Where It Goes Now, And How We’ll All Feel About it
The big fish has gone away, as they often do, off to cash in in Boston only to find that money won’t help with the traffic, or general asshole-dom of the populace. When we look back, we could tell with the rumors of the Cub budget only being $140 million or so and a serious desire to extend Jake Arrieta that the idea of David Price was always a pipe dream. And that’s fine.
But will it be fine with most Cubs fans? Have we gotten over our need to win the offseason after the highs of kind of doing so last winter with Jon Lester? Will Cubs fans lose their mud if the winter only brings a Samardzija/Leake type along with a trade for a younger starter (Miller/Teheran/Ross) and a stopgap centerfielder? I wonder.
I also wonder how we got so caught up in the idea the Cubs not only had to add pitchers but had to add one or two of the best pitchers that was on the market. Did our psychosis over the loss to the Mets cloud us to what was needed? Sure, the Cubs lost to a premier, young pitching staff. But then that premier, young pitching staff then basically got smoked by one that was sporting Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, and Chris Young. While that’s probably a little better than Hammel and Hendricks at the back, it’s not better than Lester and Arrieta at the front. You can totally win a World Series with Lester, Arrieta, Samardzija-type, Hammel, and Hendricks. It’s not shooting for the moon exactly, but it’s reasonable. And reasonable is what this organization has always sought, along with flexibility.
And the past week has actually been good for the Cubs. Price and Jordan Zimmerman went or stayed in the American League. Zack Greinke is either going to stay in L.A. or go to San Francisco, and whichever he doesn’t choose won’t have a replacement on the market to try and make up for losing out on him. Either the Dodgers will get worse or the Giants will stay pretty much what they were, at least until they make some sort of trade. The Cardinals didn’t get Price and aren’t getting Greinke either (I just fucked us, didn’t I?). The Pirates aren’t in any of this.
So where now? Haven’t heard much at all on Dexter Fowler, and I’ve always had this inkling he could end up right back here for not as much money as we think. The Mets are the only team I’ve seen linked with him and they’re more interested in Ben Zobrist at the moment. Denard Span is a name you’ll probably hear a lot, and he’s basically Diet Fowler. Part of me wants to see the Cubs go totally goofy and throw Baez or Bryant out there and wait for midseason trade options because Span doesn’t really do that much for anyone, but that could end in utter disaster.
As for pitchers, Samardzija’s agent said they have a $100m offer on the table, but of course didn’t mention how many years that was for. Cueto has already turned down $20 million a year and he was a hard pass for me to begin with. And you don’t have to worry about him signing with the Cardinals, so that’s nice. Winter meetings the picture should be much clearer.
I don’t want to get all “trust the organization blindly,” but they’ve certainly earned some leeway. The top of the rotation doesn’t need popping, the middle needs solidifying. And if we chalk up Hammel’s struggles to his injury, he was headed to a 3-4 WAR season in the first half which is probably what your’e getting from the second tier of free agent starters anyway.
Just don’t trade Soler, please.