If the Cubs trade Kris Bryant, they better come away with something to show.
This isn’t 2011. Cubs fans certainly aren’t ready to sign up for another top-to-bottom rebuild. But that’s sure what it seems like we’re inching closer and closer to. The return in the Yu Darvish trade was much lighter than a lot of folks expected – and really, besides Zach Davies, none of the guys who came back in the deal will even sniff Wrigley Field for at least three years.
That sends a message that the team isn’t too focused on the short-term. They’re thinking a long-term overhaul: one that will test the patience of fans who believe the front office and ownership squandered what once looked like a dynastic core of position players.
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Tom Ricketts is clutching his pearls and guarding his wallet at every turn. Chicago has shed in excess of $70 million in payroll this offseason – putting themselves well under the luxury tax threshold (not that it really matters at this point anyway) and in a position to make moves.
But the only moves this team has made so far? Subtraction by subtraction. And it’s getting old really fast. To kick off our weekend, we learned Kyle Schwarber signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Washington Nationals. That means the Nationals found him worth more than even the top-end of his arbitration projections. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?
I’m sorry, come again?
Look. I’m not saying that trading Kris Bryant is unforgivable. If you’re bringing back some top-tier minor league talent (meaning they’d damn well better be on the Top 100 list) and it clearly sets the team up for sustained success, then fine. But if you’re trading Bryant for pennies on the dollar after the worst year of his career simply out of a motivation to keep shedding payroll, it’s nothing short of unforgivable.
Chicago is out there acting like the Baltimore Orioles or Oakland Athletics and it’s pretty disgusting at this point. I don’t live in a bubble. I’m well aware (as we all are) of the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not having fans in the stands is particularly problematic when your business model and investments all center around the gameday experience in Wrigleyville.
But punting for the next half-decade to make up for it isn’t an acceptable response. Cubs fans were promised that once the 1060 Project was complete and the Marquee Network rolled out, new revenue streams would open up and allow the team to remain competitive.
Instead, you got a disastrous inaugural season with Marquee, the team is selling anything that’s not bolted to the floor and – lord, I hope I’m wrong – could be close to trading a former MVP and continue unnecessarily cutting payroll.