anything is going to change, so it’s time for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to do it for themselves.

Is it risky? Yep.

Does it mean possibly giving away future major leaguers in an already thin minor league system? Sure does.

Cub fans are often portrayed by some as drunken fools who don’t really care about or know anything about baseball. That’s bologna! We understand the gravity of the moment is and we’re ready to push our chips into the middle of the table.

The schedule continues until the end of September, but, with the right move, the Cubs could go a long way to winning this division over the next two weeks.