The Cubs were one of the best teams in baseball in May, and now hold a 1.5-game lead in the NL Central. It’s a far cry from where we feared they’d be in early June when we thought on the question in Spring Training, and it’s an even farther cry from where I expected them to be after they hit their deepest depths of performance in late April.
For that reason, alone, it’s fair to start openly wondering whether the Cubs might not only avoid a sell-off in July, but might become notable buyers.
No, I don’t think the Cubs are going to blow up the farm system no matter what, but is it really that crazy to think that *IF* the Cubs around first place in mid-July, and *IF* they look like the roster really is one that could make a postseason run (especially with another starting pitcher imported, for example), they might go out and make a move to bring in another Cole Hamels type? Or even more? I don’t think it’s crazy at all. And Jed Hoyer confirmed just recently that if the team is in a position to add, the money is going to be there to do it. Not every buyer is going to have that same financial flexibility.
For me, though, the “ifs” up there in that paragraph are not items to be assumed and glossed over. I want to see the Cubs actually keep up the results against a much tougher schedule in June, and I want to see the bones in place of a roster that I can mentally carve into one that wins a couple postseason series. Be that team in mid-or-even-early July, and I’ll probably be banging the table as loudly as possible for the Cubs to find a way to land a guy like Max Scherzer. We’ll get there when we get there, though.
For ESPN’s Jeff Passan, he’s already there:
— Silvy (@WaddleandSilvy) June 4, 2021
Gonna preach some caution here.
Generally speaking, I will admit that I dig a national reporter offering this suggestion about a Cubs team we figured was 90/10 to sell off massively back in April. I doubt it’s based on nothing, and I appreciate that there’s a perception (accurate, in my view) that this Cubs team has shown the potential to be legit.
But the reality is that if the Cubs were to swoon and swoon hard in the coming weeks, they’re still gonna sell. I don’t quite see how you could say – completely – that the ship has sailed on selling with almost two months to go before the Trade Deadline. I’ll take a charitable view and presume Passan’s point is less about a decision that’s been made, and more about an evaluation of the most likely scenario, given how the Cubs have looked.
Maybe I’m a pessimist, though, because I’d still call it 50/50 or so …