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Why Cubs say now wasn’t time to pull Juan Soto-type lever

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Why the Cubs say now is not the time to pull the Soto type lever originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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Maybe the next time a player like Juan Soto enters the trading market, cubs choose a seat at the table.

This time was not this time.

The Cubs contacted the Nationals about Soto, but quickly bounced back and, unsurprisingly, never played the 23-year-old superstar, who ended up being traded to the Padres hours before Tuesday’s trade deadline.

“We’re contacting all 29 teams to see who’s available,” general manager Carter Hawkins said Thursday in St. Louis. “You just have to figure out what the price is and what is in line with what you would give up as to how it will affect your current team.

“It just didn’t feel like the price and timing were right.”

The price, of course, was astronomical – as expected for a guy who had already received comparisons to Ted Williams before his 25th birthday.

San Diego turned down two top-3 prospects and two players who had recently finished prospect ranks but were considered the best in baseball at the start of the season.

At the very least, it is doubtful that the Cubs could compete with this package. They didn’t get far enough to find out.

“My guess is that the Padres did it because it was going to have a huge impact on their ability to win the World Series this year and possibly next year,” Hawkins said.

“Unfortunately, we were not in a position to use our player resources to try and improve our chances for the World Series this year. That’s why we weren’t aggressive.”

To play the devil’s advocate, Soto has yet to enter his traditional prime, despite the fact that it’s already in its fifth season.

While his addition would have no impact on the Cubs’ World Series chances in 2022, he is under the club’s control until 2024 and at his age could be a staple for the next decade, assuming the Cubs, in turn, want to pay for renewal.

On the other hand, Soto would have to flip the farm system that the Cubs have spent almost two years perfecting — a system they rely on to speed up their recovery.

A Soto trade or something like that would have no effect on the Cubs’ chances at the World Series in 2022, and it might not affect the destruction of the farm system in the short term.

“If you go from 15 to 20 [percent chance to win the World Series], that’s pretty important,” Hawkins said. “I heard from 10 to 15.

“It’s pretty important and that’s when you pull that lever. But if it goes from zero to zero [percent]or from one to six in a particular year, then probably the wrong groom will be able to put together all these prospects.

“Yes, we would do it in a vacuum, but not at the level that another team that might have a higher position would want to do it.”

Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer

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