Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.
Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.

Dream Chicago Cubs off-season

October 25, 2022

Despite finishing the 2022 season with 88 losses and 74 wins, there are plenty of reasons for fans to be optimistic with the direction the Cubs organization is heading. Over the season’s final 71 games, they went 40-31, despite trading away their four best bullpen arms. The rotation had a 2.89 ERA after the all star break, good for third in the majors. Individual performances by players such as Nico Hoerner and All Star outfielder Ian Happ will give cubs fans plenty of hope. Strong seasons from 2021 free agent signings Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki give Cubs fans confidence in General Manager Jed Hoyer. The farm system, which was ranked 26th in the majors just two years ago by MLB pipeline, is now ranked 10th. The Cubs had a very hard time finding homegrown pitchers throughout the 2010’s. Justin Steele has already proven to be a pitcher worthy of being top three in any rotation. Players such as Keegan Thompson and Adbert Alzolay will at worst be good bullpen arms, with potential to become starters. For the first time in a couple of years, it feels alright to be relatively confident in the direction of the organization.

But the bottom line is that the Cubs haven’t won a playoff game in over 5 years. Attendance at Wrigley Field, while still top ten in baseball, fell to its lowest level since 1997. The team clearly lacks star power that will get casual fans interested. Despite that, tickets for games at Wrigley Field are still some of the most expensive in baseball. 

The Ricketts should have tons of money made available for Jed Hoyer. Spending big this off-season isn’t a sign of desperation, it’s building on the momentum this team created the second half of the season. It would be unacceptable for the Cubs to miss the playoffs again. With all that in mind, here is my dream but realistic 2022 off-season for the Chicago Cubs.

 

Sign SS Carlos Correa 

There are four superstar caliber shortstops on the market this year: Trea Turner,  Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson, and Carlos Correa. All four would add the star power and big bat the Cubs desperately need. If I had to choose between them however, I would sign Correa. Despite a super slow start to the season as a member of the Minnesota Twins, he still finished the year with a .291 batting average and .366 on base percentage. Combine that with the consistent power he’s shown throughout his career, and his ability to play third base as well as shortstop, Correa would be the perfect fit for the Cubs and is worth what could be a very long term contract. 

 

Sign P Carlos Rodon

The Cubs also desperately need a big time starter for the top of their rotation. Starting Pitcher Carlos Rodon would fit very well. Rodon finished the 2022 season with a 2.88 ERA. He’s had two spectacular seasons in a row, and has spoken about his love for the city of Chicago. Rodon, Stroman, and Steele is a playoff caliber top of rotation. If the Cubs are hesitant about injuries or want to wait for next off-season, where the pitching market is much more deep and filled with star power, they should be looking at names like Sean Manaea, Taijuan Walker, or Noah Syndergaard. For me, Rodon is a risk worth taking, and would be willing to make a long term commitment.

 

Sign C Omar Narvaez 

It’s pretty clear that Jed Hoyer is uninterested in resigning Wilson Contreras this off-season in favor of a defense and working with pitchers first type catcher. Catcher Omar Narvaez is highly regarded when it comes to handling a pitching staff as well as a very good framer. He’s not great offensively, but he gets on base a solid amount for a catcher. A short term deal for Narvaez should be exactly what Jed Hoyer is looking for.

 

Sign 1B/DH Jose Abreu

After the Frank Shwindel experiment failed miserably, Jed Hoyer is left with an empty hole to fill at first base. Prospect Matt Mervis is close to being ready for the big leagues, but shouldn’t be relied on every day for good production. Jose Abreu, who’s been the face of the White Sox the last four years, could be a perfect buy low option to split time at first with Mervis and consistently be the designated hitter. Despite his power numbers being down a ton this year, he still finished with a 4.2 WAR and .824 OPS, which is way better than what the Cubs have had since Anthony Rizzo was traded. He’s a solid defender and can provide veteran leadership on a young team. Because of his age, the contract should be short term. A two year deal with high annual value should be enough to get Abreu.

 

Sign CF Kevin Kiermaier

Top prospects Pete Crow Armstrong and Brennan Davis are very close to becoming big league players, and they both play center field. For the time being, one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball for cheap is a perfect placeholder. For the time being, he can play most games with Christopher Morel occasionally playing in that spot. Coming off an injury, he can be bought very cheap and fill center field for as long as he needs to decently.

 

While pulling all of this off this off-season isn’t easy, it’s very realistic and can be done. There is more than enough money available for something like this to become a reality. These moves above keep an eye on the future while competing immediately. Making the playoffs next season shouldn’t be seen as very far away. In a division with two tanking teams and two non great teams, the Cubs should be right there competing against the Cardinals and Brewers to win the division. Jed Hoyer and the Cubs organization have a huge opportunity this off-season they can’t afford to squander.

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