If the Chicago Cubs fail to get off to a strong start in 2020, it may be the final nail in the coffin, forcing Theo Epstein to deal away the team’s best players.
Nobody knows what 2020 holds for the Chicago Cubs. If we’re being honest, it’s hard to imagine it going as poorly as this offseason has, with the team having made just a pair of big league signings to-date – while suffering significant losses via free agency.
The front office is betting everything on David Ross bringing a new culture to the clubhouse and ushering in a new era on the North Side. Joe Maddon moved on after a tremendously successful five-year run but it’s pretty clear that change was needed.
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As far as the roster goes, we heard that change was coming – a reckoning, if you will. So far, the only one to pay the price has been Addison Russell. If we’re being honest, that was a move that was long overdue. Despite having other guys who have no business taking up roster spots (Albert Almora) – the Cubs have made no notable moves this offseason.
We’ve long heard rumors regarding pretty much every member of the team’s core, including Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras. I think even Anthony Rizzo was mentioned as being available at one point if you can believe that. It’s been weird, guys.
This week, we saw Nicholas Castellanos ink a four-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds. That was fun. Big Stick Nick is taking his talents to a division rival, for whom he’ll undoubtedly massacre Cubs pitching because, well, that’s just how things are going these days.
But suppose Ross and his tough love approach doesn’t net the outcome Epstein is hoping for and the Cubs flounder in the first half. What if they head into the month of July 10 games out of the division? What then will the front office do?
Odds are, it means a fire sale unlike anything we’ve seen at Wrigley Field in recent memory. Bryant would be a near-lock to be traded. And it likely wouldn’t stop there. Chicago would listen on anything with value, which could very well include guys like Schwarber and Contreras, any relievers having solid seasons and perhaps guys like Jose Quintana and Jon Lester, both of whom are in their final year of team control.
It’s far too soon to write off the 2020 team. We’re all looking at this club through the lens of a failed offseason – hardly an objective point of view. There’s a ton of individual talent on this roster. But if that talent fails to bear fruit, Epstein may very well switch the marquee lettering to ‘Everything Must Go by 7/31’.