The Chicago Cubs trading Yu Darvish didn’t just weaken a division rival. It made the NL Central easier for the St. Louis Cardinals to win.
The Chicago Cubs trading Yu Darvish not only weakened a division rival, but it made it easier for the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League Central.
By trading Darvish, the Cubs began the rebuild that Theo Epstein hinted at when he left the organization this winter. The team is now reportedly shopping catcher Wilson Contreras as they look to further slash payroll and gain future financial flexibility as they look to once again build a sustainable contender under new president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer.
The move was not popular among Cubs fans, with a big market team operating as if it was a small market franchise. But really, that has been the case for most of the division. The Brewers have only added catcher Luke Maile. The Pirates have traded Josh Bell. The Cubs have traded Darvish. The Reds traded Raisel Iglesias. The biggest move of the offseason within the division has been the Cubs adding pitcher Jonathan Holder.
Yes, the Cardinals have done nothing so far this winter, but that is expected. They are working to re-sign Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright and won’t be able to do much heavy lifting until either situation is resolved. In the meantime, they are exploring cash-neutral trades and talking with agents hoping to identify value on the free agent market when it picks back up in January.
The key to this offseason is patience. Yes, that is not going to be easy. We get that. But the division is there for the taking with no real threats to the Cardinals revealing themselves besides the Brewers. And as this offseason continues, the Cardinals will bring in free agents to upgrade the major league roster.
Joc Pederson is someone who makes sense to upgrade the outfield. He will command a deal worth over $10 million annually, but the Cardinals have maintained interest. There are a multitude of other players that president of baseball operations John Mozeliak will explore to upgrade the lineup, rotation and bullpen.
It may not happen soon, but this week, it became much easier for the Cardinals to win the division. And when the offseason picks up, you can expect Mozeliak to look to take full advantage of that opportunity.
It just needs to make sense for the organization both in the short and long-term.