Chicago Cubs: How might this apply to the 2020 Cubs?
Again, the Cubs have some money coming off the books. Although Epstein and co. will have to account for arbitration salaries–unless they elect to trade young pieces or sign them to extensions–Chicago will still have some cash to throw around. The question is, how will they choose to spend?
Castellanos–who is also a client of Scott Boras–is likely to command a hefty contract, especially given that he will only be 28 next March.
Make no mistake, Castellanos could be an immensely valuable member of the 2020 Cubs if he is re-signed. But would the front office risk potentially pricing the team out of other markets to retain Castellanos, especially given that the Cubs have more glaring holes?
The Cubs have clear needs for a leadoff hitter and a more dependable second baseman. They will also need to replace some bullpen arms, though guys like Kyle Ryan, Brad Wieck and Rowan Wick proved that they could be staples of the 2020 pen.
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While Chicago’s rotation was decent on the whole in 2019, they also face a potential reckoning. Cole Hamels is a free agent, and the Cubs have an option on Jose Quintana. Not to mention, Jon Lester will be 36 in January, and he is coming off arguably the worst season of his career.
Like the Nationals, the Cubs might be able to make more impactful moves in a multitude of areas in addition to creating one big splash.
Adding fringe pieces might allow the Cubs to pursue an ace like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg (who can opt-out of the remaining four years on his current deal), as well as other promising arms such as Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler.
Maybe the front office feels that Castellanos is an indispensable member of next year’s team. However, there is a real argument to be made that the Cubs should look for low-cost options while trying to hit a home run on a marquee starter.
The strategy works. Look no further than the 2019 Washington Nationals.