The Chicago Cubs, a big-market team, opted to go the rebuild route at the deadline and became sellers.
Crazy how fast the Cubs competitive window closed. We thought Bryant, Rizzo and Baez would be Cubs for life and would win multiple titles and the Cubs would be the best dynasty in baseball for the next decade or so. Today was tough.
— Zack Miller (@BigZack35) July 30, 2021
All of them are free agents at the end of the season except for Kimbrel, who has a $16 million club option.
In the process, the Cubs received several good prospects and promising young players.
Many fans questioned their approach, but in the end, what they did was the right move.
Here are three logical explanations of their rationale to blow it all up.
3. They Have Almost No Chance To Compete This Year Or Next
The Cubs started the season on the right foot and even led the National League Central for a while.
But their season started to collapse before the All-Star break, and before the Midsummer Classic, it was clear they weren’t going to keep up with the Milwaukee Brewers and other NL teams.
They made the choice to blow it all up, something that they likely wouldn’t have done had they got to the All-Star break leading the division.
In the end, a rebuild was the right choice, because their roster lacked the depth and star power to compete with the elite in the playoffs.
Right now, they are 51-57, 13 games out of first place.
They won’t compete this year and next.
Time will, however, prove the Cubs right for how they managed to approach the trade deadline.
2. Their Farm Was Very Weak
Before the season started, the Cubs’ farm system wasn’t very highly regarded.
In fact, it was ranked 22nd by MLB.com, the league’s official site.
After the flurry of deadline trades, it is believed that it is now more in the 15-17 range, which is a significant leap.
Brailyn Marquez (No. 60), Brennen Davis (No. 61), and Miguel Amaya (No. 89) were members of the preseason top 100 prospects list, but the team needed more talent since its core is (was) old and not signed for the long-term.
As a result, the Cubs did the logical thing and flipped those players with no control beyond 2021 or 2022 to replenish their farm system.
Not only did they add a top-100 caliber prospect in center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, but they also welcomed two very good young pieces with at least four seasons of team control in second baseman Nick Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer.
1. They Had To Get Something In Return For Stars On Expiring Contracts
As previously stated, Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, Kimbrel, and Tepera were all on expiring deals.
The Cubs may have tried to extend some of them in the past, but they were unsuccessful and, at one point, it became clear that those deals weren’t going to happen.
If the team is 10 games or more out of a playoff spot, and it won’t extend those expiring deals, the most reasonable thing to do is moving those contracts as rentals and getting something in return.
Contenders are always looking for upgrades.
I’m glad y’all are doing what needs to be done @Cubs
It stings but gotta reopen a competitive window. pic.twitter.com/xXlNMVycdw
— Arthur Curry (@FowlBsure) July 30, 2021
That’s what the Cubs did.
If you are not competing, and you are not extending your stars, trade them and you will get prospects with fresh service time to fit in their next competitive window.