Chicago Cubs: Keeping core intact would be a monumental mistake

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

*DISCLAIMER: This was written on the basis of the remainder of the 2021 season ONLY!*

The Chicago Cubs are clearly going to be sellers at the trade deadline. Longtime cornerstones of the franchise like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez could be on the move. But just this week, ESPN reporter Jesse Rogers said on the radio that he expects all three players to still be on the roster August 1.

This would be a huge mistake. Jed Hoyer has stated that he doesn’t anticipate this being a long rebuild, or at least as long as it was the last time around. The quickest way to do this would be to capitalize on your assets. They are all free agents at the end of the season anyway, so they may not bring much back in a trade, but that doesn’t mean Hoyer shouldn’t try.

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Obviously, it’s easy to sit back and say “the best way to have no rebuild is to re-sign these players,” and while that’s true, the Cubs need to work from what they know currently – all of the core players are going to be free agents. It’s certainly possible Hoyer re-signs one of them this winter, maybe even two. It’s, of course, also possible he doesn’t re-sign any.

The one thing the Cubs absolutely cannot do is stand pat at the deadline. A prime recent example can be found in the 2017 Kansas City Royals. Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas were all set to be free agents at year’s end. The Royals went all-in to try and win the World Series, didn’t even make the postseason, and are now a perennial 100-loss team in the throes of another lengthy rebuild.

Cubs fans don’t want to sit through more 90-100+ loss seasons for five or six years before the team is ready to compete again. If Chicago doesn’t bring any of the three back it’s very feasible that they could be that bad in 2022 – and maybe beyond.

Chicago Cubs: Team’s draft picks indicate a quick return to relevancy

The team’s picks in the recent MLB Draft seem to reinforce Hoyer’s statements and beliefs this won’t be a lengthy overhaul this time around, as the Cubs selected eight college players in their first 10 picks, headlined by pitcher Jordan Wicks at 21st overall and outfielder Christian Franklin in the fourth round. A lot of college seniors were part of these picks and they will sign, and if they are Major League-caliber should move fairly quickly.

The interesting thing about Hoyer’s comment about a quick rebuild is the Yu Darvish trade where the Cubs acquired four players that won’t be MLB-ready for at least another three or four years. He needs to pick a direction and stick with it.

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As a fan, it’d be wonderful to see any two of the three players out of Rizzo, Baez and Bryant stick around, but if the Cubs have no intention of keeping them, then it’s time for the organization to strike while the iron is hot and see what’s out there as trade possibilities.