“We knew the 2017-18 offseason would be one of our most challenging,” Theo Epstein told us hours after the Cubs lost in the NLCS.
The upcoming months will be challenging for a variety of reasons. Jake Arrieta and John Lackey’s potential departure leaves the Cubs with two gaping starting pitching holes. Then you’ve got first-year arbitration salaries for Kyle Hendricks, Addison Russell, and Kris Bryant, signaling that realistic talks for extensions are fast approaching. And Joe Maddon’s already volatile bullpen could be devoid of a lock-down closer with Wade Davis entering free agency. Even my OOTP teams don’t have this much going on during an offseason.
But the Cubs are still in a healthy enough financial position to overcome their hurdles. Evan Altman noted that Theo and Co. are likely locked in for around $135 million after arbitration, leaving them with around $50 million to spend in the offseason. We can’t look at that allowance in short-sighted fashion, though. If the former champs sign a free agent to an expensive, multi-year deal, the contract would run into seasons in which arbitration salaries of the young core escalate, leaving the Northsiders with little flexibility for forthcoming offseasons.
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Source:: Cubs Insider