Around the League: Now what Cubs?, Zobrist, Arrieta, Jay, Expansion/Realignment, Dusty, Stanton, Murphy and More what?

The Cubs season is over for a variety of reasons. Mostly because the Dodgers scored just so many more runs than they did.

But there is no shortage of theories on why. The Nationals series took too much out of them! The Cubs were exhausted! The team never clicked in 2017! They switched beers at Wrigley!

There's some truth in all those...well, except the beer one...I refuse to believe anything bad about Lagunitas. The Cubs were exhausted all season after playing close to 200 games in 2016 and having a shorter than usual offseason. The Nats series took a toll on the Cubs physically, mentally and emotionally (on me too), all while the Dodgers were sitting home resting and setting up their rotation. But in reality, the Dodgers were just a better team and the Cubs bats started the offseason early.

And now that the 2017 season is over, the Cubs front office will examine the team and its pieces to determine what they need to address for next season. Obviously big changes are coming, especially on the pitching staff. The Cubs need at least two new starters for 2018, possibly a new closer and upgrades across the bullpen. After seeing the kind of weapons the Dodgers, Yankees and Indians were trotting out of their pens, I'd expect multiple new relievers in next season's dance routines.

Offensively, the lineup will probably look largely the same, but there will be some changes to the depth chart. With the farm system largely tapped out of top prospects, could this finally be the season the Cubs trade from their stockpile of young hitters on the major league roster? When asked about the possibility of trading one of his young bats, Theo Epstein responded " think going into the offseason prepared to make some tough choices and execute on them — and keeping an open mind to anything — is appropriate under the circumstances where we have some obvious deficits and we have some real surplus with talented players who are really desirable".

Assuming Jason Heyward's contract is immovable (and it probably is), it's difficult to see both Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ on the 2018 roster. And if they both are, it could mean that one of Javier Baez and Addison Russell are not.

Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune looked at the Cubs roster and made predictions on who will be returning next season. Spoiler alert: Gonzalez predicts Schwarber will be traded for pitching this winter.

Much like the 2015 NLCS, this season's playoffs showed a Cubs roster that could use more contact and fewer swing-and-miss types. Unfortunately the Cubs addressed that issue two winters ago by signing Heyward and Ben Zobrist, both of whom are still under contract for multiple seasons and neither of whom was making much good contact in October.

Zobrist in particular never looked like the same hitter this season, but he realizes it and is ready to attack his offseason"I've never been more excited for an offseason," Zobrist said. "Not to get to it quickly, but I'm motivated to start ASAP."

It is widely expected that free agent Jake Arrieta will not be returning and the Arrieta family has already moved out of their home in Chicago and put it on the market the day after the Cubs season ended. The Cubs will also face a tough decision on free agent closer Wade Davis who had an almost flawless regular season, but also plays a position the Cubs front office does not like to pay premium for.

Outfielder Jon Jay is also a free agent following a season in which he assumed a bigger role than expected, provided leadership in the locker room and seemed to become a favorite of  Maddon. With Albert Almora Jr. likely (hopefully) earning a bigger role, Jay may not be a priority for the Cubs, but that could change if the team does trade one of their young outfielders for pitching. For his pary, Jay is saying all the right things about wanting to return. “I love it here,’’ Jay said. ‘‘I cannot deny that. I absolutely love it here. We’ll see what happens. But right now, I enjoy being with this group no matter what happens."

So changes are coming...that is part of the game. The core will obviously remain similar, but there will be some new pieces. That doesn't mean this season was a failure, it just means that the front office will try a new formula.

And this season was not a failure even if the Cubs failed to repeat. That's not unusual. They are the 16th consecutive champion not to repeat, but they were only one of four teams in that stretch to win a playoff series the following season.

You may see reports that the Cubs' window is already closing or that this isn't the potential dynasty many predicted last winter. But we don't know what the 2018 Cubs will look like yet, but they will almost certainly begin the year as the favorite to win the NL Central once again.

Cubs are Having Fun Already

Expanding and Rearranging

One of the biggest topics of the week was the "building consensus" for expansion and realignment that was referenced by Baseball America's Tracy Ringolsby. This would include two new franchises and according to commissioner Rob Manfred, "a team in the West" would be part of expansion. Portland is believed to be the frontrunner for the new team in the west, while Montreal is considered the favorite for the other new franchise.

Expansion to 32 teams would then lead to realigning away from the current three division format. In Ringolsby's article, he details a proposal that does away with the current league formats (which would undoubtedly be a sticking point for traditionalists) in favor of four divisions with eight teams apiece. Each of the four division winners would advance to the playoffs with the next eight teams with the best records playing in four separate wild card games.

There have been proposals across the internet for eight divisions of four teams, much like the NFL, and even scrapping the divisions entirely for two 16-team leagues. The goal of realignment is to reduce the amount of travel, especially across multiple time zones, while also maximizing regional rivalries.

Another sticking point would be that the season is likely to be reduced to 156 games which would again anger the purists who may believe it impacts single season records, but it would give players more days off, including possibly one day per week.

Of course the goal of expansion is to make money as new franchises could cost in excess of $1B which would give each existing owner approximately $65M for voting yes.

My opinion that you didn't ask for is that expansion is going to happen because there is a financial incentive for it to happen. My dream scenario would be to drop a team back in Brooklyn, but there is a less than zero chance the Mets and Yankees allow that to happen. I also don't see the need to add another team in the West as the Mariners, Angels, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks, A's and Rockies form a perfect eight team division, with only Colorado falling outside the Pacific Time Zone. This also allows those teams to keep their current traditional rivalries and allows the other three divisions to be grouped more geographically. In the current model, the Twins somehow fall in the North division, but could take the Rockies spot in the Midwest where they belong if both expansion franchises are located in the eastern portion of the country.

The Current League

The N.L. East is already turning into the focal point of MLB's unemployment line. The Mets already fired Terry Collins and are looking to replace him with hitting coach Kevin Long and Mariners third basecoach Manny Acta as the leading candidates. The Marlins are under new ownership and have already laid off several members of their front office. The Phillies search has been mostly quiet since reassigning former manager Pete Mackanin within the organization, though they interviewed former Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale this week, but may have their eyes set on Orioles' skipper Buck Showalter. And the newest job opening is in Washington where the Nationals announced on Friday that Dusty Baker would not return next season as manager amid reports that his players found him to be too "old school".

Nationals second baseman and favorite of Cubs fans Daniel Murphy underwent surgery this week to repair cartilage damage in his right knee and will begin the rehab process immediately.

Cardinals SP Lance Lynn will have plenty of suitors on the free agent market, but it remains to be seen if he can get the 5 years, $110M contract he is reportedly seeking. The 30 year-old right-hander isn't likely to get that much from St. Louis, but he is going to get paid plenty by some team.

A pair of Red Sox underwent surgery this week with DH Hanley Ramirez undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder while pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez had surgery on his right knee. Ramirez is expected to be ready in time for the start of next season, while Rodriguez may miss the first few weeks of April. Boston is still waiting for second baseman Dustin Pedroia to make a decision on whether or not to have a second surgery on his left knee which would likely cause him to miss much of the 2018 regular season.

The Giancarlo Stanton trade market will dominate much of the rumor mill this winter, but whispers in the Marlins clubhouse are that the Red Sox are expected to push hard for Stanton to replace the power they lost this season following the retirement of David Ortiz. Boston has plenty of young talent and prospects to make a deal with Miami and the financial resources to take on a big chunk of Stanton's remaining contract.

Some Rivalries Never Stop




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  • 1. Hate expansion and realignment. Please don’t dilute the talent pool.

    2. Much rather give up Happ than Schwarber. Much. Unless the return is astronomically different.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    Can Schwarbs by himself bring a TOR guy?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Not likely

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    He would be the centerpiece with prospects added

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    My only concern is if we trade 2-3 guys we will be stuck with Jhey and Zo having to play.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    You already are stuck with Heyward and Zobrist playing

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    No AL/NL is a clever way to get DH for all. Along with the absolute cap on international signings, Manfred has been pretty good at sneaking in long-time goals that are unpopular with certain groups.

  • I think Javy and Addison are not going anywhere. It is nice to have those two together for IF defense. As for the OF, I don't see why we could not have Heyward, Almora, Schwarber and Happ as our main outfielders. They are all good young players worth keeping.

  • In reply to John57:

    Almora is not a leadoff man.he is a good centerfielder though.most of your true leadoff men is your centerfielders.schwarber lacks defensive skills.he is your next pitcher when they trade him for one.the only guy i keep in outfield is heyward.awesome rightfielder but horrible bat but great defence.i believe defence in right is a must.cubs need pitching and some of that outfield will get it for you.

  • In reply to John57:

    They are good young player but you need a good young starting pitcher. Someone has to go.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Well in house we can choose from Montgomery, Mills, Tseng, Butler. They are all young. From outside there are options too, maybe Ohtani, Cobb, Lynn, Arrieta or someone no one expects. Someone doesn't have to go.

  • In reply to John57:

    Theo wants to keep Montgomery is his swing role and I would not count on Tseng or Butler

  • In reply to John57:

    Heyward is not young or good anymore. Neither is Zobrist

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    In reply to willycat:

    Man, we have a real "geriatric ward" on the right side, then. With an "old" Heyward and an even older Rizzo we better start getting some replacements for these aging players.

  • I would like to see Almora full time at lead off as I believe he will continue to improve. Additionally, he will make for a great defensive outfield, with Bryant or Happ and Heyward.
    Whoever the new pitching coach is, I’m eager to see the results with Maples.
    Gonna be a very interesting offseason to say the least.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    I don't think Almora is every day lead off against right handed pitchers.
    Why do you have Bryant in the outfield?

  • I’m hoping the Cubs find some way to get Christian Yelich and his .369 career OBP from the Marlins. Play him in left field. How they get him, I don’t know. But that could free up Schwarber and maybe even Happ as well to target pitching.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    It might cost the Cubs both Happ and Schwarber to get Christian Yelich.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Yellinch is my guy too. Can hit 1,2,3 in the lineup, has some power upside, and can also play left or center. Seems like a good guy to slide into center when almora doesn't start. In fact, I think the marlins have several guys that I could see the Cubs target. Dee Gordon is another one I could see. I'm just not sure the Cubs are going to roll with Baez and Russell up the middle. I could see them bringing in a middle infielder that allows them to flex Baez to third and Bryant to the outfield some. I've also wonder if heyward for Stanton as the starting point of a trade to give the marlins some salary relief might have any merit.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    If you want Yelich them Almora would have to go

  • At least Rizzo can focus on playing 1B. The LOOGY role will not be filled by him.

    I really don't think any one of Schwarber, Happ, Baez, or Russell would net a young TOR type. I think the "trade Schwarber to the AL" is lazy work. So do you move any two of them? I would have a hard time parting with two of them unless Trout was coming back which is not happening. We have $65MM so spend on 1 SP. if you decide you want more contact and less power, than Yelich would be a good target. But I assume he would be on everyone's wish list.

    Any chance to get Stroman from Toronto? Paxton from Seattle?

    Otani is the real key if he were to choose the Cubs. That would be a game changer.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Otani would be great.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don't see the Cubs getting Otani. I think he would rather play in the AL with the DH and I think he would rather have the $3M+ signing bonus rather then $300K. But what do I know. I think I read he can sign a large contract after 2 seasons.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    He can sign a deal almost immediately after he hits the field. Think Rizzo or Soler. It just has to “have precedent”, in other words not be crazy. Francisco Lindor was offered $100 mil just after his rookie year. That’s probably the max.

  • In reply to TC154:

    What does “have precedent” mean. Is this some unwritten rule the MLB has? I think Lindor's deal that was offered was after his second year not rookie year. Rizzo's contract was agreed after his 3rd season. Soler was IFA signing.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Rizzo's contract was agreed on during his 3rd season.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    It’s ridiculously vague but there is no rule that says the offer can’t be made as soon as a player is on a MLB roster. Soler was an IFA but his long term deal was a second contract, it wasn’t the initial signing. Rizzo ate the time of his signing had just over the equivalent of a year of PA. Because the rules are vague MLB is simply warning clubs on Ohtani that they won’t let them make a back room deal and give him $250 mil which is likely what he would have gotten before the CBA upped the age restriction.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I believe Soler has signed only the one contract. The 9 year $30M he is under now. I still think there is something about waiting 2 years before Otani can sign a long term deal. I have also read about the MLB warning teams about the back room long term deal.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Love Paxton. Seattle is always in deal mode. Let them pick between Schwarbs and Happ plus a prospect or two.

    Then, spend that 65M on fixing the bullpen, a #5, and bringing Jay back.

  • Yelich’s Contract means he’s not going anywhere without a Kong’s ransom. Start with Javy. Throw in a dash of Alzolay. And continue from there. Think Quintana, but with a seriously diminished farm system.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    *Kings ransom. Though if Kong were available, that might be preferable.

  • Real issue on expansion is whether they can come up with 2 ownership groups willing to put up $1 billion each (with guys like Ballmer, possible) plus whether, as in the Washington situation, they can get someone (and I assume they expect a city to make a "premium offer") to put up $1.5 billion each for a stadium.

    Manfred has said that scheduling 32 teams is easier than scheduling 30, so that may happen. Given that the NL still resists the designated hitter, I really can't see it agreeing to one 4 division league.

  • Seriously hope I don't have to go through another off season hearing baez trade rumors.He's invaluable at this point, he does have to stop chasing and work on drawing more walks.2 key things he need to do to reach his true potential.

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    In reply to bolla:

    Thank you! I endured the "trade Javy" talk the first year because he was such a liability at the plate but the last 2 years, especially this year, proves to me that he more than almost every other player can be a difference maker on defense and a power on offense. We loved Kessinger and Beckert but neither was Javy's equal on defense and offensively they didn't have the pop Javy has. Kessingers slash line is for his career .252/.314./312/.626 in 16 yrs. He did SO only 759 times though. Beckert's was .283/.318./345/663. He only SO 243 times in 11 years. I loved watching them but I love watching Javy and Addy much more. Don't break up this duo, especially since we have no one in our system close to their present day ablitlity and neither is in their prime yet.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Curious...would you rather have Javy and Happ, or Stroman. Or Yelich. That’s probably not enough for with of them, but the rest can come from the farm. Either would fill a huge gap, by trading from surplus.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    *Not enough for either of them. Man I gotta proofread.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I'd take baez,happ & stroman/yelich in a heartbeat.

  • The only thing Baez needs it to have Manny return as his personal coach -- and then watch out!

  • OT...
    The Astros yank Charlie Morton, who's dealin'.
    Up 4-0, just 54 pitches thru 5.
    I don't think I can put into words how much I hate that $%^#& move.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    But, they get away with it.
    Theeeeeeeeee Yankees Lose!!!!

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    We're getting closer to finding out which team will be the World Champions that the Cubs unseat next season.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yes, sir!

  • I've read that Arrieta moved out and put his house on the market. I think that is a pretty good indicator of where his head is at and the chances of re-signing him.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I appreciate everything arietta did in a cubs uniform.Especially that '15 2nd half, but giving him a 5-6 year 140-180 million dollar deal would be ridiculous the cubs have other holes to fill.He will be 32 to start next season and has way too many control problems to invest that much into his mid/upper 30's.I think, better yet expect the cubs to sign cobb from the rays and maybe trade for another pitcher.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Absolutely. I've been saying for two years there is zero chance the Cubs re-sign him at the numbers you mention, which he will get somewhere. I was simply pointing out that he is moving quickly, and that just shows where the state of any negotiations are at, which is basically non-existent.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I agree with you but unfortunately this will create another hole we need to fix.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don't think anyone is gonna give Jake 5-6/140-180. I wouldn't mind one bit if the Cubs bring him back at 4/80-100, which is all I expect Jake to get.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I think the Cubs and their FO would listen to a 4 year contract at 80-100 million. Jake for all his talk about 7/210 just might too. He likes the team.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Bet you a beer he gets more than 4/$100 in both years and dollars. He made nearly $19MM this year. The 4/$80 low end is not even in the ballpark.

  • I think this off season will break some hearts. I hope Portland does get an expansion team. Preferably a NL team. We live 35 miles SE of Portland. We'll need a domed roof too. We already have two sub-minor league teams out here. The Hillsboro Hops, and the Portland Pickles!

  • fb_avatar

    When Theo and Co. came in they said that they didn't want to spend big money on FAs past their prime and that describes Jake. We had 3 good to great years with him but lets put that money to either get another FA or even rework some of our core players contracts.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That is what is going to make this such an interesting off-season. By my quick guestimation, we have about $75M in expiring contracts, and figuring in arb raises, about $55M to spend to bring the payroll back to the level of opening-day 2017.

    Theo is always very open in addressing needs. This year he has identified the pitching staff, obviously, but stated we will deal from the surplus of "starter quality" depth on the big-league roster. One of Schwarber or Happ will be dealt for pitching, and Russell or Baez isn't off the table, though I see that as unlikely , unless there is more to Russell's issues than we are aware of.

    Theo has also said that this year's FA class is weak. I don't see us signing a big contract, such as Darvish or Tanaka. I think we trade for pitching and keep our powder dry for the monster FA class next year.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Just to clarify my comment, I'm not saying we won't spend money. We will, and lots of it. We have a lot of holes to fill. I just mean that we will be creative and agressive in the trade market, and I don't think we do a monster FA deal this winter.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I could see Theo spending up to $30MM in 1 year deals which sets up nicely to make a splash with the 2018 FA class.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don't see any 30 million 1 year deals to anyone in free agency

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    You failed to read what I actually wrote. "Spending up to $30 in 1 year deals" -- meaning a total of $30 million to multiple players on 1 year contracts.

  • With respect to trades, I would love to see a return of the prediction contest from a few years ago.
    That being said, we trade Heyward and eat all but $10mil annually of his contract. We acquire Gordon from Marlins for peanuts because we take on his salary and he becomes the lead off guy and 2b or we decide that is earned by TLS. Either way, Javy moves to 3b, KB to RF. How do we acquire pitching and who do we target? Who knows?

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I said that we would be creative and aggressive in the trade market, and your suggestions certainly are that.

    Heyward has full no-trade protection, though moving his contract isn't as difficult as one might think. It was seriously front-loaded with bonuses, and his annual salary is $21M and $22M for the next several years. That is not untenable. LaStella is not a starting 2B on a championship-caliber team. He is a wonderful pinch-hitter, but has very few skills other than bat-to-ball.

    Theo has stated that some of the "starting quality" depth of this team will be dealt. I assume that means Schwarber, Happ, Russell, Baez, and/or Almora. My guess is Schwarber and/or Happ, but Theo made clear they are not actively shopping any particular player. They are leaving all options on table and will accept the best offer that presents itself. But it will be done.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I like where you're going with the Heyward move, but they'll likely have to eat ALL of his salary.......definitely needs to happen though, signing him was as close to a mistake as you can get without having to admit you made one. We were able to hide his offensive deficiency last year, because of how well everyone else was playing offensively, and how great the pitching was; but this year, it's pretty obvious he's literally taking playing time away from players who actually need it.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    And you think Jhey will bring back Dee Gordon???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    No. JHey and Gordon are two separate transactions. According to media reports, Miami needs to rid themselves of some contracts to get to a $90mil payroll. Trading the Gordon contract would really help Miami in getting their the payroll goal. If a team takes the full contract, it should cost relatively little outside of a few mil amongst friends (denizens)..

  • fb_avatar

    I don't know if this would work, because the Marlins would probably get a better deal from Boston, Philly, or the NYY or maybe even the Giants, but......

    I would try to pry Stanton and Dee Gordon


    1 of ( Baez/Addy) and 1 of (Happ/ the Schwarbenator) and Jason Heyward.

    The fish are going nowhere so they are going to want to dump money and go thru a slight/short rebuild. Marlins get out of the 300+ million owed to Stanton plus the 30 or so due to Gordon and yes they take a bad contract back in Heywards but they still net close to 200 million in savings and if Heyward somehow bounces back, they can trade him at the deadline or he will opt out at the end of the year.

    Cubs lose some young depth, but they still have a + SS and now a top of the order hitter along w solid 2nd baseman w speed. They know have real protection for Rizzo and Bryant. Stanton will help sell more tickets ( like they need help) but he can help get this team another ring and help Crane and co try to rape us chicagoans for this Cubs network for $5 a game or whatever nonsense they are trying to launch it to us for.

    We may have to add some young pitching but the marlins have a lot of bullpen arms they could send us as well, but honestly I think this is worth doing if Theo can somehow get Jeter to agree.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    There it is. Finally showed up. Thanks for whoever fished it out.

    I still think this is the best case scenario for soon to be Albatross contract that is Jason Heyward. I don't know how they get him to waive his no trade, maybe buy him some waterfront beach property ? Tell him Miami is the place w no pressure to get his stroke back? Tell him the Marlins will trade you to wherever you want as soon as you learn to hit again?

    If this doesn't work then they need to find out from their analytics people if Yelich can handle playing above avg CF. If the answer is yes, then try to get him and some bullpen help in a smaller deal from the fish. Too bad we don't have Jeimer anymore as he's the type of player who the fish would likely covet.

  • fb_avatar

    When am I going to learn? Copy my text before clicking comment on this site esp when I have a long comment. The filter loves the long ones.

  • Will someone explain to me why Kris Bryant is "SQUATTING" so much during an at bat. He did NOT do this when he was at USD. Check out some videos of when he was at USD hitting all those home runs. Am I the only one who thinks this has scewed up his hitting?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    The thing with his squatting is that he straightened up as he swings and he sees a pitch at two eye levels. If one is going to squat, he needs to swing from the same eye level. I believe it's an attempt to create loft, but also creates swing and miss. I remember when the Cubs ruined Hee Sop trying to make him a slugger changing his swing. Kris and Hee Sop hit more homeruns before the changes.

  • HEYWARD has a complete NO TRADE CONTRACT for 2018.

  • A playoff team next year is possible, if they get more pitching, but I think it'll take a couple years to get back to the WS. They'll probably offer Arrieta 3 years @ 20 but not much more...if that. One way or another, we need 2 SPs. Lester is a 3, and Lackey might retire. I agree that it's likely Schwarber gets traded to an AL team. I would sign Wade Davis to a 3yr contract. There are some good names out there, but its going to be difficult to find 2 TOR pitchers. Might be able to get away with 1 if Hendricks has a good year.

  • In reply to benhyoung14:

    There is no way Arrieta signs for $20MM/year let alone the Cubs offer that much.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Cubs have already offered that much.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Offered so little as $20MM. That would be an insult.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    6/$175 mil seems to be the conventional wisdom and no way do the Cubs do that.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Yes, I know, but I think they still will offer/offered something. His numbers will be less thab if he could have signed last year. Somebody will pay but likely a last piece.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Don’t underestimate pitching contracts. Jeff Samardzija make $20 mil AAV and has more than earned it in his first two years. Alex Cobb is being estimated at $18-$20 mil AAV and don’t forget that Lackey just made $16 mil per. A #4 starter today on the open market is $15-$20 mil AAV, a #1 is $30 mil until Kershaw blows that number up next year. He’ll get $35 per easily

  • In reply to TC154:

    I meant as low as the $20/year the OP wrote. Jake will get far north of that amount.

  • In reply to benhyoung14:

    Lackey is a FA, highly doubtful the Cubs bring him back.

  • Lackey, Arrieta and Davis are all gone. Big moves need to be made this offseason.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Sign Hickey, Cobb, Darvish and Ohtani. Easy Peasy. A lot of outlets are picking the Cubs to land him. And I would never underestimate Theo's ability to put together a great pitch.
    Many assume he will want to go to an AL team, but there are those that think the NL is a better fit.
    Most of the big players in the AL have a highly paid DH. Seattle has Cruz. LAA is stuck with Puhols. So that eliminates the West Coast.
    An NL can pinch hit with him anytime AND he is guaranteed to 3 at bats every 5th day. Plus he could play the field late in games or start on one or two of his off days.
    Regardless, everything I have read, points to him wanting to play the field, pitch and hit.
    Who better then Joe to make it work.

  • Otani is a DH in Japan when not pitching. I think he goes to a AL team. My guess Yankees or Red Sox.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Red Sox aren’t in on him at all. Have never seriously scouted him. The Yankees do make some sense but I believe that he’s likely to go where Darvish goes. That might convince Tanaka not to opt out too but whether the Yankees think that’s a good th8ng or not I’m not sure. The serious teams on Otani appear to be, if reports are to believed, Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees and Rangers with Cards and Mariners as longshots.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Red Sox may be laying low. Who knows but them. We will just have to wait and see. I still see him going to an AL team.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I will admit, more and more AL teams are going DH by committee. But some of the big players pay big $ for their DH. How would a team justify, let alone guarantee Ohtani playing time and sit a productive DH who is making 15-20m 2? 3? days a week, .

  • Oh I see. I didn't know all DH's made $15-20M a year and have long term contracts. Very interesting.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I know, right?
    I will admit to wishful thinking, to an extent, but there is a strong contingent (for the reasons I stated) that believe he may be a better fit in NL over the AL.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I could not disagree more that he is a better fit in the NL if he wants to play both ways. He hasn't played a position other then pitcher in 3 years. There is more risk of being injured playing on the field. Just don't buy it.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I will submit, that there is an argument to be made either way.
    I will also say that, I have read everything I can on Ohtani. The Cubs are on the short-list. And this kid lives by a code that nothing he does would surprise me.

  • Just to put this hope to rest:
    Jason Heyward Contract:
    $184m / 8 Years (2016 - 2023) (Edit)
    signed by Chicago Cubs on 12/11/2015 (Free Agent)
    2016: $15M, 2017: $21.5M, 2018: $21.5M, 2019: $20M, 2020: $21M, 2021: $21M, 2022: $22M, 2023: $22M
    Signing Bonus: $20M
    No Trade: Limited
    Full no-trade clause from 2016-2018; Can block trades to 12 teams in 2019 and 2020
    Other Notes: Two opt-out clauses: one after the third year (before 2019 season) and another after the fourth year (before the 2020 season) activates if he has 550 PA in 2019; Signing bonus paid in $5,000,000 payments on April 1 of 2024-2027

    Heyward is going to be a black-hole for years to come. And dictate some painful moves to add the contact this line-up sorely needs.

  • My comment below was supposed to be in response to yours.

  • I still think he has a 4 WAR year or two in him. He’s too young not to. You can hope for that. Plus this team is not cash strapped so I wouldn’t be concerned.

  • In reply to TC154:

    It's mystifying. One would think he does. I have read that the team started screwing with his swing as soon as he walked in the door. I am a fan of Mallee, but if there is one reason to replace him it is the total breakdown of of a guy who put up a wRC+ of over 120 4 out of the previous 5 years before arriving here.

  • I have read he hurt his wrist in the first year and played through the injury resulting in his swing getting messed up playing through the pain. This year he spent trying to get the old swing back. I have not read anywhere the Cubs started screwing with his swing as soon as he walked in the door. On top of that his OF defense fixed a weakness the Cubs had in 2015. It was not a mistake to sign him, but it was unfortunate that he got hurt.

  • In reply to John57:

    Well, it was anecdotal, can't find the link. But he was messed up from the get go. His wrist may have played a part at some point in 2016. But a guy does not spend all winter working on his swing, IMO, to get back to what worked for 5yrs avg. of a wRC+ of 120; If something or someone isn't in his head.

    And, to belabor my 'point of the day'

    We’re talking about a 1,021 plate appearance sample in which Heyward has only produced 2.3 fWAR. As a comparison, Tommy La Stella, who wishes he had an arm with half the strength of Heyward’s cannon, has produced 1.3 fWAR in merely 300 PA over the same period of time.

  • In reply to John57:

    Then why didn’t they shelf him? Knowing you have him another 7 years.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I was with you prior to this year. I am firmly off that train now. This is a sunk cost--a historic collapse of a young player. His long limbs coupled with complicated mechanics and changes from injury have ruined his ability to hit a ball well and consistently well. A defense only 8 hole hitting RF at $25MM per year is an awful contract and handcuffs this team. I would bet he is not on the 2019 Cubs as it stands today. Opt out or traded to the 1-18 teams on his list eating a lot of salary is how I see this going.

  • If Heyward is still around in '18 and beyond (which is most likely) I'd bat him 8th. The 8th spot often gets pitched around & Heyward can draw walks. To me, he's pretty much useless anywhere else in the lineup.

  • I wondered that ALL YEAR. He will take his walks, but who would pitch around him, at this point.

    I may have over exaggerated, there is hope:
    Heyward Contract:
    Can block trades to 12 teams in 2019 and 2020
    So plan on the Cubs eating that, unless Heyward turns it around and opts out in 19.....

  • This guy kills an Offense. You need a real bat from RF--not an 8 hole hitter. I was so excited to see his off season work and now I can't wait to see his last day in a Cub uniform. He just has lost the ability to hit. His walks were even down. Just a terrible albatross of a contract, IMO.

  • Something else to think about as the Hot Stove heats up.
    This Primer:

    Kris Bryant led all 3rd basemen in errors with 18. There was a lot of speculation when he came up about how long he could stick there.
    One more year? 2? Pencil him into the OF and it gives that infield a ton of flexibility.
    Not to beat a dead horse, but the best lead-off hitter on the current roster is TLS at 2cnd.

  • Theo called a leadoff hitter “a luxury” in his presser and pointed out that this team actually scored more runs than in 3016. We might not like it but I think they’ll get by with what they have.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I actually quoted that yesterday in the thread, so I hear ya there. I'd love Yelich on this team, but I stand by my TLS statement. And it is a lot easier in this shifting environment to hide one defensive weakness.

    “The leadoff hitter thing, it’s always nice to have an established lead-off hitter. In certain situations depending on your outlook, it can start to slide toward luxury, not necessity. I would rather have one, but I’m not going to sit here and say by Opening Day we’ll have one. We scored the second-most runs in the league this year without a true leadoff hitter.

    Also telling:
    “We’ve really benefited from having two or three extra starting caliber players on the roster. That’s as big a part of the club as anything. Sooner or later you reach a point where you have to consider sacrificing some of that depth to address other needs on the club. I think we’re entering the phase where we have to be really open to that if it makes the outlook of the team and the organization better.”

    The flexability we know love, may have an inherent small window.
    Playa's gotta play.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yep. Too many get hung up on the lead off hitter. These guys are all lead off hitters at various points of multiple games. We just need more contact reducing K's. Zo, Heryward, and Russell were awful hitters and Schwarber terrible for a half season, yet we still scored more runs than in 2016. Please let's end the calls for LaStella for an everyday role as the 2B as other above posted.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Ha! I resemble that remark....
    I think we can both agree on one thing. The current line-up needs more contact hitters for balance. The only 2 on the current roster who fir into that category are AA and TLS.
    Will TLS ever get a shot here, probably not. But neither did DJ. And I stand by that TLS will end up starting somewhere and put up the kind of #'s we will look back and salivate over.
    This is not our Darwin Barney era. With defensive shifting, u can easily hide ONE below average infielder. And with the juiced ball, I would bet he could hit close to 20 HR's.

  • His D is atrocious. I've come around on the bat. Could he/should he get about 250-300 at bats, sure. I don't think he ever becomes a starter. I like his role on this team. Wouldn't mind seeing him get OF reps too.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Well, I wouldn't say atrocious in this era. But I agree, it won't be here.
    But again, line-up construction and defense is a fine balance. And the team will not have the luxury of flexibility, necessarily, going forward.
    If the core is Rizzo, Bryant and Contreras.
    And Russell IMO is an RBI machine and penciled in at SS.
    Baez is El Mago.
    Schwarber has too much upside and is the wild card.
    Heyward gonna Heyward......
    Happ SO's closer to 30% then 20.
    AA make's consistent contact.
    It isn't as much about TLS as the need for table-setters; he just happens to be on the roster.

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    The Cubs FO must be scratching their heads about JHey. In his years before coming to Chicago he had OBPs of .393, .319, .335, .349, .351 and .349. He comes to Chicago and it's .306 and .326. What happened? We know that he's come early to ST each year and we hear about his work ethic but something switched off and he hasn't found it yet. We thought we were getting the .35t0ish OBP and I could see that, but nothing near that. I still think he's very valuable playing GG outfielder and his in the clubhouse personality but not at $184M. He'll try and improve again this year, he's still young, but maybe someone else can help him regain his eye.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Pressure of living up to a 184 million dollar contract.Probably mental

  • In reply to bolla:

    He hurt his wrist in year 1 and played through the pain. Hopefully he stays healthy and finds his old stroke.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Ha! you beat me to it.

  • I've always been a fan of yelich but he's on an extremely team friendly contract and if the marlins trade him I think other teams can blow the cubs out the water with offers.The cubs traded any valuable prospects they had.Marlins don't want or need schwarber,Russell & baez should be the cubs middle infield for years,bryant,contreras and rizzo are untouchable and happ isn't gonna get it done.I just don't see how the cubs can acquire yelich

  • In reply to bolla:

    MONEY. In today's MLB, there's always more to the trade story than simply comparing the talent of one player to another. The Marlins want to trim payroll and can do so by trading Yelich for a combination of young talent and someone who fills a hole in their lineup with their former team picking up most of the cost. It might take some creativity, but it can be done.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Agree, Cliff. If there are other motivators other than player for player swaps, as you say MONEY, then deals can be made. If you inquire on Yelich, you might as well inquire on Stanton too.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Maybe we can trade Heyward and pay 90% of his salary for Stanton and Yelich? Heck, we could throw in an offer to buy their sunflower seeds for the rest of Heyward's contract, and maybe Rondon, too.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I mean, if they are going that route, they could just sign Upton.....

    Stanton (for 10 years - which could be worse, considering Rizzo and Bryant FA's timeline), evidently, can be had for however much money the Marlins are willing to eat vs. a good prospect to appease the fans and some balance of meh prospects.
    Heywards contract, no trade clause aside, would offset some til 2019 for the Marlins.
    But then, why not go after Harper instead. Or Trout in 2020?

    I mean, at some point, it kind of has to make sense from an organizational standpoint.

  • This Theo comment is worth parsing all by itself (and as I have said before, if the late great John Arquello taught me anything, is that Theo's end of year press conference, is a blue print. So I recommend reading ALL of it):

    “We’ve really benefited from having two or three extra starting caliber players on the roster. That’s as big a part of the club as anything. Sooner or later you reach a point where you have to consider sacrificing some of that depth to address other needs on the club. I think we’re entering the phase where we have to be really open to that if it makes the outlook of the team and the organization better.”

    Who are them 2 or 3?

    Depending on who u consider your everyday starters. But going into the Hot Stove I would say:
    Contreras, Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, Russell, Schwarber, Heyward, AA.

    So the 2 or 3 would maybe be Avila. Happ. Zobrist. Jay. TLS?

    Again, the biggest weakness, and this goes back to Theo's 2015 press conference, is the need for contact to balance the line-up. Thus the Heyward and Zobrist signings.
    I think Happ is first out. Schwarber, at his best, kinda fits the mold. And I do not think Bryant is long for the infield.
    That's just my best guess on what the FO is trying to balance out short and long term.
    And that doesn't even address the pitching staff.....

    Some tough decisions are on the horizon.

  • The position depth is Baez/Russell and Schwarber/Happ. Zo can float between all those spots except SS and has 2 years remaining.

    I look at those guys as the main trade chips.

    I personally would look for Russell to be the first dealt. The Cubs played very well when Javy went to SS and he settled in well. Russell may very well be the last man dealt too. My thinking Russell could go is more on my personal bias towards Javy being a better baseball player.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Addison Russell put up 95 RBI's in 2016 and 71 this year, while missing well over a month. IMO, you do not trade that upside.

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    RBI's is a flawed stat. If Russell was an above average run producer, he would have had well over 100 rbi's in 2016 w the incredible amount of all the runners on base in front of him.

    Look at KB's rbi totals over the past 2 years and he had pretty similar offense #'s across the board, but w the big drop, we are not saying his MVP year was a fluke or vice a versa.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    So how much over 95 is 'well over 100'?
    Bryant 2016 102 RBI 2017 95 RBI
    Russell 2016 95 RBI 2017 71 RBI

    I get it is a flawed stat, and certainly not questioning KB's ability. But I think there is a lot more to be mined from 24 year old Addison Russell then just about anyone on the team.

  • fb_avatar

    FYI, Bryant had 73 RBI's in 2017

    Its still a flawed stat, but I am fairly confident that if Russell hit .270-.275 he would of had over 110 rbi's are so in 2016 as Fowler, Zobrist, Bryant, Rizzo, ect were always on base in 2016.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Can Addi hit over .270???

  • Addy had only 43 ribeyes in '17.

  • Russell also hit with more runners on base than anyone in baseball in 2016 and also left more runners on base than anyone in baseball.

    He is not a very good hitter--the stats bear this out. Plus his swing is pretty ugly to look at. This little wrist flip thing he has going on since his hiatus from injury is pretty awful to look at too.

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    Filter ever going to burp up my comment?

  • fb_avatar

    I can’t find it now but someone here said he (or she, I don’t want to make any assumptions) that KB isn’t long for the infield. That’s an interesting thought. Let’s say he goes to LF. That makes Schwarbs expendable. Does that mean Happ trys playing 3rd? He did a bit of it this year, or have Javy at 3rd and Happ at 2nd? That’s not a good idea. Maybe someone in the system comes up. I don’t see trading for another infielder.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Mike Moustakas is a FA. No, seriously...

    Well, maybe Lorenzo Cain?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That was me.....
    There was a lot of speculation as to how long KB would last at 3rd. His 18 errors this year led the league.
    You could do worse then an OF of KB AA and JH.

    And a lot worse then Moustakas.......

  • KB made 18 errors, but twice that many outstanding plays that I questioned previously whether he was capable of contributing. He has not reached his potential at third. It's not just about errors.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Front office has made no indications that Bryant is going to the outfield. No way would Happ be moving to 3b. Schwarber in some ways is already expendable.

  • I am kind of shocked that Houston is a 56.3% favorite on Fangraphs...

  • Levine tweeted Cubs will interview Jim hickey( Maddox's old pitching coach from Tampa)

  • In reply to bolla:

    The score tweeted it, Bruce Levine reported it on cbs Chicago.

    Hope the Cubs hire him he has a great track record from what I read.specificlly with reclamation projects ( Justin Wilson)lowering team era and with young pitchers

  • As I said, This FO does not go in blind. Hickey was a foregone conclusion.
    Look for Alex Cobb, who has been on the FO's radar before, to be here next year.

  • Cobb makes a lot of sense. Keep your eye on Alex Colome too, especially if Hickey comes here. I think that would be much more likely than Archer.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Hickey is interviewing tomorrow. All signs that I can read point to his hiring. It's just too cozy. The money from the different offers won't vary that much, and there is the obvious relationship with Joe. The only way I could see him going elsewhere is if he saw a fundamental difference in organizational philosophy and/or a problem with personnel. The personnel part will change fairly dramatically this winter, so I see him agreeing within the next couple days.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Cobb has had too many injuries over his career

  • I mean really, think about it, TTO passable outfielders are a dime a dozen now.

    An outfield of
    Bryant RH
    Almora RH
    JHay LH
    and a LH bomber Hmmmmmmmmmm
    That's 3 above average outfielders to mix and match and a Schwarber (trade-able for the right fit).
    Sign a Moustakas type, and you have Rizzo Baez Moustakas and Russell infield.
    Caratini SH and Contreras RH flexibility
    Zobrist SH Flexibility
    Happ SH Flexibility (trade-able for the right fit)
    One or 2 PLTBNL.....

    I'd venture to say that Bryant at 3rd is the weak and most fixable link.
    Put him in the outfield and add a 3rd baseman? All of a sudden that flexibility that was waning, is a precedent.

    We all knew the Cubs were going to be in on one big FA pitcher, Ohtani, back end starters to fill in 5-8 and bullpen help.
    So, in addition in this scenario, you have a few potential trade pieces, or not.
    And add a 3rd basemen.

  • My only concern is that Moustakas doesn't help the Cubs "swing and miss" tendency much. It will be great if Zobrist does what he said he'll do in the offseason and returns to hitting in 2018. Even better if JHey gets it together, but... you know...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    In a vacuum, yes. But on this team.....don't get me started on TLS at 2cnd. We have a butt-full of 370 OBP guys. they need the guys who can hit the strike-out pitchers this team struggles with.

  • Bryant has the tools to be an elite outfielder in either corner, and many people have speculated that is where he will end up, myself included. But for now he plays a good 3B. I think the decision to move him will be dictated by outside opportunity. I don't think the Cubs decide to move him to the OF and then react by filling in a 3B. I think we will identify an upgrade, a Machado-type opportunity, and then make the move.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Look at that roster, the Cubs do not need a Machado type at 3rd. I am saying that the easiest way to take advantage of there current roster needs is to move KB to the outfield, sooner rather then later.

  • I don't see Bryant moving off of 3rd. I think he got better as the season wore on, especially on his throwing, and was very good in the playoffs. FG had him rated 10th best MLB at 3B. Not Rendon, but not bad either.

    The name that always jumps into my mind when trading from the roster is Ian Happ. I would like to see them leave the infield alone for at least another year, and I don't think they will trade Schwarber this off-season.

  • I see a roster that already has five OF options, not counting Martin, who will likely be non-tendered and possibly brought back. The infield is pretty thin and I believe stays intact for 2018. LaStella is not an option as an everyday player for a team with Championship aspirations. He fills a valuable role for this team, but not as a regular. I agree with you that Bryant eventually moves to a corner OF spot, just not in 2018. I think the Cubs make that move after identifying a 3B they want long-term rather than a reactionary stop-gap. Baez needs to stay up the middle. The impending trades of Schwarber and/or Happ may free space in the OF, I just don't think Bryant moves there yet.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I do not see Martin making the 25 man roster. Not sure why he was on the playoff roster. He is a AAA player I think.

    I agree LaStella is not an option as an everyday player for the Cubs. He is a nice player for there bench though.

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    In his rookie year I didn’t think that KB had the quick twitch telexes to play 3rd and he also had that that glove tap before he threw the ball. I was wrong—he gets to many balls now that he didn’t before and that hitch in his throwing is largely gone. I have no problem with him staying there but his speed would play well in LF. Does he have the arm for RF? I don’t know.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think he has the arm for RF. And the speed, range, and insticts to succeed. Frankly, that's the position I've always seen him playing long-term. But I think he stays at 3B for at least another year. We have bigger fish to fry than to do a positional re-shuffling this winter.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Cubs have the best defensive right fielder in the game signed to a long term deal. Why the discussion of Bryant to right - no chance of this happening.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    It's the offseason, where off-the-wall ideas abound. Everyone knows the Cubs need to add OBP, contact guys to the lineup. Moving KB to an OF position frees up 3B for that, plus a better defender, and gets the team a guy who hits like a right-fielder instead of the current ground-ball machine. Everything depends on available deals and moving Bryant is just another potential variable.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think the Cubs sending Bryant down to start the season at Iowa his rookie year for the first couple of weeks really "paid off" ;). Look how much his defense improved. Great move by the FO.

  • I think zobrist will bounce back next season.That wrist injury had a lot to do with his struggles.He's also on the downside but he sounded like someone ready to put in work this offseason.I think he should be in a full time utility role next season and start when the regulars get rest.Baez should be the everyday 2b.I do think happ or schwarber will get traded.Hopefully schwarber(nothing against him he's better suited as a dh) I like happs switch hitting ability and versatility,I think his high strikeouts this year was rookie growing pains.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Zobrist will be 37 next season. Age is catching up with him and he should strictly be a bench player in 2018

  • Just keep some powder dry for Harper.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I could very well be reading him wrong, but I've never thought a lot of Harper. Lots of talent, for sure, but he strikes me as a prim ma-donna who could be a detractor from the clubhouse.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Plenty of leadership in the Cubs clubhouse, from Rizzo to Lester. Many of our current stars are from his generation and and are likely to accept some of his more unique personality qualities. He’s good friends with KB. And he’s a generational talent. Yes please.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'm with you. I don't think Harper has the personal make-up that Theo and Co value.

  • In reply to Bobby Douglas:

    What is wrong with his make-up? He’s got flair and charisma that is increasingly appreciated by the younger generation of baseball fans, but aside from that quibble, have there been any news stories where teammates have bashed him (aside from Papelbon acting like a “get off my lawn” jerk) or he’s been arrested for some off-field indiscretion? I personally wouldn’t presume to know someone’s character just by the way they flaunt their hairstyle in the dugout. Regardless, Theo will do the due diligence, but it should be instructive that someone as reserved as KB calls him a close friend.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    Have too many of their own young players they will need to sign. I don't see Harper getting an offer from the Cubs.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I agree with you that the logistics could be a deterrent, particularly with the Heyward albatross, but I disagree with those above who question character.

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    I see Zo in the David Ross role next year—the consummate professional and clubhouse leader. If healthy he will still have the eye at the plate to have a high OBP but will have a part-time role. Javy should finally have the full time gig at 2nd (or SS) and Zo will give him rest instead of the other way.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think something similar Jonathan - but obviously Zobrist is a bit more useful (in a positional versatility sense) defensively and a more potent offensive threat than Grampa Ross was. Veteran leadership is something that should never be discounted though.

    Baez should be the everyday 2B guy next year - he's getting too good to be part-time. Zobrist can also still cover the corner OF spots respectably - especially if Almora and Jay are there to give solid CF defense, and 2B adequately.

    And I think I have to agree with the idea that either Happ or Schwarber is probably destined as a trading chip either this Winter, or Next. Schwarber is probably athletic enough to learn how to play 1B, and isn't a huge defensively liability in LF - but Happ may be the better guy to keep of the two. More versatile defensively, and faster.

  • The Bosio firing surprised me. Now that it's done we're starting hear things come out that we always hear after someone gets canned. But I listened to Boz many times with Ron Coomer before each game and the theme all year was "I hate walks". Boz made it clear many times that both starters and relievers were trying to be to fine and he wanted them to challenge more hitters. I'm not buying the idea that all the walks somehow come back to him. Justin Wilson is 28 yrs old, if he doesn't know how to throw a strike by now, Mike Maddux or Jim Hickey isn't gonna teach him.

    And if we're refreshing the coaching staff, can we please get some new hitting coaches? BenZo (.232/.318) hasn't hit below .268/.350 since 2010. Russell's gone nowhere in 3 years, Heyward's been a mess since he got here, KB #'s down, Schwarb fell off the earth for 3 mos. This sounds a little more serious than World Series hangover. At their ages, most of this team should be getting better, not regressing, at the plate.

    And I don't think there are many left who agree with me on this, but I desperately want them to keep Kyle Schwarber for another year. Second half #'s .894 OPS. Only 23 MLB hitters reached .900 this season, only 16 in 2016, and in 2015 only 9. Kyle made 5 errors in LF, but had 7 assists. In 2015-4 errors but also 7 assists. His embarrasing gaffes in the playoffs in 2015 and again this year on the national stage have sealed his fate as a defensive butcher, but considering LF's avg 2-3 plays a game, and we will have Almora in center, I think trading him now could come back to bite us. Legitimate 35-40 HR power just doesn't come around too often.

  • Little filter help, please

  • I will admit, Javy is my favorite Cub but still I do not see FO trading him unless they are just blown away. You don't trade a 23 year old, cost -controlled player who can play gold glove caliber defense at 3 positions, is an excellent base runner & is capable 30 hr & 100 rbi. He will never be Joey Votto but if he plays everyday, I think he will develop a better eye.

    Schwarber & Happ are obvious trade candidates but the real sleeper is Russell. If you package him and one of Schwarber or Happ that would be a pretty tempting package to any club. The Cubs need pitching, a package like that would definitely get the ball rolling on talks for Archer or any other available TOR arm. Would love Stanton, Yelich but the Cubs need a #1 or #2 starter imo.

    As someone else pointed out I really think the FO should give a good deal of thought to giving LaStella a real shot to play most days at the very least against right handers. Put him a 2nd, if you trade Russell, Javy goes to SS and maybe the Cubs do tinker with KB in the OF and/or sign a 3b?? Or just leave KB at third and who every is left from Schwarber or Happ play LF.

    Zobrist had such an excellent season in 2016, I think his expectations this year were a little high. I think next year when he is asked to play 2-3 days a week and be the primary pinch hitter, he will excel in that role. I have lost hope for Heyward, a trade would be nice but I dont see that being likely. But the team needs to face the fact he is not an everyday player right now, it would be great if the swap bad contracts but none come to mind.

  • The Cubs did not lose because they were tired. Reflex tests of Dodger and Cub players at mid and end of season from last year and this year would have the same range.
    If the Cubs and Dodgers played a 55 game series they would be close to equal.
    I suspect that a better relief corps would change the odds. Maybe more contact hitters too. 28 year old people do not get that tired a year later from walking out to a position or travelling.

  • The Cubs should start their conversations this offseason by giving the Pirates a call. G. Cole would be a the top of my list for an arm, I think a Russell Schwarber and/or Happ package would get their attention. Cole would slot in nicely in the rotation. Word is the may be looking to deal Cutch too, not pining for him but if the Pirates trade Cole & Cutch they would have a quick rebuild on the fly, with cheap productive players.

  • Highly doubt baez gets traded without an overwhelming offer.As bad as he looks in the box at times his defense & versatility is invaluable.Look at how many times he catches runners with his unique tagging ability.He gunned out trea turner who is one of the fastest players in mlb at the plate in game 5.When russell was out baez had a solid slash line and was one of the cubs best hitters and he's the best base runner on the team along with bryant & heyward.He needs to play everyday like everyone else.If baez ever stops chasing and has more plate discipline he will arguably become the best player on the cubs.he's also a great teammate if ever watch him interact with the rest of the team.Lastly joe is a big time baez fan and has been ever since he's become cubs manager I doubt theo trades baez without it being an offer he can't refuse.He struggled mightily this postseason but don't forget what he did last postseason which had much higher stakes and more pressure.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agree, I don't see Baez, Russell, Schwarber, or Happ getting traded this off season. All are first round picks with success and upside, that are still wet behind the ears. Of course, the front office guys have a good eye for projection that fans do not.

  • I look for Zo to bounce back next year. How much playing time he gets will depend on how big the bounce and his health. Also, who if any are traded. For some reason, I have noticed that age 37years is a fountain of youth and last grasp for a veteran youthful skills.

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