Stop me if we’ve said this before, but the Chicago Cubs need to get going. Free agents are coming off the board left and right and the North Siders have done next to nothing, agreeing to a couple minor league deals and most recently a backup (maybe) catcher in Yan Gomes.
The New York Mets snagged Max Scherzer and Starling Marte to compete with the World Series champion Braves in the NL East. The Rangers came out of the gates hot, committing over $500 Million to Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray. Even the Mariners are out there slinging stacks of money, signing Robbie Ray already and saying they’re not done yet – with their eye on Kris Bryant.
And now, we have our former pal Javier Baez signing a six-year, $140 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. The deal is eerily similar to the extension offered by the Cubs prior to the 2020 season that was turned down. Maybe this is because Baez saw that his market was not what he expected it would be, but many teams were rumored to be in on him. Which leads me to think that maybe the Cubs’ deafening silence isn’t because they’re not talking to free agents, but maybe free agents aren’t talking to them.
Have players soured on playing for the Chicago Cubs organization?
Let’s think about this for a minute. The Cubs said goodbye to multiple World Series heroes in the last couple of years, and we were to believe it was because one of the top three markets in baseball did not have the funds to offer the contracts for such players. Hmm..
The Cubs did not offer a contract to Kyle Schwarber, and he signed with the Washington Nationals for $8 million. We all know what happened with Bryant and the service time situation – Chicago held him down an extra three weeks to gain an extra year of control. Then they “could not agree” on an extension, and he was traded.
Unofficial team captain Anthony Rizzo could not agree to an extension and was traded for prospects, just like Bryant. Baez – same thing. And now, we’re sitting in the exact same situation with one of the only stars left, Willson Contreras. It is reported that his contract extension talks are non-existent going into the last year of his contract. Things have gone from bad to worse on that front, because he tweeted this right after the Gomes signing.
It is becoming more and more apparent that it may not be the Cubs front office not making the calls, let’s give them credit there. The problem is much more severe than that – players may just not want to put themselves in a situation where saving pennies is more important than paying them and winning championships. Tom Ricketts has made his bed in the reputation he’s given himself, and the product on the field and the fans in the stands are the ones who will be punished for it.