(670 The Score) Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have their work cut out for them this offseason.
Stalwarts in shortstop Javier Baez, outfielder Kyle Schwarber, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and third baseman Kris Bryant are one season away from becoming free agents. As the Cubs aim to revamp their roster and position themselves for a new phase of success, they face the difficult balance of deciding which of their core players to keep and which they might part with while actively listening to trade offers.
"Uncertainty rules the day,” Epstein said in looking ahead to the Cubs’ offseason. "We are looking at something that has been true in our industry for a long time. A one-year deal for a really talented player is a valuable thing. That is especially true for looking at the 2021 team and potentially in the trade market as we look to make some changes. If you control players with one-year deals and use those to build your roster or go out into the trade market, that's a good position to be in.”
The Cubs have a promising wave of young talent ascending in their farm system, but the likes of left-hander Brailyn Marquez, outfielder Brennen Davis and catcher Miguel Amaya aren’t quite ready for the big leagues yet. With that in mind, the front office must patch together a 2021 team with an eye simultaneously on the future.
The Cubs’ biggest task will be to fill out their starting rotation. Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks form an excellent duo at the top, but the Cubs could lose the remaining three-fifths of their rotation. Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood have become free agents, and it’s a formality that Jon Lester will too once the Cubs decline his $25-million option for 2021. That move will trigger a $10-million buyout for Lester.