One way or another, the Chicago Cubs need to find more outfield depth.
It’s no secret, the Chicago Cubs need help in the outfield. Following last week’s non-tenders of Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora, the only everyday outfielders on the 40-man roster are Ian Happ and Jason Heyward.
A big reason why Jed Hoyer and the Cubs have yet to make any additions thus far is because they are still figuring out their budget for the 2021 season. An unknown start date, total number of games, fans (real human beings) in attendance, and a designated hitter in the National League are a few of the factors slowing down the MLB offseason, which is traditionally slow to begin with.
There’s still plenty of time to trade big-name players like Kris Bryant or Willson Contreras, but it’s unlikely the Cubs will receive any offers they feel meet their demands. Hence why the team decided to let Schwarber and Almora walk away for nothing in return. Even with poor statistical seasons, an offseason market in the past would’ve likely had teams offer some type of compensation and take their chances by acquiring low-risk high-reward players in Schwarber and Almora for 2021.
The same could be said if the Cubs tendered contracts to their two former outfielders, taking a gamble on bounce back seasons. Personally, I would have rather taken a shot on paying Schwarber, and moving him at the deadline if the season didn’t look promising. Instead, the team will save about ~$10 million total by cutting Schwarber and Almora loose.
Normally that doesn’t seem like much money in terms of how lucrative some MLB contracts can be, but it can’t be stressed enough how different this offseason is. It raises the question of just how much Hoyer and the Cubs are willing to spend in the upcoming weeks.
Regardless, the Cubs better figure it out soon, because a few teams have already signed outfielders and there might not be many to choose from before too long.