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A few thoughts about the Cubs’ lack of free agent signings so far

Yes, this is a risky article to write. But here goes anyway.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Today is December 18. We stand 67 days away from the Cubs’ first Spring Training game and 101 days from Opening Day 2024.

And yet, I have read many, many, MANY comments on this site lamenting the Cubs “not doing anything,” claiming the offseason is a failure, wondering whether the Cubs’ front office has suffered carbon monoxide poisoning (no, I’m not making that one up and you know it, more than two dozen of you recommended it), ad nauseam.

I was going to write this article anyway to help you warm up your torches and pitchforks to start the week, and then I saw this tweet from ESPN’s Jeff Passan:

The Cubs, as you can see, rank with seven other teams that have spent nothing so far this offseason. Three other teams (Rays, A’s, Red Sox) have spent less than $2 million, a mere pittance in today’s marketplace. Among the teams that have not signed a single free agent are the Blue Jays — expected to be buyers — and the Yankees, traditional big spenders. So that’s one-third of the 30 MLB teams who have done essentially nothing so far.

I call your attention to this part of Passan’s tweet:

By @kileymcd’s contract projections, there are still around $2 billion worth of deals to come. Just because a team hasn’t spent yet doesn’t mean its winter is busted.

Let me put the last part of that in big type so you can’t miss it:

Just because a team hasn’t spent yet doesn’t mean its winter is busted.

Passan is correct. As of this morning, of MLB Trade Rumors’ list of top 50 free agents, only three of the Top 10 are signed and just 16 of the total list of 50. The Royals — the Royals! — have been among the most active teams, doling out $105 million worth of contracts. But fully two-thirds of the top free agents are still... free agents.

It doesn’t matter that the Cubs haven’t signed a free agent as of the morning of December 18. No, seriously, it doesn’t. There are quite a few free agents out there who would satisfy Cubs needs who remain unsigned, among them Cody Bellinger (who I still believe the Cubs will make every effort to bring back) and Jordan Montgomery, who would fill a need in the Cubs’ rotation.

Sign those two guys and a couple of decent relievers (I’ve already written about Brent Suter and Phil Maton, both of whom would be useful and not expensive) and I’d call this a useful offseason from Jed Hoyer. The Cubs could also pull off a trade or two; I’ve noted Dylan Cease and Corbin Burnes as possible trade targers.

I’ll post Jeff Passan’s words once again so you won’t forget them:

Just because a team hasn’t spent yet doesn’t mean its winter is busted.

Patience, please. It is December 18. The Cubs will do something, and perhaps something big.

Now, bring out your torches and pitchforks. I’m ready.