It appears Theo Epstein's sudden departure was only the first shoe to drop for the Chicago Cubs.
Rival executives expect president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer to make significant changes to the roster this offseason, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber are each slated to hit free agency after 2021; catcher Willson Contreras can hit the open market a year later, while pitchers Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks are under contract for three years apiece for $59 million and $43.5 million, respectively.
All seven have been mentioned as potential targets Hoyer could realistically move.
"They seem to think a heavy restart could be in order," one NL executive said. "Won’t be easy, though, because of the money their guys are set to make. If someone can extend Bryant or Baez, they are probably still pretty good gets."
While not all of the longtime Cubs will move, it's exceedingly likely that there will be significant turnover. One executive predicted that at least two of the seven will be dealt this offseason.
The Cubs went 34-26 and won the NL Central in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Since winning the World Series in 2016, Chicago has put together four straight winning seasons but only made it past the first round of the playoffs once.