The Cubs 2017 season is over, and while the Astros and Dodgers are about to kick-off their final push for a World Series, Theo Epstein and the Cubs front office is already dreaming of bringing the trophy back to Chicago in 2018.
Their offseason needs are highlighted by pitching, as both Jake Arrieta and John Lackey enter free agency this year, meaning the Cubs have two rotation spots to fill. The 31-year-old Arrieta, while stating just a few days ago that he plans on ‘playing another game in Chicago’, is likely going to come at price too high for the Cubs to justify.
So, you would think the Cubs main focus would be on acquiring pitching this offseason, but a source tells Sports Mockery that is not necessarily the case.
Andrew Benintendi…To The Cubs?!
According to a source, the Cubs are being told that Epstein is targeting position players from Boston and Miami, with budding outfielder Andrew Benintendi sitting atop the team’s wishlist. Yes, you read that right and no I am not taking crazy pills.
Now, there will be people who read this article or the headline of this article and assume I am just throwing things at wall, but this is not the first time the Cubs have coveted a player that didn’t seem to be on their radar at all. He currently plays right field for the Cubs.
Jason Heyward was on Theo Epstein’s roster board when he and the front office were envisioning what their team needed to win their first title. And now, the front office brain trust of Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod are trying to pair the young Benintendi with Heyward in their outfield.
With the numbers Benintendi put up in his first full season in Boston, .271/.352/.424 with 20 home runs with 84 runs scored, sliding him in front of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras should make almost any Cubs fans eyes light up. Especially when he clubs 20+ homers and also makes incredible defensive plays like these.
Would the Red Sox Even Trade Him?
Now, the Red Sox have done nothing anything to show the former No. 1 overall prospect in baseball is currently available. In fact, they would likely rather move another outfielder in Jackie Bradley Jr. over Benintendi, but the Cubs are making it clear that they are willing to part with some MLB-talent to make a deal like this happen.
Sounds like #Cubs are also more willing to lose some depth to improve the lineup, only guys safe are Rizzo, Bryant, & Contreras, per source
— Sean Sears (@sean_sears6) October 22, 2017
A source explained that while the scouts are not saying who the Cubs would be willing to part with, they did drop a subtle hint that Kyle Schwarber may not be the untouchable piece he was regarded as a year ago.
Players like Addison Russell, Javier Baez, Albert Almora Jr, and even rookie Ian Happ may be considered in deals this offseason as well. This does not mean the Cubs are trying to trade any of those players, just that the Cubs would be more willing to move one of those pieces if it nets them a Andrew Benintendi caliber player.
Another name mentioned was Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, who the Cubs have checked in a few times this past season while Miami owners attempted to sell the team. The Cubs would also have an interest in Giancarlo Stanton, but with his massive contract and with players like Jason Heyward owed close to 150 mil over the next six years, that seems impossible.
Regardless, the Cubs have internally been upset with the performance of their outfield in 2017. The team feels they need to add a top of the lineup-type player, who can also fill their need in center field. And if the asking price starts with a Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez, don’t expect the Cubs to think twice about pulling the trigger.