The latest DJ LeMahieu rumors have to be driving Cubs fans absolutely mad.
There’s no chance in hell you’ll see the Cubs connected to any DJ LeMahieu rumors this winter – which in and of itself should make anyone reading this irate. For years, the team has desperately needed a high-contact, bat-to-ball presence in the lineup to balance out a slugger-heavy construction. But was anything ever done about it? Of course not.
Chicago won it all five years ago, then kept doubling down on catching lightning in a bottle with pretty much the exact same group of guys again and again – with varied results that all ended short of another World Series title. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers – fresh off their first championship since 1988 – are ready to turn baseball’s model franchise into a dynasty for years to come.
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A roster that is already one of, if not the best in baseball could get even better. According to David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports, the Dodgers are “definitely in talks with LeMahieu.”
What an utterly ridiculous concept for a big market team to have: win it all and want more? Play in one of the largest national media markets and actually put the money into a roster that’s already clearly talented to shore it up for another run? You won’t find that type of mentality at Wrigley Field right now, that’s for sure.
I know, I know. The Cubs have ranked at or near the top of the league in terms of payroll for several years now. No one is disputing that fact. But instead of going after the guys who could have made dramatic differences (case in point with LeMahieu this offseason), the team opted to go with incremental improvements and outright bargain shopping instead.
Even post-Yu Darvish trade, which was nothing but an outright salary dump, Chicago could go out, sign LeMahieu and immediately have one of the best offenses in the league. Think about this.
- DJ LeMahieu – 2B
- Ian Happ – CF
- Kris Bryant – LF
- Anthony Rizzo – 1B
- Willson Contreras – C
- Javier Baez – SS
- David Bote – 3B
- Jason Heyward – RF
- Kyle Hendricks – P
Now, does that fix all the Cubs’ problems? Absolutely not. The Darvish trade dealt a gut punch to an already shaky starting rotation. You’d have to add arms, and we know that. But even if you’re thinking about re-tooling the roster, you’re going to get better numbers from the Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras of the world if you have a legitimate table setter atop the order.
Thus, any trades involving these guys would net stronger returns – and help you flip over the roster much quicker than relying on high-risk, high-reward prospects like we saw in the Darvish deal.
Say you trade Bryant and Contreras, then work out extensions with Rizzo and Baez. That’s a nice trio of guys to build around in LeMahieu, Rizzo and Baez. Throw in Happ, who looked like a legitimate MVP candidate for a good chunk of this season, and Heyward, who’s coming off his best season with the team – and, again, you’re more than competitive: you’re probably the favorite in the division again in 2022.
I know this is a lot of hypotheticals and speculation. But to see the Dodgers win it all and keep on trucking, actively seeking major improvements to the roster while the Cubs are acting like the Oakland Athletics and pretty much spending no money at all is nothing short of maddening.