Besides an array of minor league signings, the Chicago Cubs have been near-silent this winter after hiring a new manager to kick off the offseason.
There is no secret that the last two offseasons for the Chicago Cubs have not been what fans have become accustomed to during the Theo Epstein regime. Since 2015, when the team added key marquee players like Jon Lester and Ben Zobrist, significant moves have been the norm during the winter months.
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At the end of the 2018 season, we heard Epstein preach about change and a reckoning that was coming after the Cubs scored just one run in the National League Wild Card game loss.
Then the big move of the offseason was Daniel Descalso. At the time the move felt like it could work as long as it wasn’t the only move. As we all know it was the only move.
The 2019 season came and went and another September collapse hit hard. Soon after, we all listened to Epstein talk about how critical change would be coming to the Cubs.
Now it’s the middle of January and all the Cubs have done is hire David Ross as the new manager. Chicago’s entire offseason has been nothing but trade rumors surrounding their biggest players.
Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras both seem like potential, if not likely, trade chips. The big hold-up in any moves has been the ongoing (and still unresolved) service time grievance. Without knowing how much team control they have, trading Bryant has been near-impossible.
The annual Cubs Convention takes place this weekend downtown. Epstein met with the media before Friday night’s opening ceremony – and was asked about the team’s roster as it currently stands.
"“What’s most likely is status quo — it’s hard to get long-term extensions done, it’s hard to get trades done. We have what we feel is a pretty good club. We’re trying to compete this year and we’re not in a position where we have to do anything.”"
This is very different from how Epstein talked after last season. Then, it seemed like big changes were coming to the North Side. Now it seems more likely that nothing is going to change. On one hand, I feel like change can be a good thing for the team but on the other hand trading, the best player on the team doesn’t feel right either.
The Cubs are in a unique spot where they are still trying to contend in 2020 but also trying to shed payroll to get under the luxury tax.
So as it stands now it seems more and more likely the roster will not see any major changes to it before the season. The Cubs are hoping that Ross’ leadership will be enough to get them over the edge and get back to their winning ways.