A look at the Cubs current outfield depth

Kyle Schwarber (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Kyle Schwarber (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Incumbents

Kyle Schwarber

Jason Heyward

Let me start off by saying I believe Kyle Schwarber's second half breakout is real. He provides balance for the lineup as a second left-handed power source beyond Anthony Rizzo. While his defense remains a sore spot, you can continue to live with it while he produces offensively.

The question becomes, what does his production look like in the long-term? Does the defense continue to taper off as he ages and becomes less athletic? If so, the Cubs may not consider him a good candidate for a contract extension, in which case... does this mark the point in time for Schwarber's maximum trade value?

We all know what's coming after the 2021 season. Schwarber hits free agency along with Rizzo, Bryant and Baez. They won't pay them all. Indications are Javy is open to an extension and given his athleticism, is the best bet to age gracefully. Even if he doesn't stay at shortstop throughout the length of a long-term deal, he can always move to... well, anywhere else on the diamond, really.

That doesn't apply to Rizzo, or Schwarber. They already occupy corner positions, with Rizzo already limited to first base and Schwarber potentially forced to the same spot down the road. I'm inclined to let Schwarber play out this year then reassess next offseason. The team still needs to compete this year and will have a better idea of whether Schwarber's second half level is sustainable or not. They'll also have more information on any long-term concerns regarding Rizzo's back and what another extension for him will look like.

Heyward1Jason Heyward is going to remain a Cub for a while in my opinion. He showed some life offensively last season we haven't seen during his Cubs career, but it is difficult to assess how much of it was the rabbit ball.

His defense appears to be in decline. Heyward is not a great fit in centerfield anymore, even if the Cubs can probably continue to get away with it another year. He should remain above average in right throughout the final four years of his deal, but I wouldn't expect any more gold gloves. At least not one based on merit.

Heyward is still a useful player and a team leader. The chances of the Cubs coming out ahead in a bad contract swap are minimal, or at least no better than the odds of Heyward improving his offensive output.

Kris Bryant

Tony Kemp

I add Kris Bryant here as we all know he is a capable corner outfielder who has spent time every season out there. He's coming off his worst year defensively at 3B, and there has always been long-term concerns regarding his ability to hold up at the hot corner. Injuries may be taking a toll. You just don't see many guys his height playing the position for a long time.

More playing time in the outfield could be beneficial. That is, if Bryant is still a Cub come April. As with Schwarber, if the Cubs are going to pull the trigger on a deal for one of their big name players, this is probably the optimal offseason to do it. If he sticks around, I would be open to playing Bryant more frequently in the outfield. Perhaps even in a platoon with Heyward, who should rarely start against left handed pitchers.

As with many of the Cubs bench players, Tony Kemp is more of a natural infielder, but his speed and versatility allow him to roam the outfield as needed. He hit a little better in September, but was still a major disappointment in the 2nd half after being acquired for Martin Maldonado. Kemp does offer contact ability and some speed this team desperately needs, but it remains to be seen what the Cubs plans are for him in 2020. He is out of options, which is the main reason he was available in trade last season. With the extra bench spot available on the expanded rosters next year, Kemp could prove valuable in a limited role, but it will require him to have a strong spring and he may end up in direct competition with a guy like Daniel Descalso for a job.

40-Man Roster Depth

Albert Almora (1 option year remaining), Ian Happ (2), Robel Garcia (2), Nico Hoerner (3)

Albert Almora is the only natural outfielder from this group but his nosedive at the plate over the last year and a half leaves his future in doubt. He is entering his first year of arbitration and his salary is estimated to end up around $1.8 million. That is a lot for a guy who has been one of the worst hitters in all of baseball since the 2018 All-Star break and who ended up back in the Minors in 2019. A change of scenery is probably in everyone's best interest, and if the Cubs don't assess much trade interest in him at that salary, they may have to consider simply non-tendering him next month.

Ian Happ (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Ian Happ (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

It seems more likely at this point Ian Happ will be part of the Cubs 2020 roster than Almora. The two shared the centerfield job in 2018, and if both play to their potential could do so again, but I just can't see the Cubs standing pat at this position. Happ is the more versatile player, coming off a better season, even if he spent more of it in the Minors. Almora is the more accomplished defender, but Happ made strides in that area in 2019, and I no longer consider him a liability.

Ideally, neither enter 2020 as a starter. Nico Hoerner offers an additional intrigue at the position. There is no doubt Hoerner will spend plenty of time on the infield dirt, but the Cubs began exposing him to the outfield last year. In limited reps he performed well. He offers similar offensive upside as Almora, which is one more reason the Cubs could look to move Albert. Its possible Nico becomes the player the Cubs once envisioned Almora to be... with the ability to also play middle infield.

Robel Garcia was a fun story line in 2019. It is difficult to know what to expect moving forward. Was the power for real? Even if he proves it is, can he make enough contact? And even if he improves, is he a fit with the Cubs core? I don't project Garcia earning a bench role next spring, but if he shows improvement handling offspeed stuff in Iowa, he could work his way back into the 2B/LF rotation.

Non-Roster Depth

Mark Zagunis, Trent Giambrone, Donnie Dewees, Zach Davis

Mark Zagunis is a guy that falls a LITTLE short of being a big leaguer. On defense, he isn't quite athletic enough to handle centerfield. At the plate, he seems to forever be caught between having to sacrifice power for average or average for power. He's also been injury prone throughout his career. He's fine as a short term fill-in, but the boat seems to have sailed on him providing long-term value. The rest of the league seems to agree, as the 25-year old went unclaimed on waivers in the 2nd half of 2019.

Trent Giambrone (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Trent Giambrone (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

And if it comes down to needing a fill-in, I do wonder if the Cubs wouldn't turn to one of their other options in Iowa. Trent Giambrone offers a better power/speed combo, and the ability to handle a couple of infield positions, while Dewees offers enough speed to run down balls in center, and make solid contact from the left side of the plate. Each has holes in their game (Giambrone's low contact/OBP, Dewees low power/OBP and weak arm), which is why the Cubs may still turn to the more experienced Zagunis, but the others offer more versatility in a bench role.

If any of the three are required for a large portion of the season it is likely a bad sign for the Cubs.

I include Zach Davis, not because he offers value in the long term, but because he is a plus runner and the best base stealer in the system. With the extra bench spot it is not out of the realm of possibility the Cubs look to utilize a speedster at times, just as they have with guys like Terrence Gore in the past. Davis isn't quite as fleet of foot as Gore, but he can match Quintyn Berry, Austin Jackson, Leonys Martin and others the Cubs have rolled out in limited roles. Over the past three seasons, Davis has swiped 102 bags while being caught 29 times (77.9% success rate).

Comments

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  • I'm nervous about trusting Schwarber and Happ. The benefits could be great IF both have truly improved and didn't just show us an "up" cycle in their up and down careers. Almora HAS to see the writing on the wall - one would think he'd spend the entire offseason working to improve his value at the plate, but we haven't heard anything.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I don't think they will trust Happ with a starting job. He'll be a versatile bench player, who can work his way into a larger role if he plays to his potential. If not, he backs up a bunch of spots, and can always be sent to the Minor if things go downhill.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Regarding Almora I still hold out some hope for him to be MLB-starter quality in CF. He's still very young, and I wonder if that horrible foul line drive that hurt the young girl in Houston did a number on him mentally last year. He was very distraught at the time, and appears to be a sensitive guy. Maybe 2020 will allow him to turn the page and refocus better.

    But offensively, yes, 2019 was an absolute train wreck. It didn't help that he was put in the leadoff spot so many times, which exposed even more his inability to get on base.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    He's the guy I think of most when we hear Ross will hold guys accountable. No reason for his decline in the OF. His mistakes were mental. I'd still love to have him as the late defensive replacement. He's so good at the wall.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Holding players accountable isn't suddenly going to improve their talent level and performance

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Who hurt you?

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I’d love to see Almora turn it around. Let’s hope Ross can help him get headed in the right direction, that would be a bonus. I’m not as high as some are on Schwarber or Heyward, but I’m open minded and hope they take it up another notch. Happ could be interesting at a corner outfield spot, but in center?

    When you put Bryant in the outfield it looks a lot better!

    We lost a lot on the corners when we traded Soler and Jimenez, unfortunately we don’t have much on the way.

    I see some trades coming this winter.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I couldn't agree more on Almora and Happ. Trusting them again would be a huge mistake if the idea is still to win now.

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    I love almora and happ as role players especially if you dont sign castellanos (which I assume they will not).

    I see these as the biggest issues, 1)a lead off hitter to start in cf or 2b, preferably left handed. Is he out there. 2) top off the line starter. Garrit Cole would be nice. 3) revamped bullpen.

  • Agree on your Schwarber assessment. I think his knee will hold up for a few years and I would like to see an extension if his bat is there. Also, I'd be good with a Riz extention. He will need more rest days going forward and Caratini can handle first. You and I are probably a couple of the few, who would like for Heyward to stay for whole contract. All three will provide veteran leadership.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm open to a Heyward trade, I just don't see a logical one out there that actually helps the team right now. Not with 4 years left on his deal. Maybe once there is only a year or two left the math will change.

    Most of the bad contracts like his involve players who are no longer MLB quality, are too old, or injury/off field issues. None of that applies to Heyward. Heyward is way overpaid, but he can still help the team win games. Chances are any player they could get for him would be more of a liability.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I guess that makes me the only one. I agree that he is overpaid, by I like having him on my team. He doesn't give up at bats and seems to always find a way to help his team win. I would like to see Jason stay as productive at the plate as he was in 2019. He could lose a step and still one of the best right fielders.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    As long as they keep him in right and limit his appearances in center

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I got to agree with you here as well 44slug. That 2nd half slash of 0.280/0 0.366/0.631 for Schwarber was outstanding, and he was mashing like mad the last 2 months. He's even made himself into a solid (but not spectacular) defensive LF. At some point though he's going to have to move to 1B or DH a lot with some more mileage. Has anybody ever tried him out defensively at 1B?

    Happ seemed to be putting things together offensively as well after that extended time down in AAA. If Happ can hold a 0.260/0.340/0.550 line with extended playing time in 2020 - he's definitely worth keeping in the near term.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Maybe that DH shows up in the NL just in time! I mean, it does seem inevitable, right?

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I'll probably never be a 'fan' of the DH. However, yes it does seem that it will become inevitable in the near future.

    Remember a guy named Travis Hafner from several years back? He had a run of solid years in the early 2000s as primarily a DH before injuries slowed him down and took him out of the game. He was fun to watch at bat, almost would sell me on the idea of a DH if Schwarber were to continue to develop and approximate that level.

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    In reply to DarBar15:

    It’s time for both league s need DH fans need and want more

  • In reply to Fred Barefield:

    Actually, it's time to ditch the DH. AL version of baseball is my second favorite sport, but not really baseball. Still, I can live with the the DH in the junior circuit. I hope the NL stays authentic.

  • In reply to Fred Barefield:

    I think it’s time for both leagues to get rid of the DH. I know I’ll lose a lot of interest in baseball if the NL adopts it. I don’t enjoy the AL version of the game nearly as much. And I don’t think I’m the only fan that feels that way

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Agreed. I think it's inevitable, but to infer that "fans" want the DH in the NL is off-base. The topic seems to come up every time a player's defensive capabilities are questioned.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    You are not the only one, Cubpack! Many fans, and not just old guys like me, will go fishing. If one can't play D, one can't play baseball. Baseball will lose more fans if the DH is introduced into the NL. Maybe the best solution is to just leave it like it is.

  • In reply to Fred Barefield:

    I'd rather they get rid of the DH

  • I also agree that Schwarber, going forward, is likely to be the hitter he was, in the second half of the season. And I want Happ to stay because of his potential as well as his versatility. I don’t think the final chapter has been written yet, on what his career will be.
    But because of Nico and Brennen Davis being RH hitters, I would be very careful if I’m Theo, about trading any LH hitting off this team - except Jhey, should the right scenario appear. I’m still not sold on Roederer. Still a SSS with him.
    But I can remember far too many seasons when the Cubs were hamstrung by not having enough LH hitting to balance the lineup.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Me too! To many winters searching for a left hand bat especially one with power. I can count on one finger the number of teams not looking for a first or second LH power in baseball history. Yankees with Ruth and Gehrig.

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    I would trade Schwarber. He has made himself a decent LF and he really hit during the second half of 2019, but he is at his best value right now, and he does have a history of going into a funk for a few months. We all know that he's an AL player, but I think he could be one of the better DHs there. Our system is depleted and he could help solve that problem and KB could always play LF, although he might be traded too. I don't see anyone in the minors who could come up and play. Davis in a few years and the others are alright but not difference makers.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The problem with trading him Jonathan is the Cubs don't have a LH bat to replace him. If they moved Bryant to left and could sign someone like Moustakas, that could work. But Schwarber will be much cheaper than Moose.
    I think Contreras gets traded. MLB has an article today talking about how high his value is right now after the White Sox signed Grandal. They listed the Braves, Rays, Reds, Astros, Nats, A's, Angels, Rangers & Brewers as contenders or wanna be contenders that all need a catcher. With 3 years of control and his offense, the article states the Cubs could bring in a huge haul for him. With Caratini being a viable back up to take his place, that would be my move.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    I'd feel better about trading Schwarber if Happ was ready to start in LF - the Cubs would even have a LH bat against RHPs, but I'm not sure Happ has the ability. As for Contreras, my fantasy was the Cubs trading him for a huge haul and replacing him with Grandal, but I'm uncomfortable with Caratini taking over starting duties.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    He will need a Ross type to back him up.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Happ is fine on the bench but not as an every day outfielder.
    Catching is hard to get and with Grandell off the market I would keep Contreras

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Contreras could play LF also. Cheaper & an extra year of service compared to Bryant.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    I've thought about moving Contreras to a different position, but he's too valuable behind the plate for that. He might not be a catcher to lead a team to a championship without the help of a Ross to back him up, but to good to to just move out of the position. Plus, if the automated strike zone is implemented, framing will be moot. His receiving approach and temperament hurt his leadership back there as well, but correctable.

  • I know its an unpopular opinion, but given the state of the team now and in the future, I trade Rizzo this offseason for pitching / pitching prospects. He is in his option years. He is a free agent in 2022 at age 33.

    1. You do not pay large 1Bs in their 30s with bad backs. If the NL had a DH, maybe. Kent Hrbek, Derek Lee, Mark Teixeria, & Travis Hafner - Age 34 was the end.

    2. Bryant and Schwarber need to be able to rotate at 1B to protect them and are young enough to be part of the future window.

    3. Rizzo still has value and control. Trade high before the decline steepens.

    4. He is starting swing at more pitches out of the zone.

    5. He is becoming prone to long stretches of offensive inactivity in the season. He is hot 2 months out of 6 anymore.

    6. His UZR/150 is slowly declining. Still good for his size but for how long?

    He is a nice guy and definitely gives of himself in the community. We all appreciate those efforts. He appears to be a good teammate although Relievers seem to get annoyed by him. But from a business point of view, I just do not see how you can keep him long term without him being a DH to help extend his career.

  • In reply to Gator:

    It is a business BUT this guy deserves to retire a cub. Free agents have to take note of how teams treat guys like that.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Interesting point and I agree, but can't overlook Gator's examples of 1B players who declined early. It's a dilemma for sure.

  • In reply to Gator:

    I'm with you Gator, but read Rizzo can opt-out of next years option if he is traded. Hurts his trade value a ton.

    I would like to see the Cubs sign Castellanos this offseason, and then trade Rizzo next offseason, and try Castellanos, &/or Schwarber at 1B/LF starting 2021.

    I do not care about who is in the Cubs uniform, I want to see them build this team into a juggernaut!

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Rizzo has team options for 2020-21. He can't opt out if the Cubs want him he is a Cub.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I did read somewhere recently, that if Rizzo is traded. He has the right to reject next years team option with the new team. That piece of news, was new information to me. I have no idea if that is true or not, but did read it.

  • Cubs OF- Almora has had plenty of opportunity, & he doesn't hit well enough for his aggressive low OBP style. I would like to see him gone.

    Heyward oozes talent, but I hope the Cubs figure out some way to move him.

    I like to see Happ in RF, Schwarber in LF, and a new CF maybe Shogo Akiyama from Japan? Maybe Castellanos RF, Happ CF, & Schwarber LF for the 2020 season.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Sounds like you want to get rid of the whole team. Not sure why that would be. Just curious who on the current roster would you want to keep?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    If the Cubs keep the core 5 hitters you need to shake up the rest of the lineup a lot.

    If you trade trade one or two guys from the core 5 hitters, you would do a lot less with the rest of the roster.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I have been a fan since the late 70's, and the Cubs have never traded a star that I can remember when they still had a lot of value.

    Not sure that will happen this offseason, but they are talking about it, or at least the media is talking about it.

    The way I look at it this season the core was not good enough to carry the rest of the team to the playoffs. I don't consider this team as it stands as a playoff caliber team. They have some really good to great players, but additions to the core since 2015/16 really have not worked out as well as the front office, and fans would of hoped.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    In 1977 the Cubs traded Bill Madlock after winning his second batting title in a row. He just finished his age 25 year. That trade hurt. That was when Wrigley owned the team and they did not want to pay Madlock. That is the only player I can recall that the Cubs have traded a star player in their prime.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I went to a few games in 1977, but I turned 6 that fall. Lee Smith is another player who was established, & good when traded. Jim Frey kinda gave him away.

    The Cubs are in a difficult spot, because they really do not have much in the way of help for next season in the minor leagues. The Cubs should still be great with this core, but the core needs help.

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I believe there were reasons other than baseball that Madlock was traded. He had just hit .354 and .339 and was 25 years old. He also was one of my favorite players. There was no baseball reason to trade him.
    Branch Rickey said it was better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. That might be the case with some of these Cubs. I think we have to undergo a mini re-start now or fall farther behind. It would be different if we had a top 10 farm system but we don't, so trading one or two "name" players this year for a number of high prospects and major league players will help in the long run.

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    That trade lost me as a fan for 2 years but this year times are different. Cubs wasn’t going to pay him but gave a bum like Mercer more money.times had changed a little.

  • How about Russell for Lindor? Cleveland needs to shed payroll. MLB Insider should agree with that trade.

  • Cubs showing interest in signing Kwang Hyun kim per Rosenthal.31 year old left handed Korean pitcher with 92-94 fastball,curve,slider and forkball

  • Cub Insider says he appears to be regressing with each passing year. Now strictly a control pitcher with a good curve ball he can be had for only $6/7M a year for two years. Just what the Cubs need. Another aging lefty to eat up a few more million. Theo ought to jump all over that one.

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    This is exactly why we needed to develop more pitching in the minors. Why pay that money (even though it's not a lot in baseball terms) but it's pitiful that we can't have someone who can throw like he does to come up and play. We're not talking elite talent here, but a #5 or bullpen pitcher.

  • I’ve come around to Akiyama being signed for CF. I like the stat lines and went to watch video. I really like what I see. He wasn’t afraid facing the MLB all star teams. And sprays the ball to all fields. Has good pull power. With his ability to work counts, I think a .350 OBP is a layup. I think the money investment outweighs the need to spend player capital to get a CF. IMO, Almora needs to be DFA’d. He is just a terrible offensive player. Given his defense malaise this season, I don’t even feel he would be a good 5th OF on a championship club.

    I don’t think you can move Schwarber. He bring a too many things we need from the left side. If Heyward were worth a lick, then you could potentially move Kyle. But with RF being a black hole of production, you can’t get rid of Kyle. It would cost more to replace him for less production. Just wouldn’t make any sense.

    I would also like to see Schwarber play catcher again—albeit in a very limited role. I believe his not catching hurt his hitting. Tracking and catching pitches cannot be simulated in LF. And he caught his entire life. Taking that away from him hurt his offense. Just my opinion, but the upside is too great and his production is solid to move him.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Interesting, but wouldn't
    there be more good hitting catchers if receiving improved hitting? Idk.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    You have to be able to hit first, right? He was a devastating hitter and then his entire being as a ball player changed. When you are used to seeing 100 pitches a game for the last 10 years to seeing 20 I believe it impacted him.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Could be. He wouldn't be the first catcher to regress at the plate when switched to another position. Kyle had played some outfield tho. I was a catcher and I think catching good pitchers made me a better hitter, but that was amature stuff. Yes, I guess one would have be able to hit first. It's hard to go from catching to any other position, because catchers are used to being in on every pitch and are unable to adapt.

  • Jon Morosi reported the cubs are showing continued interest in whit merrifield!

    I like that the cubs have been linked to akiyama and merrifield so far

  • In reply to bolla:

    I’m curious what the Cubs would have to give up for Merrifield. I just don’t see the Cubs & Royals as a good fit for trades. They are at least a few years away from contending, so I doubt they’d be interested in any of the Cubs current players. And I’d hate to see us give up any of the top rated minor league players

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    In reply to Cubpack:

    I'd hate to have us give up any more minor leaguers. Whitfield is good but not Eloy or Cease good, and not Marquez or Davis good either.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I agree completely. I just don’t see Merrifield as a good possibility. I don’t think the Cubs should give up any of their top prospects for him. And I don’t think the Royals trade him without getting those guys

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Yes I’m interested in what the cubs would have to give up but I doubt Theo overpays like he has in the past. He basically admitted he’s made some bad trades That didn’t work out.

    I’m assuming Happ,roederer and a pitcher like abbot or similar. Merrifield has a GREAT contract , that’s a factor too and merrifield can play all 3 outfield positions 2nd and 3b

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    In reply to Cubpack:

    I'd give them Hoerner plus one of our lower tier A-ball pitchers, not much more unless they want to include Duffy, than I might give them Almora plus Maybe Alzolay...

  • I really think trading Contreras is the way to improve the teams future, and maybe solve some problems for the near term. The Braves top prospect is CF Pache. He’s got plus speed and is potentially a lead off hitter. They need a catcher & have Wiilson’s younger brother in the minors. I’m curious if either team would do a Pache & 1 of their young pitching prospects for Contreras. Maybe include Quintana for 2 young pitchers & Pache

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    I like it, not to say that don't like Willson. Give Caratini a quality backup and go for it in 2020 and beyond.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Who catches for us?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Caratini. And then sign a veteran to back up. Caratini is not as good as Contreras, but he does offer better bat to ball skills, which they need

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Can’t we find a different position to find a higher contact rate??? This isn’t upgrading the roster by having caratini and a veteran as a back up.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Maybe, but I doubt it. I don’t think anyone other than Contreras gets you Pache & a potentially TOR young arm. So it potentially would upgrade the roster

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Pache hasn’t played a single game in the major leagues. Not sure how that upgrade the roster. I admit I haven’t seen him play but stats are ok in minors. By weakening at catcher and adding a potential cf and a potential TOR doesn’t upgrade for the 2020 season.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    You’re right. Pache hasn’t played in majors yet. That’s why I said it potentially would upgrade, not that it would. But Pache is rated an 80 for defense. They say he would be a gold glove candidate CF immediately. And he is rated a 70 for speed, which is plus plus. So you immediately get better on D with him in CF and add speed + Heyward staying in RF. Add in a young “potentially” TOR arm, and you “potentially” have a better team. Plus Caratini, because his framing is better, is rated a little better defensively over Contreras. So, at least preventing runs, the team should be better.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Is he ready for 2020? Didn’t they say that about Almora? I just don’t agree with trading a top 3 NL catcher and getting a hopeful in return. And having Jason in rf doesn’t make one feel better. The whole framing point isn’t a big deal to me. If a guy gets you 1 more call a game but is significantly weaker at the plate does that help? The cubs don’t need to be in a complete tear down mode.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    I’d be real surprised if the braves traded pache he’s a top 10 mlb prospect. Would love to acquire pache in any hypothetical braves cubs trade scenario but I don’t think they’d trade him for Contreras or Bryant.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    You’re probably right bolla. I doubt the Braves trade Pache. But if they would, Contreras is the only guy the Cubs have they’d consider it for imo. Bryant, with only 2 years of control and his arb salary plus Donaldson and all the other 3rd basemen that are available, wouldn’t get him

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    In reply to Cubpack:

    You had me at "plus speed."

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Jonathan, I appreciate your desire for team speed, but a team full of Billy Hamilton’s finishes last every year. A team with one Billy Hamilton playing full time is lucky to finish over .500. Careful what you ask for!

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    In reply to DecaturCubFan:

    I realize that, but anyone with an elite talent should be welcome. Speed helps offensively but defensively too. Even a part-time player makes a difference, a la Terrance Gore a few years ago.

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    In reply to Cubpack:

    Cubpack : Wow PACHE PLUS SPEED !!! I'm 84 and remember in the day DERNIER Would lead off steal 2nd , SANDBERG Would double to left scoring DERNIER , GRACE Would double to right scoring SANDBERG . The opposing pitcher had only thrown a half dozen pitches and was behind 2-0 !!! SPEED KILLS !!!! in Baseball too ! Ron

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    Agree with your thoughts, but have to point out that Dernier and Grace never played together. Denier’s last year with the Cubs was ‘87 and Grace made his debut in ‘88.

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    In reply to DecaturCubFan:

    DecaturCubFan Thanks for the fact on Dernier/Grace . wishful thinking . Bobby started with the Phils and ended with the Phils and was with the Cubs just a few years in between .. Still old time baseball tells me to love the fun of the speed game , rather than the hope everybody in the lineup can hit the next pitch onto Waveland Avenue !!!!!!

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    It was fun watching the speed game with Dernier and Sandberg in ‘84! We have not seen enough of that over the years. I’d like to have $10 for every time Harry Carey said “Daily Double” that year.

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    In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    Leon Durham

  • In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    And Gary Matthews

  • Cubs acquire jarrrell cotton from the a’s for cash!!!!

  • In reply to bolla:

    Really like the pickup these are the type of talented reclamation projects they should be looking at guys with good arms like this. Costs us nothing to acquire him, but I can see him potentially having success as a reliever. I like taking chances on guys with raw talent coming off an injury, as this organization needs to find under the radar pitching gems with the lack of pitching talent

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    yup, it's a low risk,low cost signing.cotton has good stuff but injuries(tommy john surgery,hamstring surgery) and lack of control derailed his career.He was a top 100 prospect a few years ago

  • In reply to bolla:

    Hope he is healthy otherwise we signed morrow part 2.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Hardly the same as Morrow. Morrow was paid $22 million. Cotton will make $600,000. And that’s only if he’s on the major league roster all year. He has an option year left. It’s a great low risk move for a former top prospect. Really a no risk move

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    I wasn’t really talking about the money. I was talking about a guy who can’t stay healthy. And we think we can fix that.

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    As far as I'm concerned, the cubs need to move Schwarber ,Bryant,Heyward,Contrares,Quintana, 2 or 3 of the five, to improve the team.
    If we can get Merrifield for Hoerner plus a throw in that would probably save a Bryant trade,but if he doesn't want to extend this year, I definitely move him now.

  • In reply to tater:

    Over what period of time do you expect the “improvement” to occur? What type of players do you expect in return? Is this rebuilding the minor league system or the major league team?

    I tend to agree with you on Bryant but if they’re having a fire sale , I wouldn’t expect much in return.

  • In reply to tater:

    As far as I'm concerned the Cubs don't need to move Schwarber. There, I fixed that go you, Tater.
    Seriously, we don't know what the the front office will do, but it's fun to speculate.

  • What your proposing is a rebuild. They do not need to rebuild. As you mention add Merrifield, sign Shogo and get some pitching and they are in the hunt.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    -Extend a few players to help the Cubs present, and future. Obvious ones like Baez, and maybe even Caratini, & Happ if it creates value.

    -Trade two stars like Bryant, and Contreras for young players, & minor leagues to help the future.

    -The rest of the offseason, focus on next year's team, Cubs are still a big market team. You can do this by trades, and signing some less expensive free agents.

    I might be quibbling over semantics, but I don't consider this a rebuild.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agree, the Cubs want to be in the hunt next year. They might move a core guy or two if they think it will improve the team for 2020 and beyond, but I think that they are more likely to come back with the same basic team more so than tear it apart. Cubs have Hoerner to fill in at second, but will still need a leadoff/centerfielder. Piece in the rest. A new manager can make a big difference.

  • For all you guys that want to trade Contreras to the Braves. The Braves have signed free-agent catcher Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year contract worth $16MM

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I saw that. And I’m not really wanting to trade Contreras, I just think he can get them the most in return.
    But there’s still quite a few contenders in need of a catcher, so I still think there’s a chance either Contreras or Caratini will be traded

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    Seems to me the Cubs farm system has zero power hitters. It has a whole bunch of contact hitter types. And it also appears to have a lot of young pitchers with upside, like a lot. Feels like a system that could move up the rankings quickly. I don't see this team contending for a WS in 2020. I'd figure out who to extend and look to trade out of the core. I'd extend Baez for sure. Would love to extend Bryant but I don't think he bites. Extending Contreras may make more sense. I would not extend Rizzo. Then you figure out when to trade the guys you don't extend. This doesn't have to be a long term rebuild But if they sit on guys too long it will be.

  • In reply to Dave Sampsell:

    Well, I don't know any more than anyone else, but I definitely think we should hang on to Riz. He should have several good years ahead. He is a golden grove who plays first and has left side power and puts the ball in play with risp. He sees lots of pitches, walks a bunch, and is one of our best two strike hitters. He is even keeled with unparalleled team leadership. He did have couple of let downs on the bases in 2019, but that was probably an abnormally due to the a compromised clubhouse residual effect. He is not greedy In $$ and a treasure on and off the field. I was just reviewing pics of Anthony finishing his 5k walk for cancer with a pooped out child on his shoulders. Raising 1.3m.. I believe Riz will know when is done on the field and we should keep hi until then.

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    I don't know what planet some of you are from,but the cubs finished in third place this year and their roster is not good enough to do any better next year. We still have a 200M payroll with a lot of deficiencies at starting pitcher, relief pitching, 2nd base, and centerfield. We need to shed some payroll to get better, the players we have are starting to get more expensive and our minor league system is bereft of talent, I believe we are ranked 29th out of 30 teams.
    We have to make some adjustments with our team make up, we cannot just keep buying players with our money, eventually you cap out and this is where we are at, do the math.
    Figure out who we can sign and keep long term and move on from the rest, to me we should keep Baez,Contrares, Rizzo. The rest have to be moved to build the team with prospects and shed salary, this team needs to keep getting refreshed every year, you have to have turnover to keep getting better, that is where a lot of teams get in trouble, thinking there players are the best and sitting pat thinking when they get paid you will still get the same performance, it usually doesn't quite work like that.

  • In reply to tater:

    I think you are right Tater. Last offseason the Cubs did zilch. The ownership group said last offseason we are out of money for payroll.

    At the beginning of this offseason Rickett's are talking about budgets, and how they don't like paying a competitive balance tax! You cannot buy a team. Cubs saying that, after $60/$70 million of payroll came off of the books.

    The core has shrunk, and those few players are getting more expensive.

    I look at it this way- letting Arrieta, and Davis go as a free agent has proven to be the right move. I hope the Cubs have the guts to trade a few core players. Try to get some younger exciting players coming back, even some lower level minor leaguers can be part of the return package.

    Some guys like Ian Happ, & Caratini deserve a chance to see if they can become part of the solution, because they are still inexpensive players. They might fail, but that is the risk of baseball.

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    On a Side note, I noticed a lot of cub fans want to keep certain players, players you have watched for awhile and have become invested in, you have to remember when players have good years it doesn't necessarily mean the following year will be the same, looking at Schwarber, Bryant,Almora the year before, Carratini last year. These are examples of players who we need to look at and see if they are that player that year or just an anomoly. I f we don't think it will last than we should move on from them if we can't make them part of our future long term.
    My player who I would like to see stay a cub would be Castellanos, he has a record of being a steady player, not up and down and has played with a bad tiger team his whole career,

  • The Ricketts sold TD Ameritrade to Charles Schwab today for $26 billion.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    My wife could live on half that much.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    And yet they are going to gouge their faithful fan base $6-$15 per month to continue to watch a third place team! Hope it works out like dodger network did.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Complaining about $15/mo for exclusive Cubs content? Cut out 1 Starbucks per week, brew Folgers and you won’t miss a beat. LOL!!!

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don’t visit Starbucks. I’m not some dope who would pay 4 bucks for a coffee. Anyway enjoy paying for your cubs games. Lol!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    If I can get my wife and daughter to cut out Starbucks, I will pay for you. I’d hate for you to miss any of it. LOL!!!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Because it's not possible for someone to own more than one business. How DARE they charge for sundaes at their ice cream shop when they've just sold their car dealership!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Obviously you missed the point. How do you think cubs became so popular? Wgn free tv, that’s how. I find it funny too every time you see a comment by me you have to fire back a lame ass remark. Aren’t you the guy who claims civility is lost in this site ? But I see you are always on the attack against someone. Also your comment makes no sense.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I get the point your are trying to make but the Cubs popularity has many more components than being available on over the air tv broadcasts for no additional cost than having a TV and antenna. In no particular order: an owner who believed than anyone should be able to walk up to the park and buy a ticket to that day's game, consistently broadcast virtually every game on one station for decades, broadcasting games on Sunday, having senior's days and ladies days were/are very important, being lovable losers, players living in and being part of the community, continuity of players from previous generations, having a quaint home stadium, having a relatively safe game day environment, being kid friendly at games, and so on. If it was just as easy as being on free tv, the white sox should be just as popular.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    When bill wirtz was alive he would allow very few Blackhawk games on tv. I think it limited their following. Since rocky took over he had made blackhawks more visible allowing more fans to take notice. It helps the team has won 3 Stanley cups over the last decade but their following had increased ten fold since rocky took over. It won’t hurt cubs in pocket book to do this but I think pulling them off regular tv will hurt the cult following.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    The White Sox were once pretty popular until they went on PAY TV. They are still struggling to gain some of their audience back since then. I know because I was once one of them.

    I had a real hard time watching the Cubs for free lately so why would I pay to watch them when their billionaire owner won't put more money into team to make them better?

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    And how good were the Cubs during that time?

    If you think giving away TV for basically free is the way to go, you couldn’t be more wrong. Clubs get most of their revenue from their own TV contracts and the Cubs are trying to leverage that.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Why would it matter how good they were? Cubs have had awful teams since I was born. Didn’t stop wgn from broadcasting games and getting ad revenue did it? Wrigley field still packed every game. Wasn’t it? People still buying 10 beers and 8 dollar hot dogs. Aren’t they? Also have any carriers signed up to provide viewership? I haven’t seen any local carriers on board yet.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    DirecTV is on board.

    And until 1983, attendance wasn’t all that good.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Of course my comment "makes sense, " but I completely understand your embarrassment at having made a comment linking Cubs subscription TV pricing with proceeds from the sale of TD Ameritrade, a totally different company. I would have been embarrassed to say that, too.
    I'll give you that free WGN helped build the Cubs popularity, but the Yankees and Dodgers seem to be doing OK with subscription TV and the Cubs will, too.
    As for the rest of your lame ass lecture about "attacks", which my comment was not, stuff it back up there with the rest of your anal utterances where it belongs.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Go sell some ice cream at your auto dealerships.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    That is bad Rickett's will now need the income from the Cubs to pay their monthly bills, just like the Bears owners. Frugal ball here we come. I'm kidding of course.

    The Rickett's after all the mergers own less than 10% of TD Ameritrade. They sold 34 million shares back to the company when they bought the Cubs. It is still a super fortune!

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Amazing sell-high decision by TD Ameritrade. Considering no one under age 35 actually uses them or Charles Schwab.

    The Rickett's are printing money.

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    I have watched the Cubs on WGN since about 1955. Then it went to a few other channels and now it's going to be on pay TV. We have been paying for a number of years but it hasn't been so apparent. The world is changing and as much as some don't like it that's a fact. Death, taxes and you can add change to that too. Do I like it, no? Will I pay for it? Yes.
    I don't drink but go with friends to bars or out to dinner and I can't believe the bar bills I see. Would you leave one drink on the bar and buy a month of Cubs' games? I hope so. It's all perspective.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Since I've been a subscriber to MLBTV for years, I guess I'm already accustomed to paying to see the Cubs on TV. I even pony up for the extra $25 per year for the "premium" version that lets me choose the Cubs broadcast feed. I understand the angst of having to pay for something that used to be free, but in the world of cable, satellite and Internet streaming, we're paying for Tom & Jerry reruns these days. I wonder how many people complaining about the Marquee network actually have a real, working TV antenna?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    things change. We either change or get left in the dust. Somewhere, the blacksmiths and buggy builders of the world are still lamenting the automobile. On a side note, I can't believe that the cost of a new vehicle is more than the cost of the newly built home I bought in 1985. Things change and cost more.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    You must have bought one very expensive car. I just bought a car in august and it was only about 30% of what I paid for a newly built house in 1982. I guess it depends on the house and car.

  • The cubs and Javier Báez reps will discuss an extension at the winter meetings per jon Heyman

    Kendall Graveman signed with Seattle

  • In reply to bolla:

    Good news! I hope Baez and management can come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Love the way that kid plays!

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah Graveman 1 year for 2 mil. Cubs have a plan. Or they really didn't like what they saw.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I hope that the Cubs and Javy have it discussed before the winter meetings and sign it then.

  • Great article by Sharma in the Athletic today about Justin Stone, the Cubs new Director of Hitting. I love the insights and I think the Cubs are getting back to the front edge of player development.
    https://theathletic.com/1410157/2019/11/26/as-the-cubs-enhance-their-player-development-program-justin-stone-is-no-longer-the-man-behind-the-curtain/

  • Drew Pomeranz signs with padres and the padres traded urias and luer for Grisham & Zach Davies!!

    Smh that’s a good trade for the brewers

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    Cubs signed a lefty, C.D. Pelham off waivers from the Rangers. He is a hard throwing LH, hitting the upper 90's with regularity. It seems he has control problems, but he's only 24 so maybe the pitching lab can help him with those problems. If so, another plus power pitcher in the bullpen.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Brewers got better. I like both those young 'uns.

    Cubs picked up Cotton too. So there's that.

    A Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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