Scott Boras may have been the first person outside the Cubs organization to confirm what members of the front office and ownership had been saying about a desire to put legitimate resources into baseball operations again. The agent known for his bombastic witticisms and penchant for landing monster contracts for his clients has never been shy when it comes to calling out teams for not spending, so hearing his praise at the GM Meetings in November spurred optimism.
“I think it’s identifiable now, where before they were moving veteran players, now their agenda is certainly to acquire them and to build something that they think brings them back to 2016 levels,” Boras told reporters.
“I think it’s clear that the Cubs have a lot to do to get into that 40% [of teams that make the playoffs]. There are a number of teams that are well ahead of them right now. But we also know that by the end of this free-agent market, they could map into that group quite easily.”
He and Jed Hoyer have been spending so much time together lately they’ve developed the same verbal crutches. Whether it’s Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, or some combination of one or the other with someone else, the Cubs have been sending contingents to Boras HQ over the last couple of weeks to pitch players and talk turkey.
Hoyer said Monday that the Cubs had “a lot of offers out there,” after which ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan tweeted that Tom Ricketts has opened up his checkbook to the front office. Per Kap, the chairman gave Hoyer the “green light to spend what he needs to spend to turn the team around.” Russell Dorsey of Bally Sports repeated more or less the same thing on MLB Network Tuesday afternoon and NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer offered all kinds of sourced reporting indicating the Cubs’ willingness to act like a big-market team again.
Put that together with another of Boras’s patented puns and even the most skeptical of you out there might start warming to the idea.
“I think the Tom-Tom drum is finally beating again,” Boras said Tuesday, once again leaning on that pet sentence-starter.
Now, is it possible this is just a way to leverage the Cubs as a means by which to increase offers from other teams? Sure, Boras knows how to manipulate the market better than anyone in the industry. But it would be a grievous error for the Cubs to let information like this be disseminated in a seemingly planned manner if they aren’t willing to put action to the words.
Attendance is down, the season ticket waiting list is more of a joke than ever, Marquee’s ratings have plummeted since its launch, ownership has pissed away a mountain of goodwill, and Cubs Convention is around the corner. Getting fans all frothed up and then pulling a hot stove version of coitus interruptus by falling flat would end very poorly for the team on a number of levels.
The Cubs can’t screw this up now, not with everything that’s out there. I mean, yeah, they can still find a way to screw it up. But if that happens, if they come away from the winter without at least one very significant signing — it really needs to be 2-3 if we’re being honest — there’ll be torches and pitchforks at Wrigley. Hell, I’ll be there with a lighter helping the cause.
I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about that, though, because this feels legit.