The Cubs 2024 offseason has been quiet, but this player would cause parades in 2025

Roki Sasaki is potentially the best international player to be available since Shohei Ohtani, and the Cubs need to do everything in their power to get him to the North Side.

Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins/GettyImages

The Cubs have been noticeably quiet this winter. They signed Shota Imanaga, they traded for Michael Busch and they even gave a potential multi-year deal to a relief pitcher (Hector Neris) for the first time in recent memory. 

That being said, Cody Bellinger, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and Matt Chapman remain unsigned and the Cubs are seemingly only in on one of the players on that list. Regardless of how the remainder of this offseason plays out, there are two important numbers to know based on data from Spotrac:

  1. The Cubs are currently projected to have a total payroll of $199,649,978 with the luxury tax threshold listed at $237 million.
  2. The 2025 Cubs have a projected total payroll of $136,749,820 with the luxury tax threshold projected at $241 million.

With all of that money, could the Cubs have a longer game in mind?

If you believe in Jed Hoyer the answer is a resounding yes. 

If we work under the assumption that the Cubs get something done with Bellinger around $25 million per year and players like Mark Leiter Jr., Adbert Alzolay, Julian Merryweather, and Justin Steele are retained at typical arbitration numbers the Cubs could have a payroll as high as about $170 million going into the 2025 season which allows for some major spending next offseason.

There have been rumblings about the Cubs’ interest in current Mets’ first baseman Pete Alonso, and the story of the week has been New York’s unwillingness to negotiate prior to him reaching free agency so that’s a definite possibility if Michael Busch doesn’t work out at first base.

However, the player that every single Cubs fan, and potentially every baseball fan in general, should get on the hype train for right now is Roki Sasaki

Sasaki is a video game player. Not since Shohei Ohtani has there been a player that can have a greater impact on an MLB team, and that includes the recently signed Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

In 2022 Sasaki had a streak of 17 perfect innings, during which he had a 19-strikeout perfect game. As a 20-year-old. 

Last season he had a 1.78 ERA and 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings compared to just 1.7 walks per nine. In the same league, at two years older, Yamamoto had a 1.21 ERA with 9.3 strikeouts per nine and 1.5 walks per nine. 

Sasaki is 22 years old and won’t turn 23 until November. That means that if he were to be posted, under the current rules, he wouldn’t be eligible for the massive $325 million dollar deal that Yamamoto got and instead would be in line for a portion of a team’s international free agency pool which generally range from $4,144,000 to $6,366,900 according to MLB Trade Rumors. 

The obvious boogeyman in this situation is the Dodgers. In a world where spending on this player is capped, the fact that the Dodgers have spent a billion dollars this offseason on guaranteed contracts is irrelevant because every team will have a similar amount of money they can offer. 

That being said, if the Cubs are able to bring Sasaki over he would instantly slot in as the most talented pitcher the Cubs have had since… Greg Maddux?

He would anchor a rotation that would hopefully also include Justin Steele, Shota Imanaga, Cade Horton, and Jameson Taillon, and that rotation would easily be good enough to compete for a World Series.

More Chicago Cubs News