Chicago Cubs: 5 moves that made the Cubs afraid to spend in free agency

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts claimed all offseason that the reason they chose not to splurge on a big name free agent this offseason is that they didn’t have any money. Is that really the case or is there something more to this?

The 2018 Chicago Cubs ended their season in the Wild Card game at the hands of the Colorado Rockies. An inconsistent offense all year long lead many to believe that the Cubs would be pursuing a big-time free agent bat to add to their lineup. Adding a guy like Bryce Harper was something Cubs fans had been fantasizing about since the first report came out that Harper had interest in playing for the Cubs in June 2017.

It made a lot of sense too since Cubs third basemen Kris Bryant and Harper were good friends dating back to their high school days in Las Vegas. There seemed to be this foregone conclusion that the Cubs were going to land Bryce Harper, and it was just a matter of time, not money.

The Cubs did meet with Bryce Harper at the Winter Meetings that ultimately concluded with Theo Epstein requesting that Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, not accept any deals until the Cubs had a chance to clear payroll and get approval from ownership. However, the 2018 offseason came and went without a Bryce Harper deal coming to the north side of Chicago.

Instead, Harper signed a record 13-year deal worth $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies, while the Cubs only notable signing was utility man, Daniel Descalso. That’s when Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts provided the statement that the reason the Cubs were not spending in free agency is that they did not have any money to spend.

The Cubs front office was banking on their core players, hopeful that guys like Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, and Kris Bryant would return to playing at a high level to provide the consistency that the offense so badly needed.

Forbes just released their annual Major League Baseball team valuations, which has the Cubs as the fourth most valuable franchise in baseball at a team value of $3.1 billion. That’s quite the jump from the 2016 valuation of $2.2 billion. The most recent valuation determined that the Cubs generated $452 million in revenue last season with a revenue of $86 per fan.

So do the Cubs really have no money or is there something much larger going on here? Perhaps the team was apprehensive to invest in another big-name free agent in fear they would become a sandbag that the team would be forced to carry on their roster.

Here are the five moves that have led the front office to be so cautious with adding another expensive free agent.