Each of Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer spoke in the days after Friday’s Trade Deadline about what the Cubs did and did not do last week, about what they were able to do, and about what comes next.
Among their comments, together with some thoughts of my own …
- Epstein and Hoyer both emphasized that the Cubs’ lack of splashy moves had nothing to do with any kind of lack of resources. Epstein referred to “other teams” that were leveraging massive financial resources to bring in as much as they could (I read that as “Dodgers”), and maybe that’s out of the Cubs’ ability right now. But that’s not quite the same thing as not having the resources to add if the right deal came together.
- On that point, Epstein and Hoyer noted that the players the Cubs targeted – and Epstein suggested that these would have been big deals – simply weren’t traded. The Cubs came close to deals, but it didn’t quite get there. Based on the pre-deadline rumors, you can presume that the front office is referring to younger, cost-controlled pitching talent, which would have been the ideal acquisition for the Cubs at this point in time (best guesses: Tyson Ross and Carlos Carrasco). As it stood, the prices must not have reached a reasonable level, and the Cubs instead opted for more conservative (but necessary) rotation and bullpen upgrades. I would add that, since those two pitchers didn’t get moved, there’s always the chance that the discussions are re-opened in the offseason.
- With so much of their impact talent already on the big league roster, the Cubs simply didn’t have quite as much freely-available upper-level, high-impact talent that they were willing to include in these kinds of deals. It’s pretty hard to argue with the Cubs’ approach at this time, especially when you consider the upcoming free agent crop and the possibility for trades after the season. The Cubs, again, are realistically competing for a Wild Card spot – totally worth going for, but not quite as valuable as a division title.
- Also, on the big deals: each of Hoyer and Epstein suggested that the Cubs had the prospect currency to get deals done. It’s not as if the farm system is now barren of talent. The Cubs just weren’t comfortable with the prices.
- (By the way, on the Haren deal, Gordon Wittenmyer reports the financial particulars: the Marlins sent $500,000 to the Cubs to cover a portion of the $3.67 million he was owed as of the time of the trade. The Cubs will also have to pay a pro-rated share of the $3 million in incentives he might achieve by the end of the year. So, between Haren and Tommy Hunter, the Cubs added roughly $5 million to $6 million in salary, depending on how Haren’s incentives shake out.)
- Hoyer underscored that money was not an obstacle to anything the Cubs wanted to do this deadline. It was entirely a product of the types of players the Cubs wanted, and the prospect cost they didn’t want to part with.
- Hoyer pointed out that, even after adding Haren, there are two months left in the season, and the Cubs are going to need pitching depth beyond the starting five. It’s a good point, and a reminder that the Cubs really have to figure out a way to hang onto – for just one example – Tsuyoshi Wada when his rehab stint ends next week.
- Javy Baez was a popular target for other teams at the deadline, according to Hoyer, but there was never a deal or an offer that made sense. The Cubs still believe in his upside.