Thursday, December 7, 2023

Ricketts and Hoyer Say Cubs Will Be Aggressive in Free Agency


The Chicago Cubs needed a lot of things to go right to have any kind of success in 2022 and when you look at their 45-65 record it’s easy to tell that many things went wrong. They’re on pace to lose 96 games this season, but could an aggressive offseason quickly change expectations at Wrigley Field for 2023?

Well, Tom Ricketts and Jed Hoyer are both telling fans that yes, the Cubs will be active in the offseason, and competing for free agents. But of course, talk is cheap, the Cubs actually have to put money where their mouth is.

Here’s what Jed Hoyer told Patrick Mooney in The Athletic.

“I expect to be aggressive this winter,” Hoyer said. “There’s no question. I think we’ll have some money to spend. Certainly, we want to invest that money wisely. The goal is to build something special. Trying to do that too quickly or trying to do it all at once can be a mistake. But certainly there’s going to be good players in the market, and I’m sure we’re going to be involved in those discussions.”

So, Hoyer is at least tempering some of those big free agent dreams by saying once again that he wants to spend money wisely and not wanting to do everything all at once. Understandable, but there’s no doubt that the Cubs should at the very least be in a lot of those conversations with various top-level free agents.

Will the Cubs ultimately be able to sign any top free agents comes down to the checkbook of ownership. In a statement to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Tom Ricketts said something similar to Hoyer. The Cubs will be active this offseason.


“Our moves over the past year and at the trade deadline have put us in a position of strength in both player and financial currency. We plan to be very active again this offseason competing in the free agent market.”

The Cubs have several holes to fill on their roster heading into the 2022-23 offseason and like Hoyer said, they’re probably not going to rush to do it all in one winter. However, there are star players available and there is no reason the Cubs shouldn’t be actively pursuing them in free agency.

Nico Hoerner has proven to be a good MLB shortstop, but that can’t stop the Cubs from targeting any of the top free agents at the position. Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson are all poised to hit the free-agent market and any of them would certainly fit on the Cubs’ roster.

Or who knows, the Cubs have been saying they need to add more power to their lineup. How about the guy on pace to hit more than 60 home runs this year in Aaron Judge?

On the pitching side, the Cubs are actually developing them! Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson have established themselves as solid-to-good pitchers in their first full MLB season. Meanwhile, Marcus Stroman has been far more consistent since returning from the injured list and the Cubs have a couple more starting pitchers at Triple-A in Caleb Kilian and Hayden Wesneski, who at the very least provide the team with depth heading into 2023.

As far as free agent pitchers go, the star power will be headlined by Jacob deGrom, who is expected to opt-out of his current Mets deal to search for a bigger one. Carlos Rodon will be seeking a long-term contract, after betting on himself with the Giants and succeeding for a second consecutive year.

But maybe the Cubs go to Japan for a second straight year for their big free agent signing. How about 29-year-old Kodai Senga, who has a 2.45 ERA in 11 seasons pitching in Japan.

No posting fee, no worries about signing a player with a qualifying offer attached to him. The Cubs should be all over Senga this winter.

The list goes on. Good players will be available. The Cubs need more good players. It’s time to spend that cash. Cubs fans deserve better and I’d prefer to believe what Ricketts and Hoyer say instead of doubting every word. I’d like that, but actions speak louder than words.

Basically, what Ian Happ said in that ESPN story.

“There is some really good talent out there this offseason. There are going to be teams that go out and spend. I think the Cubs will probably be one of those, but only time will tell.”

The Cubs signed Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki last offseason. I expect something a little bigger this year.

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