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Cubs look like they're done this offseason

Cubs look like they're done this offseason

Jed Hoyer spoke of the Cubs offseason with Chuck Garfein and it appeared that they may be done, or at least done adding major pieces.  This seems especially true of the Cubs pitching staff, which we'll begin covering tomorrow.  The Cubs are happy with their 40 man roster and, after they add Carlos Villanueva sometime in the near future, the Cubs seem reluctant to  risk losing another player. In fact, from the amount of time they've taken on adding Villanueva, you can say they're already hesitant to let another player go.

“We’ll probably go forward with what we have now,” Hoyer said. “Of course, if there’s just a bargain – or a player that we feel like is at an incredible price – we might add him. But at this point, we feel really good. There also is a point at which we’re full on the roster – we’re taking a spot away from somebody. We really do like the way our bullpen and our rotation fit together now.”

And in case you think the Cubs might still add someone like Michael Bourn, Hoyer spoke more clearly than ever that they would not,

“Where we are as an organization, we want as many draft picks as possible. We want as much money in the draft as possible. So we would have given up a pick, theoretically, for the right player, the right fit.

“And we will going forward. But right now, I think holding onto our picks is something that makes sense and we’re looking to build as much talent in the minor leagues as possible. We need a lot going forward.”

The key words here are "would have given up a pick, theoretically, for the right player, the right fit.  It also seems to indicate the Cubs won't be raiding their farm system to add player anytime soon.

Here is how the competition for the 2013 Opening Day Roster looks like right now.  Projected starters are in bold.

*indicates non-roster candidate

Catcher

  • Welington Castillo (R)
  • Dioner Navarro (S)

Infield

  • 1B: Anthony Rizzo (L)
  • 2B: Darwin Barney (R)
  • SS: Starlin Castro (R)
  • 3B: Ian Stewart (L)
  • IF: Luis Valbuena (L)
  • IF: Alberto Gonzalez* (R) or Edwin Maysonet* (R) or Brent Lillibridge (R)*

Outfield

  • David DeJesus (L)
  • Nate Schierholtz (L)
  • Alfonso Soriano (R)
  • Dave Sappelt (R)
  • Tony Campana (L) or Brett Jackson (L) or Brent Lillibridge* (R) or Darnell McDonald* (R) or Bryan Bogusevic* (L)

Starting Rotation

  • Matt Garza (R)
  • Jeff Samardzija (R)
  • Edwin Jackson (R)
  • Travis Wood (L)
  • Scott Feldman (R) or Carlos Villanueva (R)
  • DL: Scott Baker (R)

Bullpen

  • Carlos Marmol (R)
  • Kyuji Fujikawa (R)
  • James Russell (L)
  • Shawn Camp (R)
  • Michael Bowden (R)
  • Scott Feldman (R) or Carlos Villanueva (R)
  • Hector Rondon (R), Brooks Raley (L), Chris Rusin (L), Hisanori Takahashi* (L)

There are other candidates for that last bullpen spot or two, most notably Jaye Chapman (R), Zach Putnam (R), Jensen Lewis Cory Wade (R), and Andrew Carpenter (R) but with Rondon having an inside edge as a Rule 5 guy and the Cubs probably wanting a 2nd lefty if possible, I suspect they have a tougher road to climb.

What do you think of your 2013 Cubs?

 

 

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  • And done during the season too.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Can't give up already!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Don't know about that, but certainly done with the hot stove league and other news until generally unknown pitchers and catchers report in a month. Especially bullpen as being generally unknowns, except for Marmol, whose control is unknown.

    Maybe there will be some talk whether the Cubs can eventually pay off Soriano, but I don't see anything promising in the OL substitutes list.

  • i think you left Scott Baker out of the rotation list.

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    I did but it's only because he'll start the season on the DL. I'll add that in at the bottom to avoid confusion. Thanks.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I wondered what DL meant. I knew that the Cubs needed a DH for a certain proportion of their games this year (given the odd divisions), but didn't know if they were sending a DL instead of a DH to the plate ;-).

  • It looks to be another long year in 2013.

    To wit, in 2012, the cubs scored 613 runs (14th in the NL) with the 3 biggest offensive holes being C, CF and 3B.

    In 2013, we have a young and potentially better offensive catcher in Castillo, no real meaningful change at 3B other to hope that Stewart is healthy and can rediscover his swing, and a declining DeJesus slated to get the majority of ABs in CF.

    I expect Soriano's production to slip some in 2013; Rizzo to add some value as a full year starter at 1B, Castro may add some slg% to his batting line. Other than that, it looks to be a push in other areas.

    Prediction: 615 to 650 runs scored (still ugly)

    On the pithcing front, we have a plethora of arms with the only certainty being that we should be able to have 5 heathly and semi productive starters without having to endure another merry go round approach as was on display in 2012. In the pen, I believe the changes will solidify the pen, but that projects to more game leads held and turned into wins.

    Prediction: 715 to 740 runs allowed (still in the bottom half of the league given that we allowed 759 - 14 in the NL in 2012).

    Overall, I expect that the Cubs will not be in contention and will easily lose 90 games in 2013.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    Nice analysis. I think that, barring some unexpected performances, it's going to be a long year. I think the pitching will be better than you expect though, and I'll cover that tomorrow. The defense should also be improved.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    Nice analysis. I agree it will probably be another long year -- but I do think the pitching will be better than some think. The defense should be improved too.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    Agree on the offensive side of things - I don't expect a big jump there. I do think that the Pitching will be improved as there is more depth this season (40+ games of Volstad, Raley, Rusin, Germano etc) last season. Add in some better defense, I could see a 690-710 range for runs allowed.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Right now, at best I see the Cubs as a 70-75 win team, assuming Spellcheck doesn't regress, Garza doesn't get hurt(again) and Baker recovers and pitches like the 2010 Scott Baker. Too LH heavy with not enough RH power, unless Beef Castillo becomes the 2008 Geo Soto.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    Interesting. I was just looking at this the other day. The Cubs got out scored by 146 runs last year. Barring a huge dump at the trade deadline, I see that number dropping to the 70-90 run range, with my guess being a record of 72 -74 runs. I think the Cubs were a little unlucky statically with 61 wins, but were still bad. If the Cubs are really unlucky I see them having 65 wins and really lucky having somewhere around 83 wins. Looking at last year's run differential and this offseason, unfortunately I see the Cards as still being the team to beat by a few games over the Reds.

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    That is as deep a starting rotation as I can remember recently. (minus the Prior/Wood/Maddux/BigZ/Clement).

  • In reply to Louie101:

    yeah I really like what they did on the pitching size

  • In reply to Louie101:

    That's what will keep this team somewhat competitive all year, more so than last year when they trotted out some substandard arms for the last two months of the season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Honestly, I'm hoping some a number of those pitchers are traded before the season is done. Would love to see a starting staff the last 2 months of the season that looks something like E-Jax, Samardzija, Wood, Vizcaino and Albert Cabrera with the idea that Vizcaino and Cabrera have earned their way into the starting rotation and we also have a few other high upside close to mlb ready pitchers aquired via draft or trade.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    Agree on the Vizcaino. I will be bummed if he is not in the Rotation come August 1. I am not sold on Cabrera - think he will be at best an 8th inning guy.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I wouldn't be surprised if neither Vizcaino nor Cabrera are in the bigs as starters this year, depending on how careful the Cubs are with innings. No need to rush either of them, although it would be nice to see them both at some point.

  • In reply to Louie101:

    Deep, yes, as good ,no. No Priors , Woods, or even the young Zambrano on this staff. Maybe a 2009 Maddux there, or a Clement. Hopefully Marmol or Fuji become the 2008 Joe Borowski.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    I think you mean 2003 Borowski, bc in 08, JB posted a 7.56 era in his farewell campaign.

  • Yes, they are done alright. I didn't expect the Cubs to be contenders this season, as that wasn't part of the initial plan so soon, and it looks as if a lot of things would have to go right for the Cubs to win more than 75 games this season. Meanwhile, look at the farm system, in terms of players almost ready, and it's still not good. Unless Theo and Jed change strategy, Cubs won't be consistent winners until 2016 at the earliest.

  • In reply to Bob Warja:

    Agreed Bob. A whole lot of things will have to go right for the Cubs to avoid another 90+ loss season. The pitching and defense will have to be at least as good as expected -- and probably better. And somebody is going to have to surprise on offense, whether it's someone like Stewart, Schierholtz, or Brett Jackson. Farm system won't be ready to help much in 2013.

  • I can see the pitching being more productive out of the pen, however I am not as convinced about the rotation. Shark could have a transition year, and I am not sure about Garza or Wood, plus our value signing still need to prove they are healthy and can get outs. Jackson is the only signing that looks to be a sure thing (woohoo).

    All the others are still question marks in my mind.

  • In 2013 are the top 10 draft picks protected as in 2012?
    I mean you will not lose your 1st pick if you sign a top FA

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I believe so, but I think the Cubs may not be willing to give up a high 2nd round pick by next year either.

  • Rondon & Takahashi will make the club...Rusin & Raley will need to get innings down in Iowa when one of our pitchers go down.....Baker is a DL guy until May or early June.....if Garza can't make it (DL), Rusin or Raley will fill in....if Garza is traded before the season starts (which is unlikely) the new guy will take his place (Porcello or Olt ????)......I doubt the Rangers would trade Olt for Garza.....Olt is needed for the Stanton trade.

    with Garza, I believe the Cubs now will hang on to him, offer him a one year contract ($15 million) for next season and or see what the market will bring in 2014....and Theo gets that extra draft pick........Garza'a agent, will seek a $100 million (5 years) dollar contract.......

    that 5th spot in the OF should be a good race.......and there will be pitchers looking for that 5th starting spot.....Wood should not take his 4th spot for granted.

    I count somewhere between 84 to 90 wins with this Cubs pitching staff....yeah, call me crazy, but I am looking at past year numbers, pitchers about to hit big numbers, and that both the Cardinals & Reds are over-rated......Reds pitching arms are sore thanks to Dusty....Cardinals have a line up that does not scare me anymore........Pirates will not be in the race, more likely first team to fire their manager & GM.....and Brewers have no pitching at all......at worst, Cubs are a third in their division, and at best, they can make the playoffs this year with 89 wins.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    CT, two things: 1) 84 to 90 wins is pie in the sky, have me down for 75 wins. 2) this is really nitpicky, but the ... gets really annoying. Learn to use punctuation, capital letters, grammar, maybe even syntax if you're feeling wild.

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    I always go into a season believing we can be a .500 team...All it takes is good pitching and timely hits. I think we have 1 more move left and believe it's CF....

  • In reply to freeagent24:

    CF is possible, but it looks like it's going to have to be a huge bargain at this point (and it won't be Bourn).

  • Johh,
    Any chance Junior Lake makes the team out of ST?

  • In reply to Paris:

    I'd say it's close to zero but he'll be one to watch in Iowa. I can see the Cubs moving around and trying to find a path for him to the big leagues.

  • I think it's a good thing you didn't post this yesterday or I may not have paid for my season tickets. I think the Cubs will be a much more competitive team this season due to the improved depth in the rotation, but they will lose a lot of 4-2, 5-3 type ballgames.

    I think the bullpen will be improved as well, but I would have rather seen them bring in someone like Grilli instead of relying on Bowden. And I'm not excited about trying to carry another Rule 5 guy in the bullpen.

    I am excited to see how Brett Jackson's new swing performs and how Vizcaino's arm looks later in the season. I'm morbidly excited in a car crash sort of way to see how Ian Stewart does. And how the Garza situation plays out. And for some reason I think one of the Scotts pitches well enough to get an extension.

    Mostly, I think it's all about managing expectations on the way to something better. I can see something like a 72 win season with the possibility for a little more. Definitely improving, but still adding pieces as they go.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    They did make a run at Grilli but he ultimately decided on the Pirates. Bowden is a question mark but he looked like one of their better relievers late last year. That and I believe he has no options left, so he has an inside track.

    I think the Cubs will really have to see something out of Rondon to keep him around.

    The guy I'm kind of excited about is Baker. I think he'll be a steal, much like Paul Maholm was last year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I guess I should have said "succeeded in bringing in someone like Grilli". I would feel a ton better about the bullpen with one more veteran arm like that for the 7th/8th inning and pushing everyone else's roles back an inning.

    Also, just saw Gordon Wittenmyer Tweet that Theo says Baker and Garza will be ready for the start of the year. Definitely makes some of the roster issues more interesting if they are.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I'm not too worried about Rondon. The reports have been positive, if he's healthy he will contribute.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I agree. I see about 72-76 wins. If the starting pitching really overperforms and Stewart rebounds to the .250 25 HR type hitter he was earlier in his career, sig. improvements from Castro, Jackson and Rizzo, and a little luck, I guess they could nip at .500. I think they won't be anything more than mediocre, but more likely will be below average which is an improvement over "abysmal" which they were after the trade deadline last year.

  • I think you see an improved team. However, the league as a whole is getting better too. Can the Cubs compete against improved teams like the Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Nationals? What will the Braves look like if they trade for Upton or resign Bourn?

    I think the Cubs are still lacking the pieces, but should be an improved product, possibly with some sizzle here and there.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    I think we'll see a struggling team with some occasional glimpses of what this team will be in the next couple of years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I might have to disagree there. Catcher and CF are my biggest concerns as Stewart can handle the bag at 3B. And, I'm optimistic he can handle the bat as well. I liked his approach last year, but he had no pop.

    However, Navarro was signed as insurance, as he can handle a staff if necessary, and my boy Tony Campana might steal the job in center.

    It might be SF Giants style baseball in yet another windy city, but with the defense we are running out there, good pitching, an incredibly intelligent shifter in Dale Sveum, I'm all sunshine and roses.

    I think we are going to see a much more mature team hardened by the fundamentals being drilled into them by the new squad. It could be a special bunch.

    I really don't think last year's Orioles looked "that much" more impressive on paper than our team does now if you consider pitching, offense, and defensive comparisons.

    Anything can happen!

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    I like that you have Raley and Rusin as bullpen options. I'm starting to think that's where they have the most value to this club: as Sean Marshall lite.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm pretty sure one or both ultimately end up there, though I think at least one will be rotation depth to start the year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah. As I read Iowa's rotation, I see it starting the year with Wood (we obviously disagree there), Loux, Cabrera, and Jokisch, so there's room for one of Raley and Rusin there.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There's also Struck.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What about Vizcaino, I though he would start at AAA.

  • In reply to cbbiefun2014:

    I think he'll start in extended spring training and build strength, stamina.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't think Wood has options left...he's gone up and down each of the last three seasons, so he should be out of options now.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    He is indeed out of options, so he'll make the team. If it's not going to be in the rotation, then it will be in the bullpen.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I trust you on this. Suggests to me that either the plan this offseason was to use him as the second lefty in the pen (certainly fits) or that Matt Garza better keep his suitcase packed.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think Feldman/Wood/Villanueva are all in the mix for a starting spot to open the season with Wood and Feldman the favorites. We'll see I guess. All 3 can pitch out of the bullpen.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I've been assuming that Feldman received promises about his role to sign as quickly as he did. I've learned though that, more often than not, simply trusting you is the way to go.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    I'd read he did, but can't remember where. Obviously, if he doesn't, that changes everything.

  • That's the way you gotta do it imo. Factor in the value of the pick to decide if the contract still gives you value. Them just saying, "No, we're not gonna give up our pick regardless" is what they wanted to avoid when they said they didn't want to be dogmatic about it.

    I'm betting they will sign another player or two. If ever there's a time to get great value it's this late in the game, going into spring training. We'll see.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I think it always has to be a play it by ear thing but it has to be a great fit for the Cubs to do it. Didn't really see it this year (assuming they were never going to sign Greinke). And I don't see a guy for next year either.

    I don't think they'll add anyone unless it's through trade. Always open for bargains, but not sure any are worth it right now.

  • I like the additions. We have some chips to cash in at the deadline for more prospects. Can't help but think our offense is like the "O" line for the Bears.... Not sure why we ignored it.

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    Looking at the schedule I think this team stays competitive (around .500) through June. The schedule gets pretty tough in July and they're going to get creamed in August but I think they can have a winning month is September. I'm probably being a little Cubbie optimistic here but I don't think it's impossible.

    I personally think Schierholtz has a break out season and B Jax puts together a couple good months.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    I agree on Schierholtz, He will hit in more hitter friendly parks this year and was a very highly reguarded player coming up. I think he will be an upgrade over last season.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    I too think Schierholtz is a potential upgrade on offense. Would like to see something of a breakout.

  • Like last year's "Will the Cubs break 100 losses?", this year will come down to "will the Cubs break 90".

    Before the trade deadline...
    In 2012 they were 43-58. With the following improvements I can see at least a 5 game swing. Say 48-53?

    1) Starting rotation should be vastly improved. Garza Jackson & Shark. are a formidable 1-3. Villanueva, Feldman, Wood, & eventually Baker will solidify the back end & the remainder should improve the BP.

    2) Bullpen *should* be better from the start. Wood & Marmol were atrocious at the beginning of 2012. (2013 Marmol > 2012 Marmol) + (Fuji > K Wood) = Better BP. I expect Villanueva or Feldman here to give solid depth

    3) Rizzo from day one & perhaps improvement in Castro's approach & a healthy Stewart (though Im not sold on the latter) could make the offense, well, almost average.

    Enter post trade deadline...

    Should be miserable again, but instead of starting a Waiver claim 4 of every 5 days, the Cubs could put some ML pitchers everyday, albeit just above replacement level. Shark, T Wood, Villanueva & maybe see Vizcaino? An improved Brett Jackson?Should be another miserable August & September, but lets give 'em a 5 game swing again at 23-38 for the post deadline (18-43 after the deadline in 2012).

    That totals 71-91 on the season.

    Ah! a trend!...
    2012: 61-101
    2013: 71-91
    2014 81-81
    2015: 91-71...

    by 2019 131-31

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    I like your way of thinking, though I'd take 88-74 and a World Series over 131-31 and a quick exit. Makes me think of that Mariners team in the early 2000's. (2001 or 02?)

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Lets work on 2013 first before going too far ahead.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    I was just going to say I would be happy with around 10 win improvement every year over the next 3-4 years.

    I predict 70-92. Like last year, could be better if we kept everyone, but we'll probably unload some at the deadline.

  • Many of you are talking about a 90 loss season.........it could happen, but what i am focusing on is "career" years or the run for the bigger money with our pitchers......Garza, Baker, Villanueva & Samardizija all could work really hard to produce this year......all can have 16 or more wins, especially now that has Baker will be ready at the start..........so the question of the day is ...

    if the Cubs are in the race at the end of July, would you rather see Theo make trades for prospects and raise the white flag, or go for the playoffs?

    If we have healthy & hot pitchers, other teams can pay dearly in prospects for our guys.....2013 free agent class is bare....only Garza & Johnson is there.....

    but if the Cubs are the Cinderella team in 2013, Theo, Jed, Ricketts & Dale has to go for it.

    One other note, I see one surprise player on this roster....Navarro....I am not saying he can be a Molina type of catcher, but I think he will help this pitching staff more than expected.

  • This might be the team for April and part of May but it will not be the 2013 Cubs. After the first 6-8 weeks, I think all bets are off. More than likely, quick exits, DFAs, outright releases, send downs, call ups, and trades will happen depending on the W-L record and individual performance. The team on June 1 could be substantially different than the team on April 1, let alone September 1.

  • I want to watch a team that makes the opposition earn it. It is harder to follow a team that gives games away. All do it occasionally, but some do it usually.

  • A little off topic, but is spring training better to go to early or right before they break?

  • In reply to cbbiefun2014:

    When it is below 32 degrees in Chicago, and it is over 75 degrees & sunny in Arizona, that is the best time to see games.

  • In reply to cbbiefun2014:

    Early Spring Training games...you will see Dolis, Castillo and Coleman pitching.......Lake, Vitters, and invites in the field....

    later Spring Training games......the regulars......

    night games are good to see.....

    earlier games has vendors giving away free stuff....if you are into t-shirts, beach towels, etc.

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    I'd like to point out something about one of the teams we're modeling ourselves after. The Nationals.

    I see this as a 3 year rebuild with the following years being the "world series contending years" Looking at the Nats since they began their 3 year rebuild in 2010 when they drafted Strasburg it's strikingly similar.

    2010 69-93
    2011 80-81
    2012 98-64

    In year 1 they we're a 100 loss team, year 2 got to .500. Year 3 exploded with 98 wins and now seem like World series candidates for the next 5-10 years because they are built on a strong farm, pitching, and young impact players.

    I see no reason why we can't be at least a .500 team this year and continue following their model.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I think that is the model, too. However, I don't see the Cubs giving up draft choices like the Nats have. I see them using depth in the system (like Vogelbach and Shoulders) to acquire talent.

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    In reply to historyrat:

    I completely agree. The Nats have used excess depth to acquire impact players as well. They have been a bit loose with their draft choices this year for players who I feel aren't worth it but their window is now and we might see the cubs do they same thing for the right players eventually.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I think at some point in the next few years, we can expect a big jump or two like that. Remember that the Nationals had a few lean years before 2010.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nats also got very lucky. Harper and Strasburg in consecutive drafts and Harper arrived sooner than they thought. Also got Drew Storen to the bigs sooner than they thought. The equivalent of that would be Soler/Baez starting by opening day 2014 and producing at near allstar levels.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Yea Strasburg and Harper are once-in-every-ten-years type talents and they both just happened to land in the Nats lap back to back lol

  • The good news is, that after trading Garza, Soriano, and other "achievers" by the All-Star break, the Cubs will be getting another top 3 draft pick, I hope!

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    I'd like at least one more top 10 pick. But it won't be as bad as last year's second half when we we're trotting out 4A pitchers like Germano, Berken, etc This year even if wedo trade Garza, Baker, Feldman etc or get a few injuries we'll have guys like Vizcaino, Cabrera, Villanueva(or Wood) ready to step in. If we trade all three our rotation could look like

    1- Shark
    2- Vizcaino
    3- Wood
    4 - Villanueva
    5 - Cabrera

    I'll GLADLY take that over what we got in the second half last year. All those guys are young with upside and Shark/Vizcaino/Cabrera having frontline stuff so at least I don't have to see Gemano soft tossing to ML hitters.

    It won't be as unbearable this year.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree except that I'll say that Jackson will stick around and maybe another one of the pitchers. Rotation will be strong down the stretch.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Woops meant to add Jackson in there. I think he'll be here all of next year at the very least.

  • I actually really like our 2013 Cubs. Not because I think they're a great team but because I love having something to root for besides wins and losses. They're younger, more athletic, should be better defensively, pitching staff is 1000% better/deeper. I'm rooting for the young players to develop into stars, for the pitchers to stay healthy, and for us to be in a position to ADD pieces at the deadline. Kinda tired of the "flip them for prospects at the deadline" routine. When they start broadcasting Daytona, Boise, Tennessee, and Iowa games nationwide, I may change my tune. Plus I have a friend who's giving me 2.5:1 on 5 grand on the cubs win total in 2013. He set the over/under at 82.5. I took the over. Oops.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I hear you. Lots of reasons to watch the Cubs this year. Victories may not be one of them but soon.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Ill be following Kane County this year as much as possible, particulary to see the progress of Almora, Soler and Vogelbach. Boise looks like most of there young pitchers(Maples, Johnson, Underwood) will start. The future will be on display.

  • I do not see why the Cubs cannot be at least a .500 team. They have enough pitching to go against anybody,anytime.Right now they are waiting to see if one of their younger players can step it up in spring trainig making it impossible to keep him down.I am looking for that player to be Lake.He possibly could take over at third for Steward.

  • In reply to BIG G:

    I'd love for the Cubs to be .500 this year and I think you're right. If they're going to do it, they'll do it with pitching and perhaps a surprise player or two on offense.

  • I think we'll be right around 72 wins this year with a chance at 75+ if things go right offensively (Stewart, Schierholtz).

    I think you can easily add +3-4 wins just because of the depth we have versus the heave-ho we shipped out after the trade deadline last season. I think the bullpen is improved, I know early in the season we blew a lot of close games with Wood mulling retirement, Marmol being inconsistent, and Dolis just being too young. Marmol seemed to take off last season when Bosio instructed him to throw more fastballs so hopefully he can regain some of his old form back.

    I think offensively we'll be a tad better only because the kids had more time to acclimate. I see Castro making an improvement with plate discipline and improving his slg as he begins to fill out. Castillo I think also makes an improvement. Although I can see regression from Soriano and Dejesus. I really think that Schierholtz will have a breakout season though, maybe something like .270/.335/.455 with something like 15+ hrs maybe 20.

    I think we'll see some good bench production out of Sappelt, and if BJax makes it, I think we'll see some production out of DeJesus as a 4th OF.

    Also something that went unnoticed was all those losing streaks. I know we had the 12 game one in April and then the 8 game one in early August. Hopefully we can mitigate those with an improved bullpen and starting staff.

  • I really like what they did with the pitching staff -- both the rotation and 'pen. But the outfield is just looking brutal. I wish they had added someone out there to be excited about. Hopefully Schierholtz can provide that, but I'm not holding my breath.

  • In reply to Diggs:

    I think that's the weak spot. Maybe they're hoping BJax can emerge and snag one of those spots, but not holding my breath on that either.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know for some reason I just have a good feeling about Bjax, Shierholtz, and Stewart this year, especially Jackson. I think at least one of them will breakout this year.

  • Cubs still need a RH bat, particulary in the OF or 3B. Niether Schierholtz or DDJ have shown they can hit lefties, Rizzos OPS was much lower vs LHP, and Sorry is getting old. Scott Hairston isn't great, but hes the best of a ragged group.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Right now I'm most worried about their performance against LHP.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Jeff Baker still available?

    He killed LHP and can play all 4 corners if needed, plus some 2B. We just have to keep Sveum from developing that man-crush and playing him too much....

  • Kinda surprised nobody thinks Barney's offense will improve. As hard as the guy works I think he will improve. I also like what they have done to the staff including the bullpen. I see them being right around 500!

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    Texas locked up Matt Harrison for 5yrs/55mil. For a 27yr old #2-3 type that contract is a bargain. Buys up his remaining ARB years and 3 FA years. So basically you get all his prime years at 11mil AAV. Texas has it's entire core locked up long term on team-friendly deals. These are the type of moves we need to emulate.

    So seeing what Harrison got after a solid 2011 and a really good 2012 what can we realistically see Shark getting if he has another good year? I'd love to see him locked up this year, especially if it's on a similar deal.

  • From what iv'e read and heard this team is probably a 75-77 win. Fangraphs thinks they are talented enough that with a few breaks and luck they could find themselves in the playoffs, similar to the Orioles.

    Iv'e seen the Zips projections for pitching and we are projected to have a better rotation as the A's and just a silently worse bullpen.
    I think you could have 4 starters on the team with a WAR of 3 or above. (over a full season). That is really good.

    If Stewart gains his strength back and we have 1 break out player then we could be in the race for the 2nd wild card. I also get the feeling that we jump the pirates in the standings, I don't see their starters being that great after AJ and Wandy.

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    wasn't jaye chapman dfa'd and picked up by another team?

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Chapman re-signed with the Cubs. You may be thinking of Jeff Beliveau, who got picked up by the Rangers.

  • I hope the Cubs take a good long look at acquiring Casper Wells. He's Cody Ross 2.0 (compare their stats and be amazed) and would be an excellent platoon partner for either DDJ or Schierholtz. Plus, he plays a decent center field. The Mariners have way over-signed their OF/DH/1B slots. Wells looks like the odd man out AND he's out of options. Perfect chance for the Cubs to scoop him up.

  • Progress is the key for this year, guys, as long as it comes from our "core" pieces we currently have on the roster. Wins/losses take second seat to that, imo. Also, it would be really helpful to catch "lightning in the bottle" on someone or a few that we may not have necessarily expected. If we can do these things mentioned, we know we're going to compete and we know it's merely a matter of time.

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    if this is it, then i think Thoyer did a solid job this offseason. With the starting depth we now possess, we can be assured there won't be a massive drop off in performance even if we do have a sell off at the deadline.

    Here is what I see in my crystal ball...

    Garza ready for opening day, but Shark chosen as Opening Day starter. This leads to speculation of a trade for Garza, but nothing materializes. Junior Lake surprises everyone and makes the team as a super utility player, at Tony Campana's expense as he is flipped at the end of ST. Vitters and BJax back in AAA.

    Cubs have typical sub par April, then hit stride in May, and hold on to third place as the Pirates and Brewers stumble. Offense is mediocre, but pitching and defense keep the Cubs in games. The bullpen is lights out; Marmol continues his improvement from last season and becomes unhittable again. Fujikawa pitches to expectation. Cubs play at .500 clip into late June. At the deadline, Garza, DeJesus, and another starter are flipped for prospects. Marmol is the hottest name in available relief and nets a blue chipper at a position of need (Olt?). In a departure from last year, the Cubs maintain form and are able to finish at 73 wins.

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