2018-2019 Free Agent Class: What's the Worst Starting Lineup Possible?

Now that the Cubs are out of the postseason (were they ever really in it?), it's inevitably time to turn our focus, as fans, to the offseason. This is always a fun time. But this year in particular is going to be even funner (fine, "more fun"). The 2018-2019 free agent class is pretty stacked (understatement). There are names like Harper, Machado, Kershaw (maybe), Bumgarner (maybe). There are even lesser household names like Marwin Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal available as well. Oh the possibilities!

Personally, I can't wait for the postseason to end. I think the Cubs potential to land some very large household names is very good. Let's just keep extending that competitive window, eh?

But in looking through who was available while preparing for our most recent podcast, it got me thinking, with all the awesome talent available on the open market, what's the worst possible team you could field with only the players available to sign this year? How bad could we make it...really?

So with that thought, I started combing through Fangraphs to see if I could find the real opposites of "diamonds in the rough." Would that be just "rough?" Or maybe even "turds in the rough?"

I took a few things into consideration when trying to put together this All-Star Turd team.

  1. Only their 2018 production
  2. At least 80 games played
  3. Slash line
  4. Errors Committed
  5. Total fWAR
  6. ERA
  7. FIP

Are there other more mathematical approaches to this? Most definitely. Are these the only stats you should take into consideration when deciding who and who not to sign as a baseball club? Not even close. But I wanted to make it easy. So here we are.

I used the MLBTR site as the basis for the 2018-2019 free agents. You can find that here.

[Before I go down my starting lineup, let me say one quick thing about all these guys: they are still professional athletes. They would all be better than me at so so so SO many different things. And they've all worked extremely hard to get out of the minors and into the major leagues. Because of that, I don't want to poo poo on their individual careers. Instead, all I'm saying is that if you were to put these types of players on the same team at the same time for 162 games, it would be very bad.]

All-Turd Starting Lineup:

screen-shot-2018-10-10-at-1-57-56-pm

 

Woof. Amirite? Cubs fans probably remember batflippin' Valbuena who was part of the organization before they really got back on top (I always liked him). And Cubs fans definitely remember Rajai Davis for obvious reasons. But there really isn't a lot to like about that lineup especially when the combined fWAR is in the negatives. I guess one positive would be the potential backstop presence of Mesoraco. His problem has never been his talent, it's always been his ability to stay on the field. And sadly, 2018 was probably one of his better years simply because he played.

What do you think of this list? What's yours?

Stay tuned for the pitching version of this exercise.

 

Comments

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  • Yet any of these players listed probably hit for higher average than any Cub this year with RISP.

  • In reply to Squareburgers:

    Burn.

  • Beginning in 2018, there will be an extra penalty for teams in that second category, Cooper notes. A team that spends above $237MM will also have its top draft pick lowered ten spots, unless that pick is in the top six, in which case the team’s second pick will be lowered ten spots.

    As Cooper points out, the new rule could be a significant deterrent to teams hoping to be among baseball’s biggest spenders, since teams are generally quite protective of early-round draft picks.

  • In reply to shalin:

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/07/new-cba-to-penalize-high-payroll-teams-with-lowered-draft-picks.html

  • Reading that Kris Bryant turned down a 200 million plus dollar extension is insulting to anybody who has worked hard all there life.
    I would like the Cubs to trade Kris for a nice package of starters and prospects.
    David Bote can play a better 3rd base than Kris. If his batting average is 25 points lower than Kris, so be it. Screw Scott Boras and
    his high priced clients. When Boras clients don't produce, I don't see him offering money back discounts.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    That rumor was shot down by several cub reporters. Kaplan is very plugged but apparently not accurate on this one.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I hope you're right. I read this extension came from different sources.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Bolla I'm not sure if you know but does Dave kaplan work for ESPN now? I could've swore I saw ESPN's Dave Kaplan reports.......if that's the case I'm guessing that means CSN or NBC sports net or whatever isn't gonna be the cubs tv provider next season

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Next year is wgn/nbcsports/abc last year broadcasting the cubs the cubs are under contract with these networks thru 2019.Kaplan still works for nbc sports but he also works for espn radio 1000

  • In reply to bolla:

    Meant next year as in the 2020 season but thanks for the clear up I was confused seeing espns David Kaplan reports.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Bote took off like a rocket. One if the fastest static to have meaning is exit velocity (about 90 PA’s).
    The mistake he made was after he hit that walk off grand slam, was go on live tv and expose his weakness (he basically said, I was looking down, because if it was up, I had no chance).
    It would have been nice to see an adjustment to have an idea, going into next year. His defense is stellar at 3rd and probably 2cnd. He’s got the work ethic, can play multiple positions, but how many guys do we see that have been ‘rushed’ and couldn’t make the adjustments to MLB pitching.
    I’m rooting fir him.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I respectfully disagree. What athletes do in contract negotiations has no bearing on our lives.

    The cubs not bringing him up earlier was disrespectful of him and how hard he had been working to become a mlb player.

    I'm glad the cubs did what they did, but they clearly violated the "in good faith" aspect of the service time rule.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I've seen articles trashing Kris Bryant for turning that down. Who is out there writing the article trashing Rizzo for hurting his own earnings by signing the deal he and the Cubs made back in 2012 (or '13)? Bryant made more in his first arbitration year than Rizzo did in the fourth year of his contract.

    Do they all get paid too much? Probably so, but I don't begrudge anyone who tries to negotiate a deal that will pay them well in a job that is short-lived in an industry that generates as much money as it does.

  • In reply to Sean Atchley:

    Well said. Nobody seems upset about the Cubs attempt to maximize profits by underpaying Bryant for his talents. Business is business - both parties (team and player) negotiate for the most advantageous deal.

  • In reply to Sean Atchley:

    Other than that these guys probably get paid too much, I agree. They get paid what they're worth. Baseball is a $9 billion dollar industry. The players are the money-makes for these organizations and for the league. No one is forcing owners to give them these contracts, and no one is forcing fans to show up by the millions or to tune in 162+ times/year.
    But again, they absolutely should get every penny someone is willing to pay them. Anyone upset about an athlete making an extra $10M is upset about millionaires taking money from billionaires. Saying Bryant "turning down an enormous offer is insulting to someone who works hard all their life" (as if Bryant hasn't worked hard all his life) is like saying a middle class blue collar worker taking a promotion is insulting to a fast food fry cook who works 50 hours a week.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Nailed it Kramerica!!!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kramerica20:

    I agree completely with the comments about Kris having the right to get paid as much as he can from an industry that is being firehosed with money. But he is taking a gamble. This shoulder problem can become chronic & he is not going to be a free agent until he is 30. He is not going to get a 10 year contract at that age. If next season is similar to this one, the Cubs (who already have enough bad contracts) & their fans will be happy that he said no. This gives him the incentive to have the best possible 2019 & 2020 seasons, but a player's body can break down no matter the work ethic as David Wright's & Troy Glaus' careers show.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Great post.I think his beaning affected him the rest of the year and wonder if it will continue in the future?

  • Cubs fired chili davis!!

  • fb_avatar

    I like Bote a lot. Defense is a huge part of the game and he definitely has that. His offense needs to adjust but that’s the name of the game. I wouldn’t mind seeing him starting off as our 3rd baseman next season.
    I don’t know if Chili was a scapegoat or not—the first half of the season we were among the top teams in the league so what happened in the 2nd half? Was it his fault? Idk.

  • 3rd hitting coach in 3 years... at what point does it become a roster problem or blame on the front office?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    You're absolutely correct ! Too many different coaches can cause confusion.
    Bote's only a rookie. If he can bring up his batting average the Cubs will have another star on their hands.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Nobody said that the roster isn't part of the problem or that the front office doesn't share some of the blame. Firing an ineffective pitching coach isn't the only move they'll make, but it is a necessary one.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Not sure if you meant pitching coach. I defended the coaches last season too. They are not the problem. If you have pretty much the same roster for 3 years and Theo isn’t happy with end results. I know where Theo should look. Not sure infective is the right word to use to describe Chili. He did have a runner up MVP.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Let me frame this up in a business context. If a sales department falls woefully short of previous production because of strategies and tactics implemented by a new VP/Pres/CEO, who gets fired? The leader, VP/Pres/CEO, of the group long with some of the poorest front-line sales performers. Why do you fail to grasp this concept? Chili FAILED, period. He was responsible for the entire Offense. It became BRUTAL and as pointed out we scored 0-1 run 40 times. That is abysmal and woeful. He is being held accountable. And guess what. Some of the poor performers are going to be held accountable too and moved off the Cubs. If you cannot acknowledge that a coach has impact and it is “all on the players” then there is really no discussion. I’ve seen multiple posts from you saying there is no blame on coaches. That is an unfathomable position, tbh.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I love the personal attacks when trying to prove a point. Is chili really the leader of the team. Isn’t joe or Theo the CEO of the group? I don’t agree with Chili failed. Did the cubs offense struggle yes. Did the struggle before chili arrived?? Oh yes. He helped Baez be runner up in MVP. As much as I don’t care for Jason but Jason had his best season as a cub. Zo had a great year as well. When you are going on your 3rd hitting coach in 3 years and have kept the same roster for those years it isn’t a good look. I believe more blame should go on the manager. The manager over sees the coaches and if there is a difference in philosophy it should be addressed but Theo should have known this when cubs offered Chili. Cubs have gotten rid of pitching coach and hitting coaches and it hasn’t worked. I never said the don’t deserve any blame. But to blame chili for Rizzo cold start or Wilson’s lack of power and Happ couldn’t hit a beach ball is insane. TBH

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Where is my personal attack? I disagreed with your position that coaches are not to blame and I just can't understand how you form that opinion. It's not a personal attack. I disagree with your take on this subject. I did not call you names or get personal other than disagree with you.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don’t care if we disagree but when u say that why do you fail to grasp this concept is personal. If you want to debate points then let’s go but to attack me then move along. And to put words in my mouth is sad. Never said no blame but to have 3 hitting coaches in 3 years isn’t a good look.

    Let’s get rid of the strength and conditioning coach since we are getting hurt left and right????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    “Fail to grasp this concept”is not a personal attack. It is a legitimate question based on your dismissing that the coach in charge of hitting having any culpability.

    Whatever dude.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Right, I meant hitting coach, not pitching coach. I know we disagree on the impact of the coaching staff. In my view, when you have a young team with a large number of players in their first few years of MLB experience, the right coaching is essential if those prospects are to develop to their potential. Coaching can be the difference between a player reaching floor, ceiling, or somewhere in between. On top of this are the comments of several players in exit interviews that Chili "messed with their swings," the visual evidence being the MLB leading ground ball percentage.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    These guys are not young in experience. I will argue having 3 hitting coaches in 3 years is more confusing on a player. I guarantee if you ask a player about which coach helped them with their swing they will go back to early playing days. Once they get to the big show they don’t get influenced as much. To me it is more about preparing these hitters with advance scouting or if struggling then they will help them psychologically. But at some point these guys are who they are.
    Maybe we can get Bryce Harper Dad to be hitting coach?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    What good would Harper's dad do, if the players don't listen and the coach doesn't have any influence?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Harper would and has listened to his dad but it was a joke. Thanks for trying to twist my words.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Well, either the Cubs's hire EVERYONE's dad, or they hire a hitting coach that the players will listen to and learn from. You have defended Davis, but you haven't given any reason why the Cubs would benefit by keeping him on for 2019. I say the goal is getting back to the World Series, and Chili Davis doesn't help them do that.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Either way there's clearly a trend here with Davis and his teams seeing drastic declines in home runs and increases in ground balls this guy clearly doesn't specialize in teaching launch angle and I absolutely think Davis is in part to blame for Addison Russell and Contreras struggles they looked like different hitters this season. No question some of it is just the front office putting too much stock in their young OF's but still I've been saying Davis is still part of the problem and not the solution the team had the worst offensive half this group has ever had. Theo made a mistake hiring him the results with the red sox and cubs this year speak for themselves and it's on Theo to correct that mistake now.

    And for those of you that are interested my cubs insider source that's in Contreras close circle also told me in July that by midseason many of the players didn't want to work with Davis they felt he tried to do too much to alter their approach and change who they were as hitters. Many of the hitters including Jason Heyward who Davis is given credit for worked moreso individually with many of our assistant hitting coaches because they felt a better one on one chemistry learning from them then Davis. This isn't something Theo would ever admit but looks like a lot of the players didn't buy into Davis teachings.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Wow - players who deliberately avoid a coach to work with others? Makes me wonder if dissent was part of the "intensity" issue that Theo spoke of.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I actually wasn't even aware of Theo's quotes until I read bolla's post but Theo basically implies a lot of what my source was talking about. My source has a very close relationship not only with Contreras and previously Soler but also with cubs batting practice pitcher and assistant coach Juan Cabreja and I guess during the season many of our hitters including Jason Heyward who Davis is given credit for wanted to do one on one instruction with Cabreja over davis. I didn't get specific details as to why but I have the impression that Davis was a much more forceful personality that wanted hitters to do things his way. Cabreja who I've met at Sluggers bar seems like a much easier going guy and maybe the players felt he didn't want to keep tinkering with their swings like Davis did

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    That makes sense. It's much easier to "sell" a minor tweak to someone's technique than a total rework. Right or wrong, a coach that players avoid can't be a good thing.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I haven’t defended Davis. I just get tired of hitting coaches getting the brunt of it. A guy was good enough to win the WS with then guys struggle and he gone. This year guys struggle and some improved and he is gone.
    I am gonna ask you the same question. If WS is the goal does Happ Almora Jhey or Schwarbs help with that????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I am not opposed to trading any/all of them if it benefits the team. My guess is that 2 or more will be gone before Spring Training. For those that stay, my answer is yes, IF their hitting improves. The odds of that happening are better with a different hitting coach than with Chili Davis.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    If that is the case. Then Theo is to blame. That is a lack of research on his part. I believe his offense got worse the longer he stayed in Boston.

    No way you can blame chili for Addi!!!

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Your confusing blame with accountability. it would appear that hiring Davis was a mistake. It would also appear that Theo listened to a plea from his manager to get a guy who could move beyond launch angle and make more contact. It would appear that they both made a wrong choice and should be held accountable for it. Theo accepted the responsibility and the accountability piece for Maddon was not being offered an extension. My guess is that Maddon will also not have much of a say in the new hire. Blame to me is imprecise. Accountability comes with consequences.

  • In reply to TC154:

    My point is if Theo knew what Chili philosophy was and thought it would help a majority of these guys then that is on Theo as well. I didn’t watch any of his pressers but did he say he made a mistake by hiring chili?
    When u fire a guy you are blaming him for the struggles.
    I don’t see how a hall of Fame GM would have to make constant hires and fires if that good.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Fully blaming him is a strong word Theo said the entire organization is responsible for the offensive struggles including the players and the front office he said this all doesn't lie on Chili in his end of the season presser. But him getting fired isn't saying it's entirely Chili's fault it's saying that they think Chili is a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. This is by no means all Chili Davis's fault but at the same time I think Theo feels that they can do better at hitting coach especially given the players complaints. At least Theo isn't stubbornly holding onto the guy because fans are gonna criticize him for having 3 hitting coaches in 3 years. I respect that he can admit that the hiring was a mistake and do what's best for the organization moving forward.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The best executives in any field are always making mistakes and learning from them. I absolutely can't imagine that Theo spent a whole lot of time with this hire personally. Jed might have spent some but if this was delegated to Maddon he might have been the one making the case that it would work. In any case Theo took full responsibility in his press conference but if you read between the lines he was saying better decision making needs to be made overall. He was careful not to throw anyone, even Davis, under the bus which was the correct approach. If I were to guess I would say that while Joe may have input into the new coach the decision will not be his and will likely be Jed's. Let's be clear on the fact that Theo is not the GM, Jed is.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Very true this is as much on Joe maddon as Theo chili was largely maddons choice as well people forget Maddon wanted to bring someone in to move beyond launch angle and focus on contact and moving the baseball. I think the whole organization shares responsibility for our offensive failures this year but I think it's clear that Chili may very well have been part of the problem. I've never seen this group since 2015 struggle like that for an entire half and we're obviously gonna need to make changes to our lineup but the reality is a lot of star players underperformed too

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yup I think Theo made a mistake hiring Davis. I think Theo is a hall of fame GM and I think he's one of the most if not the most important assets in the cubs organization but he's not perfect like you said he makes mistakes as does just about any president or GM running a team. I'm guessing his boston ties had something to do with why he liked Davis in the 1st place but the results this year and going back to Chili's Boston days speak for themselves and I definitely think that factored into Theo's decision along with him just not connecting with a number of players. I wouldn't call it a lack of research it's hard for Theo to foresee that Chili would be such a poor fit where our players don't want to work with him but at the end of the day the guy Theo brought in clearly had issues with some of our players and that's on Theo to get a guy with expertise that the players can work with and trust. I trust Theo's coaching hiring process this is the guy who discovered and gave Joe Maddon and Tito Francona their 1st ever managerial interviews and hopefully the next hitting coach is a home run hire and we'll see a red sox type of turnaround. All I know is I think the red sox situation is very similar to ours and I'd use their model in aiding us to find our next hitting coach if I were Theo.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    In using the Red Sox model in hiring a new hitting coach, I hope that can be accompanied by signing a power hitting corner outfielder too.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Yup! I want the cubs to hire manny ramirez as hitting coach

  • In reply to bolla:

    Man, Bolla... I don't know how to feel about your response. Can't tell if you're dead serious, or if that's sarcasm laid on really thick! Either way, I'm intrigued by that idea, but not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Generally, I love Manny as a baseball player, and even as a "character," and I even loved the idea of him giving Baez batting advice when he was hired by the Cubs. But I question his effectiveness in a coaching position on a major league team, as I question his overall reliability. Maybe he actually is the perfect guy for the job with his aloofness and all. Is he the kind of guy who can keep it fun and light-hearted, but also call out MLB players when it's necessary? If so, let's hire him!!!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kkhiavi:

    I am w you on the fact Chilli needed to be fired, because some how someone needs to be held accountable for this debacle. People can blame Chilli all they want ( yes he deserves some criticism) but the hitters have to hit. If they hit, we wouldnt be sitting home right now.

    Now the fact they tuned him out and still couldn't hit is even more alarming. Downright scary.

    Maybe they shouldn't have stopped listening to him, because in the 2nd H is when the struggles intensified and manifested itself to the max.

    If you split the 1st H and 2nd H numbers, they tell a different story.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    To me, using the word "accountable" hints that action was taken to "punish" Chili for causing the hitting issues. I really think it's more a case of moving forward - what part could Chili Davis possibly play on next year's team? If he has lost the confidence of the players, even if it isn't entirely his fault, he can't coach effectively. If that's the case, the right action is to fire him as soon as possible to give him the best chance of finding another position and the Cubs more time to find a replacement.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Not listening to him is a strong word I don't have enough evidence that the teams relationship with him was souring to the degree that they completely lost faith in him but I do know some hitters preferred to do one on one work with certain assistant hitting coaches and some players felt he tried to do too much to alter their swings. I also heard specifically that Chili got way more credit than he deserved with Jason Heywards improvement apparently Heyward does very little work with Davis one on one

  • You are not correct on 3 hitting coaches in 3 seasons. However, there have been a lot during this FO's tenure. Four hired and fired hitting coaches since June 2012.

    When Epstein and Co. took over, Rudy Jaramillo was the hold over hitting coach from Hendry. He was fired at mid-season in 2012. James Rowson was the hitting coach from mid-2012 through the 2013 season. The Cubs hitting coach in 2014 was Bill Mueller. From 2015 - 2017 (3 seasons), John Mallee. Chili Davis in 2018.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Well, yes, but if you look at Mallee 2017, Davis 2018, TBD 2019, that would be 3 in 3 years.

  • Although it might be true that the hitting coach isn’t the sole reason for the Cubs offensive malaise in the second half he does play a part in it. Coupled by the fact that you can’t get rid of the entire roster it’s logical that the hitting coach gets the boot. It’s as simple as that. I would be less inclined to be OK with his firing if Boston hadn’t had a similar drop in offensive production his final year there. I know there are other factors involved , namely injuries, but have you ever seen a 95 win team look as offensively pathetic as the Cubs did this year? A change had to be made.

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    No but the cubs are supposed evaluate talent and their roster every year and figure out who together makes a great line up. At some point stop firing coaches and ship off the bad players and bring in guys who can fit the mold. At some point guys are who they are. Nobody is gonna make Happ or schwarbs a .300 hitter with low K rate.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I believe it was in early 2016 when Theo said that there must be roster turnover each year to combat complacency. I'm positive those comments were in a story on Cubs Den. Theo said that the new players must be combination of rookies and players from other teams. Do you think it's possible that 1/3 of the 25 man roster is gone?

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    The cubs normally carry 14 position players. And to change over 1/3 of them sounds like a lot. But given the two year struggles I can see 3-4 them gone. Not talking about la Stella or Bote type guys. I mean the guys that are in the mix for starting.

  • Didi Gregorius needs Tommy John on his throwing arm will be out for a good chunk of 2019.The Yankees could use addy , Russell and walkwood for Sonny gray.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Oh lord no. What are you going to do with Gray? He's been bad and your five rotation slots are locked up assuming you pick up the Hamels option. Like Chatwood you can't shuttle him in and out from AAA. I see no purpose in that at all.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Plus even if we're not yet sure if the Cubs would non tender Russell the Yankees WILL non tender Gray. It would be a shocker if they didn't.

  • In reply to TC154:

    look at sonny grays home and road splits And his #’s out the bullpen. He was terrible at Yankee stadium like hamels was terrible in Arlington very solid on the road.very good out the pen , provides more starter depth and allows the cubs to trade either Montgomery or Quintana. We can’t assume Theo can just spend more money, he’s already handcuffed the payroll with multiple bad contracts. The cubs will have to make trades, I’d be shocked if Russell is non tendered. That would be giving him away for free

  • In reply to TC154:

    Chatwood does not have options so you can't shuttle him back and forth to AAA.

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    In reply to bolla:

    If the Cubs are willing/planning on DFA Addy then I would do that deal. Bad contract for bad contract. IMO Sonny Gray has a better chance to bounce back then Walkwoody.

  • I find it hard to blame any ONE person or coach when it comes to our lack of offense when I see our batters swinging at balls in the dirt or way off the plate and then watching strikes go by right down the middle of the plate (especially with 2 strikes already). Besides, if there were numerous players complaining about Chili's coaching, why are we just now hearing about it? Was Maddon aware of it and if so, wouldn't he have done something about it?

    Well, it doesn't matter now as to who is to blame. Clearly, there was a whole lot of reasons and excuses why our offense was so bad this year. What really matters is finding what went wrong and taking steps to fix it.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I think on the players complaining about Chili aspect we have to remember these guys are professionals and they're not gonna undermine Chili or go and bash the current hitting coach behind his back. Some clearly weren't eager to work with him one on one as illustrated by a number of players opting to work with assistant hitting insrtructor Juan Cabreja. Looks like some players expressed some concern about their lack of chemistry with him in exit interviews behind closed.doors. Either way pretty rare hitting coaches get fired midseason I'm just glad they admitted their mistake rather than keep the guy because they want continuity despite concerns about if this guys the right guy for this team. The hitting issues go beyond Chili some changes need to be made with our hitting instruction and certain players but he certainly seems to be part of the problem and if that's the case then I'm glad he's gone.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I am not saying that Chili should stay or go. I am saying that the players themselves are more to blame when they swing at balls nowhere near the plate. I feel their major problem with their lack of hitting was COMPLACENCY and not accepting a new hitting coach and his changes and ideas is actually proof of that. In any case, now that Chili is gone, find out what went wrong and fix it.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    The players are absolutely in part to blame Chili can't help it that his outfield hasn't been productive for multiple seasons now and he can't help it that Russell is focused on other things besides baseball or that he's working with mostly young hitters. The complacency part is hard for me to measure I'm sure it's true to a degree after being the team to break the curse but that's Maddon and the players problem. These kids are smart guys from what i've seen I think part of their reluctance with Chili is they flat out just didn't agree with his message or the drastic changes he tried to make with their swings. Boston may have had similar issues with Davis, their owner John Henry was sure confident about how important it was for them to get a new hitting coach in spring training before they even had this outstanding season. I think Theo and Maddon just messed up hiring Davis sure some of the guys in the lineup simply need to be replaced but the guy clearly has shown a trend with his teams hitting less home runs and rolling over the ball and hitting it into the ground. Boston is similar to us with a lot of young hitters drafted by Theo and I'd certainly follow their model in whatever they did to resolve the issue our issues were very similar to boston last season.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I agree

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Davis was the hitting coach for the Red Sox for 4 years. They were arguably the top hitting team in 2016. But in 2017 they had a huge drop off. Then in 2018 the Cubs power vanished and the second half was puzzling. I think in todays game it is about the long ball.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    A little worrisome to me is the idea that we have young players who show an inability to adapt (or perhaps just refusing to adapt) to different ideas. Either way, that is on the players as much as it is the coach. It makes me wonder if some of our kids still carry a "high school" type mentality? If someone is unwilling to entertain a professional coaches ideas (who's previously been successful in his field), then they've failed just as much, if not more than the coach.

    I get the firing of Chili Davis. Someone must be held accountable. But if the players who will remain are handed a new hitting coach like they obvious want, then they sure as hell better be a better hitters next year; and I'm talking just as much in going with the pitches that are thrown and hitting them to the part of the field where they're hittable, as well as hitting with RISP. Because the former is what leads to success in the latter.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Thank you. I agree.

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    How could we be among the best hitters the first half and one of the worst the 2nd half? The hitting coach is like the QB--he gets more credit when he wins and more criticism when the team loses.
    With the news of Gregorius I would think that Theo has thought about contacting the Yankees about Addy. They certainly have plenty of arms in their system, and many power arms too. They also have Chapman, which shows me that they value talent and will accept players with other issues too.

  • I feel bad for chili davis, the cubs scapegoated him they were top 5-10 in pretty much every offensive category except hr's and slugging and better in some categories than last season.Kind of hard to justify firing a guy after that production, it's not his fault some of these players suck.I read on the athletic davis got baez to cut down the bat waggling and the movement in the box, and go to all fields look up baez's hr spray chart in 2018 he hit em all over the place several to left,right and cf.He helped baez breakout and the cubs had the most opposite hits in mlb. Smdh, but now the onus is on theo to get a better coach and hitters.No more blame shuffling.Don't see how hickey survives to be honest

  • In reply to bolla:

    There is no "blame shuffling." You already know the issues - 2nd in MLB in 0-1 run games, tops in ground ball percentage, players complaining that they can't work with Davis. Replacing the hitting coach is only one part of the plan to fix it. I feel bad for anyone who gets fired, but the amount of people crying in their beer for Davis is ridiculous. He did some good things, but overall a change was needed and was made. Stay tuned, more changes to come.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yea more changes definitely are coming but if the cubs had say lorenzo cain in cf instead of almora or maybe yelich in rf instead of heyward or gregerious at ss instead of russell. I Bet chili davis would still have a job.That's all I'm saying, time for accountability for the fo too these are the players they drafted/signed/acquired.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Great point. Hope to see roster changes made.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Maybe. And maybe, if Chili Davis had been their hitting coach, Yelich would be hitting .250/270/620 and Cain would set a new strikeout record.

  • In reply to bolla:

    BTW, how, exactly, would you hold the FO accountable?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    By holding a mirror to theo's face and saying you signed heyward who has been the worst hitter on the team since the ink dried on that contract.You acquired russell and he's either plateaued or isnt as good as you thought, you drafted kyle "baby bambino" schwarber and he hasn't been this complete hitter that you thought he was, and you drafted almora ahead of ,marcus stroman and cory seager and jose berrios.Look in the mirror then look at your scouts, hitting coaches can't keep getting the blame.It makes the cubs look unstable and again the cubs offenses have been top 5-10 the last 2 seasons.That's not a bad thing, situational hitting has been a issue for years.

    And I'm not railing on theo this is obviously the best era of the cubs of all our lifetimes, but accountability starts at the to. these are the players he's brought here who have been part of the offensive problems.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I assume you mean 2nd to last in 1 run games??? That is chili’s or any hitting coaches fault?? Cubs sucked at situational hitting. If you make it to the bigs and don’t know to hit a fly ball with 1 out and a runner on 3b or how to hit behind a runner then you don’t belong there. I doubt Davis said whatever the situation is make sure you hit a ground ball. Heck Jhey has been hitting grounders to 2nd base for 3 years. You placing blame on Davis is ridiculous.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    You're saying that "if you make it to the bigs" you can do all of those things against MLB pitching, all on your own, without any coaching? And you're calling MY position (which you conveniently misrepresented) ridiculous?
    Chili Davis is not the sole cause and is not "to blame." He IS, however, a part of the overall problem. The solution involves changing some players AND improved coaching for the ones who stay. Rail at Theo and Jed all you want, they aren't going to fire themselves.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    If you make it to the bigs you should know exactly what to do in certain situations. Yes that is what I am saying. Obviously execution is another thing. But because you have a different hitting coach it makes you execute better. I don’t buy that. Just as ridiculous as you telling ppl to stop crying in their beers.
    Obviously there other issues with Davis. We are finding out for what ever reason guys didn’t buy in. No they are not going to fire themselves but that is why they have to find a guy with their philosophy.
    I would love to see the bench coach go and have 2 hitting coach. 1 for power hitters and 1 for line drive hitters.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Those "other issues" were considered in the decision to fire Davis.

    I agree, Theo & Jed need to find someone with their philosophy. It became obvious that Davis wasn't that guy.

    Love the idea of 2 hitting coaches, but wasn't Mr. Butterworth supposed to be like a 2nd hitting coach? Yeah, two approaches, two coaches.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    the reason davis was hired was due to all the strikeouts based on the players hitting the way "they knew how to hit" previous to him being hired. he was hired to change that.. he did, and the results were worse. hence why he was fired.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Thanks. I agree.

  • I have lots of thoughts I want to share about Cubs future roster, but have been too busy to spend time to put some down here. But one quick one I think is worth a second is Addison Russell...

    Maybe we get him traded, but when his value is it's lowest, I kind of doubt it. So in listening to Theo's post season press conference, he might be working on setting up a very strong support system and assign him some strong responsibilities to take care of in his life, not only before he gets back to the baseball field, but even through the long season. Therapy might be a good idea for him to work out some of his issues, whether it has to do with anger, alcohol, whatever... But at this point, the kid has had to have hit rock bottom, right?. Maybe all this is the big wake up call that he needs to grow the F up. Either way if he sticks around with the Cubs, he should be held to a very high standard, and under some watchful eyes, a zero tolerance policy. It might be just what he needs to realize that he can achieve much more.

    I don't like what he did one bit. I'm not a fan of him anymore. But his defense can still give this team value, and if he gets his head screwed on right, maybe he can turn his game around AND also treat women with respect. Maybe he can even still become the player we've dreamed he would. And it's probably worth it to give him that shot for 2019 since he's only gonna make about $4M, which is replacement level bench player at best. If he continues being the player he's been, well then I hope he's saved alot of his earnings to this date, because if the Cubs have to cut him at any point during or after the 2019 season, I can't imagine his career ever going anywhere. So I'm open to the Cubs giving him one more shot, but that's it. Now or never Addison...

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I've been saying I don't think the cubs will non tender russell.I think they will either do what you said(support system,contrition,therapy, 2nd chance) or trade him in a low value for low value trade.I just can't see theo non tendering an affordable player who is elite defensively allowing a fellow contender pick him up for nothing.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I agree were gonna take some heat but I'd hang onto him and do everything you said to have the right support system. It's not like he's a psycho like Greg hardy I'd think I'd give him a shot as a bench player who needs to earn the respect of his teammates and fans. I just don't like giving him away for nothing and watching the Yankees sign him and then play the same card they did with chapman to the media

  • In reply to bolla:

    Your thoughts on a chatwood/russell for gray deal may not be a bad idea. Cashman all but said they will need to move Gray. That's odd for a GM to say that to the press.

  • In reply to bolla:

    bolla- you and I agree, and yet disagree, on a lot of things, and I think we are very similar types of people in how we think through things. I know you don't like my hard viewpoint on Baez, and I think mine is just like your hard viewpoint on Bryant. The truth is they are both great for our team. I think it was you, but maybe not (I can be very forgetful) that mentioned the other day in trading Bryant for deGrom (just like I said the same about Baez)... Too funny! Either way, cheers bud.

    There's been so many posts by you, BP, TC, kkhiavi, and many others that I've wanted to respond to lately, but just been so busy that I decided not to reply at all, or else I'll keep taking too much time to check in and read more posts.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Yes indeed.I was dead serious about bryant for degrom, you wouldn't do that? I'd do that in a heartbeat. Degrom is a TOR ace.That would make the cubs flat out scary

  • In reply to bolla:

    Putting aside the difference in value that you think Bryant has versus my take on the subject, trading Bryant for deGrom trades from your weakest area to add to your strongest. This team's issue was starting pitching pretty much only due to health and the failure of Chatwood. If you pick up Hamels option this team goes into 2019 with either the best or second baest rotation in the NL (LA could add to Buehler, Kershaw and Ryu but they could also lose Kershaw if he opts out so it could go either way). One thing that you can count on Bryant for, even in injury plagued year like this one) is high OBP with a .385 lifetime mark and .374 this year. Considering that's not a strength of your other top hitter in Baez you have now weakened your lineup considerably. In 2018 there were 18 hitters over Bryant's .374 OBP and only 12 over his lifetime mark. It seems clear that one of the Cubs goals is to get another high OBP guy, possibly to lead off, so the idea of taking one away, even for a pitcher as dominant as deGrom doesn't serve to improve your team.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Replace bryant with machado at 3b, he has a .367 on base % between l.a. & baltimore this season. Provides way better defense and more pop too.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Degrom is an ace, a guy that can shut down the other team for 7-9 innings.Do the cubs have one guy on the staff that can habitually do that? Maybe hendricks once in a while,maybe hamels once in a while,maybe lester. Too many maybes,what does bryant provide that machado can't? and it makes more sense to invest a long term contract in a 26 year old instead of dealing with scott boras and his nonsense when kris bryant will be 30 years old and you know they have that '15 service time thing in the back of their minds. It's hypothetical but I'd do it,I don't have kris bryant on a pedestal like several cubs fans do.

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    In reply to bolla:

    I agree w you that Degrom is a bonafide ACE. A big time stopper, but I can say fairly confidently that he wont be as good next year. Just like Jake, its near impossible to dominate like this year after year.

    Therefore we would be selling low on Bryant and buying sky high on Degrom. Thats generally not a good business strategy long term.

    Plus, can you honestly say that pitching was our problem last year? Yes Degrom makes us better, but look how he couldn't win many games last yr when the Mutts were scoring 0 and 1 run for him. He might be doing the same thing here.

    If they know for a fact Bryant is done and wont return to form then I say make the move and then try to trade Q or Hamels for offensive help, because we would need a lot of offensive help then.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I think you need Machado in addition to Bryant. There is no question that deGrom gives you a better playoff rotation, but if you look at the way Theo has built rotations over the years he very rarely has had an "ace". He is more concerned with top to bottom staff. I've said this before that I think this team needs 3 hitters. Now, maybe one comes froma guy we have that improves but even then you need two more. Trust me I covet a guy like deGrom but I don't think it's absolutely necessary for a contending rotation and certainly not at the expense of a top ten of MLB player. On the Mets side, regardless of who they finally get to GM that club, the trade makes zero sense. KB doesn't help them compete now, they basically need five or six hitters to even think about competing even with the strong pitching they have. If they were to move deGrom it would have to be a Chris Sale rebuild your franchise type of move otherwise it would be foolish on their part. Yes, I realize it's the Mets for whom foolish is an art form, but still.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Kris’s offensive floor is even kind of a great year for Báez, while Javy’s floor is a glove first middle infielder who may only hit .275/.315/.450 in his average type of offensive seasons. Like I said before, if we had two other capable middle infielders, I’d trade Javy while his value is sky high for deGrom or any other impact player we could add to our roster.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    You'd trade baez when the cubs don't have a single middle infielder with his ability on the 40 man roster or in the minors? Yea we can just agree to disagree.You seriously overrate bryant and his defense is underwhelming and I'm being nice.Offensive floor is not reality, reality is baez has better #'s than bryant 2 years in a row now and baez mvp season is just as good if not better than bryants. Baez had the only 40 double,30 hr,20 sb, 9 triple season in cubs history.Hank aaron had these type of numbers.You guys are living off reputation I'm going off actual production.the blatant bias on this site for bryant is ridiculous

  • In reply to bolla:

    Well for starters, you completely ignored a very important part of my sentence in trading Báez... “IF WE HAD TWO CAPABLE MIDDLE INFIELDERS.” How do you read my post and go on to say I’m willing to trade Baez with no replacement available...

    So I assume you think Javy is just gonna produce his 2018 numbers year after year now? What gives you confidence in that? He put up one good year, and still was very inconsistent while doing that. He better stay healthy, or else you’ll be as low on him as you were on 2018 Bryant.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Báez has hit well over the mlb league average 3 years in a row now and that’s being top 3 in chasing outside the zone. If his discipline improves just a tad he can easily hit 25-30+ hr’s and 75-100 rbis a season with an on base % in the 335-340 range. It’s entirely up to him , I’m not gonna say 2018 is what he’ll do on a regular basis but I also don’t think it’s some outlier season either. Baez improved hitting every single pitch except cutters, that’s the only pitch he still struggles with. He hit breaking balls better than anybody in mlb, and improved drastically on sliders he is gradually ascending as a hitter. All he has to do is improve his plate discipline to unlock his real potential. I’ve always personally felt Báez had the ability to produce the way he did in 2018 if he made more contact.now He just needs to draw more walks and be more selective at the pitches he swings at.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I say keep all of the above and then get harper or machado. I love degrom as a player but I have little interest in him in a major trade. He's 30 years old with only 2 years of cost control and at the peak of his trade value and I personally think starting pitching is the least of our concerns next year when Degrom would be at his most valuable. Lester to me almost always steps up in playoff type of games but even if we see some regression our starting pitching is 5 deep and I think that depth is what makes this rotation strong not just one stud starting pitcher. I also don't like trading Bryant at his lowest value I'm with you I do think cub fans put him on a pedestal but he's still a really good hitter and I don't want to lose anymore of our high OBP players we already have enough problems offensively as is. I'd simply sign Harper or Machado and keep bryant, sign or trade for a 2B or SS, use russell off the bench and then get a high end reliever preferably a lefty. To me with our offensive struggles in the postseason the past 2 years I want as many stud hitters as possible I think our starting rotation has generally held up their end especially in the playoffs and I think our rotation going into next year assuming Hamels stay is as strong and as deep as this team has had arguably.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Imo degrom is more if an impactful player but whatever it’s not gonna happen. I’m watching George springer on an 11 game postseason hitting streak or bregman hit postseason hrs off elite pitchers. Or trout be as consistently good as he has been or judge have pitchers fearing him.Bryant just isn’t as dominant as some of these guys he just doesn’t do what they do but has all the nice woba,wrc etc stats that are becoming a crutch for his lack of real productivity

    And the Yankees have a bunch of money to spend and Machado has been rumored to have them #1 on his list for years. There will be plenty of teams interested in Harper and Machado.the cubs will be one of several and other teams don’t have as many bad contracts as the cubs. They simply can offer more money/years

  • In reply to bolla:

    Degrom present day value is more impactful than Bryant I agree but present day value doesn't always factor the same with trade value or what's best for the teams future Bryant is much younger with more years of control and I think even if we sign Machado who frankly as great as he is takes away from our teams patience and OBP if he's replacing Bryant then it wouldn't solve the offenses problems I don't just want Machado and Harper alone I want them with Bryant because like you I think the offense needs to be upgraded we need more impact positional players not less. We have starting pitching for the short term in my eyes I think that's the least of our needs based on which facets of our team has broken down these past 2 playoff appearances. I've told you before that I get where you're coming from on Bryant but I think you're much lower on him then I am despite the fact I know where you're coming from. i still believe we're gonna get closer to the 2016 version of KB then what we got last year I think his shoulder injury impacted him and let's not forget that while Baez won NLCS MVP Bryant was arguably our most consistent hitter through all 3 playoff rounds look at the 2016 postseason stats he played pretty well the last time he was healthy in the postseason. He's still to me a perennial all star but not a trout/harper level superstar like he was treated as in 2016

  • I think the Cubs need a couple of players added who have the David Ross and John Lackey attitude. It seem a few players are really full of themselves and need a kick in the butt.

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    I would love to see David Ross as bench coach. He added so much while he was here, and there are still a great number of players here who know and respect him.

  • I get jealous watching the astros, I thought that was what the cubs were gonna be.Boy was I wrong, their fo is better than theo and co too.Gotta be honest the data and analytics has every pitcher they acquire pitching better than ever have. Verlander,cole,pressley,morton to name a few. They also haven't traded their best prospects and depleted their farm like the cubs did. Alex bregman is better than kris bryant, this guy has hit postseason hr's on sale(twice),kluber,bauer,jansen and is great defensively at the hot corner. They look like the best team in mlb and poised to repeat. Cubs have had a lot of excuses the last 2 years

    Off season wish list:

    Machado or Harper.The cubs have to go big game hunting and sign one of these guys, 350-400 million multiple opt outs, whatever it takes sign one.

    Mccuthen for lf to platoon with schwarber. Mccutchen hits real good at wrigley and has always had a great approach, very patient,good eye at the plate.He will help the on base % go up and add pro ab's

    do not non tender russell, either try to help him so he can bounce back(long shot) or trade him in a low value trade(sonny gray).Do not just cut him and get nothing.

    Package up monty,happ,caratini or maybe russell for bullpen piece(s) or another bat(merrifield).I don't know who but the cubs need bullpen guys who can miss bats or another batter with a good approach.

    Back up catcher rene rivera, I like him when he was here.Good framer,good at blocking pitches, great vet.Bat isn't that good but his intangibles make up for it

    Bring back Hamels, exercise the team option or a new 2 year 24-26 mil deal

    Get a left handed bullpen guy who can strikeout hitters. britton and Miller are fa's.Both have question marks but I want a lefty guy who is nasty and can potentially close like britton and miller can,no more rosario,de la rosa or inconsistent wilson. Some one who can get outs and miss bats.Smyly makes monty expendable and then some of the cubs lefty guys in the minors should be ready by '20( little or steele)

    alzolay will be up at some point in 2019 for the bullpen or maybe to start but also look at kelvin hererra

    Depending on if the cubs sign machado or harper , merrifield from the royals is a fallback option.A guy with speed,makes contact and can get on base. Potential lead off hitter

    rotation is set darvish,hamels,q(ugh),lester,hendricks. Back ups smyly,alozlay,mills,walkwood.Cubs have starting pitching depth they can move a lefty.Gonna be an interesting off season, looking forward to it

  • In reply to bolla:

    I like virtually every point of your great post. Would only add that JHey needs to be sent packing, to the Brewers preferably. If he does for them what he did to us …..well, one can hope. One more thing on Heyward, can someone tell me why nobody has pointed out to him (or why he hasn't done anything about it) that every at bat he rolls over on his front foot and is basically hitting off of one leg. It's no wonder he makes hard contact so infrequently.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'm not disagreeing that the Astros FO is better than the Cubs FO. So you have a better understanding of the Astros FO and understand that they have missed and made mistakes, see the following.

    1. When Luhnow took over as GM, they had Altuve, Springer, Kuechel, JD Martinez, Foltynewicz, Velasquez and Melancon in their system. Not a bad way to start.
    2. The Astros has 3 consectutive #1, #1 picks. They hit on Correa and missed on Mark Appel and Brady Aiken (did not sign in a huge fiasco that cost the Astros big bucks in a lawsuit by 2 other players)
    3. Drafted Bregman with the #2 overall pick they received for not signing Aiken. Then drafted Lyle Tucker with their own #5 pick in same draft.
    4. Traded Foltynewicz to the Braves for Evan Gattis
    5. Cut JD Martinez
    6. Traded Dexter Fowler to Cubs because they did not want to pay his salary and didn't expect to compete in 2015.
    7. Then, the Astros were in the hunt in 2015 and needed a CF (after trading Dexter) and then Traded Josh Hader, Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips to Brewers for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers.
    8. Traded Daniel Mengden and Jacob Nottingham to A's for Scott Kazmir. Mengden has 4th highest WAR of any pitcher in his draft class. Then later, Ramon Laureano to A's for a minor leaguer.
    9.. Traded Vince Velasquez and Mark Appel to the Phillies for Ken Giles.
    10. Some very good pick ups along the way. Got Marwin Gonzalez in a trade from the Red Sox in 2011 (after being plucked from the Cubs in a Rule 5 draft). Signed Collin McHugh and Will Harris after being cut by their teams. Got Devenski in a trade with the White Sox. Got Jed Lowrie from the Red Sox for Melancon, then traded him to the A's for Stassi, Peacock and Chris Carter. Got Brian McCann in a Yankees salary dump.
    11. Good to great value on Free Agents Reddick, Morton and IFA Gurriel.

    There have been misses and hits. No FO is perfect. The reality is the Astros would be really scary if they never traded any of their prospects or at least kept Dexter Fowler, JD Martinez and Josh Hader.

  • No article on the new hitting instructor???

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