The thing that needs to be kept in mind here is playoff expansion.The Cubs will say they’re spending money now, and I guess that’s basically true.
They’re spending more than the last couple years, but are still $40-50 million under the luxury threshold and outside the top 10 in payroll. They have about $90 million in salary coming off the books next year assuming Stroman opts out (which he will if he has any sort of season at all).
We can try to tell ourselves that the Cubs going conservative while the rest of baseball goes on a spending spree must mean that Jed knows something that everyone else doesn’t. He’s zigging when everyone else is zagging. He’s Moneyball-ing it with defensive players and control pitching when everyone else is spending on power bats and power arms, etc.
Problem is, I have no evidence Hoyer has ever been the smartest guy in the room when it comes to baseball. His list of accomplishments when he hasn’t been lashed directly to Theo’s hip are minimal.
He may very well prove me wrong. In five years we all may be breathing great sighs of relief that the Cubs aren’t saddled with “one of those contracts” as other teams are desperately Bobby Bonilla-ing former stars. But I really don’t have any reason to believe this will be the case. More likely we’re going to see a slew of Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in the late 2030s consisting entirely of guys who were free agents the Cubs decided not to pursue.
What the Mets are doing on some level doesn't even really make competitive sense. There's not very much value in being excellent in baseball. That's a huge problem for MLB, but it is what it is in terms of individual team strategy.
It's a total outrage that the Cubs are so far from the top payrolls, don't get me wrong, I don't want to seem like I'm disagreeing with you there. But I do think they retain a decent amount of flexibility here, I don't think Jed has spent all the ammo he has.