One week after the Cubs ended their 108-year-long championship drought, the 2017 season has already begun with this week’s general manager meetings in Arizona, and December’s winter meetings to follow. The short off-season doesn’t give the Cubs brain trust much time to make some very important decisions as they head into the 2017 season.
The most important of these decisions could be who is going to pitch the all-important ninth-inning and be the club’s closer. Aroldis Champman, who the Cubs acquired in July, is a free -agent and most likely won’t return . The closer prior to July was Hector Rondon, who was seemingly MIA come October, which makes it hard to fathom that he will be the guy finishing games in April. Rookie CJ Edwards appears to be the most logical choice to replace Chapmam but is that the smart choice? No. A team with this much talent cannot rely on a young guy who is completely foreign to that role. Signing a free-agent closer doesn’t make sense if they are unwilling to sign Chapman. Why would they be willing to spend money on the Dodgers Kenley Jansen, who will most likely ask for money similar to Chapman’s.
Centerfielder Dexter Fowler will not give the Cubs a hometown discount in free agency again like he did last year. So he will probably not return as well in 2017, leaving the Cubs with possibly the need for a centerfielder and closer. The best way to accomplish one or both of these needs could be by trading one of the key contributors to the championship team and packaging them with some prospects to fill the 2017 Cubs needs.
The best candidate of the current roster is Javier Baez because teams might be willing to give Chicago a lot for him simply based off his postseason performances. The World Series showed that when pressure increases he reverts back to his big and loopy swing and he can be pitched to. Kyle is your leftfielder, so Ben Zobrist will most likely returnto second base, making Baez a bench player once again. It will be a tough pill to swallow but trading him makes the most sense while his value is at its peak.