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Jed Hoyer says the Yu Darvish trade was ‘not financially motivated’

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Do you believe him?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs President of Baseball Operations spoke with reporters Wednesday morning, and naturally the topic of discussion was the blockbuster deal of Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to the Padres.

This comment of Hoyer’s caught my eye:

That last part... well, I’m pretty sure a lot of you are shaking your head “no” in response to that. Personally, for me the jury’s out. The Cubs certainly did save quite a bit of money making this trade, so what other motivation would there be?

Oh.

Well, sure. Absolutely, do that, especially given the sad state of the Cubs farm system as we stand here in December 2020. In fact, if you’d like to know more about the prospects the Cubs acquired, MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis spoke to Marquee Sports Network’s Tony Andracki on that subject, which includes this:

Callis is also intrigued by the Cubs’ work in the international market with the upcoming signing period (Jan. 15) that links the team with one of the top infielders in Cristian Hernandez, who has drawn comparisons to a young Alex Rodriguez or Manny Machado.

The Cubs system could be quite a bit better by the time a 2021 season actually gets underway.

Speaking of which, a “really competitive team” for 2021? Great. Now what about those Willson Contreras trade rumors?

I am certain that other teams call the Cubs inquiring about Contreras’ availability all the time. That very well might have picked up steam after the Darvish trade.

If Hoyer intends to put a “really competitive team” on the field in 2021, trading Contreras wouldn’t accomplish that goal. They can probably put such a team on the field without Yu Darvish; Zach Davies isn’t a great pitcher, but he’s serviceable, and they have freed up enough money to (perhaps) bring on board another one, or a hitter or two, or hand out contract extensions to current players. About competing in 2021?

Clear as mud, I know. One more thing about the 2021 team:

There’s a list of free-agent catchers here; the Cubs could, perhaps, have a reunion with former backups Alex Avila or Rene Rivera.

Say, Yadier Molina is on that list. You don’t suppose...

Nah. That’d be just too weird.

Until and unless the Cubs dump other key starting players by trade, I will continue to believe that they are attempting to free up some money to extend some of the core players and perhaps to re-tool via free agency next offseason.

As always, we await developments.