Chicago Cubs: The front office is in a class of its own
I can go in-depth about all the moves that the Chicago Cubs current regime has done that helped not only propel them to a World Series title in 2016, but a consistently winning franchise over the last three seasons, but I’ll save you the overplay narrative.
There’s no doubt that Chicago Cubs‘ General Manager Jed Hoyer and President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein have been on the same page since day one in the Cubs organization. That stems from ownership. From ownership to the front office, to the coaching staff and the players, everyone has had the same goal.
That goal shows in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. This story discusses how the Cubs have mastered their sales pitch during free agency.
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Acquiring the best each offseason
In an offseason that has been quiet, the Cubs still were able to obtain arguably the top free agent on the market. They’ve done this in three of the last four offseasons.
In the winter of 2014 it was Jon Lester, in the winter of 2015 it was Jason Heyward and now in the winter of 2017, the Cubs got Yu Darvish.
The Cubs won the World Series in 2016, so, Epstein and Hoyer can have a pass for 2016.
In July, at the trade deadline, Darvish had the Cubs on his no-trade list. So, how is he now on the Cubs?
Cubs have money to spend
Financially, the Cubs have one of the largest payrolls in baseball and can easily outbid most of the league because of their market, but Lester and Heyward both took less money to play on the North side compared to other respective teams.
According to a source, the San Francisco Giants offered Lester a 7-year deal worth $168 million, much more than the Cubs 6-year deal worth $155 million. Lester still chose the Cubs.
According to a source, Heyward was offered a $200 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals but chose the Cubs, who offered $184 million.
Don’t forget Dexter Fowler was almost a Baltimore Oriole but chose to stay with the Cubs for one more season. Granted, Fowler believed he could earn more money, so, he took a one-year prove it type deal with the Cubs and turned down the 3-year deal worth $33 million from Baltimore.
Zobrist paid off immediately
Ben Zobrist was an automatic fit given his days with the Tampa Bay Rays and Joe Maddon. The moment the Cubs traded Starlin Castro, Zobrist was signed to a 4-year deal.
Darvish is a bit different because it was rumored late in the offseason that he wanted to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the team was unable to come to terms. It was also rumored that Darvish wanted a 7-year deal worth $175 million back in early February.
Meanwhile, the Cubs were rumored to be all in on Alex Cobb going into the offseason, but that rumor passed quickly after the front office learned Darvish would consider the Cubs and the money Cobb wanted.
Knowing what to say
What may have got Darvish to sign with the Cubs was his one-on-one meeting with Epstein and Hoyer.
At the end of the day, the Cubs got their guy. Was it because of money, the situation or the fact that Darvish wanted to choose a team because Spring Training was soon to begin?
These are questions we may never honestly know. Darvish claimed in his opening press conference that he wanted to choose a team before Spring Training began. Maybe the Cubs offered the most money?
A special front office
All in all, Epstein and Hoyer are in a league of their own. Newly signed Cubs Tyler Chatwood and Steve Cishek both claimed the front office sold them on off the field situations that would affect their families.
For example, Chatwood’s wife is pregnant, so, Epstein and Hoyer recommended the best hospitals and physicians in Chicago, all before trying to sway him to Chicago.
Cishek already has a family, so the front office sold them on attractions in the city and the fact that most of the players all lived in the same neighborhood.
Next: Cubs get former first rounder
These simple things don’t seem like much, but it’s seemingly looked like this kind of approach works. The team shows they care about the player on and off the field. And they’re upfront and honest about everything the free agent should and needs to know.
The Cubs used to sell on breaking the long World Series drought. Now they sell on how great of an organization they are.