The Chicago Cubs were on the verge of becoming sellers at the trade deadline, but a remarkable win streak has altered the course of their season and turned them into buyers.
Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Jed Hoyer, revealed that the team’s perspective shifted after a game-changing moment during their encounter with the Washington Nationals.
“There was a period where it looked like we were going to be sellers,” said Hoyer. “We were seven games under .500, playing the Nationals and down 3-0, about to go eight under, and we ended up scoring 17 that night and sort of didn’t look back for a while. That wasn’t very long ago.”
Following that game, the Cubs went on a tear, winning 10 of their next 12 games, which shifted the focus from trading away veteran assets to strengthening their roster.
Hoyer revealed that opposing executives were initially interested in players the Cubs might make available, but as the team’s win streak continued, they changed their minds.
“People stopped taking us seriously as a seller,” Hoyer explained.
The Cubs decided to capitalize on their winning momentum by pursuing a trade, and they successfully acquired Washington Nationals third baseman Jeimer Candelario on Monday.
Candelario made an immediate impact, going 4-for-5 and scoring two runs in the Cubs dominant 20-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds last night.
“We got a great team,” said Dansby Swanson, who hit two home runs against the Reds. “We got a lot of great camaraderie. It’s been a fun experience.”
The Cubs decision to change course was also influenced by the National League standings. Despite their 54-53 record, they are just four games out of the division lead and 3½ games out of a wild-card spot, making a playoff berth a realistic possibility.
“There’s no question that where our division sits and where the wild card sits this year, that was a big part of it, for sure,” Hoyer acknowledged. “The fans have really responded to this group.”
Throughout the season, the Cubs were the only team in the NL Central with a positive run differential. However, their performance in high-leverage moments had been lacking. The team believed that if those numbers normalized, they would have a chance to turn things around, and indeed, they have.
The Cubs fate was sealed with an eight-game win streak, which included a remarkable comeback win against the White Sox and a game-saving catch by center fielder Mike Tauchman against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“The biggest focus we had was waiting and letting it play out,” said Hoyer. “As we got closer [to the trade deadline], it became pretty clear what our direction was going to be.”
Although the team tried to add bullpen help, no significant deal materialized. Nevertheless, the Cubs dramatic turnaround in fortunes has given them newfound hope for a successful playoff run, marking a significant transformation in just a span of 10 days.
“In a lot of ways, they made it really easy, the way the team played,” Hoyer concluded.
Do you think the Cubs made the right decision?
Will they actually make the playoffs?