The Chicago Cubs can get back to the World Series if they can make moves like these.
Despite reaching the NLCS for the third consecutive season, the Chicago Cubs’ season ended with disappointment last week. To be fair, anything other than a World Series championship would have been a disappointment this season, but the Cubs undoubtedly have some work to do this offseason.
President Theo Epstein is looking ahead to moves that the team could make and is suggesting that a big trade could be on the horizon. Let’s take a look at Epstein’s comments in the recent post-season press conference.
“Every week for us there’s a day where someone can’t make the lineup and someone else slides in and you’re still starting eight quality guys. That’s huge and it helps us win,” Epstein told reporters, according to Rick Tarsitano of WGN-Chicago.
“Sooner or later you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. There’s no sort of deadline to do that, but I think we’re entering the phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and the organization better.”
For the last few years, the Cubs have enjoyed extreme depth on the position player side. Joe Maddon has had the luxury to mix and match his lineup on a daily basis and also play matchups well late in games. This has been huge for the North Siders, but there is certainly enough depth for Chicago to consider trade options.
In Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis, the Cubs have two of the best pitchers on the free agent market this offseason. While Epstein and company will undoubtedly push hard to keep Davis, Arrieta leaving for a big long-term contract seems like a strong possibility. Replacing Arrieta in the rotation will not be easy, but it will be necessary if the team expects to make the World Series again in 2018.
Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester and Jose Quintana are a strong top three in the rotation going forward. However, it is not an elite trio. If Arrieta leaves, a signficant addition to the rotation is needed. In order for that to happen, the Cubs will likely have to trade from their position player depth.
Who are the most likely candidates? Let’s take a look.