Decisions to spend money for the Chicago Cubs could depend on which players are traded this offseason.
The offseason is quickly approaching, and so are the talks of potential moves for Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs. The direction which the team will choose remains to be seen. Will they stick with this core group of players we have come to know so well, or begin a complete rebuild?
A bigger question that looms is whether or not the man in charge of the front office, Epstein, will be with the team beyond next season.
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The consensus around this question is probably not, and as far as a rebuild, I believe the best option for the Cubs is to figure out which of these current players are worth keeping for the long-term, while the rest are flipped for the value they still have.
Some of these players will need to be dealt in the offseason, or at the trade deadline before they hit the free agent market in 2021:
Cubs Upcoming Free Agents:
- Anthony Rizzo (2021)
- Kris Bryant (2021)
- Javier Baez (2021)
- Kyle Schwarber (2021)
- Willson Contreras (2022)
- Albert Almora (2022)
So let’s just say the Cubs decide to trade one or more of those upcoming FAs in the next few months. The moves would likely bring in some young talent, while also taking a lot of future salaries off the book.
In 2020, the Cubs had the seventh-highest payroll ($193.3 mil) amongst MLB teams, not including adjustments to the shortened season. Unless the team plans on going into a full rebuild, this leaves the option to sign other free agents like Marcell Ozuna or DJ LeMahieu while extending whoever they chose from their original core group of players.
At the moment, the Cubs currently have six players with guaranteed contracts for the 2021 season:
Cubs 2021 Salaries:
- Jason Heyward $22 mil
- Yu Darvish $19 mil
- Craig Kimbrel $16 mil
- Kyle Hendricks $14 mil
- Anthony Rizzo $2 mil + $16.5 mil team option
- David Bote $1 mil
To put things in perspective, the Dodgers and Yankees each had a payroll of $220+ mil this season (not including shortened season adjustments). Sure the Cubs could try and play money-ball like the Rays ($58.3 mil 2020 full season payroll) and hope it gets them to the World Series, but I see no point in that considering the market size of Chicago.
Whether they like it or not, the Ricketts family will have to spend money at some point if they plan on being a serious contender.
In case you haven’t heard, the Cubs have their own TV station called Marquee Sports Network and are the fourth most valuable franchise amongst MLB teams. They bought-out and demolished everyone’s favorite McDonald’s to build a new hotel outside of Wrigley Field, so surely they should be able to afford some big players this offseason right?
You can believe me when I say the current core of the Cubs will always have a special place in my heart, and will forever be cherished for finally bringing home a championship. Their accomplishments in the last six seasons are more successful than us fans have ever seen for this team, and it should not be taken for granted. That being said, it’s time for a change.
I don’t think a complete makeover of this group is necessary, but I do believe this team is one or two key players away from playing in late-October once again.