Are the Cubs Buyers or Sellers?
The Chicago Cubs entered the 2021 MLB season in a unique position as a franchise, and almost everyone knew what was coming next. Chicago slashed payroll the entire offseason as the Cubs tried to convince their fans that they were suddenly broke.
Theo Epstein left Jed Hoyer in charge of this transitional period, and it was Hoyer that made most of the moves. Yu Darvish was traded, Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber were let free and the Cubs were listening in on trade offers on the rest of their biggest stars.
There wasn’t a baseball expert out there that thought the Cubs would be World Series contenders this season, and most of them believed that an even bigger sell-off was set to occur during the season.
It was nearly a guarantee that Kris Bryant would be traded by the deadline, and fans were wondering how many others would go with him. But the “core” has somehow flipped the script and they sit seven games above the .500 mark at the time I’m writing this article.
Kris Bryant is back to looking like an MVP, and Javier Baez is putting up big stats. The pitching staff has held up better than most expected, and the Cubs have thrived in one-run ballgames.
Now the question becomes, “should the Cubs be buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline? That question seemed silly a few months ago, but now it appears that there is a different right answer.
There is no way that the Cubs can be sellers at the 2021 Trade Deadline now because the team has proven that it deserves a shot to make the playoffs. Barring an epic collapse in the next two months, this team will be right in the thick of the race.
The Cubs are not some “small-market” team that needs to perform a complete reset, despite what the ownership group wants you to think. This team has money to spend, and they need to do just that near the end of July.
Chicago could use another starting pitcher to shore up the rotation… Jon Lester perhaps? Additional bench depth is always needed, especially as this team has shown to be injury prone in 2021.
Even if the Cubs are just making small moves at the Trade Deadline there is simply no way that this team should even entertain the thought of “selling.”
Central Division is Wide Open
Most baseball experts crowned the St. Louis Cardinals as NL Central champs when they acquired Nolan Arenado for a bag of baseballs, and got PAID to take him. St. Louis is at the top of the division with the Cubs, but the team is far from invincible.
The Cubs just went into St. Louis and took two out of three games from the hated Redbirds, and they are every bit as good as the Cardinals. If St. Louis is considered the class of the Central Division then the Cubs have to feel good about their chances.
The Milwaukee Brewers can’t hit, and that dynamite pitching staff can only take them so far. Cincinnati can score runs, but their starting rotation has been nothing short of abysmal.
There is no reason that the Cubs can’t win the Central Division AGAIN this season and continue their recent dominance over their rivals.
Make Extensions, Not Trades
Instead of thinking about buying or selling at the Trade Deadline, Jed Hoyer should be taking a completely different approach entirely. It’s time to lock up some of the core players, and that should be done immediately.
Kris Bryant needs to be the focus right now as he is one of the best players in baseball. You simply don’t have a player like KB on your roster often and the Cubs can’t let him go.
After taking care of the former MVP, start with Baez and then move to Contreras. Rizzo will fall in line if the rest of his buddies are taken care of.
The Cubs have enough money to get this done, but it’s time for them to value the talent that is on the roster.