The Chicago Cubs are in a state of flux. Rebuild or go all in? Are they good enough to contend in the National League Central, let alone the NL? These are the questions the Cubs’ brain trust must ponder. The answer lies in forging ahead with what they have in the present.

While they’re coming off being swept in the NL Wild Card Round by the Miami Marlins, the Cubs managed to win the NL Central last season. Of course, there are hallmark faces gone like Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish. At the same time, there’s still a competitive roster present, one that doesn’t call for a full-fledged overhaul.

Chicago Cubs shouldn’t trade pending free agents

The cloud hanging over the Cubs’ head is the financial situations of many of their star players, including Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. All three players are free agents after the 2021 MLB season. Meanwhile, catcher Willson Contreras can hit the open market after 2022.

This past offseason, the Cubs traded Darvish and Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres in a move that was presumably made to open up future payroll flexibility (Darvish is due roughly $59 million through 2023, per Spotrac). The premier player they received from San Diego was veteran starter Zach Davies, who is a free agent after this year.

The Cubs should be able to keep one of their three free agents to-be and can probably eke out a way to keep another. Expecting all three to be retained is unrealistic. That said, keeping two out of three is realistic. Players like Baez, Bryant and Rizzo don’t just grow on trees.