Chicago Cubs: The biggest need this offseason? Direction.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs’ front office has a lot of difficult decisions to make this winter, but the most important is what direction to take the roster.

Change. That’s likely to be the headline this winter in Wrigleyville. From the front office, to the roster, and even the broadcast booth, the Chicago Cubs have already seen key departures across the organization in the first six weeks of the offseason.

As Jed Hoyer steps into his new role as President of Baseball Operations, he has a key decision to make that’ll chart the course of the organization for the foreseeable future: Do the Cubs dismantle their core and start a full rebuild, or does the team choose a few key contributors to extend and build around?

That question is the first thing the Cubs need to decide this offseason, and the answer will guide the team’s decision making for the next several years.

If the decision is that the current roster isn’t good enough to win, or the team doesn’t see future success in a team built around some combination of Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, or Kris Bryant, they need to go all-in on the change.

Don’t just trade those four cornerstone bats, trade everyone with value – Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, and anyone else that another major league team would give prospect capital to acquire.

It’s a lot easier for fans to stomach a bad team over the next several years if they know that the team is focused on prospect development with an eye on competing again a few years down the road. That scenario, however painful it’d be to see play out, is a lot more appealing than keeping largely the same roster with no meaningful additions for the third straight year and crossing your fingers that the team will all of a sudden be better.

On the other hand, if the front office decides that yes, some combination of Rizzo, Baez, Contreras, and Bryant is good enough to build around, they need to commit hard to that plan.

Sign the players you want to build around to extensions cementing them as the face of the franchise, trade those close to free agency to recoup some of their value, and aggressively pursue upgrades at weak positions in free agency.

Roster turnover can be hard to stomach, especially when the players leaving have been part of ending a World Series drought, but seeing the team actually attempt to fix glaring holes is a lot more satisfying than standing pat and crying poor which has seemingly been the game plan the last few years.

There’s no easy decision looming for Jed Hoyer as he begins to chart the Cubs’ future, but he needs to pick a clear direction – a full rebuild or choosing the franchise cornerstones and aggressively building around them.

Another offseason of towing the line and hoping for one final year that the current core will magically improve isn’t acceptable.

dark. Next. Cubs perfect 2021 rotation

The Cubs biggest offseason need won’t be acquired in a trade or signed to a contract as a free agent. The thing this franchise needs most is a clear direction.