Cubs are worse off in 2021 no matter what moves follow the Yu Darvish trade

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

No matter what moves come next, the Cubs sent a message trading Yu Darvish.

The Chicago Cubs have no intentions of building a roster that’s genuinely competitive in 2021. Forget what you’ve heard from the front office and ownership. In trading Yu Darvish for just one year of Zach Davies and a crop of high-risk, high-reward prospects, the top priority is cutting payroll and looking to some far-off future.

Chicago had a glaring need in the starting rotation even before trading away their ace and 2020 NL Cy Young runner-up. Now, they swapped Darvish for Davies and threw in switch-hitting catcher Victor Caratini for good measure, as well.

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"“I would always take Jed’s recommendation on what to do with what happens on the field,” Tom Ricketts told the media when introducing Jed Hoyer as the team’s new president of baseball operations. “But I don’t think anybody’s tearing anything down.”"

Cubs fans now know that ownership has lied to them. A rebuild is afoot and this trade does nothing to improve the team in 2021 – or even in 2022. The earliest you’re going to start seeing the dividends on this trade is 2023. Next year, the club will feature a starting rotation with some of the lowest average velocities in the game.

Oh, and the best part? Chicago didn’t get a single pitching prospect back in this deal.

Now, look. I know this group of prospects could wind up playing a huge role in the team’s future. I also know that Darvish’s trade value was never going to be higher than it was this offseason. But if the Cubs truly had no intentions of rebuilding and tearing it down, they wouldn’t have gone all-in on a group of young, unproven players who are years from contributing at the big league level.

The return would have included more MLB or near-MLB ready talent. So let’s just call it what it is: a cost-cutting move, through and through. Oh, and don’t forget the Cubs reportedly ate some of the money owed to Darvish to get the deal done, as well.

I’m sure we’ll hear soon that the team is bringing back Jon Lester or something along those lines. But that isn’t going to help the Cubs field a better team next year. No matter what Hoyer does in the rest of this offseason, Chicago isn’t going to be improve on the field. Plain and simple.

Next. Getting to know the guys coming back in the Yu Darvish trade. dark

If this is the plan for the organization, it’s time to be transparent. Call a spade a spade. The messages we’ve gotten from those in power don’t line up with what we’re seeing play out. This will be a huge test for Hoyer because this move has the potential to sow deep seeds of distrust between the front office and fans for years to come.