It is the end of January. The Chicago Cubs Convention has come and gone. Pitchers and catchers report in just a few weeks. I am here to report the professional baseball team that plays on the North Side of Chicago still has not signed anyone new to fill the extra lockers at 1060 West Addison.
The offseason from hell continues with no real outcome leaving Cubs fans excited for the 2020 season.
There is one man that could change the tides of Lake Michigan. A man that has led this franchise from the depths of the valley to the top of the mountain. That man is Theo Nathaniel Epstein.
Theo Epstein has become a savior of sorts for Cubs fans. While he has made some questionable moves, he will always be remembered as the man that constructed the team that fulfilled the one wish of lifelong Cubs fans. He will always get the benefit of the doubt because he broke a curse that many before him failed to conquer.
Unfortunately, Theo’s lack of activity this offseason has led to restlessness upon bar patrons up and down Clark Street. Kris Bryant will become a free agent before his grievance hearing is settled at this point. Utter the phrase “luxury tax” and expect that to be followed by a dramatic eye roll. Teams that bring in much less revenue than the Chicago Cubs are snatching away affordable players that could fill the holes in the Cubs roster.
If there is one thing Cubs fans have faith in, it is this front office. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have become the Batman and Robin of Chicago. You can imagine the thoughts that started to cross the minds of the Cubs faithful after this quote from Jed Hoyer.
Follow that up with this tweet that Nicholas Castellanos‘s bat was shipped to Arizona…
2020 World Series is back on!
Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I would be lying if I said the comments from the front office didn’t make me think something big was bound to happen.
The issue still remains the luxury tax. The higher-ups on Clark and Addison have continued to hammer home the notion that getting under the luxury tax is the top priority this offseason. We have also heard that once this Kris Bryant grievance hearing is settled, major moves could follow.
Theo himself even commented on the possibility of moves on the horizon.
“Well, first of all, it’s not Opening Day yet, so I think there’s still a chance of some changes. We hope there will be. This is an offseason where we knew we were gonna be more active in trades than free agency, but the bottom line is: words don’t matter, actions do.“
So what do we make of all of this? This comes down to the age-old battle between the head and the heart.
The head says this team needs to remain under the luxury tax. It is very late in the offseason, so the majority of the low-risk, high-reward players are already donning new uniforms. The grievance hearing truly has no end in sight, which in turn continues to handcuff the front office. Theo Epstein can only do so much with the pennies the front office has given him to work with this offseason. The Nicholas Castellanos bat shipping off to Arizona is just Victor Caratini using his bat, this happens often in the pros. The head says this team will most likely go into the season without addressing major holes. At best, a Wild Card berth is a realistic outcome for the 2020 season.
Thankfully, the majority of Cubs fans follow their heart. The heart is full of everlasting optimism. The heart is what got Cubs fans through 100-plus years of misery. The heart believes Theo Epstein is going to shake things up once he gets the green light. The heart knows this championship window is closing rapidly and the front office realizes that. The heart has trusted Theo Epstein and there is zero reason to stop now. It is time to have some faith that moves will be made and this team will contend once again in 2020.
As Babe Ruth echoed to Benny The Jet in Sandlot, “follow your heart kid, you’ll never go wrong…”