The Chicago Cubs traded away their core this season when they moved Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Craig Kimbrel, but they apparently don't plan on embarking on a long rebuild.
"We plan to be really active in free agency," president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said Friday, per Bruce Levine of 670 The Score. "We plan to spend money intelligently. That is about the easiest way I can say it."
Hoyer expanded on that thought process and suggested the number of openings on the roster will necessitate such a decision:
"We will sit down and talk as an organization on how to mold this in the right way. Obviously, we are scouting that free-agent market heavily. We are going to analyze that market heavily. There are offseasons when free agency is what you do a little bit of. This year, we are going to be a little more active than usual for our roster because we have a lot more open spots. We just want to do it in a thoughtful, intelligent way."
While the Cubs are 67-85 and in fourth place in the National League Central, it wasn't that long ago they were annual championship contenders.
They snapped their World Series drought in 2016 but also reached the National League Championship Series in 2015 and 2017 during an impressive three-year stretch. They took a turn for the worse since, although they still reached the playoffs in 2018 and 2020.
Part of the issue was a lack of notable additions around that core after the championship.
The Ricketts family, which owns the team, openly complained about the team's financial picture prior to the 2019 campaign. Still, Forbes listed the Cubs as the league's fourth-most valuable team in the league in 2021 thanks in part to its one television network (Marquee Sports Network), the big market and the draw of Wrigley Field for attendance.
Chicago also didn't come to terms on contract extensions with any of Rizzo, Bryant or Baez despite their overall importance to the organization when it came to snapping that World Series drought in 2016.
Yet it sounds as if the plan is to spend this offseason with an eye on competing in the National League Central in the near future.
There are a number of high-profile players who could be available, including Nick Castellanos, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and even Bryant. Perhaps the Cubs will be involved in their pursuit as they look to patch up a lackluster roster.