Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: Is Theo Epstein up to his old tricks?

Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein (left) celebrates during their World Series parade outside of Wrigley Field on Addison Street. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein (left) celebrates during their World Series parade outside of Wrigley Field on Addison Street. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has become an old pro. From bringing back Fowler last spring, to having Schwarber ready for the World Series–you just never know what he’s up to. Could something big be brewing this winter?

The Chicago Cubs on the surface weren’t expected to do much this offseason. They would look to solidify the outfield first. They’ve done that with the signing of Jon Jay to a one-year deal. From there they would need to bolster the bullpen and maybe add a young starter to the rotation. Are these cut and dry tasks the Cubs will take on? Or does Theo Epstein have something brewing on the back burner?

It’s the hot stove, so there’s no shortage of rumors. We’ve talked about the possibility of a few deal. Chris Archer from the Tampa Bay Rays. Sonny Gray of the Oakland A’s. The names are out there, but the Cubs don’t seem heavily linked to many of them. Then again, Dexter Fowler was all but in an Orioles uniform when he showed up at camp last year. And did anyone know about Kyle Schwarber? He was out for the year, then suddenly a World Series hero. If anyone is capable of keeping something quiet, it’s Epstein.

More from Cubbies Crib

It’s possible the Cubs could try to make a deal for a pitcher. But the price is going to be steep. Teams are very aware of the Cubs talent pool in the minors. And more so, who might be blocked on the Major League level. This won’t be a low-level prospect with high-upside that the Cubs will have to give up. Jorge Soler, Carl Edwards, Ian Happ and others have been mentioned. I’m not saying the Cubs shouldn’t make a deal. Just that they should be cautious in whatever they do.

Japan’s next big thing

And there’s the news that the Cubs could be “holding it’s dollars”. What could they have in mind? The answer is 22-year old Shohei Otani of Japan’s Pacific League. My colleague over at Call to the Pen David Hill has shown an interest in Otani well before now. His hope is that his Kansas City Royals make a move. But the truth is, every team will want his services. And he could showcase that talent from both sides in the WBC.

With Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod all signed–the Cubs don’t need to force any moves. They could simply save their money this season, avoiding the high-priced, high-profile free agents. Jay was a high-upside sign. He won’t be expected to be a star and will fall into a rotation with the rest of the Cubs outfield–whoever that might be come Opening Day.

The plan might be for 2018. I do believe the Cubs are ready to go into the 2016 season with what they have. That might be Mike Montgomery in the No. 5 spot, or it might not. But they aren’t going to break the bank this offseason for a pitcher. A move isn’t necessary, only desired. But it does look like the hopes of a Fowler reunion may have come to an end with the Jay signing.

Next: The Cubs saga isn't over yet

With the CBA expiring tonight, things could get even more interesting. There’s been no talk of locking out players yet–but the owners are on standby. Hopefully, both sides take care of business and we can get back to the hot stove chatter as soon as possible.

facebooktwitterreddit