At the time of writing, we are just 5 days away from the winter meetings. Next week at this time, I'm willing to bet the rumor mill will begin picking up full steam as more and more free agents get connected to teams. For the Chicago Cubs, I am expecting them to be right in the thick of it. No, not because it's been rumored that they will be, but because we've now seen it with our own eyes in regard to the news of the Cubs' offer to Jose Abreu.
Though the Cubs ultimately missed on one of their primary targets, the fact was they tried and tried hard. The Cubs reportedly offered Abreu a two-year deal in the $40MM range, proving they are serious about upgrading the roster this coming season. The fact is, the Houston Astros probably overextended by offering him the 3rd year of his contract. Truth be told, signing Abreu to a three-year deal falls out of the realm of intelligent spending. You have to applaud Jed Hoyer for staying true to his word regarding making moves that are both beneficial now and in the long run. 60MM for Abreu from the Astros is quite passed the realm of what was projected.
It's easy from a fan's perspective to not really care about the number of years being such a factor. As long as the team is better, that's all that matters. However, financially and from a standpoint of a General Manager or President of Baseball Operations, it's important to understand when you might be hindering your ballclub down the road. Landing Abreu could have been great for a year or two, but there are plenty of other options still out there that can Cubs can swoop in and find. I'm okay missing on Abreu only because the front office actually tried,
Had the Cubs never made an offer to Abreu's camp, I would have to question exactly what it is we're doing here. The 3rd year for Abreu was something that was unforeseen until it presented itself in negotiations with other teams and probably wasn't a length anyone wanted to go to. Teams knew they would have to if they were to be fortunate enough to acquire him. Nevertheless, we now at least know that the Cubs aren't playing around.
Sometimes, the free agent market seems like it's taking forever and you just wish players would sign and we can move on and look ahead to next season. The fact is, Anthony Rizzo, Jose Abreu, and Mike Clevinger are really the only three big fish off the board at his point. You still have three high-end pitchers, four all-star caliber short stops, several first basemen, and so on and so forth. Just because the Cubs haven't signed anyone yet, means nothing. A lot of teams haven't yet. Jed Hoyer's aggressive approach to trying to acquire Abreu was exactly what fans needed to see. Effort. A belief that they aren't just saying they will try and not really do so.
Looking ahead, the weekend will probably be as slow as it has been the last few weeks, but after the winter meetings begin next Monday, December 5th, you can expect things to start ramping up as they normally do. Though missing on Abreu wasn't ideal, I believe it should still provide a reason to be optimistic since we have proof that the Cubs are out there really trying and making offers to significant players. Even Jesse Rogers, who was reportedly not convinced the Cubs were going to make a splash for a shortstop, is starting to turn the corner the more he hears himself. I think the most important thing right now is to have patience. The Cubs are going to be a good team in 2023.