It's Supposed to Hurt--Rockies 2 Cubs 1 (13 innings)

The Cubs had to win one game in October to get to play at least three more. The starting pitching was good as it had been down the stretch. The bullpen was good enough, but the Cubs scored just one run or fewer the same number of times the Baltimore Orioles did this year with the final game of the year ended with the Cubs managing only a run.

Playoff Jon Lester took a few batters to show up. Charlie Blackmon walked to start the game, and DJ LaMahieu smoked a ball into the base of the fence. Kris Bryant alertly threw up his hands and that meant Blackmon had to stay at third base for another batter. Nolan Arenado hit a flyball deep enough to move the two Rockies 90 feet. The Cubs were down what felt like an insurmountable one run deficit. Lester struck out Trevor Story and Matt Holliday to end the inning with just a single run yielded.

Kyle Freeland dominated the Cubs hitters. Freeland scattered three singles over the first five innings. The Cubs weren't able to get past first base in those five innings, and the script seemed to be written for a frustrating loss.

Lester continued to get stronger as the game wore on. He pitched through six innings allowing only the single run. Lester struck out nine in his quality start. The Rockies threatened with a couple of doubles in the middle innings, but the Rockies were still stuck at one heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

Ian Happ led off the sixth inning as a pinch hitter, and he drew the Cubs first walk to start the inning. Ben Zobrist struck out swinging, and it seemed like an easy inning for the Rockies as Bryant hit a weak popfly into shallow right. But the ball dropped in front of David Dahl, and the Cubs had a runner in scoring position with just one out. The next pitch Anthony Rizzo hit right to LaMahieu to start the inning ending double play.

Jesse Chavez was the first Cubs reliever and he was greeted rudely with a solid single up the middle from Ian Desmond. He must have felt bad because Desmond tested Kris Bryant's arm on the next play. It resulted in a double play to kill the rally. The Cubs best chance to tie the game came in the seventh inning. Albert Almora Jr. reached on a one out single. Daniel Murphy lined out for the final out recorded by Freeland. Adam Ottavino walked Willson Contreras and then Tommy La Stella reached in the most Tommy La Stella way with a catcher's interference. Jason Heyward swung over ball 4 to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Randy Rosario walked Drew Butera to start the inning. Blackmon flew out and that meant it was time for Steve Cishek's contractual obligated appearance. LaMahieu hit into an inning ending double play. Ottavino retired the first Cubs he faced, but Rizzo singled to keep the inning alive. Terrance Gore entered the game and stole second on the very next pitch. He stayed on second for a couple of pitches for some reason, but it didn't matter as Javier Báez flipped a run scoring single into left center. Wade Davis struck out Almora to end the threat with Báez stealing third.

Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless ninth to give the Cubs one of many chances to win this game, but the lineup wasn't up to the task as so frequently was the case this season. The Cubs reached base just one time in innings nine, ten, twelve and thirteen. The Cubs had a chance in the eleventh inning. Javier Báez drew a walk to start the inning, and was moved into scoring position on Almora's sacrifice. Daniel Murphy was put on base intentionally, but Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini couldn't deliver the season saving hit.

Instead, it was nobodies for the Rockies delivering the key hits in the thirteenth inning against the Professor. Hendricks retired DJ LaMahieu and Nolan Arenado to start the frame. Trevor Story then bounced a single past a sliding Báez. He reached third as Gerardo Parra golfed a ball over Zobrist's head, and then Tony Wolters bounced an 0-2 pitch back up the middle for the go ahead run.

The Cubs couldn't muster a tease rally as the 2018 campaign came to a merciful end. It wasn't meant to be, and a lot of work lays ahead of this front office. Tonight is for venting though.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

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  • This is hard for us all. What would have made this loss more painful for me, would have been if all the contributors here had chosen to write their words elsewhere.

    Baseball is the greatest game in the world and we have the greatest fans and writers here @ cubsden to cover these games in any place in the world.

    I love you all and I will heal my pain from tonight knowing that each and every one of you will be back here next April, when we begin this ritual again.

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    Well said. Peace.

  • These last two days reminded me of the EXACT same situation that arose last year with the series against the Nationals. We limped into the post-season with a bullpen that had few trustworthy arms, and couldn't muster hits when we needed it most. We somehow snuck by the Nats (thanks to the robotic arm of Davis) before thoroughly getting pummeled by the Dodgers in the next round. The same thing would have happened this year with a Brewers lineup that has a much deeper bullpen and are playing great baseball as a whole. The Cubs were HITLESS after Ottavino came out of the game. The only way we reached base was by walking! In fact, there were only 2 (!) balls that were hit into the outfield in the last 5 innings of the game. That's beyond unacceptable.

    This offseason needs to be one filled with rest, some personnel and coaching changes (ahem, Chili Davis), and come back next spring re-charged and hungry from seeing your opponent celebrate on your field two days in a row.

  • Here's another statistical oddity; anyone who thought "This team gets jumped in the first a lot" is absolutely right..last year, it was 114 runs given up, this year, it was 100. In both cases, those are the worst innings usually by quite a bit (last year also had issues in the 8th, giving up 99 but they dropped it to 71 this year) and it has constantly put the team in an immediate hole. They did manage to come back quite a few times, but just like the <2 run stat, it's unsustainable long-term.

    The second half also saw a significant decline in the ratio of runs scored to runs allowed..I projected 811/622 around the halfway point and they ended up with 761/645. How or why that happened..I have no idea.

  • It was a tough season. Way tougher than anyone would think a 95 Win season could be. But it was also a gripping drama all the way through. Quite the journey. And another chapter in the Golden Era of the Chicago Cubs is in the books.

    I can’t wait til next year!

  • In the last 11 games of the season, when the Cubs are trying to hold off the Brewers, and the two playoff games, the Cubs scored one or less runs 6 times. That is unacceptable. I sure would like to know why Theo and Maddon thought is was a great idea to bring in Chili Davis with a "new approach" to hitting.

    The Cubs were relying too much on the home run they said. We need more situational hitting they said rather than the long ball. All I know is that a few 3 run homers would have looked pretty good the last week and a half.

  • A few singles would have looked good as well.

  • Bummer end to the season but didn’t really see things going their way most of the season and they still had enough talent to get 95 wins and the playoffs. Hard to lose 40% of your starting rotation, 3 key bullpen arms, and an MVP to injuries and ineffectiveness. Throw in going over a month and a half with only one off day and it’s a recipe for not making the playoffs and they were still good enough for that. I’m in no way blaming this game on Maddon but he had some very questionable moves in this game. Probably wouldn’t matter since they had an offense that scored one or zero runs in a quarter of their games but 3 key moves I didn’t agree with. Didn’t agree with taking Lester out after 6 but there completely understandable since they can’t score. Don’t agree with hitting Heyward in the 7th with Ottavino’s pitching style playing into Shrek’s(Schwarber’s) wheelhouse. And they weren’t taking out their number one setup guy to go lefty lefty so don’t buy that argument. And I vehemently disagreed with Almora bunting in the 11th after the Baez leadoff walk. You don’t give up an out and take the bat out of Murphy’s hands to set the table with a guy hitting under 200 since the beginning of July and the pitcher’s spot due up. Especially with Baez having speed and Almora a good hit and run candidate. Anyway, regroup and reload. Great feeling to know this is t our last bite at the apple like playoff appearances used to be in the past

  • What's the likelihood of the Cubs moving on from Maddon as the manager?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    We've got 4 months for that discussion and I'm sure the topic will be WELL explored by the time Spring Training starts...

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Can we get Craig Counsell?

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    If you don’t like Maddon because of his bullpen usage, then you will really not like Counsell. I live in Green Bay. He is always ripped for his pitching decisions. Even as a Cub fan, it seems I’m always defending him to my Brewer fan friends

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    If I remember correctly, the Cubs offered Counsell a position the Cubs organization a couple of years back.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubpack:

    Unlike Maddon, Counsell doesn't have the luxury of a good starting rotation to go deep in games. He has to pull his starters & depend on the stellar BP. Counsell even said most of his games are going to be BP games.

    Joe just pulled his starters way too early in a lot of games. Which cost the team losses. I can understand pulling Q early because he sucks, .933 ops against, the 3rd time through the lineup. But Joe needs to lay off playing the matchups early in the games. He killed the BP the 2nd half of the season.

    Don't even get me started on the most inconsistent offense of 2018. That was the biggest issue of 2018.

  • I rubbed my replica 2016 WS ring for good luck today. I had an ominous feeling about the game as it wore on. Here they go again, the "hitless wonders" I thought to myself. Three or four hits, and that's it. One run can't win the game in today's way the game goes. Glad to see Strop pitch. There's hope for next year. I'm still a lifelong Cubs fan. I'm pig biting mad, but I'll get over it. The Sun rises tomorrow. Been cheering, crying, and cussing for 55 years. This season was too bizarre. Injuries, the way the free agency pitchers got hosed, etc.

  • This season had a very 2016 Mets feel to it, complete with the low scoring WC loss. Hope the Mets comparisons end there as we move forward. This should motivate Theo. We’ll see what that turns into, but I believe we’ll have a fun offseason.

  • After playing every day for a month and a half, the Cubs had nothing left.
    A full offseason , a few moves and some better weather and we'll be back.

  • I agree with hoff.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    I don't live that far from Chicagp.
    I go to a lot of car shows and the weather has been crap all year. Way worse than the past few years.
    I can probably count on one hand how many times the weather was what I'd call really good.
    I doubt we get a repeat.

  • My initial reaction is to liken this season to that of ‘69–both teams were gassed and their performance suffered. The difference is one was driven to the point of exhaustion by an overrated manager and the other was driven to exhaustion by the schedule which revealed some issues always present but not consistently and completely of its offense—Ks, anemic RISP with anemic BA.

    The good news these are all correctable and the front office is the best. The SP is in great shape, some perennial tweaking of the BP will occur, and Free Agency pursuit will make this offseason highly interesting.

  • In the days and weeks ahead I’ll have more to say but the bottom line is this; it was all too much. The team started out with flaws and kept picking up more along the way. Theo tried to plug the holes with the acquisitions but in the end 45 games in 47 days after the injuries and the inherent issues with the hitting was simply too much to overcome. You know what though? The sun will come up this morning, baseball will go on, the Cubs will go on and after the postseason thoughts will turn to how to fix this. This is still fun. This is still so much bettter than the angsty days of the lovable losers. We can’t forget that. We’ve all gotten a gift but unfortunately like an ill fitting sweater in Christmas morning this one needs to go back to the store now for for a different size. There will be time for talk of Chili Davis and Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. They’re will be time to discuss whether Cole Hamel should come back or whether Happ or Schwarber are trade chips. This morning though I thank Theo, Joe and Jed, KB, Anthony and Jon and all the others for giving us something to care about. Also I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank y’all, my running buddies, fir great conversation and still being among the best Cubs fans around.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Amen!

  • In reply to TC154:

    The CBA states that the maximum number of days without a day off is 21, unless there is a makeup day - then it can be extended to 25 days. Obviously, MLB did not consider the rain outs during those 25 days as "days off".

    Hopefully, the Cubs raise a big enough stink that rain outs are NOT considered "days off".

  • I'm sure I'll feel differently when the numbness wears off. The injuries and the excruciating schedule for the last month and a half were undoubtedly contributing factors, but the regression of players whom the Cubs needed to step up is the biggest disappointment. This was supposed to be the year Schwarber put it all together. Happ made the transition. Almora arrived to stay. Heyward figured out, finally. Russell rebounded from his personal issues and became the next Barry Larkin. Contreras took Molina's place as king of catchers. Maybe my expectations were too high.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Nope,

    Heyward was paid 184 Million so you were being very fair to expect him to "figure it out"

    I expected the Schwarbenator to put it together too. Why not? We believe in Theo and Co right? They decided a 1 legged still on the DL potential DH ( glad he's become a solid fielder) was worth keeping more the Gleyber Torres and we were all seeing what kinda star he was becoming, so naturally it was no stretch to expect the Schwarbenator to put it together.

    Almora started off very hot and was even among the NL BA leader for a good part of the season. Then he cooled off and Joe stopped playing him vs letting him try and battle his way thru it. Maybe Joe is right and he's a defensive replacement short side of the platoon player like he's been treated the end of the 2nd H.

    Happ, well after spring training and then his 1st pitch HR in Miami, we all thought, Happ was worth a top pick and was going to be TOO threat this offense was clearly missing since 16'.

    I was skeptical then, but I was told I was being over critical and what do I know? When someone who trades you a player and calls him the next Barry Larkin ( a Hall of fame player) but a small market team is going to trade 6 yrs of a HOF player? Yea, their window was short and they needed pitching, but I found it a little skeptical esp in this era of teams not wanting to trade their blue chipper prospects. Don't play poker w Billy Beane.

    On Contreras, Oh I was fooled too. After his 1st H last yr, I thought we had the next superstar like you. Then he gets hurt, and that player has disappeared now.

    Baez took the steps forward and he's on a superstar platform. What else can I say thats not public knowledge about his season and his impact on his team.

    So 1 out of 7? Thats not so bad is it? I keep being reminded they are all still very young, so there is always next year and the year after if needed.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Agreed I looked at this as a big year for our OF's. We had a well below average OF last year and we were hoping for a rebound this year and the reality is we need to make changes out there because we're not getting even close to enough offense out of those guys. Bryant and Contreras should be fine I trust those guys track records but a message needs to be sent to the guys like Heyward, Almora, Happ, and maybe Schwarber as well as the team that we're competing for titles and not just to be in contention. I feel guys are getting to comfortable with the roster stability and it's time to address the positions that have been struggling multiple seasons. None of these guys can be relied on to hit postseason pitching Schwarber has had 2 straight poor postseasons, Almora is great against lefties in the postseason at least but the guys a liability against righties, Happ just isn't an acceptable starter overall, and I've never seen heyward do anything in a playoff game with the cubs ever shocked maddon pinch hit him over Schwarber. My wish list is a middle IF, a CF or stud hitting corner OF, and some high end relievers as insurance for morrow next year. Overall I'm not gonna bash the team too much I appreciate this current cubs organization and I think we have most of the pieces in place to contend but I think we're gonna see a very proactive offseason with more change then we've become used to. Gonna be interesting what happens with Maddon I like the guy but I think he's easily a below average game day tactician. Keeping gore in the game over schwarber knowing gore is an automatic out at the plate and pulling Q were blatantly obvious bad moves and sometimes I just don't know what he's thinking with his in game decision making

  • fb_avatar

    I said this in the last thread but thought it was too late for many to read it.
    No situational hitting or even game situation. Gore swinging at all, especially on a 3-2 pitch. KB swing for HRs, no one trying to go the other way or just get a base hit. When the shift is on hit the other way, just a soft hit will do it.
    Still, with all the problems and injuries and bad signings (so far) we tied for the best record in the NL, was one pitch, one hit away from winning the NL or tonight.
    Kudos to the Cubs for the season. 4 seasons of 90 + wins and this team never quit. There will be changes but we should cheer this team too.
    Also, thanks to all the writers here and all the work you do and all the time it takes up that we'll never know but do appreciate it.
    I also want to thank all the Denizens for all your comments every day that make this so interesting and your knowledge and humor and experience amazes me.
    Thank you all.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Absolutely, thanks to the writers for keeping this going. Great job!

  • It was a blessing that Brewers and Rockies finally put us out of our misery. I was was totally drained and I'm just a fan. Mlb has finally given us a day off.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed, it was misery watching the Cubs offense.

  • It does, Mike, it does.

    Baseball is supposed to be fun, and it is. Baseball is also unpredictable. We all see the roster in spring and dream of what can be. The grass isn't quite green and the ivy is dormant, but we know it's coming. And for the first time in any of our lifetimes, we know our beloved Cubs are going to be good.

    It was all just a bit too much this year. Too many injuries. Too much regression. Too many no-shows. Tabloid headlines and fastballs to the forehead. But our boys persevered, and they will again. Time to lick our wounds, regroup, re-assess, and do it all again next year.

    Baseball is supposed to be fun, and it is. Even when it isn't. It wouldn't be fun if it was predictable. We'll have all winter to build our perfect team, to eagerly await the decision from that big free agent, and to say goodbye to that bum we can't stand. I look forward to it all. But for now I'm in the moment. It hurts, but sometimes pain reminds you how much you love it.

    I'm reminded of the last days with my dad. Through all the pain and all the crap, he remembered why he loved it. He wouldn't dwell on the negative, and made me promise to get a line on his headstone:

    "Far out... Let's do it again!"

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I am now 48 hours from this disappointing but personally predicted, the Cubs playing an exhausted team, they themselves winded and showing every offensive peripheral team stat showed their vaunted and revered offense was south of the top 2/3's of MLB and trending fast to the bottom in September. The reason appears to be known or understood by Theo & Co. What is it? What caused them to vastly increase their ground ball rate, decrease their HR rate, soft contact, less walks, more K's. Theo seems to have a handle on it. This will emerge as to why or at least what they see is the underlying decrease in productivity. Who improved? Baez, Zobrist, Almora, Heyward, Bote? Who declined? Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras, Russell, Schwarber, Happ?

    This is the first year without Martinez, Mallee, Bosio, how much did this make behind the scenes. My eyes tell me that the pitching was solid. It appears Theo has no problem picking up Hamels, bet they sign a short extension, based on appearances next season. That solidifies the rotation. They will be moving players this off season, some in fire sales (Chatwood probably give up to half the money for '19-'20) and Russell ( arb eligible though), but my guess is that Schwarber would still attract some significant attraction. I see Cubs adding in the bullpen.

    Will they add Machado (and team with Baez) and moving Bryant to the OF (under the guise and smarts to protect him from diving on his shoulder) or Harper and teaming with Bryant by moving the CF platoon system out.

    But more importantly is what is done behind the scenes. Who will Maddon have to give up or allow or thankfully let go? I think Davis will not survive, appropriate or scapegoat, it matters little, the results and peripherals are the results. Hickey appears to be ok but there were sure a lot of injuries but also many mid season fixes.

    That said what will be interesting are the off season work and where. Bote (winter ball and work on what?) Contreras (work on framing?) Caratini, (more work on technique), Schwarber (work on his technique), Almora, (where is the improvement coming from?) Baez (more development on pitch recognition), Bryant (get healthy and get back to basic), Rizzo, (stay healthy), Zobrist (more workouts), Heyward (work on that whip).

    Finally I recall a number of conversations with Bob Knight and one of his insights regarding organization accountability is that all season outcomes is a relationship to the cumulative body of work by each individual in an organization. Championships are made when every member of the organization down to late night custodian is fixated and doing more towards that goal. Athletes who are competitors must be committed their understanding as to the body of work is required to overtake all their competition. Winning consecutively is even greater because competitors measure their status and development by former champions so they point to those games and look to peak then. So the body of work was good but not good enough and why Theo is blaming himself. There will be changes, probably one unexpected.

  • Thought it was ironic Baez got the only rbi that pretty much summed up the offense in 2018.Obviously Disappointed but not surprised, like I said most of us this saw this coming.

    The cubs scored 1 run in several critical games down the stretch and that’s what did them in. With the bullpen being shaky and the offense cold as ice the cubs weren’t gonna go far.

    For a team that lost Darvish for the season before Memorial Day, that had to remove Tyler walkwood from the rotation, had an ineffective Edwards post dL stint, lost their closer, then secondary closer,lost one of their best hitters for 60 games and had several other players on the dL along with offensive regression of some key guys it’s amazing the cubs won 95 games.

    It’s rare a 26 year old superstar hits the open market in mlb it’s unheard of when 2 do. The cubs gotta sign either Harper or machado, they need an established hitter too many easy outs in the lineup.

  • In reply to bolla:

    If they move Schwarber, which I’m not convinced they’ll do yet, I go after Machado and Brantley. Move Javy back to 2B

  • In reply to TC154:

    I’d be on board with that. We need to fix the OF offense. It is absolutely unacceptable. Machado actually finished the year with a positive DWar at SS, so as I have been saying he is more than acceptable.

    With that said, I’d have a hard time not getting Harper. In a “down year” he drove in, scored, and walked 100 times. Guys like that just don’t come available pre-prime in their careers.

    I try to clear as much payroll as possible to fit them both onto the roster. We have a $50MM check coming from the Fox TV deal too. You may have to give up a good piece in combo with another one to move a large chunk of change—i.e. packing Q a very good value contract with Heyward. The Dodgers were successful moving some bad deals to free them up and I see Theo doing the same.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I'd go Machado to 3rd, Baez to SS and move Bryant to left. I think Machado would be fine playing 3rd once he gets his money.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Machado wants to play ss, that will be a huge factor in where he signs along with money

  • In reply to TC154:

    If they move Schwarber ??? Are you kidding ??? How long are the Cubs going to wait on him ? Schwarber is a prototype American League player and shouldn't been drafted into a National League team. The Cub brass made a drafting mistake and its cost the Cubs.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Exactly as frustrated as people get with baez it's hard for him to always do everything alone and this game summarizes the whole season too much reliance on zobrist baez and rizzo. need to address the OF we can't keep having all these automatic holes in our lineup

  • By the end of the season, the whole lineup needed to find Szczur's shorter bat.

  • I am still floored with all the holes on this team that they were able to have the best record in the NL. Chalk this up to “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog”. We were under-manned and under-performed all year.

    Because of this, I will go on record to say I want Joe Maddon back. There is no better manager for a young group of players for 9 months from Feb to Oct. Sure, he has quirks and makes himself open to second guessing, but we need to look at the big picture and realize Joe is the best in the game. And he is ours.

    I fully expect Theo and Jed to make some significant changes and give Joe some new pieces to work with. After sitting back last night watching an anemic offense, I expect new players at 4 positions. I would not be surprised to see Russell, Schwarber, Happ, Heyward, Murphy, Quintana, and Monty gone from next year’s team. It’s no secret we need a middle infielder and an entire new OF.

    Watching these games was frustrating and emotional. But deep down I knew this team was fatally flawed and had zero chance to win a post season series. I was surprised our pitching righted the ship and carried us. As more of an “offense guy” I knew we were toast. When Bote starts at 3B in a winner take all game that is all you need to know about how far our offense has fallen. That was not a championship caliber team on the field.

    Thanks to the writers and all the Denizens for a fantastic place to share, debate, laugh, and yell through an entire 6+ months of baseball. Look forward to the discussion with all of you this off-season.

  • I thank all the writers and contributors for making this a fun season, regardless of how it ultimately turned out. I thank the DVR gods for having the game run out of time in the top of the 12th so I didn’t have to actually watch them lose. And I thank the team, front office, Joe and the rest of the coaching staff for giving me a real reason to follow and love the Cubs. I’m looking forward to the changes that will be made this offseason and, after a few days of mourning, I can’t wait till next year!!

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    YES ——This!!

  • Thanks to all of the Den writers for a great season. Always loved reading the recaps, minor league stories, and commentary. While this isn’t quite the heartbreak I had as a 12 year old in 1969, this one hurts. I always miss Cubs baseball when their season ends, so we’ll see what the offseason brings and get ready for 2019. See you next year. Go Cubs.

  • With all due respect to Barley, the song Joe Brown did to end Concert for a George seems appropriate:
    “I’ll See you in my dreams, hold you in my dreams.... light my (lonely) way tonight, I’ll see you in my dreams”.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    "But still I feel the thrill of your charms."

    Good call, and this is why I love Cubs Den. I'm much more into the three-fingered power chords of Tony Iommi than that ukulele-looking thing Mr. Brown strums in that particular number, but we all appreciate talent, and we have this forum to express our love for baseball and to occasionally share a laugh and expand our minds.

    I didn't say thank you earlier. I'd like to now. Thanks to all the writers and staff that have held this place together. You bring much joy to many lives and John would be proud. Thanks to all the fans who contribute here in the comments. We've gotten under each other's skin at times, and I'm as guilty as any one, but we all share a passion, and I'm honored to share it all with you.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Barley, to start the season, I was all about:

    "Rocket engines burning fuel so fast . . .

    Last night and this morning its:

    "The shock troopers laying down on the floor . . " or

    "Junior's eyes looked up to the skies in tears . ." or

    "My body echoed to the dreams of my soul
    It started something that I could not control" and, finally,

    "Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow"

  • Once the young hitters adapt their approach to spray to all fields then the office will return. The challenge is this team crushes pitchers 3-5. They struggle against 1s & 2s. Being able to use the whole field will be crucial for their next step. Look at Zobrist as a case study. He truly understands how to approach the at bats and work with what the pitchers want to do. Daniel Murphy gave you professional at bats with a lot of “B” hacks.

    Almora’s approach last night was great. He had been showing over the last week a better approach. His strike zone recognition has gotten better this year. Baez’s game tying hit was a good at bat. He didn’t try to kill it. For his last at bat, he tried to do too much. For Bryant, he needs to get his shoulder right. Teams were daring him up & in. Think of the kinematics to pull his hands thru for high tight pitches. Teams attacked his weakness.

    Willson & Schwarber became too pull happy. Happ can be lumped here too. They all show elite bat speed which is great but again not using the whole field makes it easier for pitchers to get them out.

    Heyward showed better hands this year. His body was quieter & more balanced.

    Caratini I thought did a good job down the stretch. He was using 2/3 of the field from both sides

    I have to give Rizzo credit. I am a big detractor of him. I don’t think he will age well - big 1Bs with reoccurring back issues who have to open their swings up to catch up to fastballs. What he showed me in the 2nd half is he was willing to be more balanced and go back up the middle. He closed his swing up a bit. If he can start going to left center a bit more then I think he has MVP potential. I believe he put in the work with Chilli.

    I don’t fault Chilli Davis. I think we watched offensive futility based upon youthful development & injuries.

    This pitching staff was absolutely amazing. The bullpen became overtaxed to cover for Chatwood & Darvish early. The starters in August & September were amazing. I come back with Lester, Hendricks, Hamels, Quintana, Darvish / Montgomery. I would work hard with Chatwood to see if he can be Jake 2.0. Right now it’s mental as much as it’s physical.

  • I said this last night but I'm still baffled by it...
    How does Terrance Gore have the green light in that 13th inning? That is the single dumbest, most move I have ever seen in baseball. The red light is painfully obvious. It feels like Russell Wilson throwing on the goal line with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield.
    The guy is an automatic out. I am honestly 100% more comfortable with Lester at the plate than with Gore. First of all, he doesn't try to bunt. Then he GETS OUT OF THE WAY of a hit by pitch! Automatic double to lead off the inning in a 1-run elimination game and the worst hitter in the world is dodging HBP. Then, he gets to 3-2 and I'm in my living room yelling "Take sign! Red light!" If he had taken a fastball over the middle of the plate for strike 3, no one would have blamed him. That he had a green light there is inexplicable. And he swings at a slider in the dirt. I was floored.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I don't disagree, but it took 12 innings of offensive futility just to get to Gore's AB. I don't like "gimmick" players and didn't want Gore on the roster to begin with. I also didn't like KB looking silly in striking out to end the 12th, ensuring that Gore would lead off the 13th.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Definitely. On the "reasons they lost" list, Gore's AB was low.
    And yes... Bryant's AB in the 12th was arguably the worst of the night. Have some perspective, dude! You know they're going to pitch around you. How are you up there in swing mode in that spot? Super disappointing.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Those were both 12U rec ball horrible at bats.

    Gore is so bad as a hitter, he should be trying to get a HBP or bunt single in that moment. It's ok to bunt in someone's face too. Just because they play in doesn't mean you can't drop one down. And certainly slap the ball up the middle or to RF. To swing and miss by a foot was horrible optics for him and us.

    KB was a disaster. His timing was brutal. Late on every fastball over 90 and over the top and in front of every slider. Take 60 games off for injury and it was tough to watch. He appears to only be able to inside-out the ball. Let's get his shoulder fixed ASAP and get him back to the normal KB for '19. This guy to finish the year was difficult to watch.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I'm really worried about the shoulder because the team is pretty quiet about it. All they say is "it's hurt". You could see it in his swing but also some his throws especially from the outfield looked bad to me. Maybe its my old eyes (which were bad when I was young, worse now) but a lot of his throws did not seem as strong or accurate as they were in the past.

  • It's his left shoulder that is hurt. Not his throwing shoulder.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Ha! I feel better then. I had thought it was his throwing shoulder! Maybe it was all in my mind because of that.

  • That's it - I'm changing my screen name to "Waituntilthenextyearafterthenextyearafterthisyear"

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I could have told Kris not to marry.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    TO MODERATORS

    Please remove the above inappropriate comment and ban the poster from this site.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    That seems a little harsh to me. What do you see that's "inappropriate" about the comment?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    You see nothing inappropriate with "I could have told Kris not to marry." ???? You are kidding, right?

    IMHO, Kris Bryant's personal and family life is HIS business. Unless MLB finds a reason to begin an investigation which affects KB's playing status, it is none of OUR business.

    I realize the referenced comment is tame compared to what is posted on other social media. But I thought we were better than that. Or at least we used to be.

    :(

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Unless I'm missing something, I still don't see what's "inappropriate" about a joke about someone's performance changing after marriage. I haven't seen other social media accounts, so if there is a tie-in, I'm unaware.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    What are you talking about?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    It's a common good-natured play on marriage, Drop.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    If Joe and the FO planned on having Gore on postseason roster they could have given him a few more at-bats during the regular season. It's not like the OF was producing much to begin with.

    That was just a brutal at-bat.

  • In reply to berber31:

    There were no at bats for him because he was a Sept roster expansion player on the team for nothing more than to pinch run. Given our abysmal offense the last half of the season, there was no chance for the guy to get an at bat.

    I was surprised a guy with his speed doesn't understand the need to get on base at all costs and have an A+ or Brett Butler type of bunting game. Or dive into pitches and increase his OBP. He was free swinging up there which is shocking.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I was hoping that Joe would Hamels bat. Maybe he could hit another homerun and the team could score two whole runs in one game.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Let's not be greedy now

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Sorry, one would have to admit, that this is a scrappy bunch tho. We won 95games with an offense that sucked.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    I was on that idea too, not because he might hit a homer. I didn't want to see Wilson or any other bullpen arm and wanted to save Hendricks for game 1 so ( yes I know u have to win yesterday first) we at least have a chance in the series vs being an easy out for the Brew like we were for the Dodgers last yr.

    Oh well. On to next yr.

    Thank you to all the writers. You guys sure do a great job at putting articles/content up for us.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Agreed and I'd go further to say why wasn't Schwarber double switched into the game for Gore? Gore should be solely a pinch runner but if you have the option to get him out of LF for Kyle you do that every time it's the type of decision making that makes me wonder if we'd be better off without maddon. The guys done wonders here changing the culture but this type of act tends to have diminishing returns and the guy just isn't a good game day manager every single close playoff game he gets out maneuvered. I don't think another manager in baseball would've opted to leave Gore in over Kyle and I don't think another manager in baseball would've pulled Q in a big game that early given the state of our shorthanded and shaky bullpen

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    The decision to use Gore when he did was bad in and of itself. He had a runner on 1B in the 6th with no outs, and a runner on 1B in the 7th with 1 out. Saved Gore for the 8th with a runner on 1B and 2 outs. You're asking Baez to get a hit against maybe the filthiest RHP in the league. It worked out (luckily for Maddon), but that was a complete misuse of Gore in that spot.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Can't be a misuse if it worked

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    That line of thinking is wrong. It's Maddon's job to put the team in the best position to succeed. He didn't do that. Baez bailed him out.
    Think of it like black jack: is it the right decision if you hit on 19 and draw a 2, just because it worked? No. If you do it consistently, you go broke.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    By the way, Ottavino yielded a .139 average to RHB and struck them out 39% of the time. That's who you're asking Baez to get a hit against. And you took out your best hitter for the entire game in the process.
    Maddon owes Baez a watch for saving him after that awful move.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Disagree - they were running out of outs and had to score. If he didn't use Gore then he would have gotten ripped for failing to use him. Gore got in scoring position and Baez drive him in like top players are supposed to do.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    That was a tough call. It is one of those decisions that worked for the short term but then it hurt us for the long term.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Right. I'm not saying he was wrong for using him in the 8th. He had to. But he was wrong for WAITING until the 8th to use him. He forced his own hand and it cost the Cubs their best hitter for the final 5 innings. Happ led off the 6th with a BB, and was later removed for a new pitcher. Gore should have run for Happ then. Especially since he took him out anyway.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    And you're right. He kept Gore in with Schwarber available. Gore got 2 PA and Schwarber got 1.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    The reason Schwarbs was not double switched was because Gore was in a key slot in the order, so when Schwarbs pinch hit for the pitcher, if you left Kyle in left and took out Gore then the pitcher would have been in the 3 hole right after Zo and KB. No manager would have done that late in the game with only Carrot left on the bench. yes, Gore sucks in the batters box but so does any pitcher that late.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I disagree. You don't double switch. You just sub Schwarber in for Gore. Schwarber goes into the 3 hole, and gets 2 PA. Yes, a pitcher would have had to take 1 plate appearance when the 9 spot rolled around because they ran out of position players.
    But 2 Schwarber PA and 1 Hamels/Hendricks PA >
    1 Schwarber PA and 2 Gore PA.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Agreed 100% the cubs have had struggles at times scoring in extras and with rizzo subbed out which I understand the result worked out we needed another bat in the lineup and schwarber is a very nice piece off the bench that was only available in the 1st place because we faced a tough lefty. It's a no brainer Gore isn't a great OF anyways guys got zero arm and you're going from essentially under a .100 hitter to a guy with almost 30 home runs and a .360 OBP it's a no brainer and I was absolutely shocked to see Gore left in the game. I was aware that double switching would mean we'd have to hit caratini earlier and I was perfectly fine taking that chance. It's inexcusable Gore should be solely used as a pinch runner and almost never unless he's the last man in used as a positional player there's a reason why the guy doesn't play major league games and is solely used as a runner. Just the typical unusual mad scientist type of move from Maddon and as much as I've appreciated what he's done with us I can almost guarantee that our next manager will be a better in game tactician. Apparently there's some conflict between maddon and theo over maddons stubborness to adapt in certain areas according to Ken rosenthal of the athletic.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I don't think it was one of Maddon's mad scientist moments. I think it was just an oversight, unfortunately.

  • Tough luck game but I suppose this is better than getting smoked by the brewers next round. Change is coming. Let's see what you got FO. Add Harper, find a way to dump Heyward, and look for a legit leadoff guy to platoon with Almora or replace Russell would be probably do most of it. Best of luck to KB and his new swing this offseason...

  • Bottom line for me is Baez and Rizzo we're the only consistent players all year from the plate. Rizzo started out with 9 rbi's in April and still reached 100.

    Players that need to go for sure Edwards,Happ,Schwarber and Russell.

    Need to go after Harper and young controllable pitchers.

  • October 3rd and we are done. Wow...out of the 10 teams in the playoffs a week ago and even now I never thought that we would be the first team out. Smh.
    I want to thank all of the writers and the denizens who make this here what it is and welcome to the new ladies also, one has the fastest keyboard on the east coast and the other such a happy, enthusiast re-cap that always puts a smile on the face.
    The older standbys also who continue John’s legacy...Myles, Dabs, Fels, Sean and my favorite....Urge. The most un-appreciated of all too, Michael...letting us know who is coming soon, THAT is superhuman work. Tom, Stephanie and Jared....all of you that do this for the inflated salaries that you charge us everyday :)

    One thing, to me anyhow....this team hasn’t been the same since the World Series win....it still seems to be stuck in the WS hangover. The long seasons, limited time off, commitments, not being able to re-charge the batteries all the way. Go home, get away from baseball. Finally take 5 months and forget about it. Us expecting 175 game seasons all the time now isn’t really fair, we have no idea what you have to go through.

    I love this time of year. The leaves turn, you can feel it in the air, you know another year is coming to an end. I’ve said before how much I dread the snow blowing over Lake Shore Drive, that sucks.....but, I also know soon thereafter what will always come back.

    I’m coming home this weekend. Haven’t been back in a few years...see my grand daughters:) They usually come here, not cuz Grandpa’s cool, only because Grandpa lives 10 minutes from Mickey Mouse. I’m always amazed at how much things have changed back home (THAT road was NEVER a 4 lane highway wtf!) There is nothing like Chicago....nothing like the 6 county metropolitan area ANYWHERE.....prettiest lakefront in the world, etc.

    One thing that is always the same though....some dumbasses decided to stick a ballpark up in a neighborhood below the big cemeteries.....and it will be there again, next year! Hope we all are too...

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I lived a few years in Orlando. Didn't really "live" there, but that's where the rent checks went to. The only things in Orlando are drugs and Mickey Mouse.

  • OK, I think I'm out of that funk.

    Sign Machado to play 3B, move Bryant to LF. Harper in RF, Trout in center. Russell and Chatwood would fill some holes for the new skipper in Anaheim. They need a defensive upgrade at SS and Ohtani can't pitch.

    Fire Joe, Chili, and Hickey. Hire Grandpa. He can do it all.

    Kershaw, deGrom, and Kimbrel, oh, my! The Mets need everything, and we got some of that. The rest is only Monopoly money.

    When do pitchers and catchers report?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Wait a minute--where are Ruth, Gehrig, Mays, Aaron & Banks supposed to play?

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Those scrubs sit on the bench until El Mago needs a blow.

    Da Cubs!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't think Russell is an upgrade over Simmons........ but he can play 2nd Base.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Before the Cubs do anything, they had better figure out what's wrong with Kris Bryant. He threw to the wrong base last night and a week ago which almost cost the Cubs. His play in left field was mediocre and he should have caught the fly ball last night. At bat he looked lost swinging at terrible pitches and looking like he was just going thru the motions. This isn't the same KB were used to seeing.

  • Apparently there was a cubs player who was in the clubhouse on his ipad instead of in the dugout engaged with the rest of the team and the cubs players didn't like that.I really want to know who that was.

    and a few reporters and lester said contreras was very emotional after the game and was crying.Not surprised because contreras is a passionate person.Jeff passan wrote an article that I thought was over dramatic suggesting the cubs window was closing.In 2017 they were gassed after that game 5 and the dodgers were the better team.This season attrition and the offense slumping was their downfall.It happens, the window isn't close to being closed the cubs have at least 3 more years of world series contention.The royals window closed quickly,the mets window closed real quick the cubs are like the red sox,yankees and dodgers they will be in it every year.Thought the article was ridiculous.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Javy.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Javy was on his IPAD during the game? Before or after he was hugging Nolan?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    He was checking to see if the hug video made it on Sports Center.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Nice!!!!

  • Uhhg. That was tough. I think this one is on Chili. It seems like the only Cub that connected with him was Baez. Every other hitter struggled under Chili's watch except Zobrist.

    I have no idea where the team goes from here. I like the starters, and hope for a healthy Darvish, with Monty as the 6th starter. Their bullpen, even though it crapped the bed in September, they have good arms, and Cishek and Edwards were ridden too hard earlier in the year, when the starters were struggling.

    But the offense. Baez has evolved, he shouldn't win the MVP, but he should be 2nd. I did notice his AB changing throughout the year. Earlier in the year he was just relying on ambushing pitchers early in the count. By the end of the year. He seemed to be laying off more pitches out of the zone. Obviously still very much a work in progress, but definitely trending in the right direction. I think he's set himself with an all-star expectation from here on out.

    Schwarber's defense improved to the point where its not a problem. I'm perfectly happy with his defense in LF. I was not happy with his bat though. I kept on thinking of that wildcard game in Pittsburgh. Where he battled Cole, and went the other way to drive in that first run. Then later when the pitches came in, he put it in the Allegany. Will we ever see that Schwarber? The battler, who will fight through the tough AB. I'd give him one more year, to see if that is still in him. He has a good eye, and runs into one every now and then, but I hope he's more.

    Bryant. Ugh. I know he had his injuries, but his D and his bat have left a ton to be desired. His inability to do anything in clutch situations has continued for a 3rd year. I know Contreras and Schwarber were pathetic as well, but Bryant was a flipping MVP.

    Happ, I just don't know. I don't think he can be moved for anything. I think he just needs to settle into a bench role, where you hope he runs into 1 every now and then.

    Russell, spousal abuse aside. Does anyone think having him in the lineup would have made a lick of difference. I don't. He's another batter that didn't connect with Chili.

    Heyward can't hit. At all. Even when he was being "productive" earlier in the year. He was mainly hitting ground balls just out of reach of defenders. I've never seen someone so big, who looks like he's barrelled the ball only to watch it drop into an OF glove 40 feet in front of the wall so consistently.

    I hope Contreras was hurt the last half of the year, because his bat was terrible.

    I'm just not sure what the Cubs will do.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    It is on the players and not Davis

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Then what's the purpose of a coach? Why waste the money on them it they don't have an impact on performance? Can you explain why so many Cubs players regressed this year?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    HR's in baseball dropped 10% from the record high a year before. You are blaming the coach too much for the hitters performance. He helps with scouting and mechanics but it is up to the players to execute.

  • This will probably be the most pro active off season since theo took over and the cubs fo is very proactive already but I mean busier than 2015 offseason.

    My personal wish list: definitely bring back hamels, exercise the option or buy him out and give him a 2 year deal.I would try to get stroman from the blue jays if I could.I'd try to trade heyward if possible.His full no trade protection expires after 2018 he can now be traded.Eat some salary and move him nice guy great teammate but he doesn't produce for his salary.They gotta add some strike throwers for the bullpen.No more rosario,deunsing,kintlzer type guys get some nasty dudes who can miss bats. Whether from the farm or acquiring a guy via trade or signing an arm.

    I checked cotts salaries if accurate and up to date the cubs are like 300k below the tax line this season.Next season they will go over the luxury tax but can reset after 2019.That along with the pending tv deal means the cubs can spend some money even with all the salary they already have committed and raises thru arbitration.Big market teams can do this and there's no way theo epstein will not be in on machado or harper. They are superstar talents entering their primes.Only arod in 2000 was a similar situation.It's a perfect storm because the cubs already are a cash cow and will get even more revenue after 2019

    I would keep almora and trade schwarber or happ.Tough decisions for theo it's obvious it will happen.last year theo mentioned they may have to trade from position player depth but decided to roll with the same guys it's definitely gonna happen this off season.

    Baez showed he is a star,rizzo,bryant,contreras(hope he bounces back offensively) zobrist & almora would be the only untouchable position players on the roster for me.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Why is Almora untouchable?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Not untouchable but they're not gonna trade all the cost controlled players you have to keep 1-2.I'd prefer to keep almora and happ but if I had to choose I'd keep almora.

  • In reply to bolla:

    The outfield is basically composed of all platoon players. Almora is basically a 4th or 5th outfielder

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agreed 100% I like all these guys and of course want them to succeed but the reality is there are absolutely no impact players in this OF group and its to me the biggest reason why this team has declined these past 2 years. Time to stop letting heyward play because of the contract and hold him accountable for 3 straight years of being a liability to border line liability

  • In reply to bolla:

    At this point I don't care about cost controlled. Get players that can perform and don't have to be platooned.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I understand what you're saying but They still need to have some cost controlled cheap players or payroll will get ridiculous.The cubs need to eat some salary and move heyward. They have to move him before 2020 or he'll become 10 and 5 and can veto trades.

    Almora or happ would be the one I kept whether it's as a 4th outfielder or whatever.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'm not anxious to get rid of Happ or Almora. Who knows what they will bring going forward. Schwarber too, I guess. If they can sign a stud infielder or outfielder and trade Heyward we could either move Bryant to the outfield or insert stud outfielder. The Cubs need a leadoff man. Let's stop leading off middle of the order Riz, Zo, and Schwarbs.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Nobody is going to take on Heyward's contract unless the Cubs pay the freight. JHEY is still a great outfielder.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agreed he's a part of the OF that's a part of the problem. I want almora around he's our best defensive OF and I generally like him in games like last night against a tough lefty but I'd rather him be more of a role player. We need an impact OF out there and that player ideally needs to be a CF but someone needs to be replaced in the outfield and I wish it was heyward but we're kinda stuck with him

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Almora is a good defensive outfielder, but you can get good defensive outfielders anywhere. If we have him back fine, but we shouldn't be married to the idea that he HAS to be here. My list of untouchables are - Brizzo, Baez, Lester, Contreras (and he needs to come back with a better approach at the plate) Zo, Hendricks, Chavez, Strop, Monty (in the pen again as lefty's are hard to find). All others can be dealt. Thing is, anybody we trade would quite simply be a sell low situation and that is not what you want to do.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Add Cishek as you always can use someone like that with a rubber arm.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed I think guys are getting too comfortable with all the roster stability and the roster not only needs changes because our team has holes but also to maybe send a message to these guys their mindset and intensity just didn't feel the same to me these past 2 years compared to 2015-16. I'd say forget Stroman we have a stacked pitching staff and stroman would cost us more than Q or Archer unless they'll accept Q as the centerpiece lol. But they need Harper or machado and if they get harper I'd trade happ or schwarber (ideally happ) for a reliever kinda like what we did with Jorge Soler. I think we need a stud OF we just don't get enough production from our OF's except Schwarber sometimes but even he's underwhelming and almora against lefties but once again I'd never start him in a playoff game against a righty. We can't keep having all of these holes in the OF it makes us very reliant on our infield and contreras and when we have a season like this where KB and Willson struggle then the offense can't pick up the slack with our weak hitting OF. I don't even know what to do with heyward he has maybe the worst contract in baseball, he's always been our worst player in the postseason complete liability, and we're stuck with him essentially. He's been bad 3 straight years and even worse in playoff games I think it's time to admit that this guy just isn't a good player anymore and you can't rely on him. He'll make a good backup OF to me but I strongly think that sometimes as an organization you just have to admit you made a mistake and we can't continue to have this offensive hole in our lineup in RF moving forward. The reality is signing heyward was the worst thing that's ever happened to this organization and now we have to do what we have to too correct this problem. My main thing is I want to see Theo proactively address the OF and maybe move a guy we have a bunch of decent role players out there but we need that star producer that contributes like the untouchable players that you've listed we just don't have any plus players in our OF that's the reality and to hope for these guys to improve significantly to me is just being hopeful but not realistic. I'd also get a stud reliever too hopefully by trade as insurance for morrow. That would give us a lethal bullpen when healthy and I'd probably stand pat in the starting rotation and keep hamels I really like our starting pitching moving forward but would be fine trading one of the starters if we can get a huge haul back and we have a replacement in mind. Overall excited by this offseason think there's gonna be a decent amount of change.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    If adrian gonzalez,carl crawford and matt kemps contracts could be traded.So can heywards ,and he has 5 years like 106 left(his signing bonus is deferred 5 mil per year thru 24-27) I don't think it's the worst contract in mlb that's khris davis,pujols or miggy cabrera, but yes the overall outfield production is lackluster to say the least. I've said It doesn't matter to me machado or harper the cubs need another established hitter who pitchers will fear.The offense was a major struggle down the stretch ,they couldn't score more than 1 run in several key games at home,win one and the cubs are getting ready for the nlds.

    stroman is a pipe dream but the cubs were trying to acquire him at the deadline.I would at least kick the tires because he only has 2 years of control left and he hasn't been as effective + the blue jays are in transition until bichette and vlad guerorro jr are ready.Maybe offer happ & schwarber

  • In reply to bolla:

    Adding a long term high aav contract is a bad idea that rarely works out. I don't think Machado or Harper is on the front office shopping list this off season.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agree that high AAV contracts have great risk, though it is rare that you have players as young and accomplished as Machado and Harper. I hated the Heyward deal, as I thought it was clear he wouldn't hit to justify it. But the same rational for signing young Heyward is all the more true for young stars like Machado and Harper. Either would likely become the best power hitter on the team and would give this lineup significantly more pop.

  • In reply to springs:

    Agreed I've never been a fan of Heywards game always thought he was overrated as a hitter he was a guy the stat geeks loved but his offensive production never matched his supposed potential. Heyward isn't a comparable player to Harper and Machado to me these guys have proven they're generational players and heyward never compared to them even in his prime I don't care what his WAR said look at his offensive numbers

  • In reply to bolla:

    The luxury tax is not just a cash issue. Draft choices are also involved, are they not?

  • In reply to wthomson:

    You have to go 40 million over the luxury tax threshold to affect draft picks(drops 10 spots).You have to be over for 1 year for 20%,2 years 30%,3 years in a row to pay the highest surtax(50%).The cubs only went over in 2016 and the threshold increases the next 3 years

    2019- 206
    2020 - 208
    2021-210

    The cubs will have to pay the luxury tax in 2019 unless theo dumps some massive salary.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I think the Cubs were a lot more then $300K under the CBT. Cot's says they were more like ~$14M below the tax line. They would not come so close because there are unknown cost that come up.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    That was opening day payroll, you have to see what the end of season payroll with incentives,in season acquisitions salary etc.

    I did the math myself that's how I came up with the 300k under # and I still could be off because I don't know the accurate numbers I just used cotts info.I added chavez,hamels,murphy,kintlzer and the de la rosa etc additions

    The nationals and rangers sent cash with those hamels and murphy trades so that may offset the salaries. I believe the cubs were under I doubt they would go over this season.I'm not an accountant so I could be wrong.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I stand corrected. They are $6,741,006 under the tax cap number. If you go to the very bottom of the MLB Cubs Tax Tracker 18.xls page They have the salaries of the players added at the deadline. Although I do not see Murphy's salary so it may be less than that. I do not think the Cubs would risk being only $300K below the threshold, that is very close.
    Thanks

  • It will be interesting to see what 'the boys' do. I want a leadoff man, but they are hard to fine. Too long and too much $$ contracts make me nervous.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    MLB.com had an interesting article earlier this week looking at how the 10 playoffs teams were built. Surprisingly, every team was primarily built through trades. Trades like for Yelich and Chris Sale that were criticized for giving up too many prospects have been really good so far.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The Cubs need to increase team speed, that's no secret. There trying to address this thru the draft. I wrote last September , I had hoped the Cubs would go all out to acquire Christian Yellich. Core players should have been available to trade with the exception of Javy, Rizzo, and Bryant.
    Christians success shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in MLB.

  • Well, look at the bright side.
    Had the Cubs advanced, we probably would've been treated to more rain delays this weekend.
    But it's been that way all year, so we should be used to it by now.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    A retractable roof would be nice.

  • Also looking forward to seeing alzolay(starter or out the pen doesn't matter to me) on the cubs next season.Watching buehler,freeland,taillon and some of the cardinals young pitchers made me wish the cubs had just ONE guy.Alzolay may not be walker beuhler good but he's the best homegrown cubs pitcher and the closest to mlb.I know he still has to work on some things to be more consistent but I like his attitude in general.Hope he isn't traded

    I'd bring back strop for 1-2 years also

  • In reply to bolla:

    strop is signed next year but I'd definitely be interested in extending him another year. agreed on alzolay but I'm not expecting huge things out of him unless it's out of the pen. We'll see what happens but I don't know if I see him as even close to being on those guys levels

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I remember strop got extended but I thought it was thru '18 you're right the cubs have a team option for '19 for 6.25 million.So that's good, yea I don't expect alzolay to be as good as some of the pitchers I named but he could help as far as starter depth or out the pen.Just ready to see hopefully some effective homegrown pitching on the 25 man roster.

    Maybe meekes will get up to the cubs next season too.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Lots to unpack here:

    Strop has a team option next year, I think just under $7M. $6.8M or something like that. That's a no-brainer to me.

    I'm concerned about Edwards Jr. I know some like him and some don't, but when he is on he is a weapon. He has shoulder AND elbow issues. I wouldn't count on him next season.

    As far as the big free agents go, we will play. The FO has crafted current contracts with this year's FA class in mind. Heyward had a full no-trade clause the first couple years, and will gain 10-and-5 rights after 2020. They built in these two years of trade possibility for flexibility. The last year of Zobrist's deal is also movable. I can't say what will happen (give me Machado!), but they worded these contracts for exactly this reason: to be able to re-assess when these big dogs hit the market.

    The Rickett's have plenty of money; the Cubs print money and are about to purchase the printing press. It really is Monopoly money. We could run a $400M payroll and nobody's going hungry. But that pesky luxury tax threshold.

    It used to be when you went over it just cost more money. No more. Now you get hit with draft picks and slot money. The Cubs are one of the best organizations in baseball at identifying and signing/drafting talent, and we need to rebuild the farm. Going over the threshold, which we will, hurts that effort.

    We don't have much coming off the books next year. In fact, with arbitration raises, we're already at the ($206M?) threshold. We will blow by it this winter, but we can't just throw caution to the wind. The new CBA puts those rebuilding penalties in. We don't want to end up with a bloated payroll and no farm system, or do we? I see conflicting signs about this "window". It's going to be a delicate balancing act, and I'm intrigued by how it plays out. It is Monopoly money, but the penalties are real.

  • All of this talk about being tired and gassed is lame. No more excuses!!! The Cubs had 2 home games this week. If anybody should have been tired it should be the Rockies. They had 3 games in a row in 3 different cities and a pitcher on short rest. Tip caps to them.

    Last year I stuck up for our hitting and pitching coach as they took the fall for everything. And now people want Davis to take the fall??? Hitting coaches have very little to do with holding guys back as professionals it is all about getting these guys prepared (scouting) vs starting pitchers and relieves. Chili had nothing to do with the cubs offense sucking down the stretch. People want more situational hitting. That is a natural/baseball IQ thing not the hitting coach.

    I am very blah today. I don't know what to think about Kyle, Almora, Happ, Jason and Wilson. Was 2016 a fluke??? Are these guys coming back down from a unreal run and this is who they will be or are they somewhere in the middle? I have no idea. It will be a very interesting offseason. Is Joe back??? How do you solve the hitting woes and where do you upgrade at??? Is cole back for 20 million???
    Theo needs to check himself. He did not have a very good off season of signing guys, are the hitters he recently drafted gonna be everyday players or platoon players? The system is now weak. Yes theo is a quality GM but he has his first real challenge as a Cub GM
    But did have a good trade deadline.

  • Chavez said if he's not on the cubs next year he's retiring, I'd bring him back for one more year.Thought he did great and was one of the bright spots in the 2nd half.

    Hope I never see justin wilson in a cubs uniform ever again.Get him outta here

    Also keep forgetting drew smyly will be 100% ready to go next season.That is a lefty option for the pen already on the roster

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'd easily bring chavez back not only did he perform great but he's a good clubhouse guy that can spot start and pitch long relief. We have some nice returning players for sure but I'd like to keep our trade deadline home run pick ups like hamels and chavez. I'd still get a stud reliever as insurance for morrow and if morrow somehow stays healthy then we have the makings of a super pen

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Chavez had an amazing run with the Cubs but he turns 36 next year and has a career 4.45 ERA. You are rolling dice with relief pitchers.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Yeah it's close but remember I'm sure you have to but I've followed chavez career since his pirate days a decade ago. He was really bad his 1st 5 years in the league like really bad he's never had outstanding stuff but he's really gotten better late in his career. His command is really good now and that cutter he's developed has become a weapon for him. His peripherals with the cubs were also really good too we have to see how many guys we're committed too but I'd certainly be interested in bringing him back as a long reliever/reliever type over Kintzler and duensing who are under contract most likely after Kintzler exercises his 5 million option

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    either way though I just don't know if there's room for him if we sign or acquire a stud reliever or 2

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Id keep him for one year. Hes pitched well the last 3 yrs out of the pen, and he was valuable to our pen late in the year. The 3 ? marks out of our pen to me are CJ, Wilson and Delorosa. CJ has dropped off signifigantly the last 2 yrs after the break, and doesnt seem very durable. Wilson is tradeable while he has some value. Delorosa is smoke and mirrors, not what I want in a playoff atmosphere.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Chavez has to be back. Guy is a great reliever -- because he throws strikes!!!

  • While I too am disappointed, I refuse to be morose over yet another 90+ win season. The sputter to the finish at the end - indeed - hurts, but despite a lot of misfortune, it was still a solid season.

    Darvish was never useful even before being lost for the rest of the season. Chatwood was far more erratic than expected. Losing Morrow as closer hurt even though Strop did a masterful job holding that down,... until he, himself, got hurt. Bryant and his balky shoulder limited a lot of his usefulness for the season. Russell continued to underperform - and then his non-baseball troubles took him out as well.

    The brightest spots for the season were Baez's emergence as a baseball demigod, Heyward actually being regularly useful at the plate, and that kid Bote.

    Ahh well,... looks like I am going to be rooting for the underdog Brewers this time out. That team, despite having Braun on it, is fun to watch.

    How long now until Winter meetings?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Hope Baez can repeat that but I am guessing he will come down some. Jason needs to go, was worthless and last night was reflective of that in his key at bat. Bote is not a everyday player more like a right handed LaStella.

    Brewers the under dogs vs Rockies???? You sure about that????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I think everyone has been far too nice to heyward this year. sure he's a nice guys but this is a performance based industry and I don't think this team is overrated at all I think heyward is the worst thing that happened to them. He's sucked every year even this improved year was a huge failure in my eyes with the way he sucked the 2nd half after a hot stretch. The money we owe him can buy us essentially 2-3 stud players of need and his mere presence makes it necessary for us to be forced to play cheap but underwhelming cost controlled players like almora happ and to a lesser degree Schwarber. It's been 3 bad years this is what he is time to admit our mistake and do what's best for the team we all saw how useless this lineup becomes when bryant and contreras don't hit and we have heavier reliance on our weak hitting OF

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Worst thing? No way. Maybe one of the best things. There's plenty to criticize in his numbers, but I truly believe that his "Leadership" --somethings our blessed new metrics cannot quantify -- was a very significant factor in this young core group winning the WS and achieving sustained success. I really like JHey and I'm glad he's one our team.

    Only Javy, Rizzo, Almora, Zo and JHey did well this year by at least meeting and in Javy's and Zo's cases, exceeding expectations. Bryant, Schwarber, Contreras, Russell, Happ, Chatwood and Edwards were all huge disappointments. And the blame lies there (and with the injuries).

  • In reply to TTP:

    Sorry but I really think all the Heyward defending is getting old. You can say it's not his fault they paid him and that he's a good guy but the fact is the numbers say he's been a below average player to a liability in his cubs tenure. I'm a very unbiased fan I'm rooting for all of these guys to succeed I don't want to be forced to spend crazy money out of our budget to fix this group but Heyward was a big part of the disappointment not just this year but in years past his failures have become a recurring issue and once again he was a non factor in big games down the stretch outside of a summer hot streak. This talk that he exceeded expectations is pure nonsense. Our expectations of him shouldn't be to top his pitiful 2016 it should be to be at least a 3-4+WAR player the guy is paid 182 million dollars over 8 years after all. He's been a hole in the lineup for 3 years and his continuous struggles magnified the struggles of guys like Kris bryant and contreras. At least those guys have had some recent history of success Heywards just consistently been one of our worst players. I don't like the idea of saying that he's doing his jobs because our expectations of him are supposed to be lower for him now that he generally hasn't hit with the cubs. If he can't be anymore than a 1-2 WAR player then he needs to be replaced plain and simple and the guy even looks like he's losing a step running wise. He's a disaster and the worst thing that happened to this golden generation group and I think we would've won the world series in 2016 without him I believe the team gives him credit because he's a nice guy and they feel sorry for him. We won in spite of his awful production that year and in the playoffs not because of him. I respect your opinion but the Heyward defending is getting old and not supported by his numbers over his cubs tenure.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kkhiavi:

    I agree 100%. How does a guy get worse during his prime years?

    Anyone who thinks that Theo and Co are not seriously upset w the contract they gave Heyward is fooling themselves.

    They were expecting 4-5 WAR from him and least a couple of the years w a base of 2-3 WAR

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    People get mad whenver I say this but the only thing I can think of is he got off the juice. I also think Theo flat out made a mistake I think Theo's thought process was if we're getting Heyward in a good year in theory then he's a great fit a multi dimensional player whose a lefty, only 26 and brings a contact element that we needed which is why he also got Zobrist. But when you get caught up with how a guy fits your team assembly and not whether or not this individual player is worth all that money then that's when you get in trouble I almost compare it to drafting for need over taking the best player available. The reality is while Heyward always had a strong WAR there were plenty of warning signs that this guy just wasn't that great of a hitter. Look at his offensive numbers before he was with the cubs yeah it's a lot better but not the type of offensive production that screams star I've always felt Heyward was really overrated honestly because of his prospect hype and pedigree and he was good to very good some years but in my eyes not great. Let's just say I don't even think he's in the same class as Machado and Harper also 2 26 year old FA's. Yes we never could've envisioned it would turn out this bad with Heyward but I felt we overvalued him from the start I feel like Theo just was really intrigued about how he fit this team if you assumed you were getting Heyward on a good year but it's always been strange to me how a guy that's not even a run producer got 180 mill. I always felt of the players rated highly by WAR Heyward was the biggest anomaly

  • In reply to TTP:

    Yeah, I am still mourning the loss. I haven't really put my mind into digging into the roster and payroll and contract options and threshold ramifications just yet. Give me three more beers. But my gut tells me I want J-Hey on my team.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    On the team or as a starter? All I know is something needs to be done about the OF and heyward has clearly been the weak link going back to 2016 and he's not cost controlled like the others

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    BP, you asked me a question every win before so now I have a question for you---Can I get a hug? Thanks.

    No one has mentioned Bote. I want to use him a lot next year. He's a great 3rd baseman and will work this winter on the holes in his swing.
    We need some change, but again this was a 95 win season with all the injuries we had. I love Albert A but would change him and J-Hey for Cain and Yelich--and Yelich is still only 26.
    We could become the SF Giants or Blackhawks and win 3 in 5 or 6 years. I said a few years ago that we should win at least 1 but more likely 2 or 3 in the next 6 years and still think we can. If Yu is healthy his history shows he can be a very, very good pitcher. I don't know about Chatwood. Our pitchers in the minors have been making progress and maybe 1 comes up and surprises us.
    Joe must be back. He's still one of the best managers in MLB and he does a great job with these players off the field too. We shouldn't get all break everything down and build it up again. Disappointment yes, discouragement no.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    A hug? I do one better, I'll sing you a song:

    "I love you.
    You love me.
    We're a happy family."

    Seriously, I hope Norway sees this. We had an exchange a few nights ago. It was intense, and so respectful it made my day. Norway mentioned that he is coming to Chicago next (early) August, and said he would like to meet up with some Denizens, and even offered to buy me a beer on his bloated Norwegian salary. :)

    I'd be honored to meet you, Norway, and August of next year is a long time from now. Hopefully we can attract a few other Denizens to have a drink and talk baseball. That was John's openly stated goal.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    That sounds great. We are a happy family and come together in times like these.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Copy me on that meeting. I have been known to drink a few. Only three hours away too.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    BP, I didn't know if you saw that post, since you didn't comment.

    Hope to meet you in August!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    No to Bote. He is nothing more than a backup. After a quick league adjustment, he was terrible. I am growing tired of giving at bats and spreading them out to 11 or 12 guys to keep fresh. We got worse as the season progressed. When guys played well, they all of a sudden sat for a game or two. I don't care for that.

  • In reply to TTP:

    "leadership" no. Cause he called a players meeting during a rain delay? And they happen to comeback and win??? That doesn't make him a leader of this team. He is a good teammate but that is far from best thing that ever happened. Cause he hit better then he did the year before he gets credit for meeting expectations??? He will never meet the expectation of his contract.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Lol it's ridiculous how the guy hits a little better but is still overall an average to below average player and not even close to a good enough hitter to start for a playoff team at this point in his career and is still getting complimented and defended all season. The guys contract is the single biggest event in my eyes that altered this teams path to another World series and frankly in 2016 we won in spite of him not because of him

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    wRC+
    Bryant 125 -- worst season by quite a bit as a professional
    Contreras 100 -- dropped by 22 points
    Russell -- 80 -- dropped 5 points form a pathetic brutal 2017
    Heyward -- 99 -- sub .400 SLG and DWar down to .7 for the year
    Rizzo -- 125 -- dropped by 25-30 points versus the last 5 years - SLG sub .500 for the first time since 2013
    Schwarber -- 115 up from LY and 3.2 WAR player which was higher than Rizzo at 2.9
    Almora -- 89 -- down 14 points from LY
    Happ -- 106 -- down 8 points from LY and lost .104 points of SLG
    Baez -- 131 -- UP 33 points -- only guy who significantly improved

    This is a bad offense with holes galore. When your best OF is a one-sided platoon guy who stands with a 115 wRC+, you are in trouble. Schwarber, Rizzo, Bryant, Happ had SLG declines. And Russell and Heyward are sub .400 SLG.

    There is no way Theo is not in on Machado and Harper this off-season.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    You're absolutely right the offense needs to improve and I think part of the problem is the players plain and simple. That said I wouldn't go crazy a lot of those names are a huge part of the reason we've had success in the 1st place remember this is baseball and guys go through ups and downs in their career I think our offense isn't bad but our OF's continued struggles place a lot of pressure on the likes or bryzzo, contreras and our other core players to always play at star levels and when they don't our OF's aren't good enough hitters to pick up the slack. I think Bryzzo and contreras should be fine personally but I agree we need a middle IF to replace russell and murphy and definitely an OF because our OF just isn't playoff caliber it's as simple as that we need better players out there to replace Heyward and our CF's in particular. I'd get one stud OF and let those guys battle for time and maybe trade one of our OF's for a closer like we did with Soler.

    I'd also keep maddon and fire chilli davis. I don't believe davis is being made into a scapegoat this offense had by far the worst half of baseball that I've seen from them in the 2nd half and I don't like how Davis led offenses have seen major declines in power. I hold bostons decline against him as well there's just nothing to indicate that he's done a good job and I think baez was breaking out with our without him I've been expecting baez to break out he's always been my favorite prospect of this group along with Bryant when I watched them in the minors. Hope so on Machado and Harper too I don't believe they will go down in flames like Heyward they're better hitters plain and simple then heyward ever was

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I was just sharing the overall numbers of everyone and how BAD we truly were.

    I believe in Bryant, Rizzo, and Contreras. And am a big believer in Baez. That is why in a previous post I wrote I could see 4 new starters next year -- all 3 new OF and 1 mid-IF. Schwarber, Happ, Heyward, Russell, Almora could all be goners. Their performance doesn't lend itself to say they could or not be moved.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    I hate to say it but I want to disagree with you. But your reasoning is sound. I didn't realize it was that bad. I do think that players like Rizzo and Bryant will get better next year. I think Baez will not match his production from this year but it gave us a taste of what he is capable of.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I think it will be between the Cubs and Phils for Harper. They are the only other team he really fits on. Machado actually makes more sense for the Cubs than Harper does.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    As a former player as well I honestly believe that all these speeches and the impacts of speeches in sports is mostly nonsense this isn't a movie it's real life and at the end of the day no matter what inspirational speech someone gives you still have to go win the battle with the pitcher and execute I think we won because we had the best team in 2016 but certainly not because of Heyward if anything he was like having a pitcher spot in the lineup

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I was thinking more the underdogs relative to either Houston or Boston WaitTilNextYear.

    Bote might be a bit more useful than LaStella long-term, primarily because he can cover SS adequately, but no - he's not an everyday player on a contending team. I was primarily lumping him in with the 'bright spots' because he came mostly out of nowhere, and helped usefully cover that gaping hole in the roster left by Bryant's chronic problems this year.

    Heyward - much as I like his defense and even though he was somewhat more offensively useful this year - does remain a big problem that needs addressing. The front office has it's work cut out for it this Winter.

  • Just reported by Jesse Rogers the cubs are keeping joe for 2019

  • In reply to bolla:

    They should keep Joe

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'm good with that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and although Maddon makes me crazy with his in game tactics sometimes and I generally don't think he's as good of a manager as some of you act like, he's still really good in a lot of aspects as a manager

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I guess a managers a biggest value is that the guys play hard for him and that he keeps the chemistry in the clubhouse positive. Joe does that.

    I don't think there was much serious talk about moving Maddon.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Joe is good from a strategic level and has better in game skills than say Ol' Jimmy Frey, but he is lights year from being a Whitey Herzog with the game on the line.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I see joe’s Ingame strategy as his weakness. And ability to make a consistent lineup as a weakness and handle a bullpen.
    Joe is good at keeping things loose and being a players manager.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Joe will tell you he is not particularly good at in-game strategy. He does his best to make out a good line-up every day and doesn't seem to put any particular value on having it be "consistent." When asked he has been saying for years that he became a better manager when he realized his job it to MANAGE people. It isn't a "head coach" like in football/basketball. His job is to get the best out of his players. And when he is able to do that we see things like 2016 with lots of players having outstanding years. He wasn't a lot better at in-game strategy that year. Many still question his bullpen usage in the WS. But he got the best out of his team and that turned out pretty well.

    At some point, the players have to execute,though. And this year all but Baez, and maybe Zobrist and Cishek had off years it seemed like.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    In 2016 he had a consistent line up down the stretch. Zo in Lf Fowler in cf and jhey in rf. Bryant Addi Baez Rizzo and Wilson was the line up every day. He didn’t take a guy hitting leadoff last month of season and then all of sudden bat them 6th. Manager is same as Head Coach.
    I do agree players need to be held accountable but always blaming hitting and pitching coach is sad.

  • In reply to bolla:

    This is interesting. Earlier, they were talking about a contract extension. If this means there won't be one, it merely means that Joe will finish out the remaining year on his current contract. Is this a vote of confidence to still the rumors? Or a warning to Joe that things had better be different?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Ken rosenthal wrote an article saying there was tension this season between theo and joe. Specifically with the handling of morrow and how joe reacted to the russells ex wife blog about the abuse,at 1st he wouldn't read it and was asked by a club official to read it. I think the cubs with some roster turnover will come back better and healthier and go back to the world series in 2019 then joe will be extended 2 years win or lose.All the players baez,rizzo,contreras,lester,hendricks vouched for him last night on record. I think it's more of a let's see how it plays out situation.Now if the cubs flop again then he may be gone.This season we can question joe's in game decisions but can't blame him for things out of his control(darvish,bryant,walkwood,morrow,regression). I Thought he did good given the circumstances.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'm 50/50 on Joe, however he did a great job this year especially under trying circumstances. Theo made several mistakes in the draft and nobody's talking about that. Joe may have chocked a couple of games but overall he is an above average manager.

  • Slightly off topic, but this year might show the two wild card team format does not really work. Why should the Rockies and A's get the chance in one game to advance past a team that won many more games during the season? If there is one wild card and pairings based on overall record, we don't need games to decide the division winner and wild card either. I understand the need to increase the playoff games for TV because no one watches the regular season, but this method does not seem all that fair.

  • In reply to Iowaboy:

    The current format does a nice job of giving an advantage to the division winners, which they deserve. The WC team has to burn its best pitcher, and can't use him until game 3 of the division series. Under the old format, there was no advantage to winning the division.
    Personally, I'd prefer a 3 game WC series played over 2 days, which would give an even greater advantage to the division winners and generate slightly more revenue.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I am not so sure. Should 91-win Cleveland playing in a lousy division have an advantage over 100-win Yankees? Should 90-win Atlanta have an advantage over 95-win Cubs or Brewers in the toughest division? Isn't it about winning? Maybe I am getting nostalgic for the old non-division format where 162 games was enough to decide the two best teams for the WS. Maybe part of the reason nobody watches the regular season any more is winning in the regular season has become less meaningful.

  • In reply to Iowaboy:

    Those are fine arguments but that was also back when there were way fewer teams. So it wasn't 2 out of 30 teams in the playoffs. It was more like 2 out of 16, then 4 out of 24, so on.
    There has been some clamor for total realignment (provided the league expands to 32 teams, which it eventually will), whereupon divisions could be done away with and the postseason spots could be seeded like in basketball. I wouldn't mind this. If the top, say 6, teams in each league were seeded accordingly, with the #5 and #6 seeds representing the wild card. It would address some of the issues you're talking about.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I think you might mean the top 5 teams. 6 teams would not work with the 5 and 6 seed being wild cards". But, if it was 5 teams then maybe have 4 and 5 teams play 2 out of 3 and cut down the season to 154 games. That way could get a few more days off during the regular season.

  • In reply to Iowaboy:

    How about punishing the Red Sox who won the most games in baseball. You reward them by playing a 100 win team in the ALDS???

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Honestly if I am the redsox, I rather play the Yanks then the world champs or Indians who both have historically given them problems.

    Yes, the Yanks have too but I think they are the weaker of the 3 teams in a short series.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Stankees were 10-9 against the Bosox this year. Only team that had a winning record against them. Bosox best SP against the Stanks this year was Nathan Evoldadi , and he might not even be on the playoff roster, since he basically is there #5 SP.

  • In reply to Iowaboy:

    I really don't want to see MLB go to the ridiculous playoff format of the NBA and NHL, where sub-.500 teams routinely make the playoffs. I was fine with a single WC team in each league. If there is any more increase in the number of playoff games, the regular season needs to be cut back to accommodate.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Agreed. The regular season needs to be shortened. But MLB still has the smallest % of teams making the playoffs at 1/3. If they increase to 32 teams and add two more wild card teams, it increases to a 37.5% chance at the playoffs (still by far the lowest odds in sports).
    More playoff spots would alleviate tanking as well, as more teams would feel they have a shot... which they do.

  • If they ever have to decide between keeping Almora or Happ, give me Happ, easily. His patience and power profile make such a difference over Almora. Happ is one of the most disciplined players on the team - doesn't chase, swings at strikes only. Of course the Ks are too high. If he cuts them down, he's a monster.
    Almora is the weak side of a platoon OF. He's an empty batting average hitter who hits LHP well. He has the worst approach on the team - hack away (it cost them in a couple big spots yesterday, for whatever it's worrth). No patience, no discipline, no pitch recognition, no power.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Yeah it's really close to me Happ maybe a bad defender now but he should in theory improve I think playing the OF is very teachable. If he can hit even .250-260 and improve his defense with his power and high walk rate then he becomes an above average player. I like almora I love his makeup especially but I kinda think he is what he is. A solid role player 1-2 WAR player with good defense that hits lefties well and not righties and is a great clubhouse guy. I like both but if it were up to me we'll have a new stud OF to replace them or Heyward next season these guys are all non core players to me but nice role players at least on a 1st division team

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    That's the thing... Happ is above average now. If he improves his K rate, he's a star. I agree, Almora is what he is. He's shown no indication, in 6.5 years of pro ball, of any improvement in approach.
    I want the new stud OF this winter too, but I believe Happ can become that. He's probably never going to be a good defensive CF, but he can absolutely be a good defensive LF. And again, if he can do that while cutting the Ks... stud.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Happ is not an average player now. He plays on a limited basis against matchups in his favor. He still has a long ways to go before you could consider him an everyday player.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Eh, I guess that's fair. He produced a 106 wRC+ so 6% above the average MLB hitter. But yeah, i'll grant that he was afforded favorable matchups. The thing I really like is the OBP - AVG differential. Happ's is .120. That's incredible. That's with a massive K problem. I suppose what I'm saying is, I find it far more likely that Happ decreases his K rate (which would turn him into a top, top hitter in the league), than that Almora starts swinging only at hittable pitches (or even swinging at strikes in general for that matter) AND develops power. Happ carried a .353 OBP despite a .233 batting average and a 36% K rate! That's pretty incredible.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    How do you view his 100 point SLG decline?

    I don't see "star" when I watch Happ. I see "average" player.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Average players don't have .353 obp in a "down " year. Happ took 70 walks in 462 plate attempts. I think Happ should play everyday.

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    He posted a 106 wRC+ which screams average

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    Not striking out 36% of the time

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Yeah, like I said, right now he is average.
    I think the large decline in slugging can be mostly attributed to an anomalous 2017 in the power department. He still carried a .176 ISO this year, which is solid. In 2017 it was .261, which is absurd. It was due to a HR/fly ball ratio that was unsustainably high. This year, his HR/fly ball % normalized and his ISO was much more in line with his minor league figures.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agree.

    His swing has way too many holes at this point to think he can suddenly turn the corner and gain more contact like say a Kris Bryant.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Happ is way better then an average player now. .353 OBA is nice in a down year. He can play all over the field. He has speed. He has power. He needs to cut down on his K's.

  • fb_avatar

    I didn't watch the game last night and probably never will. When I got up this morning just hours after it ended I saw the score on my phone. My first thought was, "This is where I miss John. He would have an article up right away and talking about what the Cubs could do this off-season. Putting dissappointment into perspective."

    This is not meant as a criticism of the writers here. You all do such a good job. But days like this are where I really miss John.

    RIP, buddy.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    You have been MIA for a while. Hope you come back to contribute more. You always find interesting tidbits and takes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    I probably will. In the course of about 4 weeks I had my parents 50th wedding anniversary, my sister-in-law's, nephew's, wife's, both kid's birthdays as well as my wedding anniversary. Let's just say I have been occupied. Things should be slowing down for me soon.

  • Frankly, after spending lots of my time watching this 95 win team, I am releived its over.

    Never have I had less fun and enjoyment watching one of the winning est teams in the league struggle as the Cubs did.

    Many positive but the shadows on this teams execution and approach are too big to let lie without change.

    I don't play armchair GM, but I think change is required.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to JK1969:

    Relieved is a very good word. For all the wins and having the best record in the NL I never believed in this team, even with them coming back so many times. They were always 1 pitch or 1 hit away and didn’t seem to get it. They never showed the dominance they had in the last few years. Now I know they did get those—none more exciting than the Bote grand slam, but I guess it was the 40 games or so they only scored 1 or no runs. To me that’s what this season will be remembered, not scoring runs so many times.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    Funny, that kind of sums up howI felt about this year too.

    One of the least exciting 95-win teams I can ever remember.

    Now I need to force myself away from baseball for a little while and recoup.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I can identify with the relieved part. This team was frustrating. I plan on some late season bass angling.

  • Some tabloid tidbits:

    News is coming out that Maddon will be back next year, but no extension yet. All this says to me is he isn't fired today, but other media is running wild with the speculation. I really do believe there are some growing rifts, but that is to be expected. I keep thinking back to that initial meeting in Florida around Uncle Eddie. These are two formidable forces (FO and on-field manager) who are merging for a common cause. There will be differences, and egos will collide. No surprise here.

    There are also some rumors about Russell, and that a decision is about to be announced. I haven't been able to source anything, but a 30-50 game suspension is being speculated. Regardless, goodbye Addy, we need someone to back up Javy.

  • Addison Russel suspended 40 games

  • In reply to bolla:

    Nail in the coffin. Good riddance

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Yup bye bye addy.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Such a shame. He was one of my favorites for a while. I think he's got the talent to be an MVP. He's still arguably the best defensive SS in baseball, and his defense up the middle was a key factor in the Cubs' greatness these last 4 years.

    But according to many second-hand accounts, he has no drive to improve, and his work ethic is poor. We knew his character is poor. And now this. What a way to end a promising Cubs career.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Wow, you were way higher on russell than I was.I do agree he's one of the best defensive shortstops along with crawford and simmons. Didn't quite live up to the hype that he had when the cubs acquired him.I will miss the baez & russell middle infield.I always felt good when they were out there, and thought they made spectacular plays look routine. Unfortunate for russell he's probably gonna get non tendered and the cubs now need either a ss or 2b. Always will appreciate his contributions in 2016 he had some big hits in the postseason the double and grand slam in game 6 of the world series the 2 run hr in game 4 of the nlcs.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    We definitely haven’t been watching the same guy as we have debated multiple times.

    I see no elite defensive SS—maybe Top 10-15. I see no MVP. Gotta be able to hit for that.

    Now with accepting a 40 game suspension, the dude is done.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Agree he's done (hopefully). I didn't say he's an MVP candidate. I said he has the talent to be one. For whatever reason (my guess is poor character is a big one), he's never hit like he is capable. He had one year where he was a roughly league average bat (which is good for a SS), and he's been significantly worse since.

    As for his defense, i'm not sure we'll find common ground arguing this. Both the stats and the eye test call him a top defensive SS since he's been in the league. You're just about the only person who thinks he's only a "maybe Top 10-15" SS that I've ever encountered. I don't know what you're seeing, so agree to disagree i suppose.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    We definitely disagree. The eye test would never have Russell as a top SS. Great hands, decent range, weak arm do not equate to a top SS. And now his UZR/150 has fallen to the 1 range down from 15 in his rookie year.

    He is more of the routine defender and I value that more the spectacular plays. When the grounder is hit to him there is a lot of confidence he makes the play.

    Regardless of how we both differ in our opinion, we are aligned that he is gone.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    MLB said the Cubs have a SS named Short who may be ready for the 2019 season.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Honestly do we even want to necessarily get rid of the guy? if we don't get machado who do we replace him with I'd rather not create another hole that we have to fill at all costs especially if that means overpaying someone we don't like because it fills a need. We already for sure have to get an OF or 2 I don't like being forced to have to get a middle IF at all costs I'm not sure there's many guys I like besides machado if I'm Theo. If we get machado great then trade Russell for all I care but if not I wonder if Theo is gonna really non tender a decent asset like Russell just to please a segment of the fanbase. It's definitely a little unethical if we keep him and Theo would get heavy scrutiny but sports organizations have long put winning over making a move that's not in the best interests of the organization for certain fans principles. I'd have no problem if they release him his crime is appalling if true and you all know I've long bashed Russell's character but we do have a middle IF problem if we non tender him AND don't sign Machado or may Jed Lowrie. And I write this post while being sensitive to people's views I'm not taking sides I just have seen 1st hand how most businesses operate it usually comes down to what's in the best interest of the business/franchise

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I definitely want to get rid of him. Character matters a lot.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I do too Kramerica don't get me wrong I just get nervous about the idea of replacing a SS that's a big addition to our needs Theo is gonna have some really tough decisions. I also think Russell's character issues are part of the reason he's not improved but declined

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I responded to what you said.Admin has to approve check back later if you can, long story short I said character matters significantly to theo and that is why I don't think ruseell will return.Plus he denied it adamantly twice to theo's face yet mlb said they had more evidence besides that blog.

    Deep down don't want to lose addy but I understand what needs to be done.

  • In reply to bolla:

    That's where I'm at bolla on one hand it's not good for the best interests of the team being forced to get a middle IF but this guys a knucklehead you know it and I know it and how can this organization claim it values character and then keep this guy especially given that he hasn't even been good since 2016. Like I've told you before too this guys character looks questionable from my perspective even before you factor in the physically abusing his wife but now he's officially a disgraced player. I'm fine if they get rid of him but I certainly hope there's some decent options out there it seems like a thin Middle IF class

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    The thing is with theo character matters significantly. There's a alot of husbands and fathers on this cubs team they may look at him funny .Russell's actions don't look good.Now I will say Russell is young and he can rehabilitate his image and bounce back it's not like he got arrested/charged for dv but he hasn't been productive.He's been injury prone too.Trust me if Russell was a gold glove ss hitting .260/340 on base with 20 hr's and 70-80 rbi's this would be a different story but he's plateaued since 2016.This is coming from someone who really doesn't want to lose russell , but understands what has to be done.

    I also think nico hoerner will be fast tracked to the cubs if he keeps raking, kind of like schwarber was.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    2B can be found easily. Business in today’s world severs ties with admitted spousal abusers. Not sure what sports org’s put up with proven admitted abusers.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    blame Roger No Goodell, and his PC protection for the abuser Ray Rice. It all started right there. Russell is as good as gone, and frankly should be, since his on field performance has slipped considerably since 2016. Im leaning towards signing DJL as a 2b and moving Baez to SS full time.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    " I wonder if Theo is gonna really non tender a decent asset like Russell just to please a segment of the fanbase"

    I think there's much more to it than that. Team character, including the FO, clubhouse chemistry, appeal to potential FAs could all be impacted by Russell's return to the lineup.

  • fb_avatar

    Theo is addressing the media right now. You can see it on #200 on Comcast or ESPN 1000 on radio.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    www.espn.com/espnradio/chicago/play/_/id/21093889

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Never Mind bad link - there's no date on it, but it's LAST year's press conference. My bad.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yes he is, and WOW! He talked for an hour, and I listened to every word. That is one competitive dude, and he is pissed off. That was candid and honest. Anyone who wants to know this winter's plans needs to listen. It's all right there. I'm still trying to soak it all in, but some highlights:

    The biggest thing I took out of that was Maddon. There are big issues. Theo called out this team's effort early in the year. He said we mailed in games and lost by one game. He specified the Labor Day series vs. Milwaukee, a couple other series against Milwaukee, and a few getaway games. He said we can not rest on our talent and be so laid back. He is not happy with the attitude of this team. He said he has not had a meeting with Maddon yet, and was really going off, even interrupting a reporter with "I'm not done yet" when discussing the season. He mentioned lineups and how these young players could use more certainty. Maddon might not be back.

    The first 5 minutes were all about Russell. He distanced the Cubs again, talking about "sending messages to our fans". He said the Cubs need to do more to identify any problems, and in the most damning statement: "He (Russell) accepted this discipline. I want to know what that means.".

    Theo harped on what we all saw, this offense sucks. He absolutely railed against the second-half offense. After the All-Star break, "our offense broke". He mentioned Chili vs. Mallee, saying there is no debate about hitting baseballs. Line drives and driven fly balls are better than grounders. He stayed away from calling out specific players, of course, but heaped praise time and again on Javy. He did say that many players have plateaued and changes will be made. At some point, he said, you see what players are. You see them not make progress, or even regress, year after year, and it's time to cut bait. He even called out a few, without mentioning names, saying they were mentally weak. He said it was an ongoing issue throughout the season and the reason some guys didn't play as much as fans expected.

    My fingers are getting tired. There is SO MUCH in that press conference. There are problems in Cubsville, and they will be addressed. I hope it gets posted in its entirety, and ya'll need to listen. It's going to be a busy offseason.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I hope they post it - I'd like to hear the whole thing.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I love his competitive desire to win and not look pantsed or foolish.

    He is no longer going to wait on the come with some of these young guys. Just reading through the comments, i believe Heyward, Almora, Russell, and Happ are goners. Just my take on fitting his comments to players.

    By keeping Hamels, which it sounds like he will do, it will open up some guys for trade.

    Gonna be a great hot stove league.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    It's an amazing overview of the team, and he really is pissed off. I urge everyone to seek it out and listen.

    You've been on the offensive train, and you are right. Theo admitted time and again this offense is broke and it cost us our season. He also said, in so many words, they have lost confidence in several players, and they will be gone.

    This is going to be an interesting offseason.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Who do you trade??? Darvish injury prone and soft mentally. Nobody wants. Chattwood for another 2 years nobody wants. Smyle paid him to rehab nobody knows if good. Too risky to trade. We are stuck in a tough spot.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Heyward and I add Q to the deal to get a team to take Heyward’s contract.

    Russell is gone.

    I think Schwarber is going to get dealt too.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Even if you add Quintana the Cubs are going to need to take another bad contract back to get rid of Heyward

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    What about Schwarber ? I'd rather see Happ stay who is more versatile and is very young.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    I am glad hes upset. Those are his players. He attached himself to them by scouting, drafting, and developing them. In the case of Heyward, he bet on the development into his prime and broke the bank on average at best division 1 Corner outfielder .

    I am glad hes pissed. He needs to go all the way back to how they scout players, develop, ect. I am not saying thats the problem, but you need to make sure it isn't;. It doesn't make sense that all these top draft picks who were all supposed to be decade long cornerstones have almost all taken a step back. The one who actually got better was the one he inherited, Javy.

    I am not saying he's the issue or the problem, but he's not perfect and he needs to look in the mirror and see what his team can improve on as well.

    I am glad and relieved by his "address of the union" speech. One of my fav quotes was, " I have never been a part of an offense like this in my life, and I wont ever be again" Paraphrase of course as I was driving. He also said this offense was broken. They scored 13 runs in the last 4 games? 10 in one, and If they would have scored 1 more run in any of those 3 games, they are not in this position.

    He went off on the whole 2 runs or less per game the last couple months that we all have been discussing the past few days after Bolla posted the #'s.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Is bolla Theo in disguise? Hmmmmmmmmmm......

    LOL!!!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Most excellent and what I would expect from a proven winner.

    Effectively, Theo has put the players and coaches on notice that 2018 was unacceptable.

    While change is hard, it is the one constant in life and its time for some changes.

    None of us will know if the upcoming chgs will work, but at least he is not planning on standing pat - good sign to this old dog.

  • Theo tidbits from today :

    - no decisions have been made on coaching staff, expected to still be playing
    - said he doesn't know if russell will ever return to cubs.Focus is on helping victim and russell get help.
    - said bryant won't need off season surgery
    - said contreras and bryant 2018 was an aberration and doubt it ever happens again
    -said he absolutely wants to being hamels back in 2019, clubhouse respects him and he was breathe of fresh air
    -Theo calls offensive woes "unacceptable." Acknowledges Cubs would still be playing if they had scored more than 1 run in any of the 3 games over last week (Saturday, Monday, Tuesday).
    "I've never been a part of something like this offensively and I never want to be again."
    -said there will be a thorough investigation into why the offense was so broken
    - said strop will be back,pitched through pain yesterday and wants him to be a part of cubs when his career is over
    - said they want to adhere to a structured usage plan for morrow so he can stay healthy
    - accepted responsibility for off season acquisitions and the lack of production
    -said he's bumped heads with maddon over but reports of friction are exaggerated. Doesn't want a yes man manager
    - passed on a question from a reporter on how to fix walkwood

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    I think he also said that when they scored 2 or more runs they were something like 37-13. That’s only 2 or more and we couldn’t do that something like 40 times this year. Something happened and they have to figure out what it was.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yea he said that, and that the cubs hit the most grounders than any team in mlb in the 2nd half 49% ground ball rate.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Chili’s a goner too. The grounders and power outage are all related to approach and the hitting coach is responsible for the collective whole in setting the team approach.

    We hit less, walked less, scored less, hit fewer HR, and struck out more. Good bye, Chili.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    While listening to him I was getting stoked and ready for next year. He is so real and honest and driven, and he did answer every question. There is no other GM in the city who does this.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Chili was not preaching hitting more ground balls, hitting fewer home runs and taking fewer walks. After listening to Theo I don't think Davis is gone. Fans seem like they need someone to blame. Theo seemed to put the blame on the players where it should be.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I question whether you actually heard it or not. If you did when Theo said they will dig in and find out “why” it happened means they will look into the teaching, the reporting, the theory, the approach. Who is responsible for that? The hitting coach. All those philosophies and adjustments could from 1 year to the next very well be the cause of hitting more grounders, hitting less HR, sucking with RISP, etc. If you can’t grasp that, then I don’t know how we can have a reasonable conversation. Yes, players are going to be accountable, but if there is a cause for downward performances it will reasonable that the guy at the very top in charge of the hitters is held accountable too.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    It's too early to say anything for sure. But damn, listen to that and tell me you hear confidence in anything or anyone. When Theo first sat down, he was huffing and puffing. He was combative from the get-go. I thought it was due to spending the first five minutes answering questions about Russell, but it was soon clear he was pissed about the outcome.

    Something I didn't know, but Theo said he had just come from a full day of "exit reports". Apparently he sits down with every player, coach, and member of the organization when the season ends to evaluate? Get their opinion? Self-diagnosis? I'm sure it's an evaluative tool, but he wasn't happy with how his day had gone.

    He railed everyone today. I'm sure cooler heads can prevail. But, man, what I just heard leads me to believe everyone is gone. There are serious disagreements, egos are colliding, and there is only one boss.

    That's just the coaching staff. There is obviously, and now publicly, some issues with the players. Good grief.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Baez had his best year under chili???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    His approach at the plate was much improved.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Agreed. However, one approach does not fit all.

    I would also say Baez has been on an upward trajectory for 4 years.

    But I would definitely give Chili props for connecting with Javy.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    We actually hit more unless I misheard him talking, but everything else went way down, way down. I agree w you, something has to change.

    He said, we hired Chilli not because we wanted the HRs and walks to stop, we just wanted an all fields approach and hit better situationally.

    No real surprise, but def not what we saw.

  • I feel a little better after reading all 200 comments. Though, I still may need to stick a wet finger into a wall socket to shake me out of my funk.

    Thanks guys.

  • Go Blackhawks!

  • Thank you Den writers for your excellent articles throughout the season! I just wish like many that it had lasted much longer. I will continue to check for daily reports and I look forward to a busy offseason in hopes Theo and Co. can return the club to a long postseason run!

  • Wow - I am also very excited about Theo's press conference. It seems he understands the fan's passion for the game. I'm sorry but so many fans today were like, "it's okay, we won 95 games and made the playoffs 4 straight years". NO, IT'S NOT OKAY. Would I rather have the Cubs make the playoffs than not, well obviously yes. But I would MUCH rather have them advance and have an honest chance to make the WS and honestly we have not had that the last 2 seasons. I was pissed last night. I could not sleep last night. I do understand and appreciate that not everyone is as FANatic as me, but I know I'm not the only one.

    I know Javy drove in the only run, but he is hitting under .100 in the last 2 playoffs and worse if you include the 2016 WS. I really hope he can translate his progress and inseason success to the playoffs (when it matters the most).

    I think Bryant's year was an aberration and I have high hopes for him next year. We know what we're going to get from Rizzo. I think Contreras looked really good the last week and was hitting the ball hard. I have hopes that he can rebound next season. I personally don't ever want to see Happ, Schwarber and Bote on the field at the same time ever again, unless they're on a different team. I know Bote came through with a HUGE hit against WAS but this guy is a bench player at best and should not be starting in a playoff game...ever again. Happ is NOT a hitter and I would keep him on the bench for his versatility. And lastly, as I have said the longest and loudest of most fans on this site. The Schwarber experiment needs to be over. He is not, nor has he ever been, a good hitter. I'm sorry but college doesn't count. He has more than enough at bats to prove that he is who I thought he was....a .240 hitter with power. Well that represents most MLB OF's. As I've said, if he weren't a Cub, none of us would give him a 2nd thought.

    I don't know what they will do this offseason, but somehow/someway they need to fix the offensive inconsistency that has plagued this team since 2016 (including the playoffs and WS that year).

    The best news is, Theo WANTS to and I love that.

    Go Cubs !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ps. As much as I hated the beard, I desperately wish I still had it because it means the Cubs would be playing tomorrow against the MIL.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Nice post. Theo is pissed, and changes are going to be made. He mentioned young players who have had a few years to improve but haven't. He also specifically said there are a couple young players who did not show up ready to play everyday. We know one, I've louded him out for years. But Theo said there were a couple players who are weak, and that's the reason they didn't play down the stretch. That is a bigger concern. We can all figure out who those players are, it's obvious. But what is wrong, and how do we fix it?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Theo should be pissed at himself. His off season moves sucked and he didn’t fill in weakness from last season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't know how its obvious to me whose weak besides Addy, but it seemed to me like all the players seemed to play as much as they did the whole 2nd H except Almora.

    Theo alluded to the fact that he didn't like the fact of the musical chairs lineup. I think he wants a more consistent lineup whereas Joe wants to keep everyone fresh and scatter the playing time. Thats obvious 1 issue they are butting heads on.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I don't want to speculate too much. But I guess we have to. Theo called it out. Almora is obvious, but my mind went to Contreras. Those seem to be personal issues, or not, but his bigger words were about production. I've mentioned that different evaluators have different benchmarks for judging talent: 1000 AB's, 1500, or 2000. Theo said we are past the point of looking for potential, it is now about results. I think they have had enough time to feel these guys out.

    We are all upset today, but I'm just an idiot. Theo is the head of the Chicago Cubs, and that hour-long press conference was raw and telling.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree w you 100% that its about results now, but I could have swore I heard him say something to the fact that Bryant and Contreras just had bad years and he would be very surprised to see that again in their careers.

    To me thats an endorsement or perhaps thats double talk so if he tries to trade him, he doesn't get taken to the cleaners as he surely will if he tries to trade Addy.

    Well 1 thing I would recommend for Theo is if he's trying to get Machado to sign, make sure he signs him before trading his childhood friend, Almora. LOL

  • Cubs’ Addison Russell suspended 40 games for violating domestic violence policy

    https://www.mlbdailydish.com/2018/10/3/17934120/chicago-cubs-addison-russell-suspended-40-games-for-violating-domestic-violence-policy

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I'm sure some team will trade for Addison. What the Cubs get for him is another matter.

  • fb_avatar

    It might be too fast, but the Cubs are high on Nico Hoerner and he won't start the season with the Cubs but possibly the second half depending on how he does. He might start at high A or even AA next spring.
    I would take Almora over Happ. I see Happ and Schwarber gone by next opening day. I did want Trea Turner over Schwarbs but I still think Schwarbs is a good player but more suited to the AL.
    Is there any way Chatwood can find his control? Jake was unable to in the Baltimore system but he came here and Bosio did something to him and we saw the results. Jake is an amazingly hard worker and I don't know Chatwood's work ethic.
    We will be talking about this all winter, or at least until the GM meetings in Dec (I think they're in Dec.)

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Hoerner looked extremely interesting, until that elbow injury took him down. With that downtime, it'll be interesting to see if he's one of the guys playing in the AZ fall league. It'll also be interesting to see how well he sticks as a potential SS, he's only been rated as an 'average' one from most of what I have read. Personally I doubt we'll see Hoerner play in Wrigley next season, but I hope to be wrong.

    Also agreed with you about Almora over Happ as CF, Happ has just a bit too much swing and miss for my liking, and Almora has gotten better at getting on base every year.

    And yes - there are likely going to be some interesting moves the front office makes this Winter.

  • My main concern is I don’t see how Theo can trade heyward without taking on a bad contract, eating a significant amount like 30-40 mil or attaching a couple prospects like amaya or alzolay.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    Maybe Heyward will retire or Opt out if they tell him he's going to be strictly a 4th OF next year.

    Who knows, but Chavez said he would retire if the Cubs don't bring him back. He's had arguably his best season in a loooong time and he's ready to hang them up if not for the right situation. Yes he's a little older, but he has not made nearly the amount of money in the game as Heyward has to just walk away.

    Yea, the reason the Redsox were able to unload those contracts was because 1. they had the willing partner w money to spend, the Dodgers and 2. They had a top 10 system so they had prospects along w young players to send. 3. Ned Colleti will never be confused w Theo Epstein, Brian Cashman, or Adam Friedman.......

    Then the Dodgers were able to send their bad contracts because they had prospects and young players to send.

    Our cupboard is shockingly pretty damn bare for having such a big time FO and infrastructure. Yes, I know some were shipped off in trades to improve the team, but we still should have more then this. We overlooked this to a degree because we figured we were set for half a decade + w all stars and borderline all stars at the majority of all the positions. Now that it seems like less and less of them are trending on that all star curve, we are in a little trouble. 1. We need production and 2. They wont fetch as much in trades as they would have 1-2 yrs ago.

    This is a bigger mess then it looks, and you really can't blame 1 thing. To various degrees, Its an organizational problem from top to bottom.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Yea it really is

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don't know that we are trading Heyward. It sounds to me some young outfielders are moving on. Balancing the money is tough. Do we just go nuts? I don't think so, but I do think we approach $230M. Trading Heyward is hard enough, but I don't see us doing that until we have Machado or Harper in hand.

    I honestly haven't taken time to think through all these moving parts.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    yea that’s a good point , it’s hard to figure out what players will get moved. I feel there will be some turnover just don’t know who. Theo said something like production is what they’ll be going off of no more potential talent

  • In reply to bolla:

    I think they could move Heyward with giving up Q in the deal so the receiving team is getting some real value. Just a thought.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Nothing would make me happier than Quintana being traded along with heyward, but I’m not sure any team believes 2 years of Quintana is worth 5 years of heyward.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Perhaps. Maybe a Schwarber or Happ is included. I think with the lack of prospect currency that some MLB cost controlled players will be dealt or really good value contracts.

  • Two points. (1 why Joe should go. He has outlived his role. He's a great manager with a new team that has been losing. After awhile the magic tricks, the farm animals and the one-sie road trips are no long appealing to the more sophisticated MLB players. He would turn the Angels around and make them a good team. Right now, his schtick has gotten old and no long impresses anyone. (2 in the current climate too many people are jumping on Russell. Anything that happened was over a year ago. It just so happens his ex-girl friend/wife just suddenly decided to go public at the request of her current boy friend with whom she is living. By the way, she was living with and had a son with Russell out of wedlock. She refused to testify originally because her lawyer said she shouldn't due to financial reasons--ie future MLB contracts and their increased monies. Just saying--do not treat Russell as a current abuser--they have been long separated. His ex just decided to make it an issue now. Sound familiar?

  • In reply to veteran:

    Shame on you veteran. Russell accepted the 40 game suspension. That is admitting guilt in abuse. Check yourself. SMDH.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I think we should just let the Addi issue play out. I don't know Russell well enough to say that he is inherently damaged. Every young person should get a second chance.(Maybe not with the Cubs). Veteran is right, there are usually two sides to every story, but not always. Still the condemnation of Russell on this site seems a little premature and short sided. Let's hope that both parties,as they mature, have happy and good lives going forward.forward.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    44slug, are you aware that when confronted by MLB with new evidence—not her blog post—that Russell caved and accepted the 40 game suspension without pay? The MLBPA, Scott Boras and his lawyers surely would not have allowed this to happen if not true. His acceptance of the suspension is a “guilty” plea deal with MLB. I really don’t know how anyone can see it otherwise.

    I believe in 2nd chances and innocent until proven guilty. I don’t think he will wear a Cub uniform again. It is possible he is able to sign on with another team. But i took exception with the bashing of an abused woman. This is no longer “alleged” where things should be played out.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Of course, I was aware, nor did I say otherwise. So that's a good first step from Addison toward a second chance. I was merely validating veteran's point that there are usually two sides to every story and clarified 'not always'. Either way abuse is not justified, but rehab is.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Russell's public statement after the suspension? Did he accept responsibility for his actions? Admit guilt? Apologize? Commit to being a better human being? Why, no - he only did it for his family, "after gaining a full understanding of the situation." That's right, it was just a "situation."

    He belongs in the Ryan Braun Liars HOF.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Not only is Russell an abuser, he's also a liar. Despite his protests, when confronted with the evidence he agreed to his suspension and to undergo evaluation and treatment for the problem you say he doesn't have.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    If you look at MLB domestic abuse suspensions under Manfred since the current policy went into effect, Russell's suspension is very light relative to the allegations. That leads me to believe there is more to the whole issue. It would be nice to know why he only got 40 games. Since the current policy went into effect, here are the game suspensions. Chapman (30 games), Russell (40 games), Reyes (51 games), Osuna (75 games) and Olivera (83 games). Only Olivera never returned to MLB. Following Osuna's trade to Houston, the Astros front office published a lengthy statement on why they decided to trade for him and give him a 2nd chance.

    At a minimum, Russell will play elsewhere.

  • If you haven't seen the whole Epstein conference, it's here: www.facebook.com/NBCSChicago/videos/706005496423772/

    It is well worth watching. Theo doesn't sugarcoat his issues with a few players, citing a lack of intensity and poor mental preparedness along with the obvious hitting and other issues. After listening, I feel much better that we'll see improvement in next year's team.

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    How about a new assistant manager to help offset Joe's not so good in game decisions? Idk who, but Martinez was a big loss in that department. I'm not saying he was the best, but he did make Joe better.

    We need a we a 2b if they can't sign Machado and move Javy there. You think Theo would sign DJ after trading him? Also would depend on if DJ wants to come back. I'm pushing for Harper over Machado.100+ runs, walks, & rbi's is game changing.

    If they trade Schwarber, does Bryant move to LF? Who plays 3b? If Theo can move Heyward that will leave another spot to fill unless Harper signs.

    Needless to say, it's going to be an interesting offseason. Is anyone on board with bringing back Ross as a coach? Maybe assistant manager? Would he be a good in game decision maker, or more of a Maddon type?

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I think Ross can make Contreras better receiving pitches. Willy stabs at way to many pitches and it cost us alot of borderline k's. Can that be taught, or is that just who he is?

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I'm absolutely on board with bringing Ross in on the coaching staff somewhere, if he's willing. That said, the Cubs would benefit from signing a veteran catcher to back Willson, even if it means trading Caratini. Sometimes advice from a current player is more meaningful than advice from a coach.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Contreras was better when Ross, Avila, & Rivera were his veteran catchers. Plus he didn't have to catch as many games when we had those guys. I know he's a high energy guy, but I think they also kept him in check & took alot of weight off his shoulders. He seemed to press all season and I believe that was his biggest flaw.

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    Gennett at 2b would be nice, but what would be the cost? Idk much about his defense either.

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Gennett has the better bat except for k% which sat at around 23%. DJ is by far the better defender & has way more range. His bat isn't bad either, especially looking at his 16% k rate. Both are good contact bats. I'd go with the better defense at 2b.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    DJM is a far better fit here. Low K rate, excellent defense, besides Russell is likely gone, Zobrist will likely retire after next season, and we need righty bats . DJM also hit well outside of Coors this year, always a consideration with a Rox player. I certainly dont see the Rox keeping him with Rodgers being ML ready.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I like DJ. Javy can play SS or, if Theo gets Machado, KB can move to LF and Javy can play 3B. That's a lot of improvement to the offense and frees up Schwarber / Happ for a potential trade.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Trust me we don't want any part of DJ Lamahieu. Have you seen his home/road splits? .He's a lifetime .264/.311/.362 slash with a .294 wOBA and an 81 wRC+. Those are absolutely terrible numbers. In Colorado he's at .331/.337/.448 but even there his wRC+ is only a 96 or 4% below average. He's a product of Coors and even there slightly below average. No thank you.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I agree I'm not a fan of DJ's bat I know the numbers look good but this guy is a perfect fit for coors as a guy that hits it gap to gap to all parts of that big outfield. I'm not a fan I think he's gonna be paid good money and he's not gonna produce in line with what he did with the rockies. I don't like his low walk rate and while I like his defense the bat is a big question mark to me let's keep in mind lots of players performances improve with the rockies.

    This infield market in general is really bad the only options really are resigning Murphy, Jose Iglesias, Lemahieu, Jed lowrie and machado. I know murphy didn't make a good impression with his defense but unless we get Machado or god forbid kept addison russell I think resigning murphy is our best move. I was ready to move on watching his defense lately but my friend who is from Washington says that murphy looked really gimpy this year he was coming off knee surgery and was a bit out of shape because of that. He thinks with an offseason of rest, rehab, and training that we'll see him look a lot more nimble next season although Murphy isn't a very good defender even when he's at his best. He's still better than what he showed in a cub uniform was my friends main point. Looking at the limited options that fit our needs frankly from this free agency class I think we almost have to go after Harper and Machado whichever one wants to sign both guys fill our needs for a big bat at positions of need and both are 26 year old generational talents that are the types of talents that rarely ever hit free agency. I think these guys are multiple classes better than Heyward the last 26 year old star we signed I was against that signing from day 1 FYI although I had some excitement of course after we signed him. I don't think Harper or machado will turn out similarly these are in my eyes 2 of the top 5 players in the game. I'm usually pretty conservative when it comes to signing free agents but I'm absolutely all in and completely emotionally invested in getting one of Harper or Machado. I think it's extremely rare that 2 26 year old top 5-10 positional players ever become free agents and I think a team like us with a huge tv deal coming it's an absolute no brainer to sign them. Let's get it done Theo I think signing either makes us the instant NL favorite and we have some nice injury reinforcements coming next spring with some of our injured players and a healthy KB. Next season can't come soon enough for me excited for this offseason.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Preach.the cubs have a lot of players eligible for arbitration this offseason payroll is gonna be massive in 2019, hope Ricketts signs off.

    After the Mets swept the cubs I was pretty devastated so when they signed heyward and Zobrist I was excited then when Fowler returned I was real hyped.every cubs fan wanted to see them win it all but I was always skeptical of the heyward contract. That was a lot of money for a solid but not great player, I was hoping like everyone else the cubs were paying for future prime production. Hasn’t worked out unfortunately. Machado or Harper have much more consistent track records and are way better players these are superstars we’re talking about . There’s no way Theo doesn’t pursue one. He carefully worded that they wanted to keep flexibility open for this exact moment last offseason

  • In reply to bolla:

    Exactly bolla it was kinda like Q honestly where my reaction was I think this deal is not a good value don't think the player is worth the price and I was against signing heyward or trading a haul like that for Q before the announcement. But then as a fan once the acquisition is made its hard to not get excited to add big name players like heyward or Quintana. I don't place a guy like Bryce Harper for example in that grouping he's a different animals Then those 2 and I think you're talking about arguably the Lebron James of baseball and I know he's had off years but his off years are great years for any other player. I think machado and Harper are 2 of the true elite players in baseball and I know they'll cost a lot but I think you're essentially guaranteed to get very good to superstar level play if you sign them these guys are and always have been way better hitters than heyward and the reality is you're never gonna have an opportunity to get players of this caliber again unless you trade multiple core players this is one of the best free agent classes in many years. Some doubt we have the money I think that's nonsense I think it's a lock we'll be heavily involved in the market it's a no brainer I know how theo thinks and these are the type of guys that he strives to acquire and they're only 26. Ricketts is gonna pony up he's shown me he's committed to winning and with Cubs network coming soon (huge revenue from that tv deal) he needs a headliner this free agent class to help further market the team because starting your own channel is a high upside risk business wise and these guys just make too much sense from a baseball perspective. I strongly believe that not only will we be in the market for both machado and Harper but we'll end up signing one of them. I believe theo and ricketts realize they have an older but still fantastic starting pitching staff plus they only have these young guys all under contract for so long and they want to go all in and capitalize on this window

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don't know why I can't replay to kkhiavi. This thread is super long maybe that's why but also remember almora and machado are real close from childhood and harper and bryant are close.Their wives(both players) are close, the cubs are getting one of them.I'd be honestly shocked if they don't.

    I also read a detailed article about future luxury tax , the red sox payroll was 233 million last season and they paid like 9 million in luxury taxes.That's chump change to mlb owners

  • In reply to bolla:

    Sign them and watch a KB yr happen and watch all the bashers

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    What do you think of Gennett? Or is he another Murphy? Good bat, bad defense.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Forgot about him good point he's not my 1st choice because of his defense and I don't think he's a theo type of player because he doesn't have a very good walk rate and he has an inconsistent track record plus most metrics guys think he's one of the luckiest players in the league his babip is generally unsustainable and keep in mind he's a batting average reliant player. One way he does fit though is he has shown he can move the ball/contact skills the past couple of years which this team needs so I definitely wouldn't rule him out in a thin middle infield class. I kinda think theo may go for Jed lowrie he had a great year and has a nice Obp and theo drafted him let's also keep in mind. He's kinda like a zobrist but more inconsistent year to year but he definitely fits the model of a theo type of player and a good player according to the analytics.

    In some ways though unless we get machado this IF class isn't very good and I almost feel from a team perspective our best option would be to sign Murphy knowing he should move a little better by next season when he's more healthy and just allowing addison Russell to return as a bench player and backup SS that has to earn all his ABs and regain everyone's respect. Unfortunately though selfishly as much as I hate having to non tender russell when we can really use an extra SS I just don't see how you can justify keeping him. I doubt Cubs players would be okay with it and I doubt theo and the fanbase would ok with it. It's unfortunate but character matters too and I know 1st hand that Russell is a knuckle head

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    DJM? His name is DJ LeMahieu.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    DJ LeMehieu has benefited greatly from his home splits of playing in Coors field where his hits can drop in all over the vast OF. He will be 30 and no better than a replacement player with a solid glove for the rest of his career. Look at his road splits of last 5 years...
    2014 .216/.250/.286/.536
    2015 .281/.337/.358/.694
    2016 .303/.353/.395/.747
    2017 .294/.352/.401/.753
    2018 .229/.277/.422/.698
    And his career (although including 62 road PA’s as a Cub)...
    .264/.311/.362/.673

    So please no do not think about adding a player to our team for offense when he is absolutely no better offensively than any player who we need to replace.

  • There’s a lot of people reveling in the cubs losing

    On one hand it’s frustrating to read , but on the other hand no one jumps for joy and celebrates a team being eliminated Unless that team is good.

    I can’t wait til hot stove season

  • In reply to bolla:

    The Cubs are popular - don't let the detractors get you down.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I forget who said it but on MLB Radio this morning one of the commentators was brutally honest, they wanted new blood in the playoffs in the NL. Really the only teams the media really wants in the playoffs every year are the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers. Maybe the Cardinals more often than not. Just the way it goes. From a ratings standpoint MLB has no problem with the Cubs in the playoffs most years, it's just media.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Funny how the "new blood" never includes the teams you mentioned. Me, I don't care what they want - it's all about ME.

  • In reply to TC154:

    That may be what the media wants, but my bet is the league would have preferred the Cubs. The ratings for the Wild Card game were up 61 percent from last year’s NL Wild Card. And since the Rockies played in that game, I'm betting the difference was the Cubs.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Oh, no question.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    MLB HQ would have been thrilled with any of NYY/Red Sox vs. Dodgers/Cubs.

    Nightmare scenario is Astros vs. Rockies/Braves.

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    In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Astros vs Rockies/Brewers

    Plenty of Braves fans around the world esp in the south. Doesn't matter as Braves have zero shot of getting past the Dodgers.

  • The brewers are in the process of blowing the game right now.You may want to turn to fs1 rockies got bases loaded n 0 out 2-1 bottom of the 9th with arenado up.They are choking which is great to watch

  • In reply to bolla:

    It probably is, and even better to watch Kato's head explode on Twitter. But I'll be honest: I don't care. I've been a baseball junkie for 40 years. All my life I couldn't wait for the postseason and would root against that "other league" that employed people who couldn't play baseball. My heart was pure; my team was never there.

    Now it's different, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not. Has my love of my team, and the increased expectations, diminished my love for the game? I hope not. But for now I am numb and I don't care. An easy solution would be for the Cubs to go further and I wouldn't be faced with these internal struggles. Please and thank you.

    Anyway, looking forward to the discussion of what to do this offseason. I just framed a long comment taking a look at where we are and where we go from here. Just waiting for the next post when it is appropriate. Hell, this comment will be so long it could be it's own post, Happy Hour? w/ BarleyPop. We all have a lot to say, and I look forward to the discussion.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I posted something similar yesterday or the day before. I lived for postseason baseball esp all from when was a kid in the mid 80s until now. I never missed a post season game. Either I would hear it, watch it live, or tape it and watch it later. Now that the Cubs are out, I have really desire in watching it.

    I was hoping that feeling would go away by now.....maybe in a few more days.

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    Scooter Gennett has a 1 year contract and I think we'd have to give up too much to get him, especially since he's in the same division. I hate to constantly give up our prospects since when Theo came he said his goal was to not sign big FA contracts (especially for older players with their best years behind them.) Our draft and IFA signings were supposed to cover all that. Now, we succeeded with Chapman. We're waiting on Q although he did have a very good Sept, but to constantly have to raid our system is not ideal. From what I've read the IFA we signed this year are very talented but very young too. Theo's big failing is to develop pitching through the draft, and it's not because we didn't have # 1 picks as pitchers--many successful pitchers are not first rounders. He's had long enough that we should be percolating pitchers up to the majors now.
    We don't need a major overhaul. We did this year without Chatwood and Yu contributing and Morrow out for a long time.
    I am coming around to signing Harper--he brings such an attitude that would wake up this team with that desire. I would love to see him in Wrigley. Manny M would be my 2nd choice. Merrifield from KC sounds good too.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Harper has 1 season over 5 WAR. ONE. I have an extremely difficult time justifying paying $350-$375 mil for that. Machado has 3 years of 6 plus WAR and he improved greatly at SS in terms of defense in the second half. He was the 20th best SS by Fangraphs defensive WAR in the first half and 7th in the second. I'm good with that. Bottom line is you need three bats. If Schwarber is one of them by improvement I'm OK with that but they need a CF with a high OBP and he might be the player to fetch that as he has the most value of any of the tradable assets. They'll need another arm that can close games as Morrow insurance, and the usual bullpen tweaks, but fortunately don't need to do much with the rotation if they pick up the Hamels option. It's all got to be about the offense and I'm the pitching centric guy.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I also think Machado is a better option. If the Cubs can also pick up another middle infielder / 2B, Bryant can play LF while either Javy or Manny takes 3B. That strengthens both infield and outfield offense. I just don't see Theo spending on both big FAs.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I might drop some money on the Padres to sign Harper. The Padres: crazy you say! It probably is. But I could see them selling him on being the foundation they build around as they start to call up their prospects. It is close to Las Vegas. Boras typically has a surprise team. And I imagine the odds would be better than +2000.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    I don't think it's THAT crazy, and you're right Boras always has a mystery team. Right now though I would say Braves and Phillies would top my list for him though with the Dodgers just behind that.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I'm split on these 2. On one hand because of Machado's positional value when he hits like he's capable of he's a monster that brings a two way game to the table as reflected in his WAR his best years. On the other hand, I think Harper's a stud remember with WAR Harper loses value being a corner OF as opposed to Machado because he's an IF. I respect the metrics but I think we also need to think from a scouting perspective and I think any scout will tell you that Harper has about as much hitting ability and offensive upside as any player in baseball he's always capable of a .300 40 home run season with an elite OBP and remember he's still heading into his prime just because Heyward didn't improve doesn't mean Machado and Harper won't. Harper still has that balanced swing with electric bat speed, elite approach, contact skills and a strong gap to gap approach I know he's had some off years but from an evaluation standpoint the hitting tools still are really intriguing and I think there's room for growth too. My only thing is we're paying for future production not past production and this is just my personal opinion but if I had to bet on who will hit better over the life of the contract I lean towards Harper although I'd love to have Machado as well I'm emotionally invested in getting one of them. I just like harper's swing and approach more he's more patient and in my eyes less prone to the off year than Machado although I admit they've both had off years before. And at the end of the day we need an impact hitter that's our top offseason need and if Harper outhits Machado moving forward then I can live with the fact he's a corner OF we can still use one of those given our OF production recently. Harper also seems to act really friendly with a lot of our guys he's been all star teammates with many of them and social media constantly catches him laughing and chatting with several cub players usually rizzo and bryant. At the same time Machado could fill Russell's hole at SS if he's non tendered and we can use an impact right handed hitter as well given the struggles against lefty pitching lately. You can't go wrong with either to me I think Harper may have the safer floor as a hitter and it's just my intuition that he's the safer investment but Machado is also a generational talent and I'd be all over him too. I just hope and expect we sign one of them and I also hope we get a stud reliever and resign Murphy, Chavez and hamels. Maybe Andrew miller or trade one of our outfielders for a closer to replace morrow or as insurance for morrow. If morrow stays healthy then you have the makings of a super pen if he doesn't then we're not as reliant on him anyways.

    Before some of you say we don't have the money that's nonsense the red sox payroll is way above ours we can match those guys payroll given our aging but still elite rotation. Most importantly, We have a tv deal that's gonna be worth most likely 500+ million coming in 2019 that's a major, major revenue stream one this team has long been awaiting since 2011. And starting cubs network has a ton of upside but also some risk because the cubs are taking ownership of that network so they incur the business risk that comes with that. These guys absolutely can't take the chance that this group falls off into a second rate contender and I also think you have to capitalize on this window where we have Lester and Hamels still effective and our young core mostly signed on their 1st deals. You're not gonna have this shot at adding impact talent without giving up young talent again and the yankees added stanton so they should be out of the mix and I doubt Boston will be in the mix with a $250 million dollar payroll. Said it before I'll say it again get it done Theo!

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Much of Machado's value has been tied to his elite defense at 3B. At 27 next year, it's likely his best defensive days are behind him. Although he's a very nice hitter, he doesn't walk nearly as much as you'd like. He's 2 seasons removed fro a .310 OBP.

    Hitters like Harper simply do not come around, and when they do, they aren't available at age 26 for just money ever. Theo stressed the importance of adding patience and power to this lineup. No one fits that need better than Harper. People have been clamoring for a more productive OF for 2 years now: check.

    I love Machado. He's a special player and I'd be happy if the Cubs signed him. But I'd bet on Harper's bat staying elite as he ages over Machado's glove staying elite. Arenado and Machado are basically the same player. If they want a very good hitting, great defensive 3B, I'd rather they grab Harper now and just wait til next year and sign Arenado for cheaper.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    That's a good way to put it Kramerica that's a well stated method of putting my thoughts and slight doubts into perspective. I'd love Machado also for the record I know he's 27 but I still think he's got another 3-5 years of great defense in him although he should come down the latter end of his deal like most players. But because of his inferior approach and walk rate as opposed to Harper I see Harper as the safer bet offensively to maintain elite production at the plate and Vegas seems to strongly think cubs get harper. They have the cubs as huge favorites to get harper at even 1/1 odds and the dodgers are 2nd at 5/1 that's a pretty distant 2nd place too they're really all in on the cubs getting harper. Honestly after reading your post on Harper I pretty much have nothing to add you've touched on a lot of the reasons I'm all in on Harper but I'd take Machado too he's a pretty darn good hitter in his own right and he does have special contact skills that this lineup needs and he can handle SS in the near term. I lean Harper though like you said I think his bats a better bet now and over the long run and I think he'll age better because he's an OF not overly reliant on defense for his value and a guy with elite approach (Joey Votto, Big Papi) generally ages well. He's on friendly terms with a number of cubs players it just makes too much sense with the nats seemingly falling off remember Scherzer only has so many years left and they don't have the deep roster we have especially taking Harper off that roster then they're mediocre

    We're on the same page overall I'm all in on both players I'd love to sign both but after a lot of thought and back and forth I lean towards Harper as my choice I just think he's the best bet to maintain superstar production and live up to the terms of his deal.

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    Who thinks Chavez & Hamels are Cubs next year? I think both will be back, but 20 mil is alot added to the payroll. Maybe sign Hamels for 2/26 or 2/28. That take 6-7 mil off of AAV on payroll. But I think they'd have to do that within 5 days of the end of WS. Does that make sense and do you think Hamels & the FO would do it?

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    They either have to pick up Hamels option or trade for a younger arm and with teams not trading their young pitching often, and the real need being offense, you have to do it. Yes, that's an $85 mil rotation but while I'm confident Darvish will be fine what if he needs a little time to get back to it? I'd rather not worry about the rotation. Also if they were to pass on the Hamels option he's probably getting 3/$75 mil from somebody. I don't think it's even a choice. They need to get it done.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Keeping hamels is an absolute no brainer this guy fits the exact billing of the type of guy I want in my rotation he's not only a stud starter but he's the type of person and teammate that makes this team better and he has the big game reputation. I wouldn't even consider declining that option unless we have a seperate 2-3 year deal at a lower yearly value but either way he's gonna get about 20 mill a year anyways and I think getting him on a 1 year deal is a bargain in itself Hamels is a guy I'd love to have on this team but I'd like to not be tied to him long term given his age.

    I also don't want to rely on Darvish at this point as any more than a 5th starter. Of course we expected more out of him but I'm getting worried injuries will effect his performance/ability to stay on the field moving forward Alec Mills had the same injury and he really struggled in the 1st half this year trying to find his form in AAA although he's at least healthy and I'd rather not be overly reliant on Darvish in case he underperforms or gets hurt again. We just can't place the same stock in him as we did last season and I'd rather we don't take the chance of relying on him too much. If he returns to his previous form then we have the best rotation in baseball arguably and his success would give us added depth in case one of our other starters get injured or underperforms. I'd like to not have to use any resources on the starting rotation if we can help it we have the arms in place there as long as we keep Hamels.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    With a healthy Darvish, the Cubs have more flexibility in the trade market. The more depth, the better. If things work out well, a deadline trade of a surplus SP is very possible.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Darvish is a TOR. An injured season doesn't change that. All I know is a rotation of Lester, Darvish, Hamels, Hendricks, Quintana goes into 2019 as the best rotation in the NL and it's not close. Yes please.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I'm by no means trying to be another uneducated Darvish basher TC I've long been defending him from some of the media narratives about him such as when respected Chicago Tribune writer David Haugh speculated that he didn't have a physical injury. I'm very excited to have him back especially with how deep it makes this rotation and I'm generally optimistic that he'll return successfully and I love that we have other guys to rely on but Darvish still has to show that he's the same guy pre-injury and he still more importantly needs to show that he can remain healthy moving forward. Like I said, Mills seemed to struggle to regain his pre-injury form although he remained healthy. Darvish is in a completely different class than Mills so my analysis is admittedly flawed comparing the 2 but my main thing is I don't want to see Hamels go, Q traded or any starters moved because we're counting on Darvish I'd rather have 5 potential TOR starters like you said. But I'm perfectly aware that we're gonna have some real nice injury reinforcements and I'm excited about it. It's almost like we're getting Kris Bryant, Darvish, and Morrow back in my eyes those are huge additions without even having to acquire them from outside the organization. I think as long as the stuff is the same all the Darvish doubters are gonna look stupid and ignorant you can't teach the stuff he has that's still one of the better arms in baseball and we didn't sign him because he gives a great interview we signed him for his pure talent and having him in our 4-5 spot is scary.

  • In reply to TC154:

    A TOR is very debatable. But an arm injury absolutely changes how one views Yu. Lester had a great year but he is gonna be a year older with more miles on that arm. Hamels was not very good before the trade so we don't know which Cole we will get. And Q will be a solid number 3. Hendricks is solid pitcher but even he had some sketchy spans. The best rotation in 2019 is a very strong statement. Not sure I am on board with that.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    It's debatable and frankly depends on guys living to their upsides I think you can make a good argument they're the best rotation in baseball but like you said baseball is a crazy game did any of us see years like this coming from Willson and KB? These guys good health and strong performance aren't guarantees next year and that's why I want to see our starting pitching depth maintained and nobody moved. Even if the offense improves that won't matter if we don't get the strong starting pitching that we've become accustomed to

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Agreed. Do you remember all the preseason articles wondering if the Cubs had the best rotation in baseball? I do. And despite being a realist, I had bought in. Unfortunately, I was told that a source VERY knowledgeable about the Cubs and their pitching staff said the Yu is not a strong mental pitcher and wasn't a good fit for Chicago and the inherent pressure that comes with pitching here. I for one, have very low expectations for him, probably lower than I have for Q (which are well documented).

  • In reply to TC154:

    Lester just had the worst year of his career by K, BB, GB, HR, and contact. His velocity has dropped each of the last 3 years. I'm not expecting him to replicate what he did in 2018 again next year.
    Quintana was inconsistent all year.
    Darvish is another year older and is obviously somewhat of a question mark.
    Hamels is another year older and battled some velocity problems this year as well.

    I think Darvish will have a typical good year, Quintana will be better than he was in 2018, and Hamels will stay pretty good, but their rotation is a few "not unlikely" scenarios away from becoming a disaster next year. I hope they can figure out a way to extend Hendricks soon.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yes!!!! The only real work Theo needs to donis secure our bullpen. I expect some of those parts to come via trade.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Well, they don't have anything else to distract them in the meantime.

  • For those interested Las vegas already has the cubs as a huge favorite to get Harper. Good news these odds tell me they think there's a strong chance and Vegas doesn't want to take on much liability if they get him and they usually have some inside info. But here's the link.

    https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/cubs/cubs-odds-signing-bryce-harper-have-improved

  • Would like the cubs to sign andrew mccuthchen to platoon in lf with schwarber. Theo isn't trading schwarber imo.I know mccuthen has declined some but he still gets on base at a good clip and has decent power.Has great ab's, was a big fan of him when he was on the pirates.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I like Cutch, but I don't think the Cubs are looking for more platoon players. I think Schwarber is gone, but we'll see.

  • In reply to bolla:

    If you project Schwarber as a platoon player he should be traded.

  • Providing he's healthy, is Drew Smyly an adequate replacement for Chatwood in the rotation? Moving Monty to the bullpen (or trading him for a RP) would add strength.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    But what do you do with Chattwood? If he goes to the bullpen who doesn't come back?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    hopefully Justin Wilson

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Amen!

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Unless he has a no-trade contract, I package him with someone else in a deal. The alternative is for Jim Hickey to figure out a training program to address his inability to consistently throw strikes, like changing his mechanics, but he still earns his way back to the rotation. I don't have any confidence that will happen.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Maybe package him with a prospect and we throw in a little money to make him go away. I know it's not ideal calling that deal a lost cause but Chatwoods just not good I don't even care if he improves his walk rate I don't see crazy upside there and I frankly he was erratic with Colorado even but he moved to another level of erratic with the cubs. We probably need to clear someones salary anyways and Chatwood's-12-13 million dollar essentially covers most of what we'll have to pay hamels anyways

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    If the Cubs pick up a substantial part of his salary, someone might take a flyer hoping that a change of scenery might do the trick. Or, a lobotomy.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    He's the perfect pitcher for a team tanking. Maybe throw in Duensing lol

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    The problem is if the Hamels option is picked up ( which I believe it will be), and Yu comes back 100% ( which I believe he will) we will already have 5 starters along w Monty who wants to be a starter and Smyly who signed here to boost his value up meaning he wants to start too.

    So if Walkwoody gets his act together, that means we have an 8 man rotation depth wise which I think is wonderful. It gives Theo options to trade and helps us health/Injury wise.

    Just a perfect storm if we can go into the season w all 8 healthy and on their games.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I think a 6 man rotation where a different starter is skipped every time through could be an interesting way to go about it. Of course that burns the 8 pitcher bullpen that isn’t even enough for Maddon. Unless the pitcher that is skipped is available as the long-man for the time through the rotation that he’s skipped.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I think that type of 6 man rotation wouldnt be a bad idea the last 4-6 weeks of the season once we have a nice healthy lead in the division.

    I think Theo and Co are tired of all these part time players and he wants to have a 5 man rotation, a steady lineup and actually bench players on the bench vs "starters" who need to be mixed in on a daily basis.

    I can't say he's wrong, because it seemed like the last time we had a steady lineup and rotation in 2016, we seemed to have good results. We were also supremely healthy outside of the Schwarbenator injury on opening day esp in the rotation. I think health will always be the only reason to hold this rotation back. Now we need to just get our lineup steady w producers and I like this teams chances.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    No chance they would use a 6 man rotation all season. Pitchers hate it and pitching coaches aren't in favor. I don't want the best pitchers pitching less.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    My concern with Hammels was we hasn’t real great 1st half of season. You can blame that on being in AL or rangers not being very good behind him??? I am very cautious about picking up a 20 million option on a mid 30 year old pitcher.

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    Just read that Schwarber and Happ are the most likely to be traded. Makes sense because our OF has been horrible. That's why I'm guessing they push harder for Harper over Machado.

    I think Schwarber can be the centerpiece for a trade for Mike Clevinger. EE isn't getting any younger and he could be an above average DH for them. Our rotation is pretty LH heavy & we can use a good RH starter. Clevinger fits that roll well, especially with the unknown of Darvish going forward.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    With the SP depth the Cubs have, especially if they retain Hamels, I don't see trading assets for even more starting pitching. The Cubs need a middle infielder, a power bat in the OF, a veteran catcher and, of course, relief pitching. Even a strong higher-level prospect could work.

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    Plus we have another LH starter in Smyly if he pans out. Al as o gave to address the BP, closer, & back up catcher. I'd go for Rivera or Avila(if available) as a backup. If Ricketts really wants more infield power/defense, than Arenado is a FA after next season.

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    We also have to address

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    Harper & Lowrie are my 2 picks for the Cubs huge & kind of big offseason FA signings. I'm also still on board with Schwarber+ for a RH starter & Clevinger is my pick. I doubt it will all happen, but they're my picks.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Lowrie has stated loud and clear that he wants to stay in Oakland. They were working on an extension when Oakland got hot. Both sides decided to focus on baseball during the season and wait to talk extension.

    I'm not nearly as high on Clevinger as you. But, let's say I am. What is Cleveland's motivation to trade him? They are still in a contention window for at least 1 more year, possibly 2 years. With Salazar injured and Plutko and Bieber being new starters this year, Cleveland is left with 3 proven starters without Clevinger for 2019. Why would they trade that asset?

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    In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Ding Ding. Pitching is a lot harder to find then a platoon DH.

    The Indians are going to be all in until Lindor/Bauer/Ramirez/Carrasco get real expensive...... then I could see them start selling pieces.

  • Well lot's of stuff went wrong to contribute to how our season ended. We all know that. I've read enough about Theo's press conference and listened to about half of it so far, and will finish listening when I have more time. I've probably read just about every comment in here over the last couple days and agree, yes our front office has a lot of work to do this off season. I don't want to make this a long post, so I'll check back in and keep sharing a thought or two at a time, but here's my first.

    Starting pitching- From hearing Theo speak about it, I gotta think they better just pick up Hamels contract. I know we'd have too many starters (and left-handed heavy), but we need the depth. I'd be okay going into spring training with Lester, Hendricks, Hamels, Darvish, and Q as the starting 5, along with healthy competition from Smyly, Montgomery, and Chatwood. I know Chatwood? We gotta at least give him a chance for retribution. Most likely I see him as the long man in the bullpen. If Chatwood is successful in any form, then I think it allows the flexibility to MAYBE trade one of them at any point up to the deadline. But you all already discussed the potential unreliability of Darvish and some of the others, so having all 8 ready to go is a great plan.

    No reason to try to do any shady opt out (causing TX to pick up the $6M buyout) and re-sign Hamels. Just pick up the $20M option. If he has a successful 2019 season, just do the qualifying offer. If he's happy pitching in Chicago (and we fixed the 2018 problems) maybe he'd just accept it, and it would be just about the same salary as '19. And if he turns it down, then at least there's the likeliness that the Cubs actually get a compensation pick as I'd guess he'd get at least 3 years and $50M from some team. On the other end, if he isn't good enough in 2019, then he walks away from the Cubs and we have no more commitment to him.

    As far as Hamels is concerned, if the option is picked up and things go well, I know he made some comments thinking about as he gets older and what it would be like to transition to the bullpen as he ages, so I'd be open in the Cubs exploring that avenue with him in the future. But now the cart is ahead of the horse.

    Keep your chins up Cubs fans!

  • Does anyone know exactly the details of Hamels option? The reason I ask is because I've seen different takes on it.

    Take 1: Texas pays the $6Mil buyout of his contract if the Cubs pass on the option. Hamels hits the open market.

    Take 2: If the Cubs pick up Hamels $20Mil option, Texas still pays $6Mil of it.

    Take 3: If the Cubs pick up Hamels $20Mil option, Texas does not pay $6Mil toward the contract.

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    In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I believe the Cubs already got the 6 million from Texas , so its their choice whether to use it to offset his 2nd H salary or for the buy out.

    I think thats the way I understood it when it happened. It was a few months ago and I didn't care. I was just happy to get him and hoping the change of scenery would get the most out of him. Even me as one of his biggest supporters didn't think he would pitch that great.

    Hes a must keep. Even if they want to try and trade Q or whatever. Just to have the SP depth like this, you can bet 99% of the GMs in baseball would dream of having. ( money not withstanding)

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I don't, and I have looked at every source I can possibly find. Even the ones who claim to have an answer admit to uncertainty. I don't think anyone knows except the executives who made the deal.

    It was initially reported that Texas gave us the $6M buyout as part of the deal. I don't think that's accurate. From what I sense it's still open. If we decline the option Texas pays Hamels $6M. If we pick up the option we pay Hamels $20M and Texas is done.

    Either way, the details really don't matter. I've mentioned Monopoly money a few times, and that really is what we're dealing with. If we pick up the option, which I think we will, it will count for $20M towards the luxury tax threshold, which is what really matters. Whether or not we are paying $14M or $20M out of pocket, or some other sort of shenanigans isn't important, IMO.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Take 1 & Take 3 is correct
    Take,2 is false

  • Here is a name I would inquire about...Corey Seager. If dodger resign machado then seager has to go somewhere?????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The Dodgers are not going to trade Corey Seager. That felt good, i sounded like you. lol

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Not sure why that felt good but glad you happy.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Thank you.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Somebody needs to be for you. Lol.

  • OT: What is the range of prices for spring training games at Sloan Park? The date I am looking at is March 19th against Mariners. I just looked on the Cub website and they say the tickets won't go on sale until Jan. 12th.

  • In reply to John57:

    The prices are kind of a sliding scale depending on seat section, day of week/opponent. But you can figure lawn tickets are as cheap as $16 and up to about $28, while the cheapest seats might be right around $22 (when the lawn is $16), with the most expensive seating up to about $50 or $60 to be right behind home plate.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Thank you for the information.

  • I didn't realize yasmani grandal is a fa this winter,That is another player I wish the cubs could get. He's an elite pitch framer I'm talking top 3 in mlb solid defender,switch hitter(much better from the left side) with some pop.I wish the cubs could sign him to platoon with contreras. Doubt the dodgers let him walk and he's a full time catcher but he would be perfect for this team imo.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don’t disagree with his ability but why would he sign here to be a platoon catcher?????

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Right? Maybe if he could play another position that we had open like 1st base, but unfortunately for that idea but very fortunate for us we have Anthony Rizzo locked in at 1st. ( hopefully for the rest of his career).

    i remember Willson playing a lot of LF in 2016'. I don't recall him being a butcher out there, but he's not hating enough to warrant a Corner OF spot even part time.

    I do agree w Bolla that we need a veteran catcher whose a good pitch framer next yr.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Yes we need a veteran presence and a back up catcher is as good place to get it. But with so many holes on offense how high up is this priority???

    I would like people who say we need this guy to include how we make room for them???

  • After reading all these posts and listening to Theo's podcast along with watching every Cubs game, I do not believe our problems are a result of any one individual nor any other inadequacy(s). I feel our Cubs have become more and more self complacent each year after winning the World Series. Remember these are young men who already reached their ultimate goal of winning the World Series at a very young age and its easy for them to expect it to happen again. as a result, self-complacency can set in.

    The definition of self-complacency from the dictionary is: "smugness and an excessive feeling of self-satisfaction; the contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire, need, or expectation".

    Just imagine how easy it would be for our young guys to become self-complacent not only after winning the World Series but also winning the Division 3 years in a row, and so on. I realize now that most of us Cub Fans, including me, have also become self-complacent.

    Losing the Wild card game this year could be a blessing in disguise. It could start us on the way to winning our 2nd World series mostly by avoiding this self-complacency. Here are 5 steps to avoid complacency once you've achieved your dream goal:

    *** Start every day from scratch. Sustainable excellence is about getting better every day.
    *** Surround yourself with people who will tell you like it is. ...
    *** Focus on process instead of outcome. ...
    *** Continuously learn and adapt. ...
    *** Recharge the batteries.

    This sounds like mostly common sense but how many of us including the Cub players felt "smug" with the team we have along with an excessive feeling of self-satisfaction towards winning the WS again so why change anything we have been doing as long as it is working. Add a few new players to help and we should be fine. After the AllStar break, we found out differently.

    Maybe we don't need to replace many players but just need to replace each player's FOCUS and start each day anew.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    That's the intensity that Theo spoke about in his press conference, the Idea that "we'll win just because we're Cubs." It showed up both in team results and, for some players, individual development. I took some heat here at Cubs Den for questioning the Cubs motivation, so I was glad to hear Theo coming to the same conclusion!

  • The 2018 Cubs were missing some of David Ross and John Lackey attitudes.

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    In reply to Hagsag:

    We all know a certain RF that can bring that Lackey attitude back to the Cubs. They can also ask Ross to come back as a coach and make help Contreras get back in track. I'm not saying to fire Borzello, he's been great. Maybe bench coach or assistant manager.

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    Do the Cubs have any international money left to sign either of the Mesa brothers? They are the best out there and could be very good in a few years. From the reports, more than very good and we need more elite players in our system.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    No, orioles then the marlins have the most left. Cubs have about 300 k left.

    Victor victor has been rumored to be going to the marlins or orioles for a while now. If the cubs want him they would have to acquire more international dough via trades.

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    Is there any way we could pry Simmons away from the Angels? Imagine him at SS and Javy at 2b. That would probably be the best middle IF in MLB.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    At first blush, I wouldn't think it possible, but with new management you never know what direction the Angels will go. I don't really see them dismantling the team while they have Trout and Pujols under contract, though.

  • The rockies suck, the cubs should be seriously ashamed how they closed out the season. Hope it humbles them and makes them motivated for 2019 They shouldn't be at home right now.

  • In reply to bolla:

    They were motivated for this season and they will be motivated for next season

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Theo himself lamented the lack of intensity from the Cubs this year. I'm not sure what you think they were "motivated" to do, but apparently it wasn't winning playoff games.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The Cubs won 95 games. I was responding to Bolla regarding being "motivated" I think Theo was lamenting certain lineups and missed opportunities throughout the season. Theo needs a better mix of players to win playoff games next season. This is a big off season and can't wait to see how this front offices self scouts their own players and which of those players are traded.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    They SHOULD have won 95 games, with the talent on the team. Still, if they won 195 games, they blew a 5-game lead, failed to win the division and were not a playoff caliber team. Theo clearly blamed the "missed opportunities" on a lack of intensity. If they are as "motivated" in 2019 as they were this year, expect more of the same.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    They also had a lot of come from behind victories and had to overcome a lot of injuries and under performance. I put the injuries to Darvish, Bryant, Morrow, Strop and others along with losing Russell as the reason not keeping the division lead opposed to "motivation".
    Do you believe they would have been a playoff caliber team if fully healthy and with Russell?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    No, I do not, because I believe their biggest problem was their intensity (motivation), not the amount of available talent.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I can't believe you don't believe a 100% healthy Darvish, Bryant, Morrow and Strop wouldn't have made a difference.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I can't believe YOU can't see problems with coaching and intensity.

  • Theo and jed are on record saying the cubs have played with a lack of urgency ,and jed said the post World Series cubs don’t play with the same intensity as the pre World Series cubs. Anybody who routinely watches this team knows this

    That guys contrarian gimmick is Corny and won’t get responses from me.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I routinely watch this team and I see plenty of intensity and motivation. What I didn't see was a healthy team or one where players performed up to expectations. My take from Theo's final press conference is change is coming and some of the young players that haven't produced will be traded.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Why didn't some of the young players perform up to expectations? Why is Theo talking about trading them? Could it be that he doesn't like their intensity? Why did he specifically mention intensity if he doesn't think it was an issue?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The young players didn't live up to their potential. You can't always expect young players to improve every year. Theo said he is now evaluating the players on actual production and not only on talent anymore. Maybe expectations were too high, maybe not playing on a regular basis hurt performance, maybe not batting in same spot in lineup, maybe the league adjusted and players didn't adjust to the league, etc. He probably should have traded a couple already but hung on too long.

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Lol. You probably did watch many games this year, but the only players that played every game with the same intensity were Baez, Contreras, & Zo. No one else. Maybe you watched, but you just didn't pay attention.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Your confusing production with intensity. Lol if you believe every player isn't playing hard and with "intensity".

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    Good article on Fangraphs about the feds taking serious legal action against the Dodgers for illegally smuggling players and making false documents for international players. They have a ton of evidence against them & say MLB is going to inforce strict penalties for their illegal behavior.

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    Since everyone is throwing ideas out the, how about Cutch or Brantley, Machado, & Kimbrel? Russell has really hand tied the FO on the middle IF, so I'm leaning more towards Machado than Harper. Although an OF of Harper Almora Brantley would be awesome, Cutch & Brantley have way better k% than Harper. Same with Machado. All 3 would solve our contact we desperately need. But Harper would bring the fire/attitude we desperately need.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    lol on the fire of a player. Must have seen some bad body language or a player smile after a loss. Need to get some more TWTW on the team for 2019. The players must have let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    LOL. All I have to say is respect 90 and you are proven completely wrong about your crap intensity posts. Most Cubs didn't do that this season & many will agree with me. Maybe you should actually watch a game once in awhile and you would know the intensity is gone.

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    And it wasn't a game here and there. It was almost every game of th he season.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    It’s kind of difficult to say what players we hope the cubs acquire because they have a lot of money committed pre arbitration and we don’t know who will get moved.But I do believe with the pending tv deal and a bunch of contracts coming off the books in ‘19 & ‘20 they can spend some because they will have a whole new stream of revenue that will allow the cubs to splurge more despite the payroll being already high presently.

    Until I see it happen I don’t believe theo will trade Schwarber. I mentioned mccuthen as a platoon possibility in lf. I hope the cubs can get either machado or Harper and Britton and mccutchen. Trade for Merrifield, call up alzolay and meekes for the pen and keep your fingers crossed the team stays healthy for the most part(no significant injuries to key guys). Starters are set ,the cubs will have depth and injury insurance with Smyly,Montgomery,possibly alzolay and maybe a normal walkwood.

    I’m also skeptical Theo will non tender Russell. He’s not just gonna give a 24-25 year old great defensive ss away for free. Russell’s trade value isn’t high right now either. This is gonna be one of the most critical offseasons for Theo since he’s become cubs president. Lots of big decisions for him to make

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    In reply to bolla:

    I just don't like Merrifield. Idk why, just a gut feeling he had a career year at the age of 29. I'm all in for Harper because the OF blows. I've been leaning towards Machado if he's willing to play 3b. Put KB in RF, Heyward in CF, and sign Cutch to play LF. I'm still not sure if Schwarber is gone, but he's their best trade chip and is best suited for an AL team. If Machado & Cutch sign, I'd be okay with Merrifield on a 2 year contract. Any longer, I'd pass. Lowrie would be ideal, but he already said he wants to stay in Oakland. Brantley would be a good option in LF if not Cutch.

    Happ would be a great utility player, except he k's way too much and his defense is maybe avg at all the positions he plays.

    I would love for Ross to come back and teach Contreras a few things behind the plate. I really don't see any good vet catchers out there, even though that would help Willy the most.

    BR has a real good article on the Chili effect. Alot of fans don't believe coaches make much of a difference, but the graphs and stats show a huge drop off offensively since 2017.

  • 2017 cubs had the world series hangover excuse, they played flat and looked uninspired in the 1st half. Starters were giving up 1st inning runs every start, they were always trailing and needed rallys, brewers were up 4-5 games.That was somewhat understandable because the cubs ended the longest drought in sports.

    2018 cubs ,joe said in spring training they wanted to avoid a start like 2017 and get a good start to the season. Instead they played.500 ball thru The 1st 20-21 games , lose one win one wash rinse repeat. Then injuries took over, the cubs best stretch I believe was a 16-5 run vs mostly bad teams in may or June I can’t remember. That’s the point, the ‘15 & ‘16 cubs played with a hunger like they were ready to end the drought. The last 2 years these teams looked complacent and at times flat , they were competitive because of talent. The brewers looked like the ‘15 cubs this season. It had nothing to do with individual player performances more to do with playing like they can flip a switch when ready and that never happened and joe punted some games with certain line ups on getaway days. That’s what Báez was saying that they never played with that urgency Theo and jed said the same thing. This season should of humbled the cubs a little , with offseason changes I expect the cubs to go into 2019 with a renewed focus and with some players motivated(kb, Contreras, Darvish) to bounce back. I feel like the cubs will be closer to the 2016 version than the last 2 years.

  • In reply to bolla:

    There was no 2017 hangover

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    LOL

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Waittilnextyear obviously has a whole different comprehension of the Cubs lack of intensity. He's been proven wrong on multiple occasions, but his arguments are fun to pick at.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Which players lacked intensity?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    "These are not the droids you seek..."

  • The Red Sox are destroying the Yankees in humiliating fashion 14-1 ,yikes.Eovaldi completely shut New York down.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I really hope the Cubs position players were watching that game and seeing what consistent professional at bats look like and how to go about their business when they step into the box.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    If they haven't figured it out yet, I doubt they'll suddenly get it by watching a game on TV. It doesn't help that we have the hitting coach that THEY fired...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'm not gonna say that Chili is not part of the problem, but the most important aspect is that the players still gotta execute. That's one thing you can't blame on the coaching. And the Cubs have had the exact same problems with 2 different batting coaches, so it's not like we can just blame it on the coaching. Also, on the Red Sox side, adding JD Martinez to that lineup, and the fact that it's a different year, and players have different kinds of seasons, that to me explains just as much of their newfound power, if not more than the difference than just the hitting coach makes.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    And to add to that, look at how many more teams were tanking in the AL this year, compared to last. More bad pitchers on rosters to lose games means more home runs for the good teams that have players there to win.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I absolutely get the good example the Red Sox are demonstrating. Your point that the players need to execute kind of makes my point - that's nothing new to them, they already know it. Why they aren't is exactly why Theo said that evaluations will change from talent to performance.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    The yankees hr or nothing approach did them in they were shut down by sale,porcello and eovaldi they hit pop up after pop up and plenty of ground outs when they did make contact .198 ba 31 k's for the series that hr or nothing approach is not how you win in the postseason.The red sox go the other way AND hit for power.That's what I hope the cubs can do next season

    craig kimbrel almost blew the game he didn't have his stuff tonight, that bottom of the 9th was crazy.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    I thought the Sanchez ball was gone off the bat.

  • Over 400 comments in this thread. Is it time yet for a separate, "Hot Stove" piece?

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