Although it becomes a closer call each day, I still think it’s more likely than not that the Cubs have some money left to spend this offseason. They may not obliterate the top tier of the luxury tax – even though doing so really doesn’t incur as much additional cost as you might think – but savvy maneuvering should leave them a little space to make additions.
But Patrick Mooney aptly asks the “what if” question in the wake of the Cubs not being the team that re-signed Jesse Chavez to a modest two-year, $8 million deal yesterday. If the Cubs want to shake up the roster, but can’t do it with money, what exactly can they do:
Maybe it's just another coincidence that Jesse Chavez is signing with the Rangers instead of returning to Wrigley Field. But if the Cubs have to get creative this winter and still want to make changes: Who should you trade? https://t.co/ID3wh5eefB
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) November 28, 2018
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCHI) November 28, 2018
Good and thoughtful stuff there from Mooney, as usual.
As you probably already suspect, and you’ll see when you read the piece, there just aren’t any great or obvious trade pieces for the Cubs. We’ve talked about guys like Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber, but they really might be about it in terms of value and redundancy. And frankly, I don’t love the idea of trading either one!
Up and down the rest of the roster, you see a combination of too important to move, too ugly of a contract to move, too unproductive to move, or too many other questions to move. The Cubs would be lucky to even pull off ugly contract swaps or salary dumps.
Of course, to me, that underscores all the more reason the Cubs should not squander this precious window of competitiveness by NOT spending this offseason. There are impact players out there, available for only money. The fans – and the other players on the team – deserve ownership and the front office seriously considering digging deeper right now. That’s not me being a meatball; it’s me recognizing the realities of this roster, this free agent market, and this window of time.
All that said, this front office, over both its time with the Cubs and in other organizations, has demonstrated an impressive ability to make creative moves that can pop your top. Even when looking at this kind of analysis, I can still muster some optimism when thinking about Jed Hoyer saying the Cubs may focus more on trades than upper-level free agency. They might do something surprising.
Oh, and also, though: I still think they make a couple useful free agent signings when all is said and done.