Longtime Cubs pitcher Jon Lester made his signing with the Washington Nationals official.
Lester didn’t let the door hit him on the way out, saying he understood the Cubs decision not to bring him back. Chicago is obviously heading towards a retooling, much of which involves getting rid of the former corps that helped lead them to the franchise’s first World Series in 108 years. Lester was merely a minor departure, while Kyle Schwarber was a larger presence that was forced out the door this offseason.
Next could be Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendriks, or even Willson Contreras — the Cubs are determined to cut payroll moving forward. Yet, so is the entire NL Central. Lester acknowledged that when discussing his decision to leave this offseason.
“You see where they’re headed, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be bad. ….There are no hard feelings,” Lester said, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The NL Central’s budget crunch is among the most exaggerated in MLB
The Cubs could actually be in contention in the Central this season, in part because no team really made substantial improvements. In fact, the likes of the Brewers, Pirates and Reds all got worse, while the Cardinals could lose Kolten Wong, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright.
COVID-19 has hit the wallets of MLB owners hard, there’s no denying that. And while it’s impossible to feel bad for a group of billionaires who have the luxury to buy a sports team, they’re also in this to make money — or at the very least not lose it. The 60-game season was a massive hit to their budgets, and the idea of spending to improve the roster this offseason isn’t a popular one among this group.
The Cubs aren’t giving their fanbase much confidence moving forward, as the direction suggests several disappointing years to come. 2021, however, might not be one of those seasons.