After being disappointing for most of the offseason by missing out on a couple coveted free agents, the Chicago Cubs made their first major free-agent splash in five years. That splash, of course, was the six-year, $155 million contract they signed ace Jon Lester to at the winter meetings.

The craziest thing about this signing is how drastically it potentially changes the Cubs’ offseason plan. Now that they have their ace, they may feel as though they can compete in 2015 and pursue a big bat to solidify themselves as contenders this upcoming season, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

This doesn’t mean the team is going to go crazy and completely abandon its plan, but it does mean the Cubs are likely to be more aggressive for the remainder of the offseason. Whether that means making a few minor moves or one major one, the Cubs likely aren’t stopping at Lester.


So What’s Next?

There are a couple smaller moves that may come after the Lester signing. The first one is signing catcher David Ross because of his veteran presence and history with Lester in Boston. He would likely be the catcher whenever Lester is on the mound. Signing Ross would also make Welington Castillo tradable since the team traded for All-Star catcher Miguel Montero at the winter meetings.

Another player the Cubs could add is veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes. He, like Ross and Lester, has history in Boston and could be brought in as a platoon/fourth outfielder. His veteran presence and ability to get on base (since 2011, his on-base percentage has been at least .093 better than his batting average every year) make him a very attractive option.

If he instilled his professional plate approach to the young, free swingers in Chicago, he could help the team with more than just his play.

Another name that hasn’t come up yet but could make a lot of sense is Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra. Milwaukee acquired him last offseason but could be shopping him this offseason, according to Rosenthal. At a projected $6.4 million in arbitration this offseason, the Cubs could more than afford the plus-defender.

Parra has a decent bat, hitting .261 with nine home runs and 40 RBI while swiping nine bases in 2014. He can also plug into right field for the team because of his incredible throwing arm. Over the last three seasons, he has an astounding 38 outfield assists. Don’t underestimate the value of someone with that arm in right field.

One major splash the Cubs could still potentially pursue is Justin Upton. However, the chances of them landing the Braves‘ outfielder are very slim. For starters, the Cubs are one of four teams on his no-trade list. He could lift that trade block if he feels more comfortable going to Chicago now, but there aren’t definitive indications he will do that at this time.

Additionally, the prospect package the Cubs would have to send to Atlanta could be costly. If they had to give up any elite prospects rather than a package of pretty good ones, there’s almost no way the Cubs will pursue a trade. However, if the price is right and things fall into place, the Cubs could try to make a second major splash to go all-in for the 2015 campaign.

Whether they make a few minor moves or one major move over the rest of this offseason, this should be the most exciting season on the North Side in at least five years. With Lester going up against Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals on MLB‘s Opening Night from Wrigley Field, the excitement will be there from the start. Unlike the past several years, the Cubs are hoping to keep that excitement going through October. 

Read more MLB news on