The Cubs were both very busy and quite successful in their dealings this week at the Winter Meetings.
They came away with the prized ace pitcher who was the cream of the free-agent crop, and which was also their first big get since the Theo Epstein regime began. It was their signature move, their Jayson Werth.
The Cubs had to pony up and likely overpay to entice Jon Lester to Chicago. Yet, it was a very necessary and quite worthwhile effort. Lester represents not only an anchor to the pitching staff, but also a major presence in the clubhouse and an indication to the rest of the major league players that Chicago is once again a destination.
“We’ve become a place where other players certainly know that we’re turning that corner,” Hoyer said. “They realize that being in Chicago when the team is winning is a lot of fun. Hopefully, a lot of players start to believe in that”, Jed Hoyer told Patrick Mooney.
Someone had to be first, and I’m glad it was Lester. Are the Cubs done now after also adding Jason Hammel and Miguel Montero ?
Not likely. However, the talk of the day after the Lester signing was that the Cubs were still going to go after a big bat. There were even rumblings that they could go after another big arm.
That talk died down quickly, and it was probably perpetrated by other GM’s and agents at the meetings.
Those whispers, along with my obscene man crush on Evan Longoria, worked me into a mid-morning frenzy of ideas that aren’t going to happen at this point. Sorry about that, I have my weaknesses.
The Cubs will still likely try to acquire one more value arm and Mooney reports they were in on Justin Masterson before he signed with the Red Sox. There were some whispers yesterday that James Shields’ price was going to come down far enough to where the Cubs may take a shot, but that is simply not the case. The Cubs will be saving some ammunition for next year’s free agency, at which time they can add another impact arm.
I couldn’t be more happy with how this offseason has unfolded so far. Yet, I still have some trepidation regarding the lineup. Montero does add a veteran lefty bat, but he isn’t the kind of hitter that can protect and insulate players like Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Kris Bryant.
There has been much talk about the Cubs adding a leader like Johnny Gomes. Thing is, Gomes would provide more value in terms of clubhouse culture than production on the field.
I still feel the Cubs need to be looking to add a “guy” in the lineup that can hit somewhere in the middle and take some of the heat and pressure off the kids. He doesn’t have to be a Justin Upton type, but a presence of sorts. The Cubs are still looking, but they are in a wait-and-see position now. They are waiting for the market to come to them.
They will have options, as there is some interest around the league surrounding both Wellington Castillo and Travis Wood. Mark Gonzales mentions today that the Phillies may match up with the Cubs regarding outfielder Ben Revere. Revere is a guy I mentioned on Twitter a while back to less than wild fanfare.
The Cubs may not make any moves to hurt their bright future, they don’t have to. That said, they can’t be done either. Theo and Jed need to stay in Puff Daddy/Mase mode: “Won’t stop, it can’t stop.”
“There’s a long way to go,” Hoyer said. “There’s a lot more work to be done on our roster. We’re far from a finished product right now.