SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Chicago Cubs had been intended to have the makings of a dynasty after they ended their 108-year International Sequence drought in 2016. They were not intended to be seeking to business away an All-Megastar this iciness to lengthen their window of alternative.
The New York Yankees received 103 video games and had been inside of two video games of the International Sequence, however taking into consideration this is the first decade in the last 100 years they failed to reach the World Series, do they go back to their old ways and drop $250 million on a pitcher?
The New York Mets went in for the kill a year ago, making aggressive, perhaps even reckless, moves, and now are trying to decide whether they stay pat or double down.
The Boston Red Sox have virtually the same team that won the World Series championship a year ago, but instead of trying to win their second title in three years, they’re more interested in carving away at their payroll.
Four marquee franchises.
And four different agendas.
In the first day of the annual General Manager Meetings at the Omni Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, their bosses laid out the plans for 2020, trying to balance expectations and madness.
The Cubs, who have not won a postseason game since 2017, have let teams know that they are open for business. They will listen to offers on everyone from infielder Kris Bryant and Javy Baez to catcher Willson Contreras to outfielder Kyle Schwarber.
“This was coming,’’ Cubs president Theo Epstein told Chicago reporters. “It’s not like it was going to be one generation of players and that’s it. We knew, when a lot of our best players were cost controlled, those were the years we could squeeze the most amount of talent on the roster, and there would be difficult decisions and change ahead at some point.
“We’re just rapidly approaching that time, that’s all.”
The Red Sox produced the greatest season in franchise history just two years ago when they won 115 regular-season games and the World Series, but suddenly money has become a concern. Owner John Henry is making it no secret would like the club to strip their payroll by $30 million to get below the $208 million luxury tax, and fired GM Dave Dombrowski and hired Chaim Bloom to do the dirty work.
“It’s no different from how it was laid out when I got here,’’ Bloom told Boston reporters. “It’s certainly something we’d like to do. It’s not something that we’re absolutely mandated to do, but it’s certainly a goal. …
“We know our objective is to prioritize sustainability, prioritize competitiveness, not just this coming year but also in the long-term.’’
In other words, they still want to win the AL East, but only if they could do it at their price, meaning that 2018 MVP Mookie Betts and his projected $28 million salary is on the block, and DH J.D. Martinez and starters Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi, too.
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The Yankees haven’t acted like the old Yankees in years, but after their championship drought is 10 years and counting, GM Brian Cashman hinted that maybe times are changing.
They desperately could use an ace, and there just so happens to be two of the biggest prizes in years on the free-agent market with Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.
“Of course, we’re going to talk to Strasburg,’’ Cashman said. “We’ll talk to Cole. We’ll talk to the higher-end guys. And we’ll talk about some surprise guys. Obviously, great talented players that have earned so many accolades along the way, and for good reason. They are some of the premier pitchers the game has seen at this time. …
“We’ve got to wait to see how this stuff plays out, and see how that dust settles. Time will tell what our roster will eventually look like this winter but it’s a good strong roster the way it is now. If things don’t play out a certain way with one individual, we have alternatives.
“We have a lot of talent that’s hungry and looking to take another step. The players see how close we are. (Manager) Aaron Boone described it perfectly. We weren’t a player or two away, we were a play or two away from playing in the World Series.’’
And the Mets want to become the Yankees.
They already told the world they weren’t trading starter Noah Syndergaard or closer Edwin Diaz, and although starter Zack Wheeler is a free agent who could command $100 million in free agency, GM Brodie Van Wagenen declared they want to keep him, too.
If they can’t keep Wheeler, they’ll grab another starter. And if they have to convert Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman back into being starts again, they’ll acquire high-end relievers.
“We’re going to be creative, we’re going to be open-minded, to just about anything,’’ Van Wagenen said. “Last year, we were pretty aggressive in free agency. We made offers early on in the off-season, some of it that were accepted, others that weren’t. We set out a pretty specific agenda for ourselves, and we moved. We weren’t going to wait.
“We went out and executed our plan, and I think we’ll try to do the same thing this off-season.’’
Well, we’ve got three months to see if any of these four franchises can walk the talk.
It’s almost impossible to find an executive who believes the Red Sox can trade Betts and get a significant return.
Will the Cubs really have the guts to actually deal Baez or Bryant?
The Yankees haven’t paid $200 million to a free agent since Alex Rodriguez in 2008, so are they really going to alter their course, now?
The Mets keep saying they want to be great, but their bank account keeps saying no.
Three months remain until the start of spring training.
Let’s see who really goes for the gusto.
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