Latest Chicago Cubs' roster move highlights devastating flaw in front office

Another move that Jed Hoyer wants back.
Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs have spent money, with over $230MM in payroll commitments this season, but the team's 2024 season has gone off the rails because of continued deficiencies in self-scouting and then trying to correct that problem with poor free-agent signings.

Between the the dead money still being paid to catcher Tucker Barnhart, first baseman Trey Mancini, and first baseman Garrett Cooper, $11MM of the $230MM that the Cubs are spending this season are on veteran bench pieces that are no longer with the team.

Instead of promoting position prospects to the Major League roster and giving them runway as bench pieces who eventually graduate to being everyday players, the Cubs' front office, especially under Jed Hoyer, has refused to give them any meaningful role.

The biggest example of that last season was outfielder Nelson Velázquez. Velázquez was not one of the Cubs' top position prospects but flashed enough power to prove that he does have a spot on a Major League roster as a power-bat off the bench.

Something the Cubs could have used this season. Instead, Velázquez is with the Kansas City Royals as the Cubs traded him at the MLB Trade Deadline last season for reliever José Cuas.

Another example of Jed Hoyer's poor roster construction.

In a vacuum, these are the types of moves that a contending team should be making. Trade for an area of depth to address a need at the Major League level. The issue with the trade is that Cuas was a flier at addressing the need the Cubs had in the bullpen instead of a legitimate answer.

Cuas was abysmal for the Cubs this season, posting a 7.43 ERA. On Sunday, he was designated for assignment to make room for Ethan Roberts on the 40-man roster.

No, Velázquez is not thriving with the Royals this season, carrying an OPS+ of 84, but he has enough power in his game to have an impact at the Major League level. Velázquez posted a 132 OPS+ last season with 17 home runs.

These are the exact types of trades that have doomed the Cubs' roster construction because it force Jed Hoyer to spend $7MM on veteran players in the hope of a change of scenery instead of using that money elsewhere when you have prospects that could fill that very need.