Current State of Cubs Fan Emotions

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Cubs Den, I join you as someone who talks about Cubs baseball on a podcast (I am a co host of Cuppa Cubbie Blue for SB Nation on Bleed Cubbie Blue) and tweets Cubs baseball (follow me on Twitter @bryz_blue) but apparently all of that is just not quite enough. I need to write too. 

I previously had a blog on ESPN Des Moines website where I shared my thoughts on the current events in Cubs fandom and bleeding blue while living as a die hard Cubs fan in St. Louis. I plan to make my blogs with Cubs Den an extension of that and hope that somewhere within my writing you find yourself nodding in agreement with a thought or two.

As Cubs fans know every season is filled with many emotions. Many highs, many lows and all the smiles and frustrations in between. The last day of the 2019 season came a bit too early for me. Since then, I've felt awash in an abundance of emotions that I suspect are common among Cubs fan right now that I wanted to share with you all, so none of us suffer our feelings alone.  

exhausted [ ig-zawst ]

I mean besides west coast road trips and extra inning marathon games there is the overwhelming feeling of just plain old exhaustion. I have been a fan for as long as I can remember and I believe this is a combination of “here we are again” and “somebody do something”. Ever since 2016, I feel ruined as a thick skinned, somewhat tolerable Cubs baseball fan (especially residing in St. Louis). I could take the ribbing, the joking, the insulting banter because what did I have to come back with before 2016? Nothing. Now? One lousy World Series? Maybe to some, but to Chicago Cubs fans that one is everything and if it’s all we have for the rest of our days, no insults, memes, mocking or ribbing will ever take that or the feeling we had when we witnessed it unfold, away. Probably why we are all so desperate to get back there. Nothing will ever be as sweet as the first we experienced though.  

eager [ ee-ger ]

The offseason is so long. Which is ironic because it’s nowhere near as long as the actual season which happens to be twice as many days.  Monday the Chicago Cubs announced their 55th manager in franchise history. There has been so much discussion about the shape this team could take next season, as far as who goes, who stays and what names (big or otherwise) that could be linked to the Cubs. All of these things make me eager to know who takes the field opening day 2020. Eager for a new start, eager for a new voice, eager for the success we thought we were getting for many years following 2016. But in the same breath…...

guarded [ gahr-did ]

I am a bit hesitant about believing this offseason is going to be any different. Therefore I have become guarded. Of course I want to believe that the Chicago Cubs will put the best team on the 2020 roster they can, but there are other factors. Money, contracts, who’s available, trade pieces, too many holes to fill, so on and so forth. Nothing you haven’t heard before.

We listened to the front office in the offseason of 2018 explain to us that those who did not produce would be not be relied on and would not be given as many opportunities, but yet we watched the same thing over and over throughout the season. As a fan, you want to have hope and feel reassured your team will make changes and progression towards improvement and being better. You want to believe what they are telling you. Change is the main topic in many presentations we’ve heard, but it’s something we haven’t seen a lot of, it’s hard to believe. So today I’ll lean towards……

optimistic [ op-tuh-mis-tik ]

If you’ve been a Cubs fan for any length of time, you know you have choices when it comes to how you feel about the upcoming season. You can be indifferent, you can be grouchy, or you can be optimistic. I have chosen the latter this offseason. It’s one that is really growing on me.  It sprouts other emotions: hopeful, joyful, happiness, positivity, friendliness, kindness.

I know, eww.

But there is a lot to look forward to in 2020. No one in the Chicago Cubs organization was happy with the way things turned out in 2019 so the chances that this franchise sits on their hands and watches that 2019 season unfold again without doing anything, I believe, are slim. A new manager seems like a very good transistion point to open the offseason. I’ll stay optimistic, make the choice and join me…….Until next time.

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  • Nice piece. For me, I’d add Ambivalent. Post “the plan,” post ending of the drought, it seems hard to muster up the same level of enthusiasm.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Thank you! Yes I agree, my enthusiasm is probably one of those emotions that was sparked by optimism. Its strange to not refer to the "there's always next year" at least once while talking about Cubs Fans emotions in the off season, eh? :) Thanks for reading!

  • Welcome aboard, Andi, and thanks for helping sort out the gamut of Cubs fan emotions. You may have covered it under "Eager," but I'm pretty impatient, too. I'm more than ready to see some action by the FO that assures me that 2020 won't be the same song with a new conductor. We've heard the talk, but we heard talk last offseason, too. This one feels different, but it could just be that Cubs fan optimism kicking in, again.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Thank you for reading! YES! The optimism is strong this year, it DOES feel different, I am with you there. I am impatient by nature in all aspects of my life so I didnt want to cover that too much because I feel my level of impatience may not be shared, but I am also with you there.

  • Welcome to Cubs Den Andi. Looking forward to reading more of your articles. (Alex McKie)

  • In reply to CubPride:

    Thank you for reading Alex!!! Good to see a "friend" on here!

  • Eager and guarded, for sure. I love having a competitive team every year and still relieved they finally won it all. But, I struggled to watch some of those poor offensive stretches the last couple of years. I need to see better baseball out of all of MLB but especially our Cubs.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Oh you are NOT kidding. It felt like modern day torture having to watch what we were told was going to be such a potent offense struggle to muster out 3 or 4 hits a game. You are not alone. I look forward to this season for many reasons but I think we will definitely see a different feel to our team this year. Thank you for reading!

  • A breakup is needed. Trade one of your best to get an ace starter or stud centerfielder.
    Schwarber might be the first choice, but he won't bring enough back.

    Baez does bring too much to trade him.

    Rizzo is the heart and soul.

    Bryant could bring back what the Cubs need. He has been very good at third, but in next few years will move to outfield. He has been a problem in the clutch and has injury woes. Plus we have some good replacement options for third right now.

  • In reply to NilesNorth:

    yup! blinky bryant gotta go, especially after that stunt boras client gerrit cole pulled after the game.I want NO parts of that

  • In reply to bolla:

    For me it'd have to take a huge offer to move KB with 2 years of control. The cubs don't have to move him now and can always wait until the trade deadline or next offseason. But that being said what Cole did after the game may as well represent most Boras clients in general. As a player you hire Scott Boras to get you the biggest payday you can get, not for hometown discounts or finding common ground for sentimental reasons with a players former team. I hear people saying the team alienated Bryant by manipulating his service time. My question is why wouldn't they that's an extra year of service time in Bryant's prime, and that extra year is worth about $20 million + in addition to allowing more time for a possible trade. Newflash to all Bryant isn't and never was considering ever giving this team a big hometown discount, and anyone that thinks calling him up earlier would change that is naive do you know who his agent is? You don't hire Boras if you're interested in hometown discounts 99% of the time. It was the absolute right move to get that extra year of service time, and overall I agree with you that Bryant isn't worth what his agent and KB will be asking for. Now I don't believe they have to trade him this offseason, but with core players cost controls dwindling they should at least be entertaining offers on every player. But that said I don't know how much of a difference on the return it makes trading KB now or later (trade deadline or next offseason). But I do think the team needs to seriously entertain their other options, because I've been in the camp that believes that KB won't be resigned. I think KB and Boras from the start were planning to simply take the biggest competitive offer they receive, and from that perspective I only see them keeping him on some type of hometown discount which almost certainly isn't happening

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    The suggestion that Bryant would be more likely to sign a team-friendly contract if only the Cubs had promoted him earlier is simply a myth.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Bryant will be back next season

  • In reply to NilesNorth:

    Schwarber could be a centerpiece. Add a a top prospect(5-10), and throw in Russell. Sign Grandal, move Contreras to LF, and keep Caratini. Willy can catch every once in awhile & we'll have a plus bat in LF. Not sure about defense, but I'm sure it will be above average after he settles in.

  • In reply to NilesNorth:

    Add Will Smith to setup man or close. Or Diekman. Trade Schwarber package to KC for Merrifield. As for a Starting pitcher, I have no idea. Cole is a pipe dream, but I could see like 2 Wheeler caliber pitchers being signed. Then you can keep Chatty & Alzolay in the pen. I love Pedro, but he gave me panic attacks all season.

  • Who are good replacent options at 3b?

    I think a package centered arounf Schwarber could bring back a good starter.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    3b replacements could include: Bote, Happ, Hoerner, and a couple others in minors possibly. Schwarber is limited mostly as an American League DH player which is very limiting. Plus in the free agent market we have seen DH types are in lower demand. So I can't agree Schwarber will bring back the best starter as Bryant could. Plus trading Bryant saves more money right now.

  • In reply to NilesNorth:

    Drop off in production from Bryant to Bote or Happ would cripple the offense. Neither of those two guys should be a starting position player at the beginning of the season, no way. If either of them is, and especially at 3B, then Theo failed miserably. And I'm not on of the Theo bashers either. Hoerner should be at 2B or CF by May/June (if he doesn't break camp with the team), whichever position doesn't get filled externally.

    The Schwarber is a DH narrative is very old, he has disproved it. Too bad fans won't let it go.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Yeah, what JohnCC said.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Schwarber could be a centerpiece. Add a a top prospect(5-10), and throw in Russell. Sign Grandal, move Contreras to LF, and keep Caratini. Willy can catch every once in awhile & we'll have a plus bat in LF. Not sure about defense, but I'm sure it will be above average after he settles in.

    Add Will Smith to setup man or close. Or Diekman. Trade Schwarber package to KC for Merrifield. As for a Starting pitcher, I have no idea. Cole is a pipe dream, but I could see like 2 Wheeler caliber pitchers being signed. Then you can keep Chatty & Alzolay in the pen. I love Pedro, but he gave me panic attacks all season.

  • Good read, I'm always optimistic, even when I shouldn't be. A new voice is a good start, and is a pretty big deal. This core has underperformed the last couple years, so at least one major trade seems appropriate. 2020 would be a great time for a second championship in this window.

  • Welcome, Andi, and well done. I've run the gamut of emotions throughout my fandom. I tend to stay optimistic, with a healthy dose of realism, and try not to forget it is supposed to be entertaining.

    Of course that's not always possible, and other, more intense emotions creep in for some of us. Misery, jealousy, even obsession:

    "I will drive past your house,
    And if the lights are all down
    I'll see who's around.

    One way or another, I'm gonna find ya.
    I'm gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya."

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    I'd put disappointed as my emotion. Starting with the 14 or 15 season I really thought that in the next 5 years or so we's see at least 1 and more than likely 2 or 3 Championships for the Core. Well, we did get 1 and that was terrific, but the Core was so young, not even really approaching their prime, there was realistic expectations that would warrant that.
    Also, Welcome Andi to Cubs den as a writer. I look forward to read more.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    LOL, just read your comment Jonathan. Should have read it before I posted, would have saved me some time.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    You're both correct, and I feel the same way. Coming off of 2015 and especially 2016, with the young team, ownership/management structure, and financial might, there was no reason to believe it would go downhill. A dynasty is hard to obtain in any competitive sport, but we had every advantage to make it a possibility.

    Blame aplenty. The players need to be better, for sure. Joe was the perfect manager at the perfect time, but that time has passed. The on-field product is less than the sum of it's parts, and I think Ross is the right guy to fix what has been missing.

    The majority of blame, IMO, lies in the FO. Hubris and stubbornness led to a path of mediocrity. They felt they were so ahead of everyone else that they didn't need to improve. They were wrong, and we got lapped.

    It is refreshing to at least see the admission that they need to change. Is it enough? We shall see. The lack of scouting and development has put us into the abyss of bloated payrolls and depending on free agents to plug holes. This is not a sustainable model, and we are experiencing the downside of what we thought was a progressive organization.

    Coming off a Championship in 2016, with the financial strength and controlled core, there was every expectation that there should be more than one. There hasn't been, yet.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree about the FO's lack of recent progress. One thing I dislike about how this off season has gone is that when the admission that this season was a failure has been stated (pretty much), the assignment of blame has come out this way:

    - regarding the FO, scouting, etc. it's all "boiler plate" blame. No specifics. Just stuff like 'we are all responsible, results are on us, blah blah blah'.
    - regarding the manager/coaching of the team, very specific (and most likely true) blame has been applied. 'Fundamentals are lacking'. 'Too much individual training/prep, not enough team training/prep'. 'There is lack of accountability'.

    I think one reason why people like us carp on the FO more than on Joe for the decline of this young and talented team, is that they are not really fessing up with their own shortcomings as much as they did with Joe and his staff. They have significant flaws in how they identify talent and definitely in how they develop it. I'd like to hear some specifics related to those arenas, too.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    IMO, the Dodgers exposed the holes in the swings of all of our young core players and their launch angle grooved swings. They couldn’t catch up to or lay off the high cheese. Other teams followed suit and the offense that seemed so dominant in 2016 and 2017 started to slowly fizzle.

    I always try to be hopeful but I think some of our young guys have already plateaued and won’t be getting any better. Without them getting better, we can expect more years like this past one.

  • In reply to Senator Blutarski:

    Your second paragraph says a lot about the reason the Cubs have a new manager. Guys like Schwarber and Happ showed some improvement last year but Almora and Russell did not. The easy answer is to trade those guys, but nobody will give anything of value for them. Maybe Ross can motivate them to spend more time with a coach, in the cage, watching video or anything to generate some improvement.

  • Welcome, Andi. I'd add 'Disappointment' as another genuine emotion that many Cubs fans are experiencing now. This is now two straight years of decline for this team. Let's not sugar coat things after this season. Another year of decline and it's a spiral, in my obscure definition of the term.

    I want to believe in this team, and still have hope they will return again to being an excellent playoff-caliber team. But they need significant change in both talent evaluation and development, as well as improvement in baseball IQ/competitiveness on the current roster. Otherwise, next year will be another fadeout.

  • I’d add the word defeated to the list. The hiring of Ross did nothing for me. It wasn’t a terrible move but it wasn’t a great move. Just did nothing for me. The bottom line is there has to be changes in this roster to make a difference. Just adding Ross won’t make a difference.
    As for al the ppl who think bote or Happ can be a replacement at 3b are insane.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Give Ross time to determine how/whether he can make a positive difference. We all know of managers/coaches who do make a big difference when they are hired. I think most of us don't know enough about Rossy to make a determination now. Two years time, or even one, will tell us more.

    So, to coin a (grammatically correct) term. Wait 'til next year, WaitTilNextYear. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I hope so. But to me the roster is a bigger deal.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I'm excited about game 7 of the WS, and the Cubs in 2020 & beyond!! I'm disappointed with the front office complete lack of player development. They have only developed the top picks, and a couple huge international free agents, that is really disappointing after them boasting about building a player development machine when hired....

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I am excited about game 7 as well. And agree about development of players.

  • OT, but go Nats. I would love to see Davey wi a ring as a manager. And Strasburg is going to get paid, win or lose. I think he has proved his worth as an elite postseason pitcher.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    I believe he is the highest paid player in the game AAV.....he is actually earning it.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Sherzer looks a little off with his command. The spin rates on all the pitches looks spot on so far. Even with the walk to Brantley.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Everytime I see Strasburg, he reminds me of Zo. He's a smart baseball man.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    Greinke is no mental slouch, either. With his anxiety issues I don't know if he'd want to coach and interact with players, but he has a future in the game when he retires. Possibly in a FO if he so desires.

  • But Darvish changed his spin rate and release point which made him nasty the last few months.

  • fb_avatar

    I want the Nats to win also. I’m trying to imagine our staff pitching tonight. Hendricks, could be. Yu does well but always seems to lose it for an inning and against a team like Houston they could easily score 3 or 4 runs. I just don’t trust Lester or Q anymore.
    Next year both Kyle and Yu and I can see Chatwood starting again but they have to be consistent for us to go back to the playoffs.

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    Congratulations to the Washington Nationals!! The only 7 game series of any sport that the away team won every game.

  • Ricketts just came out and said you can't buy a good team; effectively saying they are not going to spend again this year. He seems all concerned about the 2-3 Mil in penalties they incurred which is just peanuts in this game. The only way to shrink the payroll significantly is to trade Bryant and his expected 18 Mil salary. That's about 6 Mil over what he is worth. Bring back a starter and a couple near ready minor leaguers and save the money or use it to get another Descalso for two years.

  • In reply to veteran:

    You're saying Kris Bryant is valued at only $12 million AAV but you expect the Cubs to get "a starter and a couple near ready minor leaguers" for him?

  • In reply to veteran:

    I am not sure why some are so quickly to trade KB. He is not the problem. He is not where wasted money is tired up. I wondered a few years back when the did this to KB if it would come back to bite us in the rear. Lot of people said it was a smart business move. I am not sure I agreed with that then. You have to run the team the way that it gives you a chance to win that year. I am not say you spend big big money every year and trade all your prospects to win. But you had a home grown kid that I had inked in to be a starter at 3b for 10-12 years and you nickel and dime him?????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The Cubs have not "nickel and dimed" Bryant. He has been the 1st or 2nd highest paid player in MLB history at every step thus far in his pre-arb and arbitration stages. Given the rules and where the Cubs team was at the start of the 2015 season (projected 500 club), having Bryant go to the minors to gain an additional year of control was the right thing to do.
    I don't want to trade KB, but an interesting trade scenario could be close to a straight trade of Bryant for Carlos Correra. They are both on the same free agency track. The big difference is that the Astros did not "reward" Correra with over market contracts that Bryant received from the Cubs when the Astros were only required to pay Correra league minimum. Because of that, Correra's first year arbitration contract was $5Mil vs. Bryant's $12.9Mil. The Astros don't want to add payroll this off-season putting a projected $10Mil difference in these guys Year 2 Arbitration contracts as a huge stumbling block to any deal. If Correa or Javy would agree to move to 3B, this is a nice way to stay very competitive with a high end player while saving a lot of money.
    While I believe players will be dealt and DFA'd, I'm thinking trades will be more in the range of sign Q to an extension, then trade him to free up $10.5Mil. Trade Chatwood while eating half of his last year's contract, freeing up another $4.5Mil. These two moves alone frees up $15Mil to allocate/utilize elsewhere. Then allow Mills and Azolay compete for the 4th/5th starter role. This isn't the greatest outcome, but it's where this FO has left our team.
    I believe the Astros loss last night changes how Gerrit Cole will approach free agency. He and his wife want to win a WS badly. His first tier target team list may now consist of teams that will pay near top dollar ($32-$33Mil AAV at 7-8 years) but offer a very good chance of WS participation in the next 3 years. If those teams don't pan out, then it's top dollar ($35-$40Mil AAV at 8-10 years) with the second tier WS contending teams.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    The cubs absolutely nickled and dimed KB. They purposely didn’t call him up so they could gain a extra year of control. One can say that is smart business but that isn’t how you treat someone who could be the face of your franchise.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    It turned out to be the right move because Bryant is really good!!!! Right now the Cubs have him for two more years instead of one. Which is huge if the Cubs keep him, or trade him.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    That is why he is so good cause they waited just past the cutoff to call him up? Is it official to have him to years. With the cubs shaky moved on option will be to trade him. Concerned the cubs burnt his bridge.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Bryant being good had nothing to do with his service times.

    I meant teams play that game, and players then don't pan out. K Bryant played well, and Cubs played the service time game-It worked out to benefit the Cubs!

    Many teams use this tactic, nothing unique about Bryant situation. More teams are getting good young prospects/players to sign long term MLB contracts before they even get called up.

    The MLB player association should fight to get this changed in the next agreement. I think for fans it stinks. K. Bryant should of been on the Cubs mid-summer 2014, based on talent, and minor league production.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Can you answer a few direct questions?
    1. Do you believe that KB would sign a long term deal with the Cubs at or below the market rate if they would have brought him up on opening day 2015?
    2. Did KD get nickel and dimed on his 2016 Rookie Contract that was the highest in MLB history?
    3. Did KD get nickel and dimed on his 2017 Rookie Contract that
    was the highest in MLB history?
    4. Did KD get nickel and dimed on his 2018 Contract that was the highest Super-2 in MLB history?
    5. Did KD get nickel and dimed on his 2019 Arbitration Contract that was the 2nd highest in MLB history?
    There is a big difference between following the rules that the union negotiated for its players regarding service time and paying a player exactly what the union set as rookie salaries. For reference, when Carlos Correra refused to negotiate with the Astros on an extension during his rookie contract years, they paid him a few dollars over the required minimum. I believe that defines "nickel and dime". What the Cubs, and other teams, have done with the negotiated service time rules are exactly what the union allowed.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Yes the nickled and dimed him for a year. The cubs took a year away from hitting the FA market sooner. Which in return cost KB quite a bit of money.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Didn’t cost him a thing.......all it did was alter the date of when he gets big money.......and the Cubs were never obligated to pay him those large raises that they did.
    That 25 million he will get in 2030 instead of ending in 2029 I am sure he will be happy about.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    It cost him a year before he could go to free agency

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Alter is same as when he became a free agent.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Right.

  • 2019 Cubs had a top 5 MLB payroll and bottom 5 minor league rating. Cubs best trade chip is MLB MVP Bryant who with a top rated surplus catcher Amaja and 1st round picks Almora/Russell can be an excellent start of a trade discussion to bring a a young inexpensive TOR arm and a couple of near ready major league arms and or leadoff hitter from a win now organization. I would much rather have Nick at $20-22M than Bryant at $30-32M . Since the Cubs have no impact prospects ready for the show who can bring salary relief, Cubs need to reload I hate to say. I think the Cubs will be very active but will stay under the cap.

  • In reply to Rock:

    The only issue I have with trading Bryant is who replaces him at 3B? It doesn't do much good to sign Castellanos for his bat and then replace Bryant with Bote - the loss in hitting will negate any gain from Castellanos. If the Cubs were to sign Rendon, which is unlikely at this point, Bryant would be expendable.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Nick in right, Jason CF and Shwarbs in Left, Baez 3b Russell SS, Happ/ Zo (friendly club deal)2b and Rizzo at at first. I'm afraid everyone just mentioned might experience whip lash next year watching balls fly over their heads. The Cubs starters and relievers scare the crap out of me due to age, health, performance, and cost and with no immediate impact major league ready arms in the minors their might be a lot of long games. Interesting arms in the lower minors for 2021/2022 but until then maybe AA as an innings eater. Not pretty. Doesn't Big Z still want to pitch? I bet Jamie Moyer can still hit 82 on the gun. Just kidding. John Lackey coach/long man? Does Travis Wood have cell reception in his duck blind? JK. Team Theo your up to bat, whats your walk up song?

  • In reply to Rock:

    Bryant is traded and we don’t get 1 guy who can crack your lineup? And then want Russell/Zo up the middle?

    Wow. This would not be a good idea. Theo’s walk up song for this lineup would be Dumb by Nirvana.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    As mentioned a young TOR arm and another near ready minor league arm and or leadoff hitter would be fare score for (Conic sore shoulder)Bryant and since the Cubs lineup is at the cap with no impact prospect that can provide any salary relief coming from the minors until 2021/2022. A ton of respect for Team Theo but the organization is looking very similar to the team he inherited from Hendry. Top five payroll and bottom five minors and no playoffs for 2 years. Are the Cubs going to pay Bryant 300m Rizzo 125m Nick 150M Baez 250M in a couple of years? Wheres the pitching???

  • STRANGE World Series......with the visiting team winning every game....and each team looking dominant in the others park and feeble at their own.....plus the Nationals being perhaps the oldest team to win.......but, you still have to PERFORM and several didn’t.
    Verlander went all Kershaw on them, Bregman didn’t show up, etc.

    The Dodgers with the highest payroll have won 302 games the last 3 years and have nothing to show for it. Performance? Where? But, will they cut and gut their team? No. The Cubs shouldn't either.

    Ricketts has nothing but money. Spend it.....how much of Wrigleyville do they now own? Halfway to Halsted and Belmont.....who cares if they get nailed a luxury tax, that gets recouped with a World Series win just in ad revenue and marketing sales.

    The problem is with the teams bolt ons.....they don’t produce. Bullpen, bench.....that is on ownership and management. Keep Castellanos and Zobrist.....start Hoerner at 2b, he’s ready. Grab some pitching and alot of it. I’m talking 2020, where this team could still win. Who is out there where you could add by subtracting though? No one I see so forget trading core pieces. The Dodgers won’t either. Ross should be able to push these guys to perform better so we will see.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    The 7 games where the road team all won is strange, but kind of understandable, too. Look at who pitched for the Nats for all 4 road games. Strasburg and Scherzer. Then look at who pitched in their 3 home games. 'Nuff said.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Good point, yes.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Another WS oddity. Joe Buck said the Nationals are the "oldest" team in MLB (I haven't verified this). Two of their starters (Scherzer and Sanchez) are 35 years old, the other two in their 30's. While I understand the push for the Cubs to get younger in their rotation, the Nat's didn't seem to mind the geezers in theirs...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    their position players seemed to be a good mix of youth and experience.
    Really Young/Young: Soto, Robles & Turner
    Prime Years: Rendon & Eaton
    Crusty Veterans: Suzuki-Gomes, Kendrick-Cabrera, Zimmerman
    Starting Pitchers: 2 Prime (Corbin, Strasburg), 2 Vets (Scherzer, Sanchez)

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    When looking at the WS stats, they were similar teams.

    Nats: ERA: 4.29, Hits: 58, BB: 27, SO: 51, Runs: 30, Earned Runs: 30
    Astros: ERA: 4.29, Hits: 68, BB: 27, SO: 61, Runs: 33, Earned Runs: 30

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Speaking of Joe Buck, did you see the guy in the ALCS game (in Houston but playing the Yankees) sitting behind the backstop? One inning in the middle of a pitch, he stood up, pulled up his jacket to reveal a T-shirt that said 'Joe Buck Sucks!'

    It lasted less than 5 seconds, but it was funny as hell! Strangely the commentators on Fox said nary a word. Hmm...

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I missed it, but it would have been better than the two flashers in Washington! Can't believe Buck didn't have a running commentary.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Astros had 2 of their starters over 35. Greinke and Verlander. I imagine you’d take the four of them and ditch four of the Cubs rotation.

  • In reply to stix:

    I thought it was interesting because of all the angst expressed about the age of the Cubs rotation. I'd like to see them add Cole or a Strassburg (if he declines his option with Wash), of course, but we just saw a WS where both teams had SPs 35 or older.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Having older pitcher in your rotation that are that good is the exception and not the rule.

  • fb_avatar

    If the cubs are going to contend in the next two years they have to take a hard look at their inventory and start building with pitching and defense. We have too many holes in this line up to keep putting the same players on the field and believe we get a different outcome with a new manager.
    First off you can't have a bunch of free swingers who think of home runs and shy away from contact, we need more bat to ball contact, especially with two strikes, most players on the cubs seem to go crazy when they get two strikes on them and forget how to just put the ball in play concept.
    Second, we have to start drafting pitchers and acquiring pitching in every trade we make, you never know if you need it for starting or bullpen, but you absolutely need it.
    We have the resources to trade, Bryant is our biggest chip, just because if you really think about it, he is not going to resign with us. We also have Schwarber,to move, if not this year after the second half he had, we would be missing a huge opportunity.
    I think the cubs should also look at Contrares as a chip, we will have to take a step back this year,but with the returns we may be able to refresh our pitching staffs and go after some players in trades or free agency we may not have been able to get previously,i.e. Lindor , Castellanos,and possibly Stasburg if he opts out.
    I'm not a big fan of bringing back Zobrist, that is money we could use elsewhere, someone mentioned Hoerner as second base, that's about the only position I think he could be reliable at, he doesn't have the arm to play third or short or even center field, so second is probably going to be his position to take.
    One way or another tis is going to be the year Theo remakes this team, get ready for a big offseason, this could get entertaining...

  • The four best pitchers in the World Series were arguably Cole, Verlander, Strasburg, Scherzer. Heck, add Corbin and Grienke, if you want. Of those six, only one was drafted. The Cubs won a World Series without a single drafted pitcher. How many did the Red Sox draft last year?

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Great point. There wasn't anything wrong with Theo's plan to draft hitting and acquire starting pitching where needed. The problem came in when the farm system didn't produce enough assets to absorb a few deals and still produce. On another note, Verlander and Grienke are 36, Scherzer and Sanchez are 35. Everyone likes youth, but...

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Zero Red Sox starters were drafted. Only 1 Red Sox pitcher used in the entire series was drafted by Boston (Matt Barnes-2011 1st Rd, #19 overall by Theo-who says he can't draft pitching?).

    The Dodgers drafted or signed 4 of their pitchers from that WS (Kershaw, Buehler, Jansen and Baez). All others are trades or FA (I include Maeda & Ryu as FA not drafted/signed & developed). Stripling could be a 5th but I don't remember him pitching.

  • The Mets developed/traded for all those young starters by 2015, made the World Series, and went nowhere fast!

    The Cubs are in kinda a unique position they could trade a top player or two. Plus maintain a big payroll, which is a major advantage they have over the rest of the NL central.

    The Cubs have proven they will not go above a certain payroll penalty limit. They need to improve the team without increasing payroll.

    Cubs could trade Bryant, & then replace his production? Of course you probably not going to replace him with an equal player at 3B. It is all the other moves, in addition to the return you get from trading a star player like Bryant that will hopefully improve the Cubs.

    I would like to see the Cubs trade two people from Bryant/Darvish/Contreras/Schwarber/Baez pool. Focusing on younger players/prospects when trading from the top.

    Then they need to clean up the rest of the roster.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Naujack:

    I'm not equating them, but Wash lost it's "best" player (Harper) and won the WS. If we trade our best player (KB) it doesn't necessarily mean that we won't be as good or better than last year.
    I want talent. Difference makers. Right now I don't think we have an elite talent in our farm system. Maybe Marquez, but we've seen a lot of pitchers who throw in the uppers 90's and get hit--it seems like every team has a few of them. We need pitchers with hit and miss capability because there are times a SO is needed and right now Yu and Hendricks are our only ones. Theo knows this.
    I heard Theo on the radio today and I wish someone had asked him who is ready in the minors to come up and help the 2020 Cubs. Maybe Alzolay but idk. That's why I'm in favor of trading KB or Schwarber and getting talent back.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'd offer that it's MUCH easier to replace an outfielder than to replace the team's only real 3B candidate. With the improvements Happ made, the Cubs could trade Schwarber and let Happ play LF, and that's if they didn't get another OF back in trade. If Bryant goes, they absolutely must get another 3B. The ideal for me would be to sign Rendon, but I don't think that's in the budget.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I think the Cubs are going to extend one or two of the core this offseason. Schwarber seems like a prime candidate to sign an extension. Front office really likes him, plus Schwarber grew up in the Midwest.

    I expect at least one of the core who doesn't sign an extension to be traded.

    I'm excited to see what direction the Cubs go this offseason. I expect lots of action, after last season internal improvement mantra led to 84-78.

    If they trade Schwarber, & keep Bryant. I hope to see three new opening day starting OF next spring.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Agreed. In fact, they'll probably try extensions before trades - those that won't sign will get shopped.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I think the Cubs hang on to Schwarber, but I can see where he could bring a really good return. Twenty nine teams out there that could find a spot for that left side bat that hit thirty eight homeruns. Thirty teams counting ours. I believe Kyle likes it here and would sign an extension.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    With Kyle, a team option or two in the contract would be a must. If he continues the improvement he made in the 2nd half of last year, great - but the Cubs could use an out if he doesn't.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    So you are saying no HIT HEYWARD IS ON THE BENCH PAYING HIM 22 MIL A YEAR REALLY??????

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    I guess that's one way to look at it, although I'm not sure the moniker of "No Hit Heyward" applies to a guy with a career OPS+ of 100, making him an average hitter. If you DO believe he can't hit, why would you be upset that he's on the bench?

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    I personally hope they dump Heyward, somehow. Teams might want to take a chance on him? I don't think any team will take on much of his remaining money. Heyward is a sunken cost, dump him with lots of money going to another team, for some bad contracts coming back.

    Is it possible to predict what kind of season Heyward will have going forward as a hitter?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    How about Nick Castellano at 3B? He has started 518 games (out of 824) at 3B.

    Now I am waiting for the same people that said Nick was a poor OFer to say he was a poor third baseman.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    He was terrible at 3b which is why he was moved to the outfield.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Well, that did not take long.

    And, BTW, Nick's lifetime 3B fielding % (.955) is higher than KB's (.951)

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Reading between the lines, it sounds like Ricketts is not interested in spending big money this year increasing penalties, without moving salary first.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think it makes sense to try to get under the tax this year. They were at $240 million this past year, so I believe they paid a tax of around $11 million. (32% of the $34 million over the limit of $206M). As Ricketts said, that is dead money that just goes to other teams. With the young players they have that they will be trying to keep over the next few years, I think it will be very difficult to stay under that tax after some of those guys (Baez, Bryant, Schwarber, Contreras, Happ) are extended. Each year you go over the tax, the penalties increase. So, IMO, this year may be their best opportunity to stay under the tax to reset the penalties. if they plan on doing a soft rebuild anyway, which is what I think they will do, they will not be signing any big name ($) FA's this winter. My guess is, on paper at least, they will not have as good of a team. But, if the right moves are made and some of the young talent they give opportunities to come through, they may have a much better team. Maybe even like the Red Sox after 2003.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Sound like Ricketts doesn't even want to pay a penalty at all... Hoping Cubs at least maintain 2019 total team payroll.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    He is bad at 3b and is not an option

  • I think I'm warming up to Ross as manager. He definitely brings some pluses. Obviously accountability, especially a focus on hustle and good fundamental play, minimizing mental mistakes. This won't be in words only. It will be "This is how we will play the game. Those who are unable to consistently play this way or do not want to play this way will no longer play for the Cubs." That's how you instill accountability. Either it is instilled somehow into a person or that player moves on to another team.

    I think Ross' weaknesses may be in game management, but how important is that really? In the course of a season, it's probably over rated. In the playoffs, probably has more importance.

    Also, how will Ross handle criticism when it inevitably comes? He will be second guessed something awful at times. Can he handle that? Will he get sensitive about that?

    Those two issues will be interesting to see how he does this year.

    But he will bring a passion and a focus back to this team, methinks. Both will be noticeable.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HefCA:

    If he is criticized then we all have to remember how vilified Davy Martinez was the first 1/3 of the season. It's a long 162 games and things can get better, so if the Cubs start slowly, as they did this year, we have to remember it's marathon and to relax. Now if it's over half the season and we're 15 games out, well, we have a problem. But in that case I don't believe it will be Rossy's fault but the players.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Right, Martinez is an excellent example for allowing teams time before evaluating the impact of a new manager. I'm in the corner of giving them (in general) two years before evaluating their progress/lack thereof with the team. There are exceptions to that rule, but not many.

  • Trade Bryant to KC for Merrifeld and the following 3 pitchers
    Kris Bubic 185 K in 149 inn in the minors Brady Singer # 2 prospect 2.85 era in the minors so far and Jonathan Bowlan
    has a .237 batting ave against him.

    Then sign Starlin Castro to play 3rd base. 22hrs 86 rbi's last yr
    on a terrible Marlin team.

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    I think the Cubs have to do better than Castro at 3B, especially considering he benefited from the juiced ball last year. OPS would drop from .901 to .733, much of that due to his Almora-like OBP. He's actually harder to walk than Almora. I haven't watched Castro play in a while, but I wasn't impressed with his "baseball IQ" when he played with the Cubs, either.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    If Starlin was the kind of player a team wins with, he would still be here.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Or in NYC...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Really Castro instead of Torres 44slug and you must be in another world when it comes to baseball??????

  • In reply to 44slug:

    NO we got rid of him to sign Zobrist Great move at the time.

    Must have been under a rock or what???

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Rather see Conteras play 3b.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    Mmmm - I think Willson is athletic enough to give it a go, but I'm not sure I'd like to see the Cubs plan on him taking over 3B.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Alright, makes sense. How about Javy at 3b and Seager at SS? That's if Lindor actually went to Dodgers. I know it won't happen, but think unrealistic.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    Yeah, that could work! I like Javy at 3B, but it leaves a big hole at SS if they don't get someone.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    Believe me THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN Clueless idea at best

    come on guys make some sense here

    Bryant will get traded watch and see reason's are easy
    1/ Already turned down over 200 mil
    2/ Boros as a agent
    3/ has not had a good yr since 2016
    4/ Good player to get rid of to build the farm system back up with some pitching.

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    They'd rather have hulk & happ instead of KB. Jmo

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    It would be a whole lot cheaper. The savings from Bryant would pay both of them with enough left over for a good relief pitcher or two.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    I think if the Cubs trade Bryant. Lots of options at 3B. Many options are far from perfect, but how about trading for Jake Lamb-AZ. Had back to back injury riddled seasons. Lamb, Bote, & Happ....

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    Why would KC trade for 2 years of Bryant? They are in a rebuild, so trading prospects for a player with only 2 years of control makes no sense for them

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    How do you know they would not sign him to a long term contract
    and build their team around him. Do you have a crystal ball or what??

    They just dumped Gordon so as you can see they are starting a major re-bulid

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    The Royals would not spend 1/3 of their payroll on one player. That trade would never happen ... ever.

  • Wow. Indians picked Kuechels option. Are they goning to trade and rebuild, or keep Lindor etc for another year and fill holes?

  • And if Waittilnextyear is out there(I think it was you), I apologize if I said something mean, stupid, etc the other night. I was really drunk. Stuff happens, my bad. I'll just stay away from electronics next time.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    Nice if you to voluntarily apologize, though I have no idea what you're talking about. Been there, done that.

    There is a breathalyzer that installs into the vehicles of those who are repeat DUI offenders that disables the ignition system with a failed test. We need to invent one of those to attach to electronic devices. It would make the internet and social media slightly more tolerable.

    Then we can work on that IQ-O-Meter. :)

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Lmfao! Gimme some song lyrics.

  • Now that the 2019 season is in the books, I'd like to add one positive all Cubs fans can draw on from this season. That would be watching the Nationals so very lightly brush aside the Cardinals in the NLCS.

    There are just so many delightful comparisons one can come up with regarding the Dirty Bird's NLCS performance. You can sing the old Sesame Street jingle 'One of these teams is not like the other' while working in the yard and musing on the 4 teams that made it to the ALCS and NLCS.

    But my personal favorite is the Cards in the 2019 NLCS being the absolute perfect equivalent to one being ultimately promoted to one's level of incompetence.

    Imagine the following conversation going on in classrooms around the country, in the very near future.

    Student: Teacher, I don't understand the phrase "In business, it is common for a person to be promoted to his/her level of incompetence."

    Teacher: Well...take, for example, the St. Louis Cardinals reaching the NLCS series in 2019.

    Student: Oh...yeah yeah yeah! I totally get it now!

    In conclusion, for us Cubs fans in 2019, the Bill Murray quote comes to mind: "So, we have that going for us. And that's nice!"

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I was very relieved that neither the Cardinals or the Yankees made it to the WS. The Cardinal loss, however, only drives home the point of how badly the Cubs missed an opportunity.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    MLB will see this comment and award the DirtyBirds an additional draft pick due to internal incompetence, competitive disadvantage and mental duress.

  • Monday will mark the beginning of open free agent negotiations (and the deadline on contract option decisions), AKA the "silly season". Fan bases of all MLB teams make silly suggestions, and ours is no different. It's part of the fun of being a fan.

    Nobody knows what will happen this offseason, including the FO. Of course they have a clearer idea than we do, and we can get a glimpse by reading between the lines. In a nutshell, I think payroll stays about the same, we will field a competitive team but not go "all-in", and every player is available in trade depending on the return. Some players obviously hold greater value than others, and there are only two players with excess value who I see as nearly untouchable. I did find this quote from Theo to be very revealing:

    "We're very likely to engage certain [Cubs] players in discussions about long-term contracts, see if there is a way to extend players' windows, as Cubs, that way," he said. "And if that's not possible, that might make you open-minded about trades. There's more than one way to take full advantage of a player's value."

    I expect a big name or two from the core to be dealt, and this is the most direct hint yet that the extension negotiations will weigh heavily on a player's actual availability.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yep. I can think of four names who, if a contract extension this off season doesn't not happen, will have much more trade value this year than in the next. Personally I hope in my heart of hearts that all four are extended, and the FO finds another way to improve the mediocrish pitching staff. But realistically, probably one and maybe even two are moved.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    "doesn't not" = "doesn't". Sheesh.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Doesn't not does not = doesn't, does it, not? It does not, doesn't it?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    LOL! No it don't, but in the context of my meaning it certainly does do ;-)

  • Braves just let go of Julio Terhan I would take a flyer on him big time only 28 yrs old and is a workhorse.

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