Well the fast flurry of activity has seemingly come to a complete stop. Does this mean the Cubs are done? Are we all just waiting for Spring Training to begin? Have you tried to buy your 2016 World Series tickets yet? Let’s start this party!
We haven’t been shy here at Cubs Chat about our wishes to see the Cubs add another cost-controlled impact arm. We were even willing to trade both Jorge Soler AND Javier Baez if the right opportunity came down the pike. Rest easy, it hasn’t presented itself.
For us, it’s not enough to just love our players. That’s the feel good story of decades past. It’s a place for all the “lovable losers” that we Cub fans have been called since our birth. Hey, we want to love our players as much as the next guy but that feeling just doesn’t satisfy us anymore. We want a Championship!!!
But this exuberance can sometimes also force to make the same bad emotional decisions that we hate. When Castro was traded to make room for Zobrist to play 2B and add some pitching depth in Adam Warren, we praised the move. We said it was just business. We also expressed our desire to see Heyward play RF and trade Soler. Again it’s just business.
But this idea of things just being a business decision and void of emotion also needs constant evaluation. Forcing a trade and calling it a business decision could be just as foolish as just walking away and holding your assets. This is where we are right now.
Publicly, Theo Epstein told the Score that the Cubs are ready to start the season with Heyward in CF and Soler in RF. What would expect Theo to say? Are the Cubs ready for the season right now? Of course they are. Does this mean they are closed for business on any of their players? Of course not!
It’s just time to pump the breaks a little. This offseason has had a very visible pattern to it so far. Just about every team had a need for pitching and there was an abundance of free agent pitching available. We saw teams immediately try to fill their needs and it could be argued that many overpaid for those players.
As each free agent pitcher came off the board, many proclaimed how these pitchers were just not worth the money being paid. Time will tell if this is a true statement. The Cubs got way ahead of this run by signing John Lackey to a simple 2 year deal. This is something that we should be used to now. This FO always seems to be ahead of the pack and can therefore score a better deal.
The next deal of importance was the Shelby Miller deal. The Diamondbacks’ got themselves a fine pitcher! There is not much debate there. The Cubs were believed to be in on such a deal. But Arizona paid an extremely high price for the trade. The Cubs had to walk away rather than pay too much. It happens.
What this did to the cost of cost-controlled pitching was also affected. The price of these pitchers went up dramatically with these two factors. Free agents were signing astronomical deals and Arizona seemed to agree and paid just as high a price with prospects. The whole scale seemed to be off balance.
We believe this is about to change. Jason Heyward was just signed to $184M by the Cubs. It has then been followed by debate as to whether Heyward was worth this much money. Again, time will tell the tale on this signing. But there are still some big name free agent outfielders that will be signed soon.
As the price seemingly goes up for these outfielders, the scales should start to move more in favor of the positional players. A worst case scenario would see the scales absolutely balanced. But more importantly, there will still be teams needing players as the game of musical chairs comes to an end.
This is when a chance to better evaluate your opportunities should come back into focus. Will teams like the Indians, Braves, Mets, White Sox and others fill all their needs? If not, then they may be more willing to come back to the Cubs for those needs. This is the opportunity the Cubs will wait for and hopefully a better deal may be struck.
If not, then Theo also has to be willing to stand pat and start the season with the horses he has in the stable. There will be another opportunity at the trade deadline. Hopefully the Cubs will be on their way to another playoff spot and they can grab any needs they have at that time. Time will tell.
So for now the Cubs will just tap the brakes but have no doubts that this FO is still working hard in the background. For now we believe that it’s not about if Soler will be traded but more a matter of when. We still think he will be moved within the next 12 months but a lot can happen in 12 months!