After we learned that Joe Maddon will be the new manager of the Cubs and will be paid $25 million over the next five years, I did not expect to hear him talk about the Cubs making the playoffs in 2015, but that is exactly what he said at his press conference earlier today.
With that in mind, one begins to wonder how they will spend their boatload of cash this offseason. It is pretty common thought that they will sign one of the three starting pitchers on the free agent market this offseason, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or James Shields. I could see them signing one of Scherzer or Lester in the next few months, but adding an ace is just one step to building a playoff team with so many YOUNG and talented hitters.
Yes, the Cubs are loaded with young and talented hitters, like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara and their power hitter of the future Kris Bryant. But young and talented hitters can only take a team so far, so they may look to add an established, veteran bat to their lineup via trade this offseason.
But, could they also be in the market for an experienced closer? I think they will be, and I went to Twitter with this question tonight:
So Joe Maddon is already talking playoffs for the Cubs in 2015. Who closes for them? Can't be Rondon, can it?— Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams) November 4, 2014
Several respected followers joined in the Twitter conversation, which you can find in the fanshot below, or on my Twitter timeline:
I could see them dealing for former Red Sox, and current Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, assuming they eat the majority of his contract. I think the expectations to make the playoffs may require that the Cubs trade for a more experienced closer, one who has pitched in a pennant race, and Papelbon meets that requirement.