The Chicago Cubs offseason is underway! The GM Meetings have started and there will be a ton of rumors swirling. These meetings are generally the time of year where GMs begin the framework for deals that happen at the Winter Meetings in December. We have already heard chatter that the Chicago Cubs are interested in Baltimore Orioles closer, Zach Britton.
Theo Epstein told me that talks with clubs are still in the developmental stages here at the GM meetings.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 14, 2017
There has also been talking of the Cubs and Cleveland Indians matching on a Danny Salazar swap. Then there will always be the Tampa Bay Rays rumors involving Chris Archer.
We have also read, from several sources, that the Cubs are favored to land Yu Darvish. Then there’s additional interest in guys like Brandon Morrow, Greg Holland, and Lance Lynn. Then Alex Cobb has openly said he’d be honored to be a Chicago Cub.
The thing is, fans might want to temper their expectations.
In Theo Epstein’s end of season press conference, there was an interesting comment regarding this year’s free agent class compared to next year’s.
“We knew this offseason would be challenging,” Epstein said. “That said, there may be more opportunities next offseason. We have to find a way to balance those two things. The goal is to create a really high floor for this organization. The off years, you may win in the upper 80s and sneak in as a wild card. The great years, you win 103 like in 2016 and a World Series.”
So… how should we interpret that comment? At face value, the 2018 class is 1000 times better than this year’s class. With the Cubs seemingly very interested in Cobb, the rest of the market has question marks.
Was this sort of a warning to Cubs fans? Like, the Cubs might mostly sit out on the big free agent names this offseason, in favor of the 2018 class? In doing so, is Theo reserved to sacrifice 2018 to win big in 2019?
I think the answer is kind of…
I believe the Cubs aren’t going through overextended in free agency this offseason. Don’t get me wrong, I think Alex Cobb will be a Cub before December begins. But I think the Cubs will look to trade instead of spending this winter.
This makes sense. The Cubs have a slew of young position players, and a couple of veterans, all fighting for playing time at a couple positions. This is why you hear Baez, Addison Russell, Ian Happ, Albert Almora, Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist, and Jason Heyward in rumors. These guys are either blocking or splitting time at the same four positions.
The Cubs can deal one or two of these guys, free up everyday playing time for some, and bring in a pitcher or two. Heck, they could even compete for another playoff spot along the way. Then next winter they can go all-in in guys like Bryce Harper, Matt Harvey, Dallas Keuchel, Andrew Miller, Manny Machado, or Andrew McCutchen.
I expect the Cubs to bring in Cobb, perhaps Jake McGee, and another right-handed reliever, but I think most other answers will come from the trade market. There is where the team will set the stage for the next three seasons.