Chicago Cubs: Five free agents the team needs, but can’t afford

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros hits a two run single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 16, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros hits a two run single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 16, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs: Bauer could make for a formidable top 3

Who wouldn’t want to see a top of the rotation with Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks and Trevor Bauer? Um, the answer is, every Cubs would definitely want to see that. Well, ok, maybe not everyone, as some would balk at the idea of bringing in the controversial Bauer to pitch for the North Siders. However, anyone focused on winning should have no problem bringing in one of the best pitchers in the game to pair with two other great pitchers.

Add in the fact that Bauer is one of the most stat-driven and new-fangled numbers for pitchers lovers around, and he could bring a lot to the table. He already seems to have at least a good virtual relationship with Darvish, who could probably learn a lot from each other. The two supposedly have talked pitching and helped each other in the past, so having them pick each other’s brains in between and during starts could only be a good thing.

True, Cubs fans and maybe some players might be put off by the outspoken and social media-driven Bauer, but it’s hard to be annoyed by someone bringing it every fifth day and helping your team to win. Besides, his behavior and affect are probably the last things hindering a Cubs courtship of Bauer at this point, given the teams last few offseasons and generally seeming malaise towards free agency right lately.

Bauer, if he does decide to do a one-year deal, could command upwards of $30 million, but will probably have to settle for something in the $20-25 million range if he does a long-term deal. Maybe a suitor will push that closer to $30 million if they’re desperate, but that would be a stretch given the uncertain financial climate most teams find themselves in at the moment, as well as the uncertainty of the 2021 CBA expiration.

If ever there were a time to roll the dice on yourself and max out the amount of money you could earn in a year, Bauer might be able to do it this offseason… and either way, the Cubs would be very unlikely to get involved at that price.