Not every MLB organization prioritizes sustainable success.
The success of many clubs is predicated on some combination of marquee signings and trades, which often results in a short window of time that the team has to win before it’s back to the drawing board.
It’s a win-now approach that has dominated the modern era for major market teams.
While not every team on this list is guilty of what we’ve just described, the teams on this list all share one thing in common: they’re contending clubs that will likely take a huge step back next season.
3. San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are going to be in an interesting position after the season.
After Posey and Cueto, there are a plethora of key players that the Giants could lose to free agency.
Kevin Gausman, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Anthony DeSclafani, Aaron Sanchez, and Alex Wood highlight the group of players who could be playing for new clubs next season, all of whom would be huge losses for San Francisco.
The Giants are currently in first place in the National League West, thanks in large part to all of the aforementioned players.
It will be very interesting to see who the club tries to bring back after the year.
2. Houston Astros
The Houston Astros are currently 33-26 and in the playoff hunt, but they are likely getting going to get gutted in free agency after the 2021 season.
The Astros are already without Verlander this season, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Verlander on returning this year? "Do I want to pitch? Absolutely. But there's a lot of things to go perfect from now to then for that to be a discussion. … I hope my teammates put me in position to make that decision."
He said it would be impossible to be a starter, though.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) May 7, 2021
Verlander’s three seasons with Houston have all been outstanding.
He won the Cy Young Award in 2019 and finished second in the race in 2018.
Greinke’s time with the Astros has also been extremely solid.
He pitched to a 3.02 ERA with the team in 2019, a 4.03 ERA in 2020, and is working on a 3.38 ERA this year.
The combined loss of Verlander and Greinke would put the Houston rotation in a difficult spot moving forward.
Correa, on the other hand, has spent his entire seven-year career with Houston, and is a career .276 hitter with an .835 OPS.
His production would be greatly missed.
The Astros could have a very different look next year.
1. Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs overcame a slow start to the year and are now firmly in the mix in the NL Central.
The 2021 season may be Chicago’s last shot at another title for several years, because the team is going to lose tons of talent to free agency after the year.
For that reason, the Cubs will have a very difficult decision to make at the upcoming trade deadline: stand pat or buy?
Selling looked like a realistic option just weeks ago, with many people speculating that Kris Bryant could be on the move, but the Cubs are playing too well for that to be considered a real possibility now.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 31, 2021
The danger in buying at the deadline for this Cubs team is that their window is about to close.
The organization will be in a difficult spot next season no matter what, and trading away any amount of young talent this season for, say, a rental player, might not be the best move with the future in mind.
Standing pat seems like an attractive option.
The current roster is good enough to contend, and they’d be able to do so without trading away the future.
Let’s take a look at who the Cubs might lose this offseason:
That is the majority of the team’s core.
The Cubs will certainly attempt to retain some of those players, but it feels likely that Chicago will be rebuilding next year.