Chicago Cubs face stiffer competition in the NL Central moving forward
So if Hamels is focused on proving he’s at 100 percent and staying healthy over the course of the 2020 campaign, I have no reason to believe he won’t be. This guy has been around and knows his body and what it takes to endure the grind of a 162-game regular season.
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All that being said, I still think the Cubs are better off moving on from the former NLCS and World Series MVP. If the team truly wants to build a long-term contender and quit focusing on ‘competitive windows’ rather than being in the hunt annually, signing stopgap starting pitchers isn’t the answer.
Atlanta is set up to contend and potentially win the National League East once again in 2020. The Phillies look ready to take down the Braves with the Wheeler acquisition – but there’s a pretty clear path to the top for the club.
Meanwhile, the Cubs are looking at an increasingly competitive division with the Reds making a huge splash this week, signing Mike Moustakas to a four-year deal. Pair Cincinnati with the likes of St. Louis and Milwaukee and it’s hard to see Chicago being able to take advantage of the last two years of its current core control.
But by taking that $18 million in payroll and investing it in controllable assets – whether that be in position players or pitching – the Cubs have a chance to actually extend that window and be competitive past 2021. It’s no sure thing – but the odds for staying competitive definitely improve when you’re focusing on re-stocking young talent, rather than paying up for again, albeit proven names.
So good luck to Hamels in Atlanta. They’re getting a good one – a big game pitcher, a consummate professional and a guy you can’t help but love. And, as my wife repeatedly noted, a man who looks far too good to be so good at baseball – some guys are just blessed, I guess.