The Paw Print

In Theo we trust

Matt Hehl, Online Editor in Chief

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The Cubs have been huge players in the free-agent market this offseason. With just a few months until spring training, the team has made splashes that have many thinking they will be the favorites to win it all this fall. After being taken down by the Mets in a slightly embarrassing fashion, General Manager Theo Epstein was very active on the free-agent market and the trade block.
The first move of the offseason included reaching an agreement with RHP John Lackey (2.77 ERA in 2015) for a two-year/$32M contract on Dec. 4. The hope is that the 37-year-old can serve as a solid mid-rotation pitcher behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, something the Cubs had trouble finding in 2015.
Next up was a busy Dec. 8 that saw the Cubs sign super-utility man Ben Zobrist to a four-year/$56M contract. Last season, the 34 year-old had a .276 batting average and 13 home runs. In Zobrist the Cubs get both a veteran presence and a player who you can start at any position if you need to patch some holes.
Just a few hours later the Cubs traded SS Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees for RHP Adam Warren (3.29 ERA in 2015) and Brendan Ryan (who was dropped on Dec 23). Losing Castro is bittersweet for a few fans as he was the first light in a dark tunnel when he was called up 2010. Sadly, his struggles have taken him out of favor with fans and coaches alike and with the signing of Zobrist his usefulness with the team ran out. The attractiveness of bringing in Adam Warren is that he can be used as both a starter and a reliever. If the back half of the rotation starts to fall apart, Warren can come in and serve as a Band-Aid until the right moves are made.
Then, the Cubs pulled off one of the biggest moves of the offseason when OF Jason Heyward agreed to an eight-year/$184M contract. In 2015, the 26 year-old batted .293 with 13 HRs and 23 SBs. Not only does Heyward bring amazing speed, but he also brings elite-level defense to a Cubs outfield that had occasional struggles that hurt them in close games.
With the offseason still at a height and rumors still hovering around the team (Odorizzi and McGee for Baez and prospects anyone?), the Cubs are sure to make a few more moves before players have their first team workout in Mesa in late February. I guess we’ll just have to sit back and see what the organization decides to do. In Theo we trust.

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In Theo we trust