That time is here again. As I indicated earlier today with my previous post, the time that I love so much is quickly coming upon us. The time when general managers and team presidents alike turn their attention from the regular season to the off-season. This change of focus brings with it a plethora of rumors and insightful commentary about the direction of a Major League Baseball team for the following season. The Chicago Cubs are no different. In fact, the Chicago Cubs will be one of the teams to watch this winter. This will mark the first full off-season that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are in control of making the team’s baseball decisions.
With that said, Hoyer has already gone on record in talking about the Cubs and the plan for the off-season. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com was able to catch up with Hoyer as the Cubs play out their final week of games, and Hoyer stated that the Cubs need to get better. That is no surprise. And, the Cubs are going to get better. The moves that the Cubs made this season were not geared towards this season, that is why the Cubs’ front office is not paying particular attention to the team’s record. The moves made during this season and likely the moves that will be made this off-season will be geared towards 2014 and 2015. While it is premature to rule the Cubs’ out of contention for the 2013 season, it would be an added bonus at best for the Cubs’ front office.
Having said all that, the Cubs–by way of contracts coming off the books–have a considerable amount of money available to them for their use this winter. Even though the Cubs do not have the intention of contending in 2013, there still are several spots that the Cubs will look to fill this off-season. For that reason, Hoyer suggests that the Cubs will be active on the free agent market this winter.
“We will have financial flexibility,” Hoyer said. “We’ve been diligent to make sure we do have flexibility and we’re efficient going forward. We’ll obviously be active in the free agent market. That’s a big part of our research and work now is evaluating free agents. We have some money to spend and we’ll focus on it heavily.” Muskat Ramblings
Now if you take these comments as the Cubs are going to be active in the way of pursuing Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke this off-season, I wouldn’t hold your breath on that notion. While Greinke would fill an area of need for the Cubs, the 28 year old starting pitcher will likely price himself out of the Cubs’ range. This is where some of you may get confused because you just read that the Cubs have a significant amount of money coming off the books that they could use on free agent players. That is true. But, the Cubs are not going to spend all of their vast resources on one or two players. No, instead, the Cubs will scour the markets for David DeJesus and Paul Maholm types. Though, the big splash for the Cubs could come in the form of Kevin Youkilis if he does not have his sights set on returning to the Chicago White Sox.
The Cubs will be active this season, and their activity will result in the addition of several peripheral players instead of a couple core players.