The Cubs’ reported agreement with Joc Pederson this morning registered as something of a surprise, as much of the focus for the team this winter has been on paring back payroll and restocking the farm system. However, David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago reports (via Twitter) that owner Tom Ricketts recently gave president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and his staff the approval to increase 2021’s payroll. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score tweets that the Cubs are in pursuit of some veteran arms, again listing Carlos Rodon and Jeff Samardzija as two possibilities. Both will throw for the Cubs this weekend.
To be clear, there’s no indication that Ricketts has green-lighted a return to the Cubs’ $200MM+ payrolls. Asked by one follower about a potential move for Trevor Bauer, Kaplan characterized the chances as effectively nonexistent. But the Cubs’ 2021 commitments sit around the $150MM mark even after the Pederson agreement, and the news of even a modest payroll increase creates the possibility of at least adding some low-cost veterans.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers tweets that the Cubs could pick up one or two low-cost arms in the near future, adding that there’s interest in a reunion with Jake Arrieta. The former NL Cy Young winner was slated to throw for interested teams today. Even if a deal with Arrieta can’t be worked out for one reason or another, the market offers comparable buy-low opportunities that could provide the Cubs with some needed depth. Speculatively speaking, any of Rodon, Samardzija, Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz or Trevor Williams could fit that bill. Old friends Cole Hamels and Rich Hill remain unsigned as well.
Having traded Yu Darvish to the Padres, Chicago’s current rotation is likely to be fronted by Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies and Alec Mills. Prospects Adbert Alzolay, Brailyn Marquez and Tyson Miller could all vie for starts as well, and the Cubs did ink former Twins prospect Kohl Stewart to a big league deal just yesterday (albeit with a near-minimum $700K guarantee). Former Cardinals/Braves star Shelby Miller will be in camp as a non-roster player this spring, too.
Clearly, beyond the top starters, that group lacks experience and/or recent success. Add in the limited workloads that all pitchers had in last year’s shortened slate of games, and the Cubs’ need to bring in some arms becomes all the more clear. Hendricks was one of MLB’s leaders with 81 1/3 innings pitched. Davies (69 1/3 innings) and Mills (62 1/3) also had relatively strong workloads, but no one else on the current Cubs roster reached even 30 MLB innings. Alzolay, Marquez, Miller and others were getting work in simulated games at the team’s alternate training site, but there has to be some concern about too radically increasing the workloads of the organization’s top prospects.
The Ricketts must have had stock in GameStop!
I hope so
Thanks Tom. Ricketts is an embarrassment. He is lucky that his rich daddy paid for his expensive toy. Doesn’t Tommy know that this is a bit late in the preseason to now be telling your GM, that he can spend ‘a little more money’. Gee Tom, you should have waited another couple weeks lol.
Thanks for the laugh pal. You would have made my day if not for the earlier surprise signing of Joc Pederson. Perhaps old man Ricketts can give Jerry Reinsdorf a low interest loan ‘allowance’ as well since it appears the White Sox might be done spending this offseason.
@dogbone it’s never too late to tell your GM to go for it. Desperate teams go and sign regrettable contracts. The leftovers seem to be overshadowed when the season starts. Many “leftovers” in the free agency went on to sign a one year deal and had a solid season. Setting up for a bigger pay day following the next offseason. Cruz, McCutchen, Morton, and many others are notable players who were left overs and played fairly well, if not better then the top tier agents. Just saying, some of these leftovers are worth the what
Yeah considering so many big names and such have deals. Oh wait, they don’t.
Dumpster Divin Theo
this is a bit late in the preseason to now be telling your GM
Not really. Assuming the article is right, the Cubs are looking for SPs. Odorizzi, Hill, Teheran, Paxton, Walker, Porcello, Hamels, Archer & Hill are stil available.
None of the guys that signed are materially different than the guys that are left.
I like some guys we gave up on and they went on to have a decent career like Archer,Arretta,Hill,Hamel might come back any of the (4) I mentioned with what we have plus are top 2) minor gl Pitchers I like as a team specially Cris Archer one bad year pirates mad cause they lost in that deal
Chris Archer would be great on a two year deal cheap any one pirates give up on Morton-Cole-Archer- the guy the W’sox got turn out good pitchers the entire list below would be good but Archer would enite the fan base.
No he is a fan first and relies he had a rapid fan base who want something and sure build toward the future but don’t set us back another 10 years – give Mr T.Rickett a chance & Hoyer also
A rare funny from Mr. Chitown311, even funny for a cubs fan.
They own TDAmeritrade…..literally.
This is the single and likely only time I’ll agree with this ass clown
There we go. The Cubs can put themselves right back in the driver’s seat in the N.L. Central. The Cubs still have the best talent in the N.L. Central, despite the subtractions this Winter.
Wouldn’t that be funny though with everything that’s happened this Winter with the Cubs, if they shocked all of MLB and ended up being the ones signing Bauer?
I’m sure it won’t happen, but just think of the irony.
Yeah but they would still get swept in the playoffs
You could very well be right. I suppose you can make the argument “Someone has to win that division.”
If the Cubs can slap together just a mediocre rotation, they could still win that division with the lineup they have. Last year, they would’ve ran away with the division had it been the full 162. Most of what they lost in the offseason was from the rotation, which were obviously huge losses (especially Darvish). I think Schwarber was their main loss on offense, and they just replaced him with an upgrade.
One of the things to keep in mind is that Bryant had a bad season, and Baez had an awful season. There are always under- and over-performers, but there is a decent chance you’d have been better even without a change.
Very good point! You get both those guys back to normal, that’s a very dangerous offense. And with the SP’s you listed above, you grab two of those guys, they are clear favorites in that division.
Granted I don’t know what slight payroll increase actually means in this case, so 2 SP’s in that list might be a pipe dream, but even one of those SP’s listed would be a significant improvement.
No they don’t
The Cubs easily have the best talent in the division, which says a lot about the 4 other teams in the division.
Cardinals have the best overall team in the division at the moment. You could also make the case that the Brewers have the best player AND best relief pitcher (or even 2 best) if you believe Yelich’s 2020 was a fluke. Would still put Cubs, Brewers, Reds behind Cards and ahead of Pirates.
It’s just like last year. Four team race.
Bryant, Baez, Rizzo and Contreras are all superior to any player the birds have. Even with the moves the Cubs have made they are the best team in a weak division. Happ and Hendricks are high quality players as well. A couple mid level additions like Pederson and Paxton and the Cubs will still control the division. Brewers are going nowhere. Reds have raised the white flag already. Bird franchise is in decline and the pirates are a triple A team at best now.
The Cardinals pitching staff is much better than Chicago’s. That is the great equalizer.
The Cardinals pitching staff is much better than Chicago’s.
Are you sure? In 2020, StL had a slightly better ERA, but a slightly worse ERA+. Downgrading from Darvish to Davies won’t change that materially.
They must have checked under the couch cushions and found some spare change.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis For MVP
Steve Cohen sent them a few bucks on Venmo
Teheran and Hamels would be interesting.
Big Sexy Time!
I wouldn’t hesistate to throw him a minor league deal w/ Spring invite to be a potential longman out of the bullpen or potential opener. Beyond that… those days are over. Two years ago, he was getting LIT UP in the 4th & 5th innings with the Rangers.
I bet Lester is thrilled.
As a die hard, this was my thought. Especially given the reports he would’ve taken less and offered as such to the Cubs prior to the Nat’s signing.
Best free agent signing in all of Chicago sports history arguably and the Cubs snubbed him.
I was talking to somebody about if the Cubs were going to try to win in 21′ or if they’d continue selling off. They predicted that the Cubs would buy as evident by the Pederson move, but I was more skeptical. I considered the Pederson move a solid pickup for the cost, but not an indicator that the Cubs would be trying to win in 21′. This might change that tune…
imo acquiring Davies and Pedersen for 1 year along with guys like Bryant in their last arb year I see this more as them giving it the ole college try and when/if it doesn’t work they can sell off at the deadline
So Cubs to find some cash as 85% of all the good talent is gone. What an odd turn of events and horrible timing in the FA cycle.
Lol “can we have Yu back?”
Sure, nice to hear, but a little late. Rodon is a good call, low-risk, but they would be fools to look at samardzija–after all his trash talk about the Cubs, he does not deserve Cubbie blue. And he is on the downhill…Rodon is still young. Some other interesting options out there, but leave Jake alone: let’s not mess w his legacy.
What trash talk? He was pretty complimentary towards them when the Giants & Cubs were battling it out in 16.
Trading Darvish was a good move. These type of signings will be one or two years at a low av. You aren’t locked into big money into the last years of a pitchers career. Nothing in this report has Bauer written on it. That isn’t happening.
I could see Rodon, Williams, Walker, or Archer there. Perhaps Paxson as well Jays might be interested in KB for Roark and a couple of others. I doubt Cubs want them but the Rangers might be willing to talk about Gibson, Liles, or Allard for real cheap.
Except trading KB makes you worse offensively. Why not keep him and a couple of these arms. You can at least attach the Qualifying offer and get a pick if he has a good year. Or flip him at the deadline if they don’t contend.
In the same way you want the Cubs to attach the QO to Bryant, an acquiring team would like to attach a QO to Bryant
Soon as the season starts, the new team cannot QO him and that will impact his value
May I suggest Cy young candidate Yu Darvish?
You trade when value is highest. They’re obviously betting Yu declines or gets injured. It’s not a bad bet.
James Paxton could be a good target for them on a one year deal.
Paxton would be an ideal fit. The cubs need a left handed starter and he has more upside than most of the options available.
I think there is a better chance of the Cubbies signing John Paxton instead of James. I hope I’m wrong.
I didn’t think they would sign one player over 2 million dollars until Pederson deal. There is a lot wiggle room between 150 and 200 million dollars. Unfortunately John paxton probably doesn’t have a jumper like John paxson .
Dumpster Divin Theo
Who’s John Paxton
He was an SP for the Yankees last year. Real first name is James.
Paxton would address the need for a lefty in the rotation. Cubs also need left handed help in the bullpen, someone like Jose Alavrez would be good. Hector Rondon is an available FA for the pen and still has a fastball at 95- 96. I’d rather see him getting picked up by the Cubs instead of retreads like the Shark, etc. Too bad ownership likely won’t allow the payroll to get near $200 mil as these type of additions plus Ozuna would come in right at about $200 mil, still $18 mil less than last year. Would mean moving Pederson to CF and Happ back to 2nd and Hoerner and Bote as INF bench. With that collection of talent, they could be a serious contender against the likes of the Dodgers, Braves, Padres, etc.
Cubs coming into some money? Maybe a Kris Bryant trade is finally close along with Kyle Hendricks and/or Zach Davies and Wilson Contreras in a package deal. Who knows with this team lately. Hearing a lot of names kicked around from this site as well as local Chicago sports talk radio. Starting pitchers like Jeff Samardzija, Mike Foltynewicz, Carlos Rodón, Chris Archer, Jake Arieta. Position players like Brock Holt, Kolten Wong, Tyler Flowers. We will see.
They already came into money ala the Darvish trade and releases.
They saved some $50M year to year and a chunk of that extends for more years with Darvish gone.
Sign one of these guys at, say, $7M a year for a single year with maybe a team option.
You’ve “come into money” then by that left turn.
Why would they trade their ace kyle Hendricks? Plus Contreras. That’s just dumb. Especially in a package deal. You can easily get 5 players for Hendricks. And 4 players with Contreras. They don’t have a backup catcher. Amaya might be ready by the start of the season. They need to keep Contreras as their starter. Then next winter work on an extension.
I wonder if they’d be interested in Tanner Roark. Shi Dividi says the Jays are shopping him. He’s making $12 million in 2021 and is a free agent after the season. Maybe a trade revolving around Roark for Kimbrel?
Kimbrel was quietly excellent most of August and all of September. So if the Cubs trade him in his final year… who closes? Shark? Strop? Cashner reunion?
Ricketts: “Okay FINE, you can have five starting pitchers this year. I don’t see why you need so many but WHATEVER.” He gestures wildly at the end, causing him to tip over and fall off of his giant pile of money.
When Ricketts fell off his pile of money it must have knocked some “CENTS” into him.
I’d prefer the ending where after this reversal and temper tantrum, he dives into his vault of gold ala Scrooge McDuck.
RickTales! Whohooo! Dadadadaaaa…
Teheran and Foltynewich would be throwing batting practice pitching in Wrigley. Rodon can probably be had cheaper than Paxton. Samardzija coming back wouldn’t surprise me. Archer coming of TOS is a bit of a wild card but could be worth a minor league invite to training camp
Bauer and Wong let’s get it done
Cap & Crunch
Cubs need inns…..Its not the last stop on the train but Id look to ink Porcello on a 2 yr deal today- He has quite possibly been the most durable Sp the last decade in the whole game
The move to the Central should help as well ….now go on and throw those crooked numbers at me and tell me how stupid I am !
“Approval for Slight Pay Increase?” What organization releases info like that?
One that’s making it clear to the media & fans that they’re aiming at SP upgrades, such as reunions with people like Arrieta, Hill, Shark, Archer, Cashner-types… NOT Bauer. People who could be had cheap, some as cheap as a minor league deal.
They need to stay far far away from shark. I’d take Henry Rowengartner and Chet Steadman.
Nothing like rummaging in the discard pile to get one’s blood racing….
I don’t believe the news. I think it’s nothing more than a PR move from a rich owner. Show Me the Money at Work!!
I honestly think the dude on this site that coined the name “Junkyard Jed” moved the needle. Ricketts kept seeing that and finally said. “OK JJ, I gotta let you go sign somebody. This is really embarrassing.”
Glad I could help!
Jed must have reminded Mr. Ricketts that a playoff berth means an additional $20-$30M in revenue for the team (more if they go further) and that the NL Central is up for grabs. Don’t sleep on Zach Davies; he is one of the most underrated pitchers in MLB. A couple of sage additions and the Cubs should be the favorites to win the NL Central. If they play 162 this year, a 90 win season should be good enough to win the NL Central.
No one in the NLC division, including the Cards w/ Arenado wins with 90 wins. I think the Cubs are the favorites and i’m putting them around 86-87 wins. Nobody has made upgrades big enough. The Cubs have the best shot at 90, but only if their core of Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, Contreas… all have big seasons, along with Heyward & Pederson turning in good seasons.
Did the Cubs say they wanted to cut payroll? Doesn’t look like it to me. I would definitely trade the big 3 if that was a goal. Non tendering over paid players and trading a guy for a haul of prospects and his replacement just look like great moves to me.
Cubs wanted to cut payroll til the Pirates started selling off what few Major League players they have, the Reds losing Bauer and Iglesias while possibly moving everyone else, the Cardinals bringing back their OLD players, and the Brewers doing absolutely nothing. All of a sudden less than 85 wins should be more than enough to win the NL Central
Nolan’s coming now. Not sure they were ever worried about pirates and reds. Division is up for grabs for sure.
dumpster diving at this point. all those names mentioned are not reliable at all.
Cubs Suck for the next 108 years
Last I checked they made the playoffs tge last 5 of 6 seasons. Why?
Just blow it up and rebuild already
They won the division last year. No reason to blow it up.
They got beat by the Marlins in the first round…. and that was with the 2nd highest payroll in baseball. Three more players with only one year left and no extensions in sight… Time to blow it up and start anew.
Also they have been getting worse year after year since their series win. Only one option trade the house stack the farm, and start over.
I would absolutely LOVE for the Cubs to bring back Rich Hill & Jake Arrieta. Two of my favorite Cubs ever. Would love to see them finish & retire in blue pinstripes.
Why on earth would Rich Hill be one of your favorite Cub players? He only pitched something like 55 games for the Cubs and one full season. Arrieta I get, Cy Young, pitched fantastically in the World Series and I love that Jeff Samardjiza made the “how does this make us better” comment when the Cubs traded Feldman and Arrieta came in and dominated every year he was in Cubbie blue. I just hope he texted Shark after he won the Cy Young and responded “that’s how”
I wonder what information MLB has released to the teams given that both the Cubs and Cardinals magically found some extra cash laying around? Outlined a plan for fans? Expanded playoffs? Some type of new TV arrangement in the works?
I do expect the playoffs to be expanded this season in turn, the players will get the universal DH.
Be something to see the Cubs trade with Colorado for Trevor Story and an SP now.
The Rockies probably have no better pitchers than the Cubs. To me they are done, maybe a pitcher that isn’t gonna blow the roof off the place. The ball is in their court now. Either they go for it or back off and let the cardinals win the division
Too expensive won’t happen
Remember the The Shark would be a excellent bride to Kimball in the bullpen and either Jeffries or Stode will help build the bullpen with Kimbral & Shark ( Jeff Samakin) not spelled correctly could be a awesome bullpen
Recycle bin diving Jed