I had an interesting thought the other day and wanted to get y'all to give me your feedback on it...
I'm wondering if one of the reasons that we have gotten the Feldman and Hammel type pitchers is BECAUSE we are rebuilding and I'm wondering if it may not be harder to sign those guys as we improve the next year or two. Hear me out now. These pitchers know that they need to rebuild their market value. They also know what the Cubs are doing: signing pitchers to one year deals with every intention of flipping them to a contender at the deadline.
So wouldn't you come into a deal with the Cubs seeing the likelihood (and, really, close to certainty if you pitch well) of being flipped to a contender as a positive. All you need to do is focus on pitching well for the first few months and you KNOW that you will be in a pennant race at the end of the year and very probably playing in October. You could try and pick the teams at the beginning of the year that you think will be in the hunt and go rebuild your market value with them, but you may have picked Tampa Bay this year. Or Boston. Or Texas. The point is that every year there are teams that really surprise on the downside. Or you could pick the Cubs. Go pitch in Chicago, in a historic field in a great baseball town for a couple of months. Have fun and then know that you will be pitching for a contender in August and September.
Or, if you pick a team that you think will be in the thick of the race and you are right, you run the risk of having a shorter leash if you don't start well because they have a better staff overall and aren't forced to hand you the ball every fifth day like the Cubs might be forced to. The Cubs would be motivated to do everything they can to help you do well and fight through whatever comes so that they can build your market value. In other words, both sides have an economic interest in you personally, not just the performance of the team.
So here is my question. If any of this is what is going on (even a little,) as the Cubs come out of the "we will be sellers every summer" period of their rebuilding and into the "we are getting close, but aren't quite at the point where we will contend for certain this year" period, is it harder to get those one year deals for the Feldman/Hammel types? Do the pitchers realize that they may NOT be playing in the postseason by signing with the Cubs, but likely won't be out of the race in July and certainly be traded to a contender? It may have no effect, it may have a significant effect. I can't decide which. Probably somewhere in the middle.
Anyway, I wanted to get all y'all to give your feedback. Do you think I'm nuts or maybe on to something here?