Chicago Cubs: Danny Hultzen, Hernan Perez aren’t going to cut it
The Chicago Cubs and their apparent strategy of scraping the bottom of the barrel and praying for something good is unbefitting to a big market club.
So far this week, Theo Epstein has inked former Milwaukee infielder Hernan Perez to a deal with an invitation to Spring Training and brought back oft-injured former top prospect Danny Hultzen back to the Cubs on a minor league deal.
I know there’s two months left in the offseason, but what are we doing here?
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Chicago is one of the premier organizations in Major League Baseball – at least in terms of the resources at its disposal. But instead of playing in the deep end with the likes of the New York Yankees – one of two other teams to pay a luxury tax this year – we’re in the wading pool with our water wings on.
Even players Epstein has long had an interest in like Eric Sogard – yes, that Eric Sogard, are out of the team’s price range. He’ll never say it and neither will Tom Ricketts. But it’s hard to believe there’s not a mandate to shed payroll and even potentially mirror the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox and get under the luxury tax threshold by Opening Day.
"“We have the makings of a very, very good team that’s currently under control on our roster and we have the chance to win a division. We do that, and you have a chance to have a great October. That’s not to be taken lightly,” Epstein told reporters last week in San Diego. “At the same time, we can’t just pretend that we can keep putting off making some important decisions for the future if there is an opportunity to strike and help ensure a better future, we have to do that.”"
I understand that, I do. Toeing the line between going all-in on the next two years and keeping an eye on the years to come is a delicate balance. But I’m not asking for Ricketts to shell out Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon money. I’m looking for the Cubs to make logical moves that allow them to address the countless glaring holes on the roster.
Right now, for example, in center field Chicago’s brilliant plan is to bet on fixing Albert Almora‘s swing, despite the fact he’s been the worst offensive player in baseball for the last year-and-a-half. Nothing against Almora, but we heard all this talk about production over promise – and it’s yet to be put into action aside from the non-tender decision with Addison Russell.
The Cubs have a prime opportunity in their hands and, so far, they’re doing absolutely nothing with it. With each passing year since the team won it all in 2016, they’ve taken steps in the wrong direction, bottoming out in 2019 with a dismal 84-win campaign that included yet another late-season fade.
Guys like Perez, Hultzen or Jharel Cotton may very well be pieces on next year’s Cubs team. But they’re certainly not answers – not even close.