Chicago Cubs: Calm before the storm or a bad omen in Chicago?
If we all had a dollar for every time we refreshed Twitter over the weekend, it’s safe to say none of us would be at work today. When it comes to the Chicago Cubs, everyone is waiting for Jed Hoyer to put that newfound financial freedom to use. Instead, we’ve gotten crickets when it comes to Chicago and the rumor mill.
Which begs us to ask the question: is this a sign of what to expect from the North Siders in coming days and weeks or is the team waiting in the shadows, ready to pounce at the right opportunity?
After letting go of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, non-tendering Kyle Schwarber and dumping Yu Darvish’s contract last offseason, not to mention trading Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera, the team freed up over $100 million in payroll and with the newest luxury tax threshold climbing from $210 to $230 million in the new collective bargaining agreement that was struck between the league and players last week, there are more reasons (and ability) to spend than ever.
As it sits, even after signing Marcus Stroman in the hours leading up to the lockout, the Cubs’ current payroll sits at $102 million. It doesn’t take any sort of mathematical expertise to understand the money is there should Chicago choose to spend it. Though it is still somewhat early in free agency and a lot of the bigger names out there remain unsigned, it is still mind-boggling why the Cubs aren’t in the hunt for several players right now and swiftly making moves.
Let’s glance over the names still available:
- Carlos Correa
- Freddie Freeman
- Trevor Story
- Nick Castellanos
- Kris Bryant
- Kyle Schwarber
- Anthony Rizzo
Here, you have the fourth-richest organization in baseball seemingly pinching pennies and acting, yet again, like a small market team. To not put a winning roster together, after years of die-hard support, acts as a giant slap in the face to the fans. The organization could literally afford to bring in Nick Castellanos, Trevor Story and Kyle Schwarber all on three or four-year deals and still be well under the salary cap. You’d still have room for key relievers while also being able to take on a contract at the deadline if you’re in the hunt. It is simply maddening why this isn’t the case.
Chicago Cubs: Carlos Correa sweepstakes holding everything up for the Cubs?
To be fair, there’s not a whole lot cooking on several of the aforementioned names. Trevor Story has had some degree of talks with Minnesota, the Yankees landed Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in a blockbuster trade that also sent Gary Sanchez to Minnesota (and answered New York’s infield questions). Freddie Freeman’s next home is believed to be down to the Braves or Dodgers which could mean a return to the Bronx for former Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
But what about the rest? Schwarber, Castellanos, Bryant? Bryant not coming back to the Cubs isn’t exactly a surprising scenario, but can we pencil in Schwarber or Castellanos if Correa doesn’t come to the North Side? Check out Jake Misener’s latest piece on Correa potentially being down to the Cubs or Astros and you’ll understand why such a prominent name may be holding up everything for the Cubs.
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Regardless, it would be nice for Cubs brass to understand how rare it is for there to be this many good names available while simultaneously having much money available to spend. If Chicago wants to compete soon, it will go down as a huge swing and miss this winter if they don’t land somebody that can drastically accelerate their “retool” process.