Chicago Cubs must show restraint after missing on Zimmermann
Earlier today, we learned the Detroit Tigers reached a deal with free agent starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. Just ahead of the MLB Winter Meetings, the dominoes might begin to fall for the highly-touted pitching class.
If negotiations ramp up as expected, the Chicago Cubs look more like a team in search of a bargain. With Zimmermann off the board and David Price demanding at least $200 million, the mood has changed quite a bit from where it was a month ago.
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Cub fans need to keep things in perspective. I’ll admit that as the season went on I bought into the hope and winning that was happening. The inner “meatball” started flying on a daily basis. In the midst of the playoff run, it’s perfectly OK to enjoy the ride.
After being eliminated by the New York Mets, our fan base started setting our eyes on the next level. We figured, “Hey, we can win a lot of games. If we have the pitching to back it up nobody can stop us”.
Dangerous thinking from a fan base that has no prior success to base that prediction on. 2016 is an absolute mystery. On paper, the Cubs could be one of the best, but a long season can result in injuries or other factors that can derail that dream.
Take a look at the star power the Cubs have up front. Kris Bryant capped off an unbelievable season by taking home the National League Rookie of the Year award. Hardware aside, at this level, teams have some of the most advanced scouting equipment available and they will be more than ready to counter-punch the talent of Bryant.
Although I feel that Bryant possesses the kind of talent that can produce each year, I wouldn’t be surprised if he fell victim to the “sophomore slump”.
While we are on the subject of teams making adjustments, Jake Arrieta will need to be on top of his game once the season starts. The Chicago right-hander took the league by storm and was considered an unknown name to most of the league.
Now with the NL Cy Young award on his mantle, he can add a target to his back as well. Next season, teams will be formulating game plans based upon Arrieta and what he brings to the table. The scouting book on Arrieta will be thick with information needed to slay the right-handed dragon.
As is the case with each season, 2016 could be the year the Chicago Cubs finally win that long-coveted World Series. Or, as we saw this year, it could end in disappointment.
In the end, the Cubs are heavy favorites to contend in 2016 and for at least the next half decade. In order to do that, the front office needs to exercise restraint this offseason. Paying Price $200 million won’t guarantee anything in the same way paying Jon Lester $155 million didn’t.
We have our high-priced pitcher. Now, the Cubs need to do what they’ve done best the past three years. Find value in guys that others don’t and watch it add to the riches that we’ve already stockpiled.