The Chicago Cubs have been very vocal about having money to spend this year, but they have not been very forthcoming with the plan of action. After introducing new GM Carter Hawkins this past week, it is clear that there is a plan of action in place – we just don’t know what that plan is.
Signals have so far been mixed from the front office when talking about the planned course of action. Owner Tom Ricketts is on record saying the money is there to spend and they are ready to put together the next great Cubs team sooner rather than later. President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said while the money is there, they will be smart with their spending and take a cautious approach.
When looking at the next two free agent classes, the time to take action is now.
The names on the market this year are far superior to those coming on the following two seasons, and the club has no time to waste when deciding who is going to be part of the next run to the top. As it stands right now, there are three players secured under contract: Kyle Hendricks, Jason Heyward and David Bote. The rest are under team control or will be going through the arbitration process. Take a look at who all is available this offseason here.
As you can see, there are some huge names at almost every position looking for a home in 2022. Hoyer has already expressed the team needing reliable starting pitching and can answer that with a splash such as a Max Scherzer or a Marcus Stroman. They could even take a mid-range flier/gamble on a guy like Noah Syndergaard coming off multiple injuries.
But the team’s needs go well beyond that. As rumors heat up about former Cub Javier Baez reportedly being close to a deal with the New York Mets, the Cubs front office (and fans) have their eyes set on Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and the Dodgers’ Corey Seager. These are only three names a part of a deep free agent class at shortstop all while the Cubs’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft (and hometown kid) Ed Howard is in the pipeline climbing up looking for a chance at the bigs.
Outfielder Brennan Davis has scorched his way to the top of the team’s prospect rankings and will be rewarded with an opportunity in spring to potentially make the big league team. The Cubs will need much more help than that, though, and they can really prove they are for real with two to three big time moves in the field. Along with a Correa-like signing, how about a Kris Bryant reunion? I don’t know if the Cubs remember, but the guy can play anywhere.
Chicago Cubs: The market significantly drops off after this offseason
If the Cubs are going to compete before 2024 when a new core of baby Cubs is hopefully ready to emerge, they need to do it right now. The 2023 free agent class does not compare to the opportunity this year’s group presents. A decision on Willson Contreras needs to be made sooner rather than later as well. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, a similar decision to the Bryant trade will need to be made in order to get something rather than nothing. With that, though, catcher’s are one of the hardest commodities to come by in baseball. If you have one, especially one like Willy, you should keep him. Though, that’s how I felt about Bryant.
And we should be able to know prior to the non-refundable deposit on season tickets is required in mid-November. A fan base that has been left in the dark so often recently deserves to know what the plan is from the front office. If this is a rebuild, just tell us. If it’s not going to happen this year, we should be able to know that. Simply telling the fans there is a plan, much like Theo Epstein did when he was hired, can go a long way into having the support and the buy-in from the public.
The Cubs have a lot of decisions to make about the future of the franchise and there is not a lot of time to do it. Whatever the plan is, fans and players alike deserve to know now rather than piecing it together ourselves. And if the plan is to make a splash, the time is now.