How about some hot takes to go with your morning cup of Joe?
Just when you thought the trade rumors were going to go away, the seasonal joy that was CubsCon has once again been darkened by Chicago’s desire to try to get below the $208 million CBT threshold. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer continue to throw out not-so-vague indicators that change is coming, and it may be soon.
I missed an interview that Hoyer did Friday on the Bernstein & McKnight Show on 670 The Score, when the he talked about the team’s slow offseason and some potentially unfinished business.
“I guess I would just say I feel like our offseason isn’t just ending right now like it usually would be,” Hoyer said. “It’s sort of like kind of just beginning. We will certainly be active leading up to the season. Yes, I think it’s fair to say this offseason for us has pushed back a little bit. We’re sort of just getting things started on some of the things we want to do.”
Unless they are planning on diving into what’s left of the free agent market, I’d say trades are likely coming. In fact, it might be a matter of simply maximizing the value of some of their core players, most of whom will hit the open market after the 2021 season. Referencing the Joe Maddon Idioms Dictionary, that’d be killing two birds with one stone, allowing the Cubs to restock their organization by trading short-term assets for younger players while creating some salary cap breathing room.
Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood, and José Quintana are entering their final years with the Cubs. Core players Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez and Kyle Schwarber are among the players set for free agency after 2021, as is Craig Kimbrel if the front office doesn’t exercise its option for the following season. Willson Contreras can walk after the 2022 season. Jason Heyward still has four years remaining on his deal. Likewise, Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks won’t be free agents until 2024.
Is it still possible that #Cubs could sign Kris Bryant to a long-term deal?
Jed Hoyer: "I can't comment on that … Have we attempted? Absolutely … It's no secret that we've engaged in those discussions."
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) January 17, 2020
“I think there are certain realities where we are not going to be able to keep this group together forever,” Hoyer added. “It may be by them leaving through free agency. It may be by us trading some of them. We might be able to extend some of them. But I think in all honesty, we passed the point of being able to extend all those players. I think we had a moment in time where that might have been possible, and then we passed that.”
Cubs News & Notes
- Apparently the Cubs got fat and happy after winning the World Series in 2016 (hey, who didn’t?), and that’s reportedly stalled the development of some of their better players.
- Epstein may have to choose between Bryant and Báez when it comes to deciding which player to re-sign and which to possibly trade.
- Arizona continues to be mentioned as a potential destination for Bryant. If the Cubs are really pinching pennies they can wait until spring training starts and save the airfare and other relocation costs.
- David Ross will rely heavily on his staff in his first season as manager.
- Nico Hoerner has the skills to bat leadoff and play center field, if needed. Who needs Whit Merrifield?
- The Cubs may have interest in reuniting with Pedro Strop, though they’ll probably have to shed some salary to do so.
- The team’s next core of players should be arriving to the majors at about the same time, and includes Brailyn Marquez, Miguel Amaya, and Brennen Davis (subscription to The Athletic required).
- You should probably add Cole Roederer to that list, too.
Cole Roederer got plenty of praise from his teammates and the front office at the Cubs Convention this weekend, especially regarding his athleticism.
I’ve gotta say, I can understand why! He has potential to be a legit 4-tool guy and already has the prettiest swing in the system pic.twitter.com/f0hUZTmXtG
— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines) January 20, 2020
The Astros will be the most hated traveling team this season, which of course is the most obvious statement ever.
Houston and MLB could face further ramifications in light of the sign stealing scandal, including an investigation and demand from Congress for more transparency.
Nobody knows when Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen will name a new manager. New York Post columnist Mike Puma reported that the Mets front office has been stuck in “paralysis … on how to proceed” because of the pending transfer of ownership to Steve Cohen.
The story surrounding the break up of Simon & Garfunkel and the song Bridge Over Troubled Water is one of the more fascinating tales in modern music history.
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” was released on this date in 1970. Paul Simon once explained how he wrote it for Garfunkel, how Garfunkel wasn’t impressed by it — but sang it to standing ovations, anyway. “This is how partnerships break up.”
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) January 20, 2020
They Said It
- “Anthony [Rizzo] said it well the other day. The business is as cutthroat as it has ever been, and he’s right. … From the players’ side, there is a lot of money on the line, too, and they can set their families up forever. And they should be looking out for their own rights.” – Theo Epstein
Tuesday Walk Up Song
The Boxer (Live) by Simon & Garfunkel. I remember watching this concert on HBO in 1980 and just picked up the DVD yesterday. It was the biggest audience I had seen for a live event until Live Aid in 1985. I don’t know why, but this song always reminds me of Anthony Rizzo.