Since the combined no-hitter on June 25 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs have gone 10-32 and dropped from 1st place in the National League Central to 4th place. Those 32 losses are the most in the MLB since that date, and for the first time since 1943 had their first winless homestand of at least seven games. It is very likely that there will be many more eye popping stats like that one before the 2021 season is over.
It is now clear that the Cubs’ decisions going forward will no longer be made based on emotion. Beyond the trades of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs released 2015 NL Cy Young winner and World Series champion Jake Arrieta.
The decision to release Arrieta was strictly based on baseball skills and performance, and not with emotion. This is nice to see, especially after dealing with the heartbreak of what happened at the trade deadline. Just like it was time for the Cubs to move on from the core, depending on who you ask, it was time to move on from Arrieta.
Cubs manager David Ross said that it will be evident in 2022 that this isn’t what the Cubs organization is about. “I think this organization has a lot of pride. The players that are still here, there’s a lot of guys that hold themselves to a high standard,” said Ross to Jordan Bastian from MLB.com. He went on to say that for the rest of 2021 it is important to have the mindset to push forward and utilize every teaching moment and get better from those moments.
I really like the words from Ross. Although his job is ultimately to win games, the new description for the rest of 2021 is to make every player currently on the roster better for 2022.
On the players side, they can take this opportunity to earn themselves a job for next season whether it’s with the Cubs or another team. The prime example of that is Rafael Ortega, who is hitting over .400 since the All-Star break.
Don’t Connect the Rest of 2021 with the Future
Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said, “I don’t think you can connect what happens here over the next two months with going forward.” The Cubs are shorthanded, combining the trades with injuries to both Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras. That is reason enough to throw away the results for the rest of the season.
Been There, Done That
Jed Hoyer went on to say, “Obviously, we have thoughts and plans and things we’re working on.” Although he says that they are not going to lay out their plan for the rest of the league to see, there is reason to trust him. “We were able to navigate some pretty challenging waters when we got here. And I have no question we’re going to be able to do the same thing.”
The Next Great Cubs Team
I am willing to throw the rest of 2021 away as long as it is made clear there is a plan to spend and be proactive moving forward. The Cubs only have $40 million on the 2022 payroll at the moment, which gives Hoyer and the rest of the front office plenty of room to work with this offseason. “The focus, certainly going forward, is to build the next great Cubs team,” said Hoyer. He went on to say that there is no desire to be content with just being competitive, the plan is to be back on top like in 2016.
Like I mentioned above, I am willing to listen to Hoyer and throw away the last two months of the 2021 season. Not only for my own wellbeing, but because it will be a thing of the past and not continue into 2022. I don’t necessarily need a 2022 NL Central division title to trust Hoyer and the direction of the team, just as long as their is a clear indication that the Cubs will spend money in free agency to backup everything Jed Hoyer is saying whether the major spending comes in 2022 or 2023.
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