The news of the Winter Meetings revolved around the Chris Sale. Once he was out of the way, though, nearly all the chatter surrounding the Meetings was Wade Davis and his 2017 team. While the Cubs were always the team most whispered, it was by no means a sure thing until today. In a straight one-for-one swap, the Cubs acquired him for Jorge Soler.
Let's first talk about what they've lost. Jorge Soler has about as wide a band of plausible outcomes as is possible for a player that has been in the league for parts of 3 seasons. The good: his first real time in the majors he had a .903 OPS (146 OPS+). He hit .571/.769/1.571 against the Cardinals in the NLDS. There are definitely ways that Soler ends up with a .280/.360/.520 line with 25 HR (and I hope he does!) He has a killer arm and he's under team control for the next 4 years. The only problem in my eyes is that he's so injury-prone that I wouldn't trust him for any amount of time in the field, and the most likely outcome offensively is slightly above league-average while being limited to DH or 4th OF. Still, Soler is a valuable trade chip.
The thing about valuable trade chips is that you need them to acquire valuable players. Wade Davis is among the best relievers in all of baseball. In 2014, his ERA was 1.00. Over 72 innings. In 2015, his ERA was LOWER THAN THAT. 0.97 in 67.1. It's true that he had an injury last year (limiting him to 42.1 innings and an abysmal (for him) 1.87 ERA), but he was as invincible as he ever was after he came back from that injury. The fact of the matter is that Wade Davis costs $10 million for the rest of his contract, and any reliever the Cubs signed was going to cost anywhere from 5 times that to an order of magnitude more. While I don't care about money, I realize it's an actual factor that teams have to consider in some way. The Cubs traded Soler not only for Wade Davis, but the flexibility to do other things too.
The short scouting report on Davis is that he strikes out a lot of people, doesn't walk a lot of people, and never, ever allows home runs. Some of that is probably due to where he played half his games, and that might change in Wrigley. That said, he's still one of the 5 best relievers in the game and he allows the Cubs flexibility for basically 2 of their 4 top relievers to fail (Strop, Rondon, Edwards Jr, and Davis himself) and still be a playoff-ready bullpen.
I don't think the Cubs are done getting players, though they might be done trading. The 25-man is roughly as follows:
CF: Almora Jr.
IF: La Stella
[EDIT]: L2: Uehara
SR: Edwards Jr.
The bolded areas are certainly spots where the Cubs could improve this offseason (and if you improve at the #5 starter, the other guy could easily figure as the longman). The Cubs have some solid depth behind them everywhere (because they are a strong organization in general), so losing Grimm isn't going to appreciably destroy the team. That said, the trade chips are becoming slightly more bare: Ian Happ is the only prospect capable of headlining a huge deal, unless some team is just head over heels for Eloy Jimenez (who I like, but don't love). The Cubs will have to start using money to better this team in the future.
If it was up to me, I'd be signing Dexter Fowler if the terms are reasonable. I like Almora Jr., but he seems like the type of guy that is just going to struggle to hit for even an average major-leaguer. The elite defense is nice, but somewhat mitigated by Jason Heyward. Almora is also the type of player that could be traded for another, Davis-lite sort of return. If I could turn Almora into Addison Reed or something, I might think about that. You could even gamble on someone like Foltynewicz, who has had ugly numbers in the majors but could easily be converted into a high-leverage reliever (huge fastball and nothing else).
The Cubs will also probably try to get 2-4 NRI longmen in the mold of Cahill or Richard. The Cubs have had so much success on that front that I sort of blindly assume they'll figure out the longman situation for free.
In closing, the 2017 Cubs just got a lot better, and I'm not sure the 2018 Cubs and onward got any worse. That has to be a celebration in my eyes.