The Chicago Cubs look prepared to take a small market approach once again this winter, in an effort to build up their organization as a whole. The expectation is that the Cubs will settle for middling free agents and trade targets and spin whoever they acquire at the trade deadline for prospects.
Which essentially means that the Cubs are set to throw away another season, rather than try and actually build up the team on the field to put a competitive product out there in 2013. However, an opportunity may soon present itself that could change that mentality, at least a bit.
The Boston Red Sox cleaned house at the trade deadline this past summer, and it doesn’t appear that they are done. A couple more big names could be on their way out, and the Cubs could set their sights on at least one of them. While Jon Lester could be a target, his name has already been floated out there. The more recent name to emerge is Jacoby Ellsbury.
Ellsbury has been mentioned as a possibility for the Cubs in the past, given his connection to the current front office, led by Theo Epstein. With more housecleaning set to take place this winter, the Red Sox could be prepared to part ways with Ellsbury in the very near future.
The Cubs have a vacancy in centerfield. Brett Jackson will head back to Triple A to begin the year and there aren’t exactly a wealth of options out there to fill that void (Nyjer Morgan). And you have to figure the Cubs will field calls regarding either/both Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus this offseason. Which leaves things wide open.
Ellsbury would be a perfect building block in the outfield for this team. There is plenty of young talent on the infield that will be part of the turnaround for this organization, but really nothing in the outfield. This is a chance for the Cubs to add a piece out there, and do so at a reasonable price.
After spending most of the season injured, and underperforming for the rest, Ellsbury could be had cheaper than he may have been in offseasons past. This is a chance for the Cubs to swoop in and acquire him. Of course, that would require them to change this frustrating mentality that they’re carrying into the offseason.