2018 Cubs Den Staff Predictions

It is time once again for the Cubs Den staff to make their best predictions for the upcoming 2018 Cubs season. You certainly get what you pay for with these, as evidenced by last year's results. The Cubs have an interesting campaign with a quality team, but not the same level of expectations placed on them the past two years. The Cubs Den staff clearly has no pressure of being anywhere close to correct, but hopefully it provides a little entertainment at the end of the year to see just how far off we all were.

We are going to try our best with the same 10 questions asked last year about this incarnation of the National League Chicago franchise. We will penalize for wrong answers once again because Dan's Whose Line Is It Anyway scoring was fun. So here it is.

Question 1: How many regular season wins will the Cubs have in 2018?

  • Dan Travis: 95
    Considering I did so well last year, I’m going to stick with my answer of 95 wins and a division title. I’m more skeptical about the back of the bullpen than I was a year ago, but I feel much better about the rotation than I did a year ago, so we’ll just let those two even each other out.
  • Sam Fels: 97
    I'm feeling pretty bullish. Even though the offense overall was really good last year, I feel like this one won't be as spotty. The rotation all won't get hurt either, likely. Maybe the pen is a little goofy at first, but I don't think so. It's just a really good team no matter how we try and convince ourselves something will go wrong.
  • Sean Atchley: 94
    The starting pitching is improved overall, which is key, and it seems likely that Schwarber and Russell see improvement from last season. Still, I like to play things pretty safe. I think 94 wins is a reasonable expectation for this team without going too overboard.
  • Michael Banghart: 90 
    Last year I believed in the Cubs, and was rewarded with the first step back in the Theo Epstein era. I learned my lesson, but this is a good team nonetheless. So the Cubs will win 90 games or more for the first time since World War I.
  • Michael Ernst 101
    This is a 100 win team. I think they are recharged and refocused and will get out of the gate much quicker than they did in 2017.
  • Myles Phelps: 97.5
    Let's go halfway between 2016 and 2017: 97.5
  • Stephanie Lynn: 89
  • Sean Holland: 98
    I think the Cubs win 98 games this season. The Cardinals and Brewers are decent enough to keep the Cubs below 100 wins, just barely.
  • Tom Usiak: 88
    Cubs have been lucky with injuries during this run, but with no one like
    Schwarber, Contreras, or Happ to come up at midseason, the innings will start taking
    their toll on the roster. Starting pitching will have to carry the team, as no help was gotten
    for an offense that disappeared at times last year. Bullpen is a big concern.

2. Who will be the Cubs top 3 players (in order) as measured by fWAR?

  • DT:Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras
    Boring answer, but I’m going to go with Justin GrimmPeter Bourjos, and Dario Alvarez. However, considering I had to look up that last one to make sure it was really a person on the Cubs’ roster, I’m going to switch my answer to Kris BryantAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras. Which actually is kind of a boring answer.
  • SF: Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras
    Slick Willy C is going to get bumped because of the position he plays. I don't think the Cubs have a four or five-WAR pitcher.
  • SA: Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras
    It’s hard to argue with the trio of Bryant, Rizzo, and Contreras. Imagine if Willson hadn’t missed a decent-sized chunk of last season…
  • MB: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras
    Frankly, it means something has gone terribly wrong if Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo isn't in the top two. I want to be interesting with picking a player like Ian Happ, but Happ's defense means he would have to hit a ton more than Contreras. Addison Russell or Javier Baez might have the best shot given their defensive position and skills, but there are enough questions about their bat that it is hard to pick against a solid defensive, clean up hitting catcher.
  • ME: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras.
    Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras. They are the most important players and will hit in the heart of the order all season. They all happen to make defensive contributions as well.
  • MP: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez
    I feel like you can just kinda slot in KB and Rizzo every year. But it's always the third guy that makes it more difficult. Let's go KB, Rizzo, Javy.
  • SL: Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo
  • SH: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras.
    The heart of the Cubs lineup should be it's top WAR producers. Not to mention quality defense from all three.
  • TU: Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, and Kyle Hendricks
    Look for a bounce back from Hendricks.

3. Who will be the Cubs top pitcher as measured by fWAR?

  • DT: Jose Quintana
    Assuming there’s going to be a lot of Yu Darvish love here, so I’m going to go with Jose Quintana. If I had to lose my baby boy Eloy, then Q owes me a monster season.
  • SF: Kyle Hendricks
    I don't know why. I think he's just going to do '16 stuff over again here. Darvish and Lester will be around three to four WAR but Kyle could push five. Again, based on only a feeling I have.
  • SA: Jose Quintana
    Yu Darvish is bright and shiny, but I’m going to go with Q. Here’s to a full season of Quintana pitching with a real club, and another potentially brilliant defense behind him.
  • MB: Yu Darvish
    This is certainly a harder question than the position player one. The Cubs have four very good starters that all could make a solid case for at this point in time. Jon Lester showed the first signs of Father Time catching up with him after being the unquestioned leader of the staff, but I don't think anyone wants to bet against Lester bouncing back this season. Kyle Hendricks with more than a get me over curve is exciting. Jose Quintana might be the most underappreciated pitcher in baseball today, but I've got to go with the guy I banged the table all offseason to go get. Yu Darvish was special when he first came over from NPB. Everyone is different, but Darvish has shown signs of a possible breakout as he fully recovers from Tommy John. More likely though I have put the whammy on Yu since I am Baseball Costanza.
  • ME: Kyle Hendricks
    It is his time and I think this is going to become his staff. The kid gloves are off and I think he will throw a career high in innings.
  • MP: Kyle Hendricks
    I'd love for it to be Darvish. But I really think Hendricks comes out hot and stays hot. So let's give it to The Professor.
  • SL: Yu Darvish
  • SH: Kyle Hendricks
    I would really like to go with Yu Darvish, but I hesitate just a touch to see how he adjusts. So my answer is Kyle Hendricks, despite a slow start last year he finished strong.
  • TU: Kyle Hendricks
    Hendricks will be focused and determined to show he is one of the best pitchers in baseball.

4. Who will lead the Cubs in HRs?

  • DT: Kris Bryant
    I’m seeing a huge bounce back following his “disappointing” season as Kris Bryant notches his first 40 homer season.
  • SF: Kyle Schwarber
    He nearly did it last year and he wasn't even here for a few weeks. He'll get more opportunities and break 35 or so.
  • SA: Anthony Rizzo
    Until somebody knocks him off the top, I’m going to go with Rizzo. Could Schwarber hit 40+? Sure, but Tony’s my favorite, and he’s led the team since his first full season, so…
  • MB: Kris Bryant
    As long as Kris Bryant is a Cub (hopefully forever), he will be my answer to most HRs for the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo is a metronome, and Kyle Schwarber has a ton of raw power. The ball absolutely explodes off of Javier Baez's bat, but the best combination of raw and in game power is still Kris Bryant to my untrained eye. I think Bryant gets 40 this year, and there is 50 or more home runs in that bat at some point.
  • ME: Kris Bryant
    Schwarber will likely lead in HR/PA, but Bryant should be close and will likely receive more PAs.
  • MP: Ian Happ
    The kid is going to have a hell of a year.
  • SL: Anthony Rizzo
  • SH: Anthony Rizzo
    I think this is the year Anthony Rizzo gets close to 40 homers, so I'll go with him.
  • TU: Anthony Rizzo
    The line-up is constructed for Rizzo to lead the team in that category. It would be Bryant hands down if he batted third in the line-up.

5. Who will lead the Cubs in OBP?

  • DT: Anthony Rizzo
    He will be helped by another 20+ HBPs putting him on base and I just love the two strike approach that will lead to more soft singles to the weak side of the shift.
  • SF: Kris Bryant
    Rizzo isn't going to hit for the same average and they both will walk a ton.
  • SA: Anthony Rizzo
    Until somebody knocks him off the top, I’m going to go with Rizzo. Could Schwarber hit 40+? Sure, but Tony’s my favorite, and he’s led the team since his first full season, so…
  • MB: Kris Bryant
    I think this is the year Kris Bryant emerges as the clear cut offensive heart of this team. Bryant is a special player and I think he carries the load out of the 2 hole from here on out.
  • ME: Kris Bryant
    He will post his second consecutive .400+ OBP.
  • MP: Anthony Rizzo
    The OBP won't let him be.
  • SL: Ian Happ
  • SH: Kris Bryant
    Kris Bryant's OBP has gone up every season, so I think he leads again this year.
  • TU: Kris Bryant
    Depends on how you look at it. Tommy La Stella will probably have one of the best, but will not get enough at bats to qualify as a starter. In that case, go with Kris Bryant.

6. Which Cubs will be named all-stars?

  • DT: Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Willson Contreras
    We all got a bit too enthusiastic about this one last year so I’m going to show some restraint and pick Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish and Willson Contreras as Cubs making the trip to D.C. this July. Rizzo gets squeezed out by the deep 1B class in the N.L., especially among the bad teams who are required to be represented. (Hi Joey!)
  • SF: Rizzo, Bryant, Hendricks, Schwarber, Contreras
  • SA: Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras
  • MB: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow
  • ME: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, Javier Baez
  • MP: KB, Javy, Rizzo, Darvish, Happ
  • SL: Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Willson Contreras
    At least one from that group has to make it, right?
  • SH: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, Javy Baez, and Kyle Hendricks
    I think Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, Javy Baez, and Kyle Hendricks go to the ASG this season.
  • TU: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks

7. Which Cubs will win Gold Gloves?

  • DT: Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo
    Another category where we overdid things last season, so I’m going to go with Jason Heyward and hopefully Anthony Rizzo hits well enough to win another one.
  • SF: Willson Contreras
    We will start a movement to get Contreras one and it will catch on because people are sick of Yadier and Buster.
  • SA: Heyward and Baez
  • MB: Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Jason Heyward
    This is the worst award because of how much incumbency matters and just how hard it is to measure defense. I think this is the year Baez breaks through with the majority of the time at 2B, and the incumbents hold onto their titles.
  • ME: Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward
  • MP: Javier Baez
    His is the one true glove.
  • SL: Javy Baez
  • SH: Rizzo, Baez, Contreras
    Rizzo, Baez, Contreras win Gold Gloves. My bold prediction is Heyward doesn't, because his playing time gets reduced.
  • TU: None
    Rizzo, Baez, Contreras win Gold Gloves. My bold prediction is Heyward doesn't, because his playing time gets reduced.

8. Top Rookie Contributor:

  • DT: Dillon Maples
    Can I pass? Not seeing much of an opportunity for any rookies to break in and if anyone of them gets enough playing time to make a contribution, then something has gone seriously wrong. I guess I’ll go with Dillon Maples and hope he plus a 2015 CJ Edwards and puts up some crazy strikeout numbers in a limited role.
  • SF: Dillon Maples
    I'm really bullish on Dillon Maples. If he can keep it in the zip code he could be dominant.
  • SA: Dillon Maples
    Not a lot to choose from, here. Maples? Caratini? Zagunis? I’ll go with Maples. He’s the most likely to have a major impact, as bullpens always fluctuate. The other guys only get major playing time if there’s an injury to a key player. Hope Maples can build on a solid 2017 campaign, and harness command of his electric stuff.
  • MB: David Bote
    I tried last year to be cute and take a relief pitcher, but I think there is always going to be an injury. Bote is going to be an intriguing guy, and he can play many roles when the inevitable injury pops up.
  • ME: Victor Caratini
    Victor Caratini likely only sees enough time to make a difference via injury. So, hoping/assuming that does not occur I think the only rookie capable of forcing his way on to the roster for the majority of the season is Dillon Maples. Adbert Alzolay could have the most postseason impact as a bullpen piece however.
  • MP: Dillon Maples
    I don't know if he's technically a rookie this year, but I think Dillon Maples is going to break out. He's the got the talent and now he's got the stage.
  • SL: Victor Caratini
  • SH: Adbert Azolay
    This is tough because no impact rookies are really around, I'll go dark horse and say Adbert Alzolay is a late call up and is effective out of the pen.
  • TU: Adbert Alzolay
    The front office has basically outlawed any rookie contributions this season, but if pressed, Adbert Alzolay will have the most positive results.

9. Who is the comeback or breakthrough Player of the Year?

  • DT: Willson Contreras
    I think the obvious answer here is Ian Happ, but I worry about the playing time split limiting his potential. So instead I’m going to pick Willson Contreras to make a big jump this season which can only mean great things for Happ in 2018.
  • SF: Tyler Chatwood
    Tough one. Almora doesn't really count because he was pretty good last year. Let's go with Chatwood. I'm pretty bullish on him too.
  • SA: Justin Wilson
    I mean, he HAS to be better, right?
  • MB: Addison Russell
    We've beenn waiting on the offensive breakout from Addison Russell for so long, and so with his dip in production I am calling for the breakout finally happening in 2018. We were promised Barry Larkin and we have received a pretty good shortstop instead. Maybe Larkin shows up this year.
  • ME: Addison Russell
    We are still waiting for Addison Russell to break through offensively, I do think he manages to take a step forward there this year. With improved health he should re-establish his high level of defense at shortstop. I'm expecting a 4+ WAR season.
  • MP: Ian Happ
    He's going to breakthrough so hard you may have to buy a new TV.
  • SL: Kyle Schwarber
  • SH: Kyle Scwarhber
    Last year Schwarber wasn't an option in this category. But he is this year and he's my choice.
  • TU: Addison Russell
    Russell played distracted last season and had injuries. With his past behind him and injury free, Russell will show the growth most expected of him last season. Russell is also determined to show that HE is the best shortstop on the team.

10. How far do the Cubs get in 2018?

  • DT: NLCS appearance
    I do think the Cubs will repeat and make it to the NLCS in 2018. The problem I have is that it’s tough for me to see them getting home field advantage in the very top heavy National League. Washington will play roughly half its schedule against N.L. East teams who really aren’t good at baseball (though the Phillies could be decent), which could lead to a repeat of 2017 where a slugfest in the NLDS leaves a very weary Cubs team heading in to the NLCS. But the Cubs (currently) have the deepest rotation among the N.L. contenders which will be no fun for whoever they face in a playoff series.
  • SF: World Series Champions
    What's the point of saying anything other than they're going to win the series? That's what we do now. Their only challenger is the Dodgers. The Nationals, even if they end up with Arrieta, will have Harper drama all season.
  • SA: NLCS appearance
    ey make it to their 4th straight NLCS. There will be gnashing of teeth on Cubs Twitter, and people will call for Joe’s head. Theo and Jed will assuage our fears during the off-season with a major signing and a big trade.
  • MB NLDS appearance
    Baseball Costanza powers activate!
  • ME: World Series Champs
    They are the best team. The best team does not always win, but they do have the best chance in my eye, with depth in AAA at multiple positions to absorb minor injuries and the payroll flexibility to add at the Major League level if needed. Looking forward to a Cubs-Astros matchup.
  • MP: NLCS Appearance
    I believe the NLCS is again in their grasp. But the expectations I think will be greater than 2017. Repeating is hard. But when you reload in pitching like the Cubs have, fans and media are going to expect more. It's going to be fun as heck.
  • SL: NLDS Appearance
    I don’t think so. The division will be right with Milwaukee and St. Louis, so I think winning the NL Central will be as far as they go.
  • SH: NLCS Appearance
    I think the Cubs win their division again in 2018, but my pessimism can never be fully buried. So I think they lose the NLCS to the Dodgers again.
  • TU: NLDS Appearance
    The Cubs will do what they are supposed to do: beat up on lower competition and struggle against the better teams. They will also get some resistance from the Brewers and Cardinals. The Cubs will make the playoffs, but exit before the LCS.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Really surprised no one predicted “just” a World Series appearance.

  • My predictions (hope this is OK because I really don't know what this year will bring):
    1. 100 - right on the nose
    2. Bryant, Rizzo, Hendricks - not necessarily in that order. If he stays healthy I think Lester will be in the mix, too.
    3. Hendricks although Lester may surprise everyone this year.
    4. Rizzo or Schwarber - I'll lean toward Scwarber
    5. KB - with a dangerous but DP-capable Rizzo batting behind him, KB will be pitched around a lot.
    6. KB, Rizzo, Hendricks, Schwarber, Contreras, Baez
    7. Heyward & Rizzo
    8. Maples - methinks the BP will need someone to step up from the minors this year
    9. Schwarber
    10. Da Champs of course

  • The number of prognosticators suffering from recency bias is astounding. Ernst is the closest to reflecting the ACTUAL indicators of this team (and not fear of being too 'out there' given last year's overly optimistic submissions).

    I remember how badly I was ridiculed in 2016 for suggesting the Cubs had a shot at 105 and this team - in my estimation - is far better in EVERY regard from experience to every facet of the game. We think the competition is better every year. Health counts of course but I'm expecting historic offensive, defensive and pitching. Because I'm a Cub fan and I can. :-)

  • In reply to TheCHISportsFan:

    I'm expecting this club to finish top 3 in pitching, offense and defense.
    They also have one of the top 3 coaching staffs and front offices. While the farm system won't provide another all-star caliber player this year the AAA squad has plenty of useful depth players and a couple of potential starters.

    At least two if the young hitters will take a step forward in terms of consistency. This team is young, talented and experienced.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Honestly the Cubs have plenty of AS level talent at the MLB level. I would be OK with using AAA for "spare parts" if necessary. That wouldn't be a bad thing in my mind.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Overall this is the best Cubs team top to bottom that are about to be fielded in my lifetime. I cannot speak of 20's or 30's but alas those teams fell short of the WS, but they did beat the entire NL.

    There is basically only two questions, both involve pitchers down the depth charts in Grimm and Butler. and trading them in March would not harm either the MLB roster effectiveness, nor the organizational depth.

    Unlike te unknown promise of 2016's roster this roster now matured where previous very youthful key contributors (Bryant, Russell, Baez, Schwarber, Contreras, Hendricks, Edwards, Montgomery, Almora with Happ entering his sophomore year) Pitching actually might be stronger both from the SP'ing and the bullpen. To me the only question is Morrow, staying healthy and effective.

    Predictions:

    1. 101 wins (without any major long term injury)
    .
    2. Top three fWAR (I like fWAR just a tad better though I think pitching still needs an additional exponential value for SP'ing getting outs after inning 7 and relief pitching getting outs before inning 7 as in holds.)

    Bryant, Quintana, Contreras, Bryant is the best player on the field everyday he plays.

    3.Quintana (esp if he is the 2nd highest fWAR on the team). Q following Darvish in the rotation will drive team fits as the angle and approach will have teams either looking or hitting weak contact.
    #2 will be Hendricks, followed by Darvish & Lester together.

    4. Schwarber, who will find the mid 40's with HR's while Bryant and Rizzo will again make the mid 30's.

    5. Rizzo will continue with his OBP and also be in the top of the league with OPS his goal is to eclipse his friend playing in Cincinnati.

    6. Bryant, Contreras, Quintana, Rizzo and Baez

    7. Heyward, Baez, Rizzo, Contreras.

    8. Caratini, I think two things happen. Catching always seems to get hurt and two I think his bat and ability to play a bit 3B forces him up on the club. Azolay might emerge in August as the fresh arm out of the pen.

    9. Schwarber, then Baez, debatable as both emerge as everyday stars.

    10. WS win!!! The best team in baseball.

  • Who will be the top 5 hitters and top 5 pitchers in the farm system

  • fb_avatar

    95 wins at least. This pitching staff is better than last year and possibly than in 2016 (the whole staff.) They made it to the NLCS with a much poorer defensive team and having a number of players having down years. This year we will be better defensively, better staff, bullpen stronger--Maples will be a big part, comeback player I see as Wilson, with possibly Shwarber having a very good whole year, and a GG Baez and Heyward with possibly Contreras as well.
    I'm not as excited as I was in 2016 because that was a special Spring Training and start to the year, but I am more confident this year.
    WS Champions in 2018.

  • Outside of Mr. Phelps, not much love for Ian Happ here... I think he makes it very hard for Joe not to put him in the lineup. There are so many "ifs" in the outfield, including the possibility of injury, that I can easily see Happ as a regular corner outfielder.

    I was surprised that only Mr. Ernst boldly went for 100+ wins.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I tend to agree. But Joe will string him along as lead off is as much a mental game as it is physical. Joe never is comfortable with a set lineup, esp in Chicago and its schedule until late.

    So Almora and Zobrist will get playing time.

  • fb_avatar

    Steve Stone just said Quintana will lead the Cubs in wins this year. So Jose is clearly doomed.

    He also said Eloy will be a star, so we traded a AAAA player for a doomed pitcher.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    While neither side "wins" this would mean that neither side "loses" either.

  • I'm feeling the Javy love. I believe he has top-15 league MVP talent in him, and I think Chili Davis has the right mental approach to bring it out.

    As far as wins go, I can't argue with TTP: 117, BABY! Don't quote me on that number, because I'll just be happy with the 11 after that.

    Go Cubs!

  • For all the excitement about the ST record, today's stats are telling. Heyward, Bryant & Z were 0 huts, 5 Ks and 7 LOB. Heyward has changed very little with his swing with a K and GDP yesterday. You go ahead and just keep playing him Joe. IMO he will bring the whole team down. MVP my rear.

  • I predict Maddon will move Heyward out of the top 6 in the order by July 8th.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I think Heyward starts the year in the 7 hole and stays there. But I do think he will have a good year.

  • In reply to John57:

    Hope you are right that would be great. That would really extend the lineup.

  • fb_avatar

    I might as well throw my hat in the ring. Not that any of these are based on much of anything:
    1. 98 Wins

    2. Bryant, Rizzo, Quintana - The first two are easy. I have a feeling we are going to like Quintana

    3. Quintana

    4. Rizzo. Is it possible for him to hit 35-40 HR "quietly"?

    5. Rizzo. The guy is an OBP machine. If he keeps his K and BB totals close to the same he will be hard for Bryant to overtake

    6. Bryant, Rizzo, Quintana, Contreras (Bryant will be the only "starter" of the bunch)

    7. Heyward and Rizzo will win GG. There is more "inertia" in GG voting, IMO, than in most other awards. It is hard to unseat someone once they have a "string" goind.

    8. Victor Caratini. The guy can just plain hit. And if Maddon needs to give Contreras some time off behind the plate Caratini will be the guy. He isn't as good of a defensive catcher and certainly doesn't have the arm of Contreras. But he would be less of a step down than previous "back-up catchers" have been

    9. Heyward. I am going to go out on a limb here. I have a hard time believing that Heyward has so completely lost his ability to be a really good baseball player. Schwarber would be another obvious choice. But I am going to go with Heyward. Though I am sure I will catch some flak for it.

    10. WS Appearance. Possibly a win. I would be disappointed if we don't make it to the NLCS. Winning a WS is really hard. I won't put it past this bunch, but I think it will be very hard. Though not as hard as the first one.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I keep wondering if Tommy La Stella is pushed by Caratini who might be a better bat off the bench who can play corner IF positions if needed. Tommy might return a useful player in a mid season injury or opportunity acquisition.

  • I think this is a 95 win team in a year where no NL team wins much more than that. The challenge is going to be Washington but I feel pretty good about predicting the Cubs in the World Series against the Yankees.

  • In reply to TC154:

    You are killing me. I read through all these and was ready to type Cubs vs Yankees in the World Series. LOL. And Schwarber hits one off the scoreboard against Severino to pay back Ruth. Haha!!!!

    I call for 102 wins
    KB wins MVP with an 8 WAR season
    Top “rookie” — Cubs sign Holland in May for a $7MM deal
    Heyward and Russell lose significant at bats for Zobrist and Happ

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think WAS will struggle. There is always something when a team expected to compete for the WS falls two steps short years in a row.

    I also think the Nat's might make some trades in the mid season.

  • Twins ink Lynn to a 1 yr deal. Cobb or Arrieta next? I predict Cobb.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I'd guess Cobb as well. I think it was Joel who commented a couple weeks ago that he could see Jake holding out past opening day, and I agreed. Arrieta is a proud and confident man, and could possibly wait until a contender loses a front-line starter to injury before he signs. I just hope it's before June so we don't lose our compensatory draft pick.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I could see that too. My theory is that it’s a combination of the money & hiding a “tired” or sore arm for Arrieta. I think the pitch counts mounted up on him especially in high leverage situations. Not saying he’s damaged, just saying the extra time he waits doesn’t hurt him & is good excuse to keep holding out for bigger bucks.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    That's an interesting theory about the arm issues. I openly speculated last season that I saw signs of a possible shoulder issue with some of the mechanical adjustments he was making. There's been a lot of speculation this offseason that the Cubs lack of interest in re-signing him, coupled with the obvious need and eventual signing of Darvish, raised red flags throughout the league. "What do the Cubs know about his health that is preventing them from pursuing him harder?". I believe we just didn't want to sign him long-term because he will quickly decline in production, but there could be underlying arm issues.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And of course, now, according to mlbtr, Dave Nightingale tweets Arrieta might sign in the next couple days.... Phillies being the leading contender of several teams. Ha ha. We’ll see...

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I think agents are reading Cubs Den and passing along our expert insight. They owe us a commission,, or at least a beer and an autograph.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Ha ha! Yes they do because they know we’re fart smellers, I mean smart fellers... ;o)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't think he waits until Opening Day. I think he follows Lance Lynn and simply signs a 1-year deal and hope he doesn't get hurt.

    As for the Twins signing Lynn I think this was a BRILLIANT move by them. I think MLBTR reported it is for 1/$12M. That is a STEAL for them. If they are doing well he will have a high likelihood of being a big part of it. If they struggle there might be a market materializing at the trade deadline.

    All that said, though, simply holding out and waiting for a team to lose their "front line starter" might be an interesting strategy. I don't recall anyone ever doing that before. Not that it is a bad idea but because usually these guys are snapped up by the middle of January.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    There is a rumor out there now that Arrieta is likely to sign in the next offseason. The biggest loser this offseason, IMO, is Scott Boras. Having nearly every one of his players go to free agency, and having nearly all wait until the end of free agency, has been a disaster. If I’m Baez, Russell, Happ, or Schwarber (maybe even Bryant) and the Cubs offer a reasonable long term contract, I may jump at it.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I mean Arrieta sign in the next few days! I often write my little comments as a distraction while my two kids are going nuts and the dog is baking up a storm. Sadly, the quality of my posts likely represent the chaos!

  • I’m gonna say 99 wins. Bryant, Happ, Schwarbs top 3 in order in war just edging Rizzo. Darvish top pitcher narrowly by slim margin over the other 3 top guys. Put their names in a hat... Happ w/35 HRs. Bryant narrowly beats Rizzo for OBP. Bryant, Happ, Schwarber, Hendricks & Morrow to All star game. Contreras & Baez GGers. Maples top rook contributor only because anyone else like Bote, Zagunis, etc... would only be called up just to be back up/bench roles & wouldn’t see much PT. Schwarber’s my come backer of OA & position players, Lester for SPs & Wilson for BP. Happ is my quasi break through. And finally, yes, another World Series for the Cubs.

    Expounding on the WS, I think the Cubs make some sort of go for it move at dead line. Not sure what that move is, closer, set up, or big hitter/leadoff man. But I just sense they either preempt/block a division contender’s move or just won’t be sitting on their hands if they see a shot to improve somewhere.

  • Word is Jake just signed; 3 years with the Phillies, dollars not disclosed as of yet. Is it selfish of me that my first reaction was "Good, now the Cubs get another pick.."?

    With Lynn off the board as well, are the Brewers going to stand pat or feel like they're now forced to sign Cobb for whatever he wants?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to JTWilson:

    3/75. In this market, Boras deserves a medal for that deal.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Indeed..although now (barring an extension) his next contract will be entering his age 35 year and he might not get another multiyear deal.

    Two years ago, he might have gotten 7/175 (at minimum!) by Thanksgiving; that was when Price got 7/217 and Greinke got 6/206.5. Those two should consider themselves extremely fortunate they got what could be the last of the huge SP free agent bonanzas.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to JTWilson:

    Yeah, I feel for the guys on the market this winter. Between the CBA and the crazy-insane class next year, they got clobbered.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    $25 MM/Year isn't bad at all for the Phills and still is a solid set of paydays for Jake. I wish him luck, success, and health in Philly - against everybody but the Cubs that is.

  • In reply to JTWilson:

    Yeah. Not too bad a deal. Thought Cobb would’ve signed 1st. But, he should be next. Where does he go? Hopefully to AL & not NL Central.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Milk Stout:

    The Brewers make a ton of sense, unfortunately.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Shhh... don’t say them or St. Louie. Im thinking the Pi rats old use a poor mans replacement ToR if nothing but to combat the “not investing $$ into players” vilification.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    *”could”* use... Something’s messed up w/my auto uncorrect...

  • Question 1: How many regular season wins will the Cubs have in 2018?
    I’m predicting 95 wins. The Cubs won’t start off as sluggishly this season as they did during 2017, which should net them a couple extra wins over the course of the season. Milwaukee will be good enough to keep up most, if not all, season – so the Cubs won’t get to coast into the end of the year and will keep pressing.
    Question 2: Who will be the Cubs top 3 players (in order) as measured by fWAR?
    Bryant, Rizzo, and Russell – with Contreras hot on their heels. I’m tempted to go with Schwarber, but think he’s still going to be a work in progress in LF and that will drag his overall rating down a bit.
    Question 3: Who will be the Cubs top pitcher as measured by fWAR?
    Hendricks and then Darvish. Lester and Quintana will be solid, but I think Hendricks comes out on top of the list.
    Question 4: Who will lead the Cubs in HRs?
    I’ll go with the same prediction that I made last season,… Schwarber. I’m also thinking that each of Schwarber, Bryant, Rizzo and Happ have a chance to top 30 HR if they stay healthy.
    Question 5: Who will lead the Cubs in OBP?
    After last season, it’s hard to not go with Bryant. I think each of Bryant, Rizzo, Schwarber, Heyward and Almora top 0.350 OBP. I might be overly optimistic with Heyward though.
    Question 6: Which Cubs will be named all-stars?
    Bryant, Rizzo, and Hendricks
    Question 7: Which Cubs will win Gold Gloves?
    Heyward is the easy pick, assuming that he gets the lion’s share of the starts. Rizzo will get one as well.
    Question 8: Top Rookie Contributor:
    Does Happ still qualify as a rookie? If so – Happ. If not, then Dillon Maples.
    Question 9: Who is the comeback or breakthrough Player of the Year?
    Kyle Schwarber will be the ‘comeback’ player of the year because he will put together a complete season improved in the OF defensively, and because he will put up offensive numbers better than those in his second half of 2017, but for over the course of that full season. Russell may give him a run for that honor though if he can stay healthy.
    Question 10: How far do the Cubs get in 2018?
    I think they make it to the World Series and then it’s the usual ‘coin toss’ as to which team is healthier and hotter that last week or so of October and pulls out the win.

Leave a comment