Chicago Cubs are admittedly wary of lengthy, big-dollar contracts

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs finally have money to spend this winter, and virtually every report out there seems to suggest they intend on spending. That being said, Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (subscription required) says the Cubs don’t intend on signing any free agent to a mega contract.

A team with World Series aspirations – or even a desire to compete at a high level – can usually be expected to court premier free agents. Looking for guys on one or two-year deals isn’t a way to build a sustainable, long-term winner. Passing on 31-year-old Marcus Semien is understandable, as committing big money to a non-pitcher at that age is always risky. Corey Seager and Carlos Correa are both just 27. The Cubs only have $40 million committed for 2022 salaries, so there is no excuse to not be in the pool of candidates for those players.

The type of players that will sign one-year deals aren’t the type of players that will move the needle a great deal in either direction. The Cubs can’t honestly say that a bunch of one-year flyer deals for the Joc Pedersons of the world will take this from a 71-win team to a division contender. Sure, the outfielder is a good player, but he can’t do it himself.

Chicago Cubs: So what exactly qualifies as a mega deal in today’s game?

It’s also fair to ask what qualifies as a mega deal in 2021. A Bryce Harper-like deal? A Gerrit Cole-like deal? Anything in excess of three or four years? The Cubs may swing some four-year deals with pitchers and position players, and that would actually be ideal.

Marcus Stroman, Chris Taylor and Nick Castellanos all signing with the Cubs to three or four-year deals? Sure, fans would accept that. The problem is the Cubs haven’t signed anybody to a multi-year contract since Daniel Descalso and even that was just a two-year deal that netted negative value.

The other issue at hand is that the Cubs have been so frugal that fans have understandably become jaded about the team spending money. It’s going to take Jed Hoyer and the Ricketts family actually opening the pocket books again in order for fans to believe.

Hoyer has talked a big game ever since July 30 about this not being a lengthy rebuild, and signing a mega deal with one of the top free agents is the best way to go about it. All “rebuilds” or “retools” have some semblance of an anchor/big deal attached to them.

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Not to mention a big deal can give some stability to an organization long-term and veteran leadership for young prospects. The free agent class is deep, and the Cubs have – or at least, they should have – deep pockets this winter and they need to sign at least one big contract. End of story.