Cubs hire Carter Hawkins: What does new GM mean for free agent plans?

The Chicago Cubs hired a new general manager to lead their rebuild. What does Carter Hawkins bring to the table?

Hawkins comes from Cleveland, where he was the assistant general manager and helped oversee one of the best pitcher development programs in all of baseball. Cleveland has churned out star pitchers seemingly every couple of years, most notably lately with Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, Mike Clevinger and Triston McKenzie.

Per The Athletic, it was Hawkins’ history of developing top-tier pitching talent that won him the job in the end:

“Cleveland’s track record of churning out pitchers is appealing to a Cubs organization that has traditionally struggled to identify pitchers in the draft and develop them through the minor leagues.”

If Hawkins can bring some of that skill to the north side of Chicago and refurbish the Cubs farm system, fans will allow some leeway as it pertains to free agent spending.

Under Hawkins’ leadership, the soon-to-be Guardians never ranked near the top of the league in payroll. As a small-market team, Cleveland relied heavily on player development and scouting, and did so very well for a number of years.

Cubs: Don’t expect Carter Hawkins to spend much in free agency

Given where the Cubs are at in their rebuild, it wouldn’t have made much sense to spend a ton this offseason regardless of who they brought in.

Over-spending in free agency is only a short-term fix, while refining player development and scouting in Cleveland’s vision gives the Cubs a better chance at ensuring their next competitive window doesn’t fade as quickly as the 2016 World Series corps’ did.

Jed Hoyer will still oversee the team’s baseball operations, while Hawkins persists over the day-to-day happenings of the team. Expect several player development and scouting changes in the coming weeks given this latest addition.