Cubs: Adopting a playing ‘not to lose’ mentality will prove costly

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

We’re coming to the close of another familiar offseason for the Cubs. Lots of hype and potential around all the possibilities available to turn this team into a contender again, only to result in more disappointment and unanswered questions. While there’s a few exciting developments in terms of the young talent, a lot is seemingly left on the table again.

The Cubs spent $114.35 million this offseason, the 10th-most in baseball. While that’s seemingly high, considering where the payroll was coming off last season’s sell-off, it’s really not that much. The current payroll sits at $130,110,000 for the 2022 season, which checks in as just below the league average of $134 million.

We know the organization made a point to rebuild the depleted farm system and has done an excellent job on that front, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of aggression to put a winning team on the field with all the resources available.

The Cubs are the fourth most valuable franchise in baseball, worth $3.8 billion and still have the most expensive game-day experience in the league at well over $100/game. To not be taking more chances on big free agents is frustrating with the price tag fans pay to support this organization.

With the cautious nature this front office has taken, we get the feeling they’re taking more of a ‘playing not to lose’ mentality rather than one that’s all about winning. Sure, Jed Hoyer and his team want to do their due diligence when analyzing different options but watching teams like the Mariners, Rangers, Angels, Tigers and Rockies spend more and take chances on big names is frustrating, to say the least.

There are still some glaring holes on this team that make this season difficult to get excited about. The additions of Seiya Suzuki, Wade Miley and Marcus Stroman help the big needs in the outfield and rotation but it’s not enough to make this team feel competitive. They took on a lot more of their staple ‘low-risk, high-upside’ guys in Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Villar, Clint Frazier, David Robertson, Yan Gomes and Jesse Chavez but these are more ‘fill out the roster’ moves than anything.

I understand the mentality Hoyer is taking. He wants to build the team his way and bring in guys that fit for the organization and he won’t bring them in if they don’t. However, watching a team like the Dodgers and the Mets have no problem throwing money at the players they want in pursuit of a championship promotes an organization prioritizing winning. The Cubs have a glaring opportunity in a weak division they’re not taking advantage of.

They have more money to spend than their NL Central counterparts but they’ve decided to sit on the resources and take a conservative approach to the 2022 season. If they sign some big names that don’t pan out, they get the mentality that they went for it and did what they could for the fans to win. That pays more dividends than the current approach and fans have begun to lose faith in the leadership of this organization.

Next. 3 Cubs who have to be successful for the team to win in 2022. dark

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The Cubs are going to need a lot of the roster to have better-than-normal seasons if they want to compete. While there is a chance, the odds are low. ‘We’ll sign some big free agents next year’ has turned into the new ‘this is the year’ for this organization.