It’s been a nightmarish week for Chicago Cubs fans as the team we knew and loved is, all of the sudden, gone. Jed Hoyer’s harsh selloff ahead of Friday’s trade deadline has left Chicago with just three remaining members from the 2016 World Series team – four if you include manager David Ross. We’ve had little time to process and say goodbye to the core that we know and love. However, with all the negative noise pointed at Hoyer and the ownership, this was the best move for the future of this team.
The Cubs stumbled into the All-Star break at two games under .500. They showcased bullpen regression, a complete lack of a starting rotation and an unpredictable offense. With how quickly things headed south for this team and no long-term contracts in place for the core, Hoyer made the decision that it was time to hit the reset button and started the fire sale.
It’s hard to stomach what happened but at the end of the day, this was the right move by Hoyer and we can shift our focus to the future. While Theo Epstein was seemingly on the more emotional side with his players, Hoyer has prioritized business and after being unable to extend the core, choosing this route over emotion was the right thing to do.
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It has to be a “what have you done for me lately” mindset in today’s era and the bottom line is this team just hasn’t gotten it done. No one will ever be able to take 2016 away from us, but the more we focus on that the harder it us to move forward and build this next championship team. This group couldn’t pull through in 2017, collapsed in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The writing was on the wall for a fresh start. It still feels sudden, though.
What this team has been missing on offense is contact. It’s a feast or famine lineup that is very inconsistent. With the Craig Kimbrel trade to the South Side, bringing in Nick Madrigal gives us exactly what we’re looking for. With a middle infield of Madrigal (.317 average through 324 at-bats) and Nico Hoerner (.275 career average), we can build around two young stars who can get on base and hit for contact. As awesome as Javier Baez was for this organization, his all or nothing style highlighted what this offense was. Having more consistency with our middle infield is something to be very excited about.
Chicago Cubs: Executives impressed with the returns the team got
The league was very impressed with the returns Hoyer was able to bring in via the moves he made and I believe the Cubs can be ready to compete as early as next year. With only three players under contract for 2022, the money will be there to spend in order to build around some of our youngsters.
In reality, the Cubs have the same chance to re-sign Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez this offseason whether or not they stayed with the team or got traded. With no team to make a run this year, taking the risk in order to rebuild a pipeline that was depleted to help this core over the past several seasons is very much worth the reward.
Well fans are rightfully upset, Hoyer has set this team up for a new era. We get this second half of the season to see what’s on the roster. Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson will have their auditions for a rotation spot, Patrick Wisdom, Rafael Ortega and Ian Happ will get very important everyday playing time to showcase why they should be apart of this group moving forward and Hoyer has time to find the next leaders of this organization.
There’s no saying Rizzo, Bryant or Baez don’t come back this offseason but Hoyer’s realized this team’s championship window has closed and what better time than now to restock a farm system that had been depleted in recent years. It was truly a seller’s market and he capitalized on that.
While it’s sad to see our competitive window close with this group, having the stepping stones in place for the future is something to look forward to. Hoyer will do this job well and there should be confidence in him as a result.