Commentary: Free agency draws closer


by - Columnist -
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports

WS GAME 1 FINAL: Dodgers-4; Red Sox-8.

When Boston managed two runs off of Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the first, I began to think the game was going to be an east-coast blowout. By the top of the third, the game was knotted at two runs each, then Boston tallied another run in the bottom of the fourth.

The Dodgers would tie it again at three apiece in the top of the fifth, but five innings would be all it would take for the Red Sox to put it away. After a two-run crusade by Boston in the bottom half of the fifth, the Dodgers would never draw even again. Los Angeles did manage to tally a fourth run in the top of the seventh, but a three-run, pinch-hit home run by Eduardo Nunez in the bottom of the seventh put the Dodgers out of reach for good.

This was never the Dodgers’ game to win, but rather, it was Boston’s to lose. Despite tying it twice and drawing within a run for the third time, L.A. could never manage to take the lead.

The two teams will face off again tonight in Boston for Game 2 at 7:09 PM (Central).

While I’m certainly going to enjoy the World Series and cling to the last moments of baseball for 2018, I’m also watching the calendar as we start closing in on the free-agent season. Depending on how quickly the World Series ends, free agents will start getting signed anywhere between November ninth and twelfth. I know, I know, it’s only a difference of three days, but the sooner it starts, the sooner we get to see a picture of what the 2019 Cubs will look like.

Shaping the team for next season goes a lot deeper than just free agent signings, as the Theo Epstein also has to worry about expired contracts, team options, arbitration and retaining free-agents who are already in the Chicago system, not to mention deciding who stays and who goes from the roster. The free agency season is what sets the stage for the rest though, as what is spent on them determines how much money is left for the other luxuries and necessities. Good stuff.

All eyes seem to be on Bryce Harper, but with recent reports suggesting that the bidding for Harper will start at around $350M, can the Cubs even afford him? This price tag might not have been such a tough pill to swallow if Tyler Chatwood and Yu Darvish had panned out, but between the two, there’s been about $164M that was flushed down the sewer lines at Wrigley.

Although Harper’s defense is satisfactory; it’s his bat that teams want. In no way are the Cubbies hurting for solid defense in the outfield, leading me to question (again) whether there are other power hitters available to help Chicago’s offense without sending them to Bankruptcy Court.

Make no mistake, I think Harper’s desire to win will be a tremendous asset to any club that signs him, and the Cubs would certainly benefit from his drive, but wow… $350M…

I guess all we can do is wait and see, as names like Harper and Machado are going to be signed up to their new teams. Maximum of eighteen more days and counting down; let the games begin.

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