Cubs have a trio of club option decisions looming

Chicago Cubs v Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago Cubs v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Taking two of three from the best team in baseball is nothing to sneeze at but, boy, it sure feels like the Cubs could have come away with a sweep of the Rays before hitting the road.

Chicago's loss on Wednesday, along with wins by every other team in the division, pushed David Ross' club into last place in the NL Central, 5 games behind the first-place Brewers and 4 1/2 out of a crowded Wild Card race. Memorial Day is often a measuring stick used by front offices when determining whether they're buying or selling at the trade deadline and Jed Hoyer finds himself in a tough spot in that regard.

Technically, yes, the Cubs are still very much in the postseason picture. But only because they play in one of the weakest divisions in baseball. There's a chasmic gap between the league's best teams and Chicago right now, despite strong showings from Justin Steele, Marcus Stroman, Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner.

We'll see how the next few weeks play out and what direction Hoyer and GM Carter Hawkins decide to go - but at the end of the season, the Cubs will have some decisions to make regardless, in the form of a trio of club options for 2024.

How will Cubs handle club options on Kyle Hendricks, Yan Gomes and Brad Boxberger?

The first club option - and the one that will garner the most interest among Cubs fans - relates to longtime rotation staple Kyle Hendricks. The man who started the NL pennant-capturing game and that fateful Game 7 back in 2016 has fallen on hard times in recent years and only just recently returned to the mound following 2022 shoulder surgery.

The Cubs carry a $16 million club option on Hendricks, with a $1.5 million buyout. It's hard to envision Hendricks pitching well enough the rest of this year to warrant the front office picking up that option, but I think there's still a scenario where he returns to Chicago for an 11th season on the North Side on a lower-value deal.

Veteran catcher Yan Gomes has experienced a resurgent campaign at the plate in 2023 and I'd be surprised if he's not back in the fold next year, even if Miguel Amaya takes over as the primary catcher. It's just a $6 milliuon option with a $1 million buyout, so it definitely won't break the bank to keep Gomes and his experience as a mentor and game-caller on the roster.

Next. In the Running or Not. 3 reasons Cubs are still in the running and 2 reasons they're not. dark

Last and, well, least - is Brad Boxberger who, along with fellow veteran Michael Fulmer, has really struggled this year with the Cubs. He wasn't effective when he was on the mound and is currently on the IL. There are plenty of fish in the sea (and young arms rising through the system). It seems like, barring a dramatic turnaround, this will be a one-and-done scenario.