Free agency is coming up for more than a few members of the Cubs core, leaving many to wonder if they should have been traded when they had high value.
It seems like just yesterday the young core of the Chicago Cubs were making their big league debuts, and not too long after raising a World Series trophy. Now they are entering the prime years of their careers and, more importantly, the end of team-friendly contracts.
It looks as if Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is waiting until the last possible minute to pull out his checkbook and start making long-term deals. There is only one problem at the moment–some of these players have regressed since their first few years in the league but will demand big-time money for what they believe is their worth.
Here is a look at some notable players on the team entering free agency soon:
Anthony Rizzo (30): FA 2022
Kris Bryant (28): FA 2022
Javier Baez (27): FA 2022
Kyle Schwarber (27): FA 2022
Willson Contreras (28): FA 2023
Albert Almora (26): FA 2023
So now what? If you have watched Cubs baseball in 2020, you know all of the players listed above are having underwhelming seasons. For players like Bryant, Almora, and Schwarber, this has been a growing trend of losing value over the past few seasons.
Not playing up to the standards will likely not warrant Epstein to spend the money these players and their agents will demand. This leads Theo with two options: Let-them walk away and get nothing in return, or trade them while they still have some value left.
Unless any of these players catch fire in these final weeks and into the playoffs, it is unlikely other GMs around the league will be calling the Cubs’ front office ready to send their best offers.
The worst thing that can happen is Epstein letting these players walk away for nothing because they lost all value, similar to what we witnessed with Addison Russell–currently playing in the Korean Baseball Organization.
My other fear is having to settle for a last-minute deal and take anything in return, years after these players could have brought in a lot more. For Chicago sports fans, I am thinking of Sammy Sosa being traded to the Orioles for Jerry Hairston Jr. and Mike Fontenot. More recently, the Chicago Bulls trading Derrick Rose to the Knicks for players not even worth mentioning in this article.
Like those Chicago sports-icons, hopefully, we will not be suffering the same fate with these current Cubs players.