We are just over one month away from the MLB Trade deadline. Tom Ricketts said three short days ago that the Cubs will be buyers.
If there were one 2016 Cub I want them to bring back right now… it would be Javy Baez to start at third and be backup at second base and short stop. He is the one who, in my opinion, deserved better after being drafted in 2014 with Kris Bryant. Why, you ask? Simple. Kris had a lot of injuries after being called up. He’s a great guy… but the Cubs need a solid third baseman who wont sit out over half of every season with back issues. That is my response to this article. In saying this, I do not think Jed Hoyer will bring Baez home but I do think Javy will be traded this July!
Now, it’s time to discuss the buyer versus seller topic. Here is the things folks… we have been through the first (and hopefully last) world wide shut down which lasted more than a couple weeks in our lives. What many sports fans do not understand is that while the owners of our favorite teams have the money to be paying our favorite players ultimately the decision is not up to them… it is up to the people they hire who know the sport better.
So, as someone who understands the business behind sports better than most fans here is my take on what the Cubs are doing this year.
Being one of the teams who’s payroll will drop this winter and still give them room to fill other holes next seasons after signing the star free agent from Los Angeles the Cubs are being careful and not banking on that Ohtani signing with them. In a two for one deal Shohei will make $60-$75 million per year after this winter being the first “American” athlete to be a two-way player and retire on one contract following his rookie contract in MLB.
With that, let’s talk Cubs moves with July days away.
Marcus Stroman is out with a blister after taking the loss in the second London Series game on Sunday. He will likely not be traded or extended past 2024 by Jed Hoyer. Patrick Wisdom has likely played his last game at first base for the Cubs. Many fans do not want Cody Bellinger to play there or at second base.
With Kyle Hendricks back and looking to be at full strength his last couple outings it would not be a surprise if Jed Hoyer traded for a closer who the immediately extended for three or four years then moved Javier Assad to a setup role and traded Adbert for a first baseman. Both trades would involve players in the minor leagues and allow the Cubs to move Jameson Taillon to long relief permanently.
Here’s the thing folks… In 2016, Theo Epstein pulled some strings to get Aroldis Chapman after winning not one but two rings in Boston he had some pull especially having moved to Chicago and was able to fleece the New York Yankees out of the best closer in the game at the time because of a mistake he had made off the field. To be clear, I do not agree with what he did and never will. However, he needed a change of scenery and, for the Cubs, Closer was the most obvious hole he needed to fill to bring a World Series Championship to Chicago’s north side for the first time in 108 years.
The COVID-19 Pandemic aside, I believe Theo was going to leave after 2020 promoting Jed Hoyer to his role as President of Baseball Operations. The Cubs have the tenth best minor league system as I type this. While that is nine spots worse than 2015 with the rule changes than have take place mostly during the last three seasons it should be expected that the Cubs would be where they are sitting in third place mid-season after selling off the entire 2016 team and letting some of the players walk in free agency… or guys like Manager David Ross retire.
At the end of the day it is looking like 2023 will be a lot like 2015 to me on the north side. The difference being that thanks to the new playoff structure the Cubs will make it to the Wild Card Series. Then they will be eliminated in the NLDS much like 2007 and 2008.
Am I suggesting here that they will sign Shohei this winter? Yes. Am I suggesting here that they will win next year because they paid him? No. In fact, I thin Jed Hoyer is the new Jim Hendry in Wrigleyville.
With that… the Cubs are back in Chicago and it is time to play ball.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!