Cubs will make moves this year; the only question is what will they be?
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer acknowledged that there will be transactions this season.
Earlier this week Kris Bryant held court with the media, covering an array of topics ranging from the league’s COVID protocols to contract extensions and his future with the Cubs. The former NL MVP acknowledged he’s hoping to spend the entire season here – although no one, not even the front office, knows how things will play out in the coming months.
"“I would like it not to be a concern,” said Bryant. “I would like to think that I wouldn’t be shipped out in the middle of a pandemic.”"
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
I mean, that’s a fair thing to hope for in all honesty. Bryant has an infant son at home, so he’s understandably more cautious than most in society – and with good reason. But Cubs GM Jed Hoyer knows that, regardless of how players may feel about it, at the end of the day he and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein have a job to do in running a team.
"“You’re going to have to option players out or send players to different places,” Hoyer said to MLB.com. “There’s no question that that’s an uncomfortable thing to think about from our perspective, and obviously Kris is voicing that it’s uncomfortable from a player perspective … That’s something that we have to talk through, but there are going to be transactions this year. There’s sort of no way to avoid that, whether they be big or small.”"
Chicago spent a large chunk of the offseason hanging in limbo, awaiting a ruling on Bryant’s five-year-old service time grievance. Unfortunately, there was no resolution on that front until the end of January, leaving the team mere weeks until spring training kicked off in Arizona.
Not knowing what they were working with as far as team control over their star slugger handcuffed Epstein and Hoyer, who seemed to be working with a mandate to get under the competitive balance tax threshold of $208 million. Thus, the team headed into camp having made no notable offseason moves and with a payroll pushing $220 million, among the highest in the game.
Knowing all that, it’s definitely not out of the question that the Cubs will look to cut payroll, perhaps even in-season. That might be easier said than done given the financial state of the game due to COVID-19, though. For the time being though, Hoyer says the team isn’t worried about contract extensions (something we heard echoed by both Bryant and Javier Baez this week) or the trade deadline.
"“That’s really not where our mind is,” Hoyer said. “We want this to be effective, for this club to get off on the right foot. That’s really where our mindset is, and I think given the things we’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis, that’s not something that we’re discussing.”"
So, for now – sit tight. But don’t be surprised if ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline, you see some familiar faces headed to new places – pandemic or not.