Chicago Cubs: Breaking down an offseason to-do list

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Nov 3, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer (left) and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein (right) watch manager

Joe Maddon

(center) put on his jersey and hat as he is introduced during a press conference at the Cubby Bear Lounge near Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

After winning 97 games in 2015, the Chicago Cubs don’t need another ace – and their offseason plans won’t include one, despite the wishes of hopeful fans.

Let’s start off this conversation by making a few things clear.

As nice as it would be to simply throw money at a roster to win a World Series, that’s not the way baseball works. Many teams, more recently including the Los Angeles Dodgers, have learned this the hard way – while other like the New York Yankees are left with the remnants of such shopping sprees in the form of massive contracts to aging, injured players.

The new front office regime in Chavez Ravine, as well as the ownership group, have publicly stated their desire to cut payroll and field a younger, albeit still very competitive, ball club as early as 2016 – something the Chicago Cubs are positioned to do for the next several seasons already.

Given the Cubs’ lack of long-term major payroll obligations, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are in a rare position: the hold a collection of young, controllable talent that will, at least for the next few years, remain relatively affordable.

Don’t get me wrong: this team has plenty of items to address this offseason – we saw this in the National League Championship Series, when the Cubs were swept in four-straight by the New York Mets. But they’re only a few pieces away from returning to October in 2016.