MLB and MLBPA’s current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is set to expire at 11:59 pm ET on Dec. 1.
CARLSBAD, Calif. — The Cubs came into the week with a long list of areas they needed to address. To their surprise, they ended the week checking one off.
The Cubs were one of two teams to make an addition in the last week, claiming left-hander Wade Miley off waivers and picking up his $10 million option Sunday. The only other major move was the Dodgers’ signing left-hander Andrew Heaney.
With the general managers meetings now over, the Cubs will embark on an offseason that, similar to the last five winters, will be anything but normal. The collective-bargaining agreement is set to expire Dec. 1, and the belief around the industry is that there will be a lockout until the sides agree on a new CBA.
What does that mean for the Cubs and teams around baseball?
If there is no agreement, there likely will be a roster freeze that would take effect Dec. 2. The winter meetings in -December would be canceled, as well.
There probably will be lots of movement in the weeks to come as teams prepare for what likely will be months without any moves.
The Cubs still are looking to add pitching after adding Miley, particularly power arms for the rotation. They also are looking to add power to their lineup.
For years, the knock against the Cubs was that they were too reliant on power, and the results, especially in the postseason, showed that. Now they have contact hitters in infielders Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal, whom they acquired at the trade deadline, but it has left them in need of some more thump.
Third baseman Patrick Wisdom, first baseman Frank Schwindel, outfielder Ian Happ and catcher Willson Contreras combined to hit 88 homers last season and will provide a lot of the team’s power next season.
“I know a common complaint of our teams is that there hasn’t been enough contact, which has been fair,” team president Jed Hoyer said. “I don’t have the stats in front of me, but the overwhelming stat in the postseason is that teams that out-homer their opponents win games. So we can’t ever lose sight of that. It’s a pretty nice way to score.”
But with the expected addition of the designated hitter in the National League next season, adding some power is on the Cubs’ to-do list this offseason.
“Having Nico and Madrigal in the lineup, I think it’s a nice start,” Hoyer said. “I think Schwindel is really good at making contact. I think we have some guys that make contact really well. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that power wins games.”
“So I think it’s an offseason question, but it’s valid. There’s always a tendency to overcompensate. We have an issue that you struggle with and go the other way. You have to be careful. Contact is great, but at some point, having power really helps.”
The Cubs have money to spend, but with premium free agents not likely looking at them as a destination, they’ll have to set their sights on the second and third tiers of the market.
The next few weeks could see the Cubs and other teams very active with smaller-name free agents potentially looking to sign deals before the roster freeze. But beyond that, this offseason is going to move at a glacial pace.