Despite what Cubs ownership may prefer you think, the large-market clubs across Major League Baseball are, well, doing rather well for themselves. We saw that in a pair of franchise valuations earlier this year – with the latter of those pegging the North Siders to be worth north of $4 billion.
But that hasn’t translated to big-time spending the last, well, several offseasons. Even at the team’s peak, they nickeled and dime their way to building out a supporting cast around Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and their homegrown position player core. If you ask Rizzo, though, there’s absolutely no reason teams like the Cubs shouldn’t be flexing their muscle and competing for titles on an annual basis.
"“All the big markets have plenty of money to spend, so, yeah, a team like the Cubs should be competing every single year … Yeah. It’s better for the game. When the big teams are playing at a premium, it’s just better for baseball. It’s better for the overall experience when you turn on the game and it’s the Yankees-Red Sox, and we’re battling for first place in June but it seems like it’s October. That’s good for baseball.”"
Jed Hoyer probably made the right call trading everything not bolted to the floor at Clark and Addison last summer – but plenty of folks took issue with the team focusing, once again, on a good number of one-year, prove-it deals this winter, with the exceptions of Marcus Stroman, Yan Gomes and Seiya Suzuki.
Cubs, Yankees on very different trajectories two months into the season
The lack of superstar production in the lineup, not to mention numerous holes on the roster and an either poorly executed or communicated plan for the season, has translated to a 23-34 mark with the Cubs nine games out in the Central and eight back in the NL Wild Card race.
Meanwhile, Rizzo and the Yankees are steamrolling their way through the American League this year. Friday night’s extra-inning, walk-off win over the Cubs moved New York to 42-16 on the year. Looking at these two teams and their performance over the first two months make it seem like Rizzo made the right call re-upping in the Bronx in free agency last winter.
"“It’s just a different year than the normal standard that we created there over the last six, seven years,” Rizzo said."
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We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves. It’s been a different year, indeed.