Teams are expecting this offseason to bring big change to the Cubs roster.
Tomorrow, new president of baseball operations and longtime GM Jed Hoyer assumes control of the Chicago Cubs. And, boy, he faces a reckoning of an offseason as the organization battles the impacts of no fans in attendance in 2020 and a core just one year away from free agency.
According to Mark Feinsand, executives around the league have a feeling that will create a perfect storm – one in which the Cubs are making ‘big’ moves in the months to come.
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"“They seem to think a heavy restart could be in order,” a National League executive told Feinsand. “Won’t be easy, though, because of the money their guys are set to make. If someone can extend Bryant or Báez, they are probably still pretty good gets.”"
Kris Bryant, a former National League Rookie of the Year and MVP, is set to earn a hefty $18.9 million in his final trip through arbitration – the same salary he earned (albeit prorated to the 60-game schedule) in 2020. That hardly comes as a surprise given his tremendous struggles.
Still, he’s proven when he’s healthy, he’s capable of putting up big-time numbers. Undoubtedly, there are more than a few clubs willing to roll the dice on Bryant with just one year left on his contract.
"“My sense is that the Cubs are very open [to anything],” the another executive told Feinsand."
Baez, a former NL MVP runner-up himself, is coming off arguably the worst offensive season of his career. He looked utterly lost at the dish – something the Cubs believe was caused, at least in part, by the lack of fans in the stands. With the league hoping for fans in attendance to at some degree in 2021, it seems likely Chicago – and most other teams – would anticipate a rebound from the superstar shortstop.
Then you get to the other pieces. Kyle Schwarber will get a raise in his final pass through arbitration, despite a relative ‘down’ performance this year. Willson Contreras, who is still two years from hitting the open market, could be one of the Cubs’ most valuable chips, as well.
We’ve heard these rumors for years now. That change was afoot and a shake-up was coming. Yet to no avail. This time, there appears to be fire where there’s smoke and, if these reports are any indication, Hoyer could be in for a long, busy first offseason at the helm.