As fans around the country are still celebrating the Chicago Cubs World Series Championship, General Manager Theo Epstein and the Cubs brass are moving sensibly this offseason. At this point they are avoiding any major free-agent signings and instead are focusing on stabilizing their team with a few moves that could prove beneficial in the short-term.
With a glut of young talent on the major-league roster and waiting in the wings, the Cubs feel good about their chances to make another run at a World Series title in 2017. Led by young stars Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs are currently slight favorites with Vegas at 7/2 odds to repeat. However, the Boston Red Sox, with some splashy moves, are right behind them with 7/1 odds.
So far, this offseason the Cubs have made a few moves that can be considered under the radar. One to help stabilize their bullpen and another that can be considered a short-term patch for the centerfield position.
The team signed left-handed reliever Brian Duensing to a one-year deal. The 33-year-old spent 7 seasons with the Minnesota Twins before spending last season with the Baltimore Orioles. He will bring experience and a left-handed arm out of the Cubs pen.
They also made a move to bring in outfielder Jon Jay as a free-agent addition and signed him to a one-year deal. Jay is a seven-year veteran who played last season for the San Diego Padres. He batted .291 in 90 games for the Padres but lacks power with just 2 home runs.
Jay is expected to help fill the gap with the loss of centerfielder Dexter Fowler. Fowler, who was a free-agent, recently signed a five-year deal to play for the rival St. Louis Cardinals.
The biggest move Chicago has made so far was the trade to acquire closer Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals. In return for Davis, the Cubs sent promising outfielder Jorge Soler to the Royals. Soler was expendable due the amount of options available to the team. In addition to Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, other options include Albert Almora, Matt Szczur and the newly-acquired Jay.
In Davis, the Cubs are getting arguably the best reliever in the American League over the last several years. In his last three seasons with the Royals his earned run averages were 1.00, 0.94 and 1.87. Last season he did battle through some injuries that limited him to pitching in just 45 games. Davis should slot into the closer’s role with the Cubs assuming he is fully healthy.
So, Cubs fans have no need to fret because the team didn’t go out and sign a big-name free-agent. Manager Joe Maddon has a lot of talent to work with as well as a team that now has the postseason experience from winning a game seven World Series title.
It should be another great season in 2017 for the Cubs. Enjoy.