Chicago Cubs: Dusting off our overly-optimistic 2019 crystal ball

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Change is in the air

While Chicago doesn’t stand to lose many of their key contributors – most are either under contract or arbitration eligible and fully controlled – the reality is the team has to consider the future as they navigate the 2018 offseason. Having young, controllable assets is certainly valuable. But that value is somewhat marginalized as their high performances add payroll through higher arb rewards.

Further complicating that math are the decisions facing players with expensive options. Starting pitchers Jose Quintana ($10.5M) and Cole Hamels ($20M) both have team options, as do relievers Pedro Strop ($6.25M) and Brandon Kintzler ($10M). Two other key relievers, Justin Wilson and Jesse Chavez, are free agents after 2018.

If you add it all up, assuming the team exercises all options, the Cubs could see a baseline payroll upwards of $230M. Suffice to say, that won’t happen. With that in mind, there is little doubt there will be some roster changes ahead of the 2019 season.

Knowing that change is coming, let’s break out the crystal ball and take a stab at what those changes may look like.