The Chicago Cubs are planning to finalize a deal with Carter Hawkins to make him their new general manager, according to The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli, Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma.
Hawkins has served as an assistant general manager for Cleveland since November 2016, taking on the role after Derek Falvey was named the Minnesota Twins' president of baseball operations.
Following the 2020 season, the Cubs promoted Jed Hoyer from general manager to president of baseball operations after Theo Epstein left the organization.
In addressing the move, Epstein referenced "a number of decisions this winter that carry long-term consequences," which some saw as a forthcoming rebuild in the Windy City. The Cubs proceeded to non-tender Kyle Schwarber and trade away Yu Darvish, Craig Kimbrel, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez.
Chicago finished fourth in the National League Central at 71-91, its worst record since 2013.
Hiring Hawkins would align with the franchise's current vision since Cleveland largely had to lean on home-grown talent to fuel its run of three straight division titles from 2016 to '18. Per Cot's Baseball Contracts, the team's year-end payroll hasn't been higher than 15th since 2002.
The Cubs should theoretically be big spenders every year. They play in a major market, and Forbes projected them as the fourth-most valuable MLB franchise at $3.4 billion in March.
But Chicago's business over the past year indicates ownership's desire to trim costs. Its Opening Day payroll ($147.8 million) was 12th-highest in the league, down from fifth in 2020.
In a few years, the free spending may continue if the Cubs are closer to a World Series. It may even come before that, with Hoyer saying in September the Cubs "plan to be really active in free agency" and "plan to spend money intelligently."
For now, Hawkins' primary task might be replenishing a farm system that Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked 16th following the MLB draft.