This front office will never be out there saying what they’re going to do in a given offseason, at least not in any kind of specific way. At best, you can extrapolate from context the kinds of things you think make sense for them to pursue, and then you kinda retcon that stuff into the comments they’ve made. Usually, it does leave us with a pretty good sense of how the Cubs will proceed, but it’s always a bit challenging, and a bit backwards.
This offseason? Not so challenging, and not so backwards.
The Cubs still didn’t quite say, explicitly, what they were aiming to accomplish this offseason, but there was a ‘Moby Dick’-sized novel available to read in between the lines of the things they have said. In short, the Cubs are looking to make significant changes to the core of the roster, aiming to diversify the nature of the lineup, improve the impact pieces in the rotation and bullpen, and smooth the transition from the current window to the looming post-2021 struggle bus.
So it’s not a surprise to read the latest from Jeff Passan, but it’s still a little jarring to see just how plain other executives are being.
Per Passan and his sources: “The Chicago Cubs have been, according to various executives, ‘aggressive,’ ‘manic,’ ‘motivated’ and ‘obvious’ in their desire to trade someone. Or someones. The Cubs are going to make a move. They’re just not sure what yet.”
Those are some serious adjectives right there, and although outsiders could have dropped them in a hyperbolic column, these are coming straight from other executives. So it’s fair to surmise that, yes, the Cubs really and truly do want to make some significant trades this offseason.
Will they actually be successful? These guys are too smart and stolid to make trades just to make trades, but it’s not like they don’t have valuable assets with which to work. If reshaping the roster via trade is as much of a priority as all evidence (and logic) suggests, then I think we’re going to see some serious movement eventually. The Winter Meetings, by the way, begin on Monday …
Of course, for the Cubs to get really aggressive in their trade talks – and for teams to be reciprocal in that way – they really need the dang Kris Bryant service time grievance to be settled. It’s just not practical or realistic for the Cubs and trade partners to proceed with serious talks until they know whether it’s one year or two years of team control on the table, which means the Cubs can’t even really see what’s out there in order to make an educated decision on what to do with Bryant or with other trade pieces.