Chicago Cubs: Business will surely get uglier later on down the road
A harsh reality is looming for this Chicago Cubs organization as they prepare for a new campaign without Joe Maddon.
While it may not be that dramatic, tough decisions are going to be made by Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs. One was built over the offseason, parting ways with skipper Joe Maddon who later returned home to the Los Angeles Angels.
Maddon will have his hands full in the American League on top of having to compete with the Dodgers over Los Angeles bragging rights. Recently, the Dodgers pulled off a blockbuster trade, acquiring Mookie Betts, Brusdar Graterol, and David Price from the Boston Red Sox.
Price spent his first few seasons as a big-league player under Maddon as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays before both sides ventured off to win World Series titles elsewhere. One in Chicago (obviously), and Price with the Red Sox (finally).
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Meanwhile, Epstein has had to do some damage control following some comments made by Joe in an interview he had done recently that explained his departure. Either way, Maddon will forever be loved in the Windy City thanks to what he has accomplished.
It’s just a shame to hear how things went from fantastic to bad within a matter of years. Indeed, an ugly side of the business that has nothing to do with players, at least, for now. People come and go — that’s no secret.
Not a single soul is promised to stay with a team for more than half, or their entire career in general. This brings us to our next topic that has already sparked some trade rumors as soon as the season wrapped. Who is next to go?
Thankfully, teammates and new manager David Ross have been supportive of third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant lost a grievance case against the Cubs and will remain under team control through 2021.
With Bryant, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, and Kyle Schwarber set to hit the market in a few years, who stays? Contreras, 27, is fully aware of the business side of professional baseball but is still thankful to be with the Cubs while addressing the media in Mesa, Arizona, via 670 The Score.
He only had to speak up about this topic due to his name being involved in trade rumors over the offseason, as well.
Still, there is no telling what Epstein has planned for behind the dish, as Baez may be the only name targetted for a contract extension at the moment. Building around Javier is the apparent move considering Anthony Rizzo is getting up there in age and is no longer the original piece to this puzzle.
Not to take away from anything he has done over the years — I love Rizzo just as much as the next fan. But that too is the harsh reality of any professional sport. Once you reach a certain age, unless you’re Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Drew Brees, Michael Jordan, or LeBron James, building around a youthful talent such as Baez makes much more sense.
That may not include Rizzo, Schwarber, Contreras, or Bryant at all. At one point, the Cubs were at the top of the world, looking down at the rest for the first time in a very long time. Now they’re coasting near the bottom of the track, approaching a loop that will surely make our heads spin later on.
This is not a shot at the front office or the Ricketts family. It is merely a warning that tough decisions and times are ahead of us yet again. Hopefully, I’m proven wrong, and everything will be fine.
On the other hand, deep down, we know that there is a bad storm that lies ahead.