There will be trades.
I start my first piece of the offseason borrowing the title from an intense movie called ‘There Will Be Blood’ staring the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis. Baseball first, non-baseball at the end my friends.
This winter, I, and many other Chicago Cubs fans will be expressing their opinions as to what the best moves are for this team. That Cubs Kool-Aid tasted good the last couple months, especially the final two weeks. It’s going to be a long winter filled with plenty of rumors and speculation.
With all due respect, Jed Hoyer played Robin to Theo Epstein’s Batman for the better part of two decades until he himself became president of baseball operations at Clark and Addison. He wants to drive down Michigan Avenue with his own World Series trophy, badly.
This winter, there will be all kinds of hypotheticals tossed around from everyone – ranging from beat writers to bloggers and even casual fans striking up some barstool conversations. We’ll all spend Tom Ricketts’ money was if we found his pin number. But it’s important to remember: that’s not the way winning teams are built.
Cubs will undoubtedly play in the trade market, as well as free agency
When the Cubs won the World Series seventy-one months ago, please remember these players came via trade: Jake Arrieta, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Pedro Strop. The ‘core” may have been the cake, but these guys were the frosting. Let’s not forget that Starlin Castro went to the Yankees, freeing up salary space to sign Ben Zobrist, who I would personally like to see back with the Cubs as more than an ambassador.
Before that, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe and Sammy Sosa, among others, came to our Cubbies via trade. To become a sustainable postseason contender for half-decade, and become the last great Cubs team, D.J. LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Dylan Cease, Jeimer Candelario, Eloy Jimenez, Tommy La Stella and Jorge Soler were all shipped away. Some have done very well, a few even have rings since departing.
On December 29, 2020, the Chicago Cubs traded Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini. My expression became a human ‘thinking face emoji’ at the time because this didn’t look like a reload. When you trade a big-name starter AND a competent backup catcher for players for kids barely old enough to vote, that should have been a sign to fans as to which direction things were going. We’re still waiting on the payback for that deal and likely will be for a few more years. When Scott Effross became a Yankee I made that face again, but after seeing Hayden Wesneski pitch it is now a smile.
The Cubs have developed some impressive players this season, particularly on the mound. There are more on the way. Yes, I could build out a lineup with a handful of free agents and then count on prospects to supplement them in the years to come, but we have to remember: these top prospects don’t always pan out. On my list two paragraphs back, only LeMahieu (30.4) and Torres (11.5) have a career WAR in double figures.
Remember, Jason Heyward is still owed eleven Aaron Judge home runs balls for next season. His deal, and a few others over the years, are a cautionary tale. The amounts and years are in some respects obscene, but so is wealth on planet earth. The Cubs can roll the dice and flip a few prospects (the team in control knows its players better) and bring in a few veterans to mentor the current and coming kids. The minor league system is set to steadily produce big league-ready talent, not all at once. Jed and Carter’s phones should be on fire by mid-November.
And I almost forgot, as I said, I took the title of this piece from a 2007 movie called There Will Be Blood. In this film, Daniel Day-Lewis won his second best actor award. He remains the ONLY actor to win this award three times and there are MANY other great actors who didn’t accomplish that.
After a month of postseason games, it will be three-and-a-half months until spring training. I highly recommend you watch this, and then you will understand this phrase “I drink your milkshake!”