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Cubs Can’t Afford Not to Pursue Bryce Harper or Manny Machado

When weighing free agent acquisitions, it is important to consider not only how good a given player is, but how much better he would be than the player he is displacing. Signing an All-Star does not necessarily improve your team if he merely replaces someone of comparable talent and production.

This presents a minor problem for the Cubs. They currently have 2.0 WAR players at every position (counting Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. as a center field platoon) and 2.5 WAR players at six of eight positions. That’s right in the range of a good mid-tier free agent — like Andrew McCutchen, for example — so such a free agent would not represent a significant upgrade for the Cubs. To genuinely improve, the Cubs need to target All-Star level players (4+ WAR).

Those are rare even in the lauded 2019 free agent class. The following is the list of positional free agents who have earned 4.0 bWAR in either of the two past seasons: Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Brett Gardner. That’s it. That’s the entire list.

Donaldson will be 33 next season and is coming off an injury-plagued campaign. Gardner will be 35 and his best years are likely behind …Read the Rest

Source:: Cubs Insider

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