The hot stove is heating up and the Chicago Cubs have been quiet, but that needs to change.
It appears the Major League Baseball hot stove is heating up, despite the fact that the Chicago Cubs have been fairly quiet so far in their pursuit of free agents. If Patrick Corbin and his 6 year/$140 million deal was the kindling to get it started, then today’s news about Paul Goldschmidt really stoked the fire.
The St. Louis Cardinals pulled off an aggressive move in trading with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the right-handed slugger. In doing so, the Cards gave up a lot of talented, young capital, including pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andrew Young, and a 2019 Competitive Balance Roud B draft pick.
That’s an awful lot to give up for a player with one year remaining on his contract. Maybe the Cardinals sign him to an extension but there is no guarantee. Regardless, adding a guy like Goldschmidt sends a clear message that the Cardinals are going all in on next season.
Goldschmidt, despite his slow start last year, had another terrific season. Simply put, he’s a power hitting first baseman who also hits for a very high average. For his career, he’s averaged a .297 BA, with 31 HR, and 105 RBI. Adding that kind of juice to a middle of the order that already includes Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina gives the Cardinals a potent offense entering next season.
Remember the Cubs finished a game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central after losing the one-game playoff. However, for much of the season, the Cardinals were right in the thick of things. While they finished 6.5 games behind the Cubs in the division, during the last week of the season, they were only 4.5 games out of first place.
A player like Goldschmidt is the type that could put the Cardinals over the top to challenge the Brewers next season, if not be considered the favorites. Meanwhile, the Cubs, whose offense was putrid for most of the season have done nothing this offseason to address it (other than hire yet another hitting coach).
All the while, there are two free agents just waiting to be signed, each of whom could provide some much-needed pop for the Cubs. Regardless of which side of the debate you come down on, there is little doubt that either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado would make the Cubs a much better team. You can debate whether their price tags are worth it, but you can’t debate what they would bring to the team.
The problem is, if the Cubs continue to debate it much longer, they could be looking at another extended offseason vacation next year. For Theo Epstein and the team, it’s time to respond. The Cards have fired the first shots of the offseason. Theo — you’re up.