3 areas the Chicago Cubs must win in to compete in 2022

Michael Brakebill
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: 3 Ways the Team Can Contend in 2022 – #3: Free Agency

The first is also the most obvious way. The way most teams improve the quickest. Opening the checkbook and spending in free agency. There’s pretty much two obstacles standing in the way of making it happen. The first is simply if Tom Ricketts will open the checkbook and if so, how big of a check(s) is he willing to write this offseason?

As stated in the past, the free agency class is absolutely loaded this year. There is plenty to go around. With Ricketts not coming to terms for extensions with the core he had intact in Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo says one of two things.

One: he wants to win but didn’t believe in the players he had enough to sign them to big contacts. To play devil’s advocate here, the fact is the core did underperform. You can’t exactly argue that looking at the numbers. Therefore, I can understand Ricketts’ sentiment in not paying players that aren’t bringing you titles. Why would you? However, the other thing it could suggest is the core underperforming is just being used as an excuse and Ricketts just wants to put all of that money saved in his pocket instead of on the field.

The choice will solely be up to Ricketts how soon he plans to win again. I can’t imagine losing being good for business. Assuming he is looking to spend this offseason, as Hoyer has stated “big money spending will be back”, that leads us up to the second obstacle. When you have teams that are contending year-in and year-out, Los Angeles, the Yankees, even the Padres recently, it’s hard to lure big name free agents that will match a non-contenders offer. Hypothetically, if you’re Freddie Freeman and the Cubs offer you a big number but then the Dodgers swoop in and match it, are you going to Chicago or to LA who’s made it known they are all about winning?

This will be Hoyer’s greatest challenge to-date. If Ricketts is willing to spend, it is not going to be easy to haul in a big fish without seriously convincing players on just how it is you expect to become a winner again and fast. If he is able to work a little magic, landing a top name in free agency will get other players to notice. It shows Chicago is serious and this whole thing will really be looked at as a re-tool. If the front office can pull that off, it will lead us to our phase two of this master plan.