$130-140 Million

Posted by timahuwe on November 30, 2015 at 3:05 PM

One of the early week stories is floating the Cubs budget over the next few seasons as being in the neighborhood of $130-140 million per. I doubt this will go over very well with fans who think that now is the time to invest heavily in free agency. As opposed to last year, and the year before, which were the times to invest heavily in free agency. While free agents are oftentimes well known, that doesn't make them worth their contracts. If the Edwin Jackson money hadn't been spent, but we know that story already. What does 130-140 mean for the off-season?

Obviously, free agent bulls will start with the 140 number. Because, they are free agent bulls. However, that doesn't mean it's the proper number. The team won 97 in the regular season in 2015, and most of the usual suspects will be back. The back-end of the rotation needs an upgrade, and a CF needs to be located. The most positive-sounding whisper news is that Cubs prospects are getting trade-value respect.  What's going to happen won't look to make much sense until 'the trade' is made.

'The trade' last year solidified the catching position, and things progressed from there. That was when Miguel Montero came to Chicago, and Jeferson Mejia and Zack Godley went west.

I expect the prospects to help net a probable regular before Christmas. Then, the other pieces to the puzzle will become more apparent. Of course, some free agents might well be signed before the trade is made.

With Edwin Jackson, Jon Lester, and Miguel Montero under contract, the Cubs are already at $52 million. With two roster spots filled. Yeah, it will take some creativity to add all the pieces everyone wants. Particularly since the number will be closer to 130 than 140. To blow the entire shot off the start makes finishing tougher.

Why will the number be closer to $130 than $140?

In baseball, as with many other things, some things don't work out as planned. Regardless the time spent on the research. If the Cubs burn through $137 million before February starts, they are pretty much done for the season. There would, then, be precious little room for taking advantage of teams getting anxious at the deadlines. Or even if something is available in late-March.

So, whether you're looking at the Cot's site

or you have something else you use, expect the number to be closer to 130 than 140. Every team has a budget. Every fan base gripes that it ought to be higher, and then complains about how much the Dodgers and Yankees spend. While their fans complain they should spend more.


Instead of begging for 135 or 145, fans ought to do the unthinkable. Wonder how the team can get more from what they already have. How they can get other teams to prioritize their own prospects. Decide which of Carson Sands and Justin Steele should not get traded. Or maybe figure out who should take over for Derek Johnson or Anthony Iapoce, to keep the little talent development train humming.

The Cubs should be a very good team in 2016. The temptation might be to over-value 2016, at the detriment of the years to follow. I am accused of worrying too much about the future, and I'll own it. However, very rearely do I hear others admit that they placed too heavy of a value on, for instance, 2013, which was clearly a development season.

Baseball is a long game. It is a full mosaic. It isn't a rush to acquired talent. That leads to mistakes. The market, as Jed Hoyer phrased it on Monday, is "developing". Nobody wants to make a move before the market settles itself for the year. Teams want Cubs prospects, but things don't happen in a vacuum.

I don't have any specific expectations. However, I fully expect two starting pitchers to be added, and I expect CF to be dealt with as well. Be that by trade or free agency, it will happen. Yeah, I wish things would happen 'quicker', but I'd prefer slow and astute moves, to rash and foolish ones. And I expect the number to be far closer to $130 million than $140 million. Because October is more important than April.

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