Now that the Royals defeated the Mets, the off season has begun. Six days from now free agents can begin signing with their new teams and a week from today, the general manager meetings begin in Boca Raton, Florida.
I’m a little anxious as to what the Cubs will do. They have lots of options. The Cubs can sign free agents, they can make a trade using major league talent, they can make a trade using minor league talent, or the Cubs could sign international free agents. In fact, they could do a mixture of all four.
Today, the Cubs 40 man roster stands at 29. Johnathan Herrera and Quinton Berry became free agents along with Dexter Fowler, Trevor Cahill, Tommy Hunter, Jason Motte, Fernando Rodney, Chris Denorfia, and Austin Jackson. I expect the Cubs to go after Cahill and maybe Jackson. As of today, I can see only Cahill and Jackson returning.
Here are some names being bandied about via trades and free agency
Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, Mike Leake, Tyson Ross, Kenta Madea (Japanese free agent), Yasiel Sieera (Cuban free agent), and most recently Jose Fernandez who turned down a lucrative contract in Miami today.
Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, Denard Span, Jason Heyward, and Austin Jackson
As for what the Cubs will do, I am not quite sure. I think all the options are on the table at this stage. I think the Cubs best option to acquire talent this off-season is to use a mixture of free agency and trades using major league and minor league talent to acquire a starting pitcher or two. I think the Cubs could go out and get a free-agent to fill the centerfield role for a year or two and they could buy low.
If I had to make a choice, I would say Yasiel Sierra via International free agency would be the most affordable SP in the long run, but he is untested at the major league level and could take two years to develop.
Ideally, a trade for Sonny Gray would be the best choice but I think he would cost a lot. On the other hand, Gray might be worth giving up some top prospects from AA and AAA, particularly the starting pitching that Billy Beane craves. The Cubs could replenish them quickly with what they will have in the lower minors. Gray would be a 1B or a 2A top of the rotation starter to slide in behind Arrieta.
Surprisingly, I do see a trade for an Indians’ pitcher. It would be nice to get 2 of the 3 Indians in Bauer (24 years old), Carrasco (28), and/or Salazar (24). However, I am not sure what that would cost in major or minor league talent. I can’t see Cleveland giving those pitchers away, either. As a result, the Cubs would likely go for only one with Salazar the more attractive player because of his age and short track record.
It would be sweet if the Cubs could one SP in a trade and one in FA to develop beyond 2016.
As for the CF, I think Jackson or Span will be in CF for the Cubs to start with in 2016. I love Dexter Fowler as a Cub. I just don’t think the Cubs can afford him. The team will put in a qualifying offer, but he’s going for the 3-5 year deal at his age. The most the Cubs could offer would be a one year deal as Albert Almora is only a year away. Jason Heyward would look great in CF but the Cubs might not be able to meet his asking price, either.
And so, the madness begins. Oddly enough, it looks like the wait will be short.