It’s not even a couple days into November, just the day after the World Series ended in most satisfying fashion for most of us Cubs fans, and already we are pining for baseball again. If you check out the odds makers, depending on who you talk to, the Cubs are a trendy favorite for 2016, even year be damned:
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) November 2, 2015
That’s all well and good, but as we all know, the Cubs have work to do. There are a number of opinions as to what the Cubs need to do, and naturally people think that the Royals should be the blueprint going forward (you can read some decent FanGraphs articles here and here), but I think the Cubs showed that they had a pretty solid plan all along, and all they have to do is tweak a few things here and there.
You can see the Cubs 40 man roster and note that with a bunch of options and free agents having declared, we’re now down to 29 spots. So everyone left on the roster is either under contract through next season, arbitration-eligible, auto-renewal players, etc. That’s 11 spots to play with to acquire free agents, trade acquisitions, or to protect Rule 5 eligibles (h/t AZ Phil for the list). The MLBTR folks have a calendar set up for the offseason dates that we want to keep an eye on. We can pretty much count any free agent on the Cubs, including Dexter Fowler, as gone. What remains to be seen is who else besides Fowler will get the qualifying offer. The Cubs certainly won’t stand pat, but as was apparent once upon a time, they certainly have plenty of options.
It’s not just the on-field product that will get a makeover. Remember the big hole in the ground just west of Wrigley Field? In addition to setting up the new, improved home clubhouse for Cubs players, Phase 2 of the Wrigley Field renovations includes some retrofitting throughout the main concourse and seating bowl. This explains why the Wrigley marquee was being taken down Monday, and street closures around Wrigley Field have already begun as the equipment returns to work through what one hopes is a mild winter.