Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said last week on 670 The Score that the Cubs would operate at a loss this season, casting serious doubt on the team’s ability to buy at the deadline in what has become a surprisingly competitive season. Well, surprising to some. But even those who were bullish on the Cubs’ chances had their optimism colored heavily by the general dearth of talent in the NL Central.
Now, however, the Cubs are looking like they’re capable of beating just about anyone other than the Giants in San Francisco and they might be in search of impact players come July. Perhaps even an ace starter. Gee, I wonder why that is. In any case, the Cubs should absolutely be buyers at the deadline.
As Kenney clarified on 670’s Bernstein & Rahimi Show Monday morning, however, money will not be the mitigating factor.
“Finances won’t be the issue at the deadline,” Kenney said. “As we know, the currency that most people are looking for at the deadline is talent. And the question is, ‘Will we be prepared to move talent to add to this team and can we find a dance partner?'”
Kenney essentially washing his hands of the matter echoes Tom Ricketts’ recent statements about extensions for core players being 100% in Jed Hoyer’s court. While that’s true in a literal sense, there’s the small matter of the baseball budget within which the baseball boss must operate. Hoyer must also balance the value of a new player, likely a pitcher, with what it’ll take to acquire them.
Even if extensions are worked out for one or more core players, the Cubs have several others on one-year deals and will need to replace them one way or another. Moving prospects from a system that is just now starting to come into its own once more would mean spending more in free agency and having to restock the farm all over again.
Unless, of course, Hoyer is able to jump the market for a pitcher who isn’t among those at the top of the list and for whom a team might not be asking as much. Getting Max Scherzer, Kyle Gibson, or José Berríos might cost more than what the Cubs got for Yu Darvish, which would end up being the worst possible scenario unless another World Series title is coming to Wrigley.
You know what, though? It’s pretty great that we’re even able to discuss this issue at all in mid-June after how the Cubs played in April.