Is there any truth to the rumors the Cubs are going to be dumping salary?
If you haven’t been glued to CNN, Fox News or MSNBC the past week trying to figure out who’s going to be President the next four years, you may have seen some of these crazy and asinine trade proposals involving the Chicago Cubs. First there was the Yankees trade, then the crosstown Mets and there have even been rumors floating around about a trade involving none other than Bryce Harper.
I know marijuana is being legalized in a lot of states this week, but what are people smoking out there?
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Better question is, with all of these crazy trade rumors and scenarios, what do players, fans, pundits and media members think is going to happen this offseason? Is this finally going to be the year the Cubs start unloading “core” guys, never to be seen in a Cubs uniform again?
There are a couple possibilities worth speculating about given the rash of seemingly crazy or big trade deals popping up on Twitter and amongst the media: first off, money is going to be an issue for every team this offseason, and secondly, the Cubs are in a unique situation due to the number of guys who are both core members of the team and in their last season of team control.
This is nothing new though, to anyone who has followed the team the last couple offseasons. Since going out and acquiring Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood before the 2018 season, the Cubs have spent like Ebeneezer Scrooge on free agents in the offseason. Judging by their thrifty ways, it’s hard to imagine any big signings this offseason unless they trade multiple members of the core.
And that’s where some of these speculative trades come in. Many have posited that the Cubs biggest trade chip is All-Star catcher Willson Contreras, who has two years left before free agency. Some have even thrown out Ian Happ as a young and controllable commodity who could be quite the chip after breaking out during the shortened 2020 campaign.
Those two make a lot of sense and it’s not strange to hear their names being tossed around during hot stove season. What is a bit interesting is hearing Darvish come up in multiple rumors. Sure, he’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball since July 2019, but why would the Cubs ship out a possible Cy Young contender (and maybe the 2020 winner) if they’re trying to win?
Ahhhhh. Ah hah. Therein lies the issue. It’s possible, according to some of these trade proposals and rumors, that the Cubs are looking to shed salary in a big way and that’s pretty much priority number one. And, while Darvish is superb and the Cubs would certainly want to keep a pitcher of his ilk, he might be such an attractive trade piece that the Cubs could also dump a Jason Heyward and maybe even a Craig Kimbrel contract along with Darvish.
If the goal of this or any Cubs offseason is to shed salary, winning be damned, it’s a very short-sighted and incredibly insulting objective. Everyone in the country knows we’re in the middle of a pandemic and that sports have taken a hit along with everyone else. Yet, when baseball is able to come back, don’t you want your fanbase to come back to something worth rooting for?
Chicago has been one of the biggest spenders in baseball since beginning their competitive run five seasons ago. As division winners even this past season, it would be an awfully tough sell to fans that you’re slashing salary and rebuilding with most of the same position players from a World Series team under contract for one more year and coming off some of their worst years (thus making their trade value as low as it may have ever been).
I don’t have any problem with retooling or even a mini salary dump in the middle of a bad season to set up for the next season; problem is, based on many of these rumors swirling around the interwebs, that’s not what’s being proposed. If there’s any validity to any of the buzz out there (and that’s a big if), let’s hope the goal is to make the team better while cutting some salary, and not solely the latter.