3 free agents Chicago Cubs should sign but won’t spend money on

(Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
(Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
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Robbie Ray / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The eyes of the baseball world will be focused on Fenway Park Tuesday night for the win-or-go-home AL Wild Card matchup between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. For Chicago Cubs fans, there are some familiar faces on opposite sides of the equation, with Anthony Rizzo and the Bronx Bombers squaring off against Kyle Schwarber and the Sox.

But already, Cubs fans can’t help but look to the upcoming offseason and what it could mean for a team that lost 91 games after a complete teardown at the July 30 deadline. President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer continues to insist we’re not in for another lengthy rebuild similar to what we experienced a decade ago – but it’ll take action from the front office and ownership for anyone to truly believe that.

With more than a few holes on this roster, there’s no doubt Chicago will be active in free agency. The bigger question is which pool are they going to swim in – the one that features the likes of Corey Seager and Carlos Correa or one that’s more cost-conscious and lower profile? I’d lean toward the latter – and with that in mind, let’s look at three players who would undoubtedly improve this team, but I have trouble seeing the Cubs coming away with this winter.

3 free agents Chicago Cubs should sign but won’t spend money on – Robbie Ray

The Chicago Cubs face a dire situation when it comes to the starting rotation. After trading Yu Darvish this past offseason, we knew the staff was going to take a step backward. But we’d hoped on continued development from some of the younger arms, namely Adbert Alzolay. We didn’t get that – and Kyle Hendricks trended sharply in the wrong direction, to boot.

Hoyer has no choice: he must shore up the rotation this winter. One of the biggest names out there is left-hander Robbie Ray who looks very much like a legitimate AL Cy Young candidate after a monster year in Toronto. All he did was lead the league in starts (32), innings (193 1/3), ERA (2.84), strikeouts (248), ERA+ (154) and WHIP (1.045).

Suffice to say the one-year, $8 million deal he played under in 2021 won’t get the job done moving forward. Still just 30 years old, Ray is set for a big time payday – and as much as he’d help this Cubs team in a dramatic way, it’s hard to envision the veteran going with a rebuilding Chicago club over some of the other teams that will no doubt be interested in his services – including the Jays.

To land Ray, Hoyer would likely have to overpay. And if there’s one thing I think it’s safe to say the Cubs won’t do this winter, it’s handicap themselves with a deal that doesn’t make sense.