Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer let us all in on the worst-kept secret in baseball this evening prior to the series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies: his team is poised to be sellers.
In a span of two weeks, Chicago went from tied atop the National League Central to 8 1/2 games back. The first-place Milwaukee Brewers show zero signs of letting up anytime soon and are poised to be buyers in the weeks to come. Meanwhile, the Cubs could unload everything not strapped to the floor at this point.
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Craig Kimbrel could fetch ‘a ton’, per multiple reports – with others calling him the most highly-sought after player in the league right now. Kris Bryant, although battling a hamstring issue, will no doubt entice more than a handful of teams and that doesn’t even start to get into the 10+ other guys Hoyer could move for various reasons.
Heading into the season, we knew this was likely the course of action the front office would pursue. I mean, you can’t broadcast that any more clearly than by trading last year’s Cy Young runner-up when he’s under control for several more seasons. Especially when, in return, you pocket a group of far-off teenage prospects and a starter heading into the final year of his deal.
Hoyer also noted that what he’ll attempt to do “will not be a rebuild by any definition,” which is a bold statement given the team’s current situation. Unless Tom Ricketts is opening up the wallet big-time this winter and the Cubs have plans to be major players in free agency, there’s simply not enough left when you look at guys coming back next year for this team to be anywhere near competitive.
Chicago Cubs: No rebuild? That’s a bold statement given the circumstances
Seriously. We’re talking about a position player group that would be centered around Willson Contreras (assuming he doesn’t get traded), Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, Jason Heyward, Patrick Wisdom and David Bote. That’s it. That’s your top-shelf guys. As far as prospect depth, the hard truth is that most of the team’s most highly-regarded position players are still several years from being ready for big league action.
The pitching side of things is a little easier to piece together if you’re looking ahead to 2022 (note the emphasis on little). Again, assuming Kyle Hendricks is back, you’re rolling with Hendricks, Adbert Alzolay and… well, that’s it. That’s your returning starters. In the bullpen, there’s a lot of potential with the young arms we’ve seen shuttling back and forth from Iowa this year – but, again, everything is dependent on what moves Hoyer makes in the coming weeks.
It’s almost a relief to have him finally just admit what we all already knew. The Chicago Cubs are sellers. They played their way into this role and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it at this point.