In baseball as in life, there are no guarantees. It is a long unpredictable season where virtually anything might happen. Signing a free agent is always a necessary gamble.
Prior to the beginning of the 2016 season, Theo and Company gambled on a 34 year old Ben Zobrist giving him a 4 year 56 million dollar deal. A plethora of disgruntled and confused Cub fans began their verbal attacks expressing their displeasure wondering why on earth anyone would sign a 34 year old mediocre player to a four year contract. He will surely only play one full year and after he will be plagued with injuries never to be heard from again. There is no reason to become invested in this player and we have again wasted money on something we don’t need. Fast forward to November 2016 when Zobrist was crowned the World Series Most Valuable Player.
Fans were also uncomfortable giving a 31 year old pitcher a 6 year, 155 million dollar contract prior to the 2015 season. However with Jon Lester at the helm during the championship run the Cubs won 6 of 7 post season games.
After a “cold stove” winter Cub fans are yet again expressing concern with the announcement of the Yu Darvish signing. Darvish, 31, signed a 6 year contract worth 126 million. If he pitches through his 37th birthday, it breaks down to 21 million a year. In baseball economics, signing a leader in strike outs with a 6 pitch repertoire for a mere 21 million a year is bargain basement pricing.
Free agent signings are about being uncomfortable, controversial and taking risks. It is not about building a core but rather finding the last puzzle pieces that will assure your team will be playing baseball in October. Baseball is filled with unpredictable and uncontrollable parts working together to create a spontaneous game filled with unexpected moments of greatness. Baseball is played by passionate men enjoyed by committed fans for a common purpose and with that, anything is possible. BELIEVE.