We’ve gotten to the part of the Winter Meetings where some news (like, actual maybe sort of legitimate news) might be finally leaking out and making the various beat folks confident enough to say that the Cubs are likely out on Shohei Ohtani (who’s probably going to be a Dodger but let’s wait and see) and Juan Soto (who looks to become a Yankee if they don’t screw this up). With Cody Bellinger possibly pricing himself out and no other free agents (at least those with a qualifying offer attached) that palatable (to me, anyway), the Cubs probably will work heavily in the trade market (another parenthetical just for fun).
I’ll probably look at trade possibilities and trade news as it happens, but the math from previously still works as the Cubs have spending space and money coming off the books by next offseason. There is a good core and floor to this team as currently constructed, which could be bolstered by quick one-year deals and trades, but what about that next offseason? And that isn’t to say they won’t do anything between now and Spring Training, as this division is imminently winnable with the Brewers possibly trading away their veterans, the Reds sort of stagnant even though they’ve added some solid rotation help, and the Cardinals doing whatever their plan is although they did add Sonny Gray to offset their other two acquisitions plus they might actually teach Willson Contreras how to catch.
Looking a bit forward, we have MLBTR’s free agent list for the 2024-2025 offseason, assuming nobody gets extended or decides to retire or go to Japan or whatever. The catchers (including Yan Gomes) seem like the type of deal to back up a still up-and-coming Miguel Amaya, so I’ll sort of ignore that and go for everything else. I feel like the only first baseman that would draw a competitive market would be Pete Alonso, although multiple Gold Glover Christian Walker could be a fun veteran signing.
With Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson sticking around for a few, it seems like the Cubs don’t need a starting-caliber middle infielder, but that shouldn’t stop them from finding someone for the bench. The problem is that I feel like even a guy like Brandon Drury would want to start, same with former Cubs prospect-turned-into-a-World-Series-title Gleyber Torres and super utility man Ha-Seong Kim. Would the Cubs just move one of them to third base? Or would they just sign an Alex Bregman, who would still be in his age 31 season at that point?
The outfield for the Cubs seems set for a while but that shouldn’t stop them from actually throwing some money at Juan Soto, and teach him how to play first base if necessary. That takes us to the pitching corps, and there are a ton of starters and relievers that would make sense and I definitely won’t go through them all, but that seems like a very good time to boost the rotation and supplement the bullpen depending on what they do in house. I suppose if it were up to me, and again depending on how Pitch Lab can churn out actual usable arms, I’d just let Pitch Lab fill the pitching staff and spend my money on some bats.