“If you ever wondered what the Cubs would become once they finally won the World Series and lost their identity as Lovable Losers, well, this is it.”
That’s the line that immediately stuck out to me in Patrick Mooney’s latest at The Athletic: Roll Cubs Roll! Why the Cubs have become Major League Baseball’s destination team for free agents!
Against the backdrop of Yu Darvish’s six-year pact with the Cubs, signed just months after having them on his no-trade list (which was obviously about more than just not wanting to come to Chicago), Mooney delivers your must-read of the day, covering some of the tactics, strategies, and qualities that make the Chicago Cubs arguably the best talent recruiters in baseball.
Among the best parts of courting Darvish? A video the Cubs sent to his wife, Seiko, before they even met with Darvish in Texas, highlighting the livability of Chicago and what the organization can offer Darvish’s family.
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCHI) March 26, 2018
And although there are plenty of similar comments from guys like Joe Maddon, Ben Zobrist, Jon Lester, and others, this gem from Brian Duensing had me laughing the most: “It would probably be easier to say what they don’t do, to be honest,” said Duensing to Mooney. “I feel like they do everything. The way they take care of our families is by far the best that I’ve seen, all the way down to the playroom, if you will, where the kids can go during the games. They’ll bring in like astronauts and animal enthusiasts. One day I came back to get my kids and they’re like, ‘Dad, we had a chinchilla on our head.'”
Duensing, you’ll recall, had a bigger offer elsewhere when he decided instead to re-sign with the Cubs this offseason.
From the sounds of it, the Cubs appeal to the human-side of their free agent targets, and that’s become a huge difference-maker to most of the guys they’ve signed.
I really don’t want to give too much more away, because it’s just an excellent piece, but it is important to keep this stuff in mind as we head into an incredible free agent class next winter. And that’s especially true, as Mooney points out, when two of the biggest available names, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, have very close connections to the Cubs (and if you don’t know about Machado’s connection, all the more reason to read Mooney’s piece).
Read more at The Athletic. And if that’s not enough, you can go back and read Jared Diamond’s national piece on the Cubs’ strategic recruiting efforts from earlier this offseason. How could you ever get too much on the Cubs’ skills as recruiters?