Despite All the Rumors, Cubs Have Nothing in ‘Red Zone’ Yet

Outside of some waiver pickups and bargain moves, the only real action surrounding the Cubs has been rumor-related. Maybe that’s a good thing, since it means they’re not as close to pushing the plunger on the targeted implosion people seem to think they’re planning. Then again, maybe they really are planning to pull an insanely quick rebuild and all the talk is like a magician distracting his audience.

It could actually be neither, as Jed Hoyer told everyone Tuesday from the Winter Meetings in San Diego. The Cubs are engaged in multiple conversations, and not just regarding trades or free agent signings. They’re also talking about extensions for various players, though Hoyer declined to cite specifics on that front. We have learned from Anthony Rizzo’s agent, however, that the Cubs the first baseman is not among the candidates for extension.

“People focus so much on trades and free agent signings at these meetings, but all the agents are under the same roofs, also, and allows us to have those kinds of discussions,” Hoyer said. “I’m not gonna specify who or what, but yeah certainly those conversations are ongoing.”

More pressing is the need to reshape or simply augment the roster, whether that’s through trades or signings. Or both, since the Cubs are reportedly telling everyone they can’t even afford a $4 million pitcher, let alone Nicholas Castellanos or Dallas Keuchel, without first clearing payroll room. And if they’re indeed serious about moving Kris Bryant, they need to wait out the results of his grievance and find out where Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rendon end up.

“Right now, we don’t have anything that’s in the red zone,” Hoyer told Tony Andracki and other media members. “That’d be my instinct. But at the same time, there’s a bunch of days left. More than any other time of year, things happen quickly at the Winter Meetings. That’s the one great thing about the Winter Meetings, where an idea can go from the germination to deal very quickly because we’re in the same place and people have a certain level of motivation.”

Perhaps the Cubs GM was inspired by recent Bears performances, what with the football analogy and all. Or it could just be that both teams had highly disappointing seasons and are reevaluating leadership and personnel as a result. Either way, the point here is that the Cubs haven’t driven significantly down the road on much of anything and won’t until other dominoes fall.

That process could be even further complicated by the possible availability of Nolan Arenado, who, while more expensive than Bryant, is also under control for longer at a known cost.

What this all means is that nothing is going to be settled until it’s settled, which isn’t actually saying anything at all. So, uh, good talk. See you back out there.

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