With the financial particulars of the Cubs new TV network up in the air, and with the baseball budget purportedly maxed out this offseason, I think it’s fair to want to make sure the Cubs will still be able to do something they have done every year in this competitive window.
The Cubs can still add at midseason via trade if needs pop up and players (who make some money) are available, right? Right?
‘‘You always look at it that way,’’ Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer told the Sun-Times of being able to fill needs during the season. ‘‘We don’t know what it’s going to be, but certainly there’s going to be a major focus to make sure we’re in position to improve the team in the middle of the season.’’
They are focused on making sure they’re in a position to improve. So that … probably means they still have financial flexibility to make additions without having to dollar-for-dollar swap out salary in the process.
Indeed, I would presume the front office operated this offseason having that buffer – $3 million? $5 million? $8 million? whatever it is – in mind, specifically, as a chunk of the budget they could not spend right now. No, Hoyer was not getting explicit in his remarks, but it would really reflect a scary state of things if the front office were not afforded the latitude to make reasonable, necessary additions at midseason if the Cubs were competing.
All that is to say, had some “perfect” deal come along that the front office couldn’t pass up, even if it squished the budget to zero, then they wouldn’t have any midseason flexibility, when your moves are sometimes all the more impactful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a reason you AVOID that perfect deal; but it’s something you can at least lean on if that perfect deal doesn’t come around.
The Cubs’ payroll is robust this year – the highest it’s ever been by a wide margin, and it will be well over the first tier of the luxury tax when all is said and done – but this front office is not about to leave itself in a spot where they have no flexibility at all at the Trade Deadline.
… right? Right. Yes. Right. Probably.