Offseason-ing Objectively

A Chicago Cubs fan watches during the sixth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Goldman) ORG XMIT: NLCS188

A Chicago Cubs fan watches during the sixth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Goldman) ORG XMIT: NLCS188

Let the offseason rumor frenzy commence.

Tons of speculation about ‘who’ and ‘for what’ will go on, mixed with a murmur of players changing profile pictures on social media, and using a questionable emoji when posting a picture of them sporting teamless apparel with a certain famous field as their backdrop.

I cannot get on board with all that. There's no use feeding that fire. Its rampant enough and people don’t need help to feel panic and uncertainty. They live in the drama. I have 2 preteen daughters and another that forgets she only 6. I have plenty of drama in my life.

We’ve been told this offseason we need to “take the trade rumors with a mouthful of salt” by a trusty leader of the Chicago Cubs front office. I get what he did there, but was it necessary?

These men are professionals, guided by agents and outside sources who all get to see what the general public says daily. Does he really think he can shelter them from the harm of words? Does he think these men haven’t been in situations before where their name is brought up in business transactions?

They live in a different world, a world where each one of them is king, and they have more power over their situation then they realize or care to address. Some days I get so frustrated with how attached I become to players, forgetting they are human and have their own idea of what is fair. I also forget how they are being led in different directions by different hands for different reasons, not always keeping in mind what is best for the player himself.

What it boils down to is, I have started to resent agents more and more. They are not the only ones to blame but right now they are the easiest. They are like the offseason dragons.

While this offseason continues on thru the GM meetings, keep a couple things in mind... (brace yourself for the positivity parade)...

1. We experienced a miraculous event while in the hands of the current “in-charge” for the Chicago Cubs. It took some magic, but it happened. It can happen again.

2. Have faith. Yes, we have a lot of time in the offseason as baseball fans but we are not the professionals, we are not people in positions to predict or know (unless you are reading this with a blue check next to your name, thank you for the click and keep doing great work). Its best for the mind and your baseball soul to leave the crazy hypotheticals to the people who get paid to do it. Yes, it is fun to talk about on social media and by the water cooler, but remember and have faith, the people that are paid to do those actual jobs work long and hard to give us a great on-field product using the resources they have been afforded.

3. Don’t get sucked into what everyone is “telling you”. Have your own opinion about a player based on what you see. Its ok! If the majority is saying ‘he is horrible at defense’ but you had never thought that when watching him play, keep your opinion. It may not be popular but it’s yours.

4. Lastly, enjoy the ride. Think about how many offseasons you have experienced during your fandom. Now think about how many opening days didn’t happen because of a horrible offseason. I'll venture to guess everyone’s number is 0.

I know it feels like the wait until spring is forever. The news will be slow, and the Cubs have so many holes. The path from here to the first day of spring ball will have ups and downs. Enjoy it! Not too many people can say they enjoy anything as much as we love Chicago Cubs baseball!

Until next time…….. 

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  • I can understand how people can get attached to players. I totally get it. I do find the fetishization of Javier Baez a bit over the top, but to each his own. Personally, I won’t shed a tear if anyone of these young millionaires is traded. I’d root for a team of androids if they wore Cubbie blue.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    For me, it's that Cubs last year were incredibly frustrating. Watching one of the players playing in the field to the point of being called El Mago, was one of the things that made the season better for me.

    Truthfully a team of androids may have been more fun for.

  • In reply to HJW49:

    I get that. He's no doubt the most exciting player on the team, if not the league. I get to watch the Giants closely and they made a real effort to sign nearly all of their World Series stars, in part, I believe, thinking it would help drive fan interest. Attendance at Oracle Park as really plummeted, however, since the team has started to lose. It turns out that fans really like a winning product more than rooting for Buster Posey. For me, I don't really care that much if I'm rooting for Kris Bryant or Rondon. I just want the team to win.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    I think the thing with Javy is that he Is just so darn gifted. Talent like he has doesn't come around often and when he matures a little, Baez will be a perennial mvp candidate. One day, soon I hope, he will stop swinging at higher than high, lower than low, and wider than wide. I don't care what defensive stats say that arm, hands, agility, and range are unparalleled.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    .....and the lifetime .310 OBP negates any defense provided. Maturity is all we can hope for but what we have now is a selfish ballplayer who still hasn’t turned the corner. You can mark him down again in 2020 to lead the team in strikeouts with the least amounts of walks taken.......others may not admit it but he is as much of what is wrong with the offense as anyone, other areas dropped as well.....most notably the baserunning.
    You can’t build a franchise around that kind of player, not the way he is now....if they do, the Cubs will not win again.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I understand what you're saying. Also, 9 javy baez's would beat 9 of anyone else ever.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Well, I'm not giving him a pass on the holes his game, but Javy is pretty valuable with what he is now. To count on him as a franchise player to build around, Idk. I believe that he wants to be.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I want him to be too and I genuinely hope he becomes that but the Cubs are in this mess by their own doing.....most of these players have not developed the way they could have and that includes Baez, Schwarber, Contreras, Russell, Almora, etc. I only really consider Rizzo a finished polished product, Bryant earned the early rewards he received but has fallen off too with injuries. Perhaps you could say that for Baez, Schwarber and Contreras too but now we are stuck with decimated pitching and some bloated contracts that will force the front office to jettison some of these core kids when they really should be kept together but......again.....this will not be possible.
    Face it.....it’s going to get alot leaner before it gets better.....the Cubs are in trouble.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Yes, it is unfortunate that it has come to this but it's where the org is at. All moves were made with the best of intentions and the decisions going forward will be made with the idea of trying to fix things. It's always a tough job.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I’ve lost all faith in the idea that Javy can improve more offensively. He is who he is. He says it himself, he’s not being paid to walk. He wants ham and that’s it. It’s a shame he’s that stubborn about his offensive game.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I'm not ready to say that, yet. We have seen flashes of a patient approach. It's possible that he may be one of those hitters without the the ability to recognise strikes. In that case Javy will be Soriano at the plate. I could be that it will just take Baez little longer to refine all that creative talent at the plate, on the bases, and in the field. In many ways Javy is already a team leader.

  • Andi, well put on all counts. Lets see where the off season goes before getting worked up. On a personal note, father of three daughters? God bless you and good luck.

  • In reply to 1945AD:

    Well I am a mother but thank you regardless!!!

  • In reply to Andi Cruz Vanecek:

    Andi, my apologies. My inner Neanderthal coming through. Mother of three daughters still needs a blessing. Looking forward to more of your writing.

  • It will be important for my sanity not to read a bunch of people immediately second guessing whatever moves the FO makes this offseason. Let's analyze but not suggest the team is doomed because they chose player A over player B. As you wrote, Andi - faith. It's kind of what we're know for as cubs fans, after all.

  • Nice perspective. It's gonna be important to remind myself that regardless of what moves I think they should make, or how wrong I may think a move or moves they do make might be, they will ALWAYS have more information than I ever will for doing whatever they do. I have a gut feeling, (again with only limited info), that they will move one or more of my core favs out of necessity. In which case I will remember and celebrate the '16 team and the part they played in giving us that long overdue gift. In Theo/Jedd/Tom I will trust. What else can I do?

  • As disappointing as '19 was I've slowly accepted it's time to move on from what was. New manager, coaches and and TV network. Time for a new identity.

    It's not 2012. There's a lot to work with moving forward.

    Added thought I don't believe we'll see the juiced ball in '20. Get 'em on get 'em over may be making a return. Something to think about.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    I really want to see Heyward, Almora, Happ, Bote have more productive outs. Bunts over Ks and double plays.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Almora had his worst offensive stat years in ‘19 but his k rate and GIDP aren’t a problem. He doesn’t walk but he also maintains a k rate of less than 20%. He needs a better OBP.

  • Sharma wrote Castellanos most likely won’t be back , because Schwarbers last 2 months blah blah blah

    So the cubs need change but won’t trade Schwarber, Rizzo and probably won’t trade Bryant’s overrated Strikes out when it matters most underwhelming defending self. The rest of the players aren’t good and Báez is the best player on the team playing elite defense at a premium position so that leaves Contreras.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Sharma wasn’t saying they wouldn’t try to trade Schwarber (or Bryant). He just pointed out that Schwarbers numbers for the year were very similar to Castellanos. And his numbers for the last 2 months were better than Castellanos with the Cubs numbers. Schwarber’s K% is a little higher, but his BB% and OBP were much higher. Plus he’s a LH stick. So unless they can get a great deal for him, why spend their $ on Castellanos. Use that money for other needs

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    I read the article And saw the comparable numbers but I feel like Schwarber always gets sample sizes to Prove points instead of looking at the whole season. He’s been overrated as a hitter for a while now and his defense isn’t good. His value around mlb would be higher if he was , it’s whatever

  • In reply to bolla:

    I also read the article. And as the article showed and I stated, his numbers for the whole year were very similar to Constellanos. So I'm not sure what you mean by your statement.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yes Bubbles we get it. Get rid of all caucasian players and keep only the hispanics. Please take your racial post some where else. I hope your Mom turns off the internet to her basement again as she did this summer.

  • I think Contreras can get them what they need. And Caratini, though not as good as Contreras, offers a different kind of at bat, one they need. Good bat to ball skills, low K% and higher BB%.
    Plus, quite a few teams will be in the market for a catcher. I wonder if the Braves would give up Pache and one of their young arms for Contreras. That would solve our CF problem

  • Mooney said akiyama is in the cubs radar , no guarantees anyone gets traded and the cubs are considering bringing morrow back in a minor league deal.

  • I've noticed that nobodies really touched on the hiring of new VP of scouting Dan Kantrovitz. Am I the only person excited about this hiring? My thing is if they want to fire the coaching staff fine that's great, but how do they address the front offices issues in drafting and developing pitchers in particular? Kantrovitz seems to have a nice drafting track record while drafting the majority of the cardinals young arms, including Jack Flaherty. He also worked as assistant GM to a very forward thinking executive in Billy Beane. My biggest thing was I wanted to see some outside voices brought into prominent front office positions, not just front office staff members being re-assigned. Kantrovitz seems to bring that type of pedigree to this front office, and essentially he's taking Jason Mcleod's old job and being handed the keys to the draft (although Theo obviously has the final say). He's a young, forward thinking guy but I also like that he has experience overseeing drafts while with the Cardinals. Overall I was closely watching whether we'd finally see an outsider added to take Mcleod's old job, and I'm glad Theo was willing to indirectly demote his friend Jason Mcleod if that's what's in the best interests of this organization. I believe sometimes executives make mistakes empowering and granting too much leeway to their friends sometimes, rather then just hiring the best candidate for the job. I know Mcleod's a respected scout but I do think changes needed to be made to this organizations drafting and development of pitching in particular. Good to see that they're at least trying to improve and change some of the things that haven't been working. Sahadev Sharma is already speculating that Kantrovitz could be a potential GM under Jed Hoyer if Theo left after 2 years with his contract expiring.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I was happy to hear that news. This organization needs more outside and fresh voices to help them get back on track. I’m still troubled by the lack of turnover of our offensive players. There’s been a lot of blame from the organization on factors other than the players, yet it’s the exact same offensive players we’ve watched over the last couple seasons that caused the same demise that this team has suffered for 2 years in a row. The players still aren’t being held accountable. I hope Ross can change that, but why should the players change a thing when the precedent has been set that the players were allowed to blame a bad 2018 on some of the coaching staff? It really wasn’t a surprise that 2019 was more of the same, but with an even worse ending.

  • The cubs and Javier Báez are negotiating an extension!!!! per The Chicago sun times

    Yeessss

  • In reply to bolla:

    That would be good news. Despite what Boras said, I really believe Bryant will be traded, because he won’t negotiate.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    I think it will all depend on what we can get for him. I don't think there is a big market for 3B right now, especially with Rendon, Moustakous and Donaldson as free agents. And he would be very tough to replace if they want to compete this year. So my bet is they are not offered enough to move him.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    You may well be right. But I think of it more as what the A’s do. They trade everyone they can’t sign and get what they can get. There is no: Bryant requires two top 20 prospects and whatever else and unless we get that forget it. It might be apples to oranges; small market vs. large.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Maybe they just get what they can for him. But if they still want to try to win for the next 2 years, he gives them a better chance, so my guess is they will need to get a lot to consider trading him. And I don't think the market is there for him this winter.
    Who knows. But it should be an interesting off season either way.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Just my opinion, but I feel like they are signaling that winning next year is not the priority. The priority is “building the next Cubs championship team.”

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Seems like Wash/Atlanta/Milw May need third basemen?

  • In reply to stix:

    Yes. There are a few teams. But with 3 good FA 3rd basemen, not sure any of them will be interested in giving up players for Bryant.
    Milwaukee has the 30th ranked system, so they really don’t have anything to trade. And even if they did, would they give up players & prospects for 2 years/ $40+ million of Bryant. Or just sign Moustakas for 3 years/$50 million or so?

  • In reply to bolla:

    That will really end the cubs chances to compete for titles if they sign him to any substantial contract over 5 years. Just think, he might earn $75k for each strikeout just in one season alone. The guy would’ve also lead the league in making outs had he not gotten injured. Also he’s not a team leader. He’s admitted it himself. Talking about how he didn’t run out certain plays and then blamed his teammates for not calling him out on it. I’m glad David Ross will be the manager because he will call Javy out, but he shouldn’t have to. The greatest players are self motivated. They make the changes to their game that will help them improve. They don’t wait for someone else to tell them they need to change. I’m pretty sure Maddon has talked with Javy about working better at bats, but Javy didn’t have to listen because he was already part of the crew that got previous coaches fired before Maddon wasn’t retained, so he knows that the front office has his back more than his coaches. He has zero incentive to improve and he just won’t. I know, it’s so sad, isn’t it?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I hope that that is a too harsh of an assessment. Cubber. Maddon was good for Javy, without running roughshod over him. I believe Joe deserves some credit for Javy improvement in 2018 and allowing Baez to figure stuff out without putting too much pressure on remaking him. That development approach didn't work as well in 2019. Joe had lost his voice with many young players, who just stopped listening.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    You’re so angry it’s hilarious lol!

  • In reply to bolla:

    I was thinking the same of you.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Javy doesn’t have the work ethic and drive to improve? What has he done his entire career? Many of us respect your opinion but this has to be one of the more ridiculous opinions you’ve ever written on javy, and it confirms many of our suspicions that you have an bias/agenda against the guy. When you factor in his all around skills he’s absolutely one of if not the biggest reason this team is still competitive. Bryant is a great hitter but even in that facet Bryant gets on base which is nice and gives gives him value to this organization. But too many of his stats are empty he’s not a guy you feel good about with RISP spots, and that’s not acceptable for a hitter that values himself as a $200 million player. I advise you to not use fangraphs as your end all be all in player evaluation, and actual watch the games. If anything I’d argue that Bryant’s inability to stay healthy, and perform to his 2015-16 standards were a bigger factor in maddons coaching staff losing their jobs. If anything he’s declined not javy and I say that as a guy that understands the importance both players bring to this club.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    The Cubs and Brewers tied for the division in 2018......Yellich stepped up while Baez disappeared in September, there is no disputing that....look it up, he had one good game then nothing. Who then won the MVP award? Facts are facts.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Yelich a great player one of the best in the game and he could’ve easily won back to back mvps. What’s your point Wick because he went toe to toe with yelich until the very end, so now we should punish javy during contract negotiations lol? Pretty sure javy was more responsible for the cubs success in 2018 vs Bryant where was he that whole season? I have zero idea what’s the purpose of your post so he didn’t win mvp over the best hitter in the game, and that’s supposed to make him a failure lol

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    No.....you guys who are so in love with Baez miss the point completely.....you can’t build a franchise around this guy. If you dump Contreras and Bryant now do you honestly think the Cubs would win 84 games next year? No way....not with what the return for next year would be. Baez would be swinging out of his shoes so much you could guarentee 200+ wiffs. The problem is pitching.
    The bullpen blew at least 5 games last year, probably closer to 10 that could be documented and the SP did them no favors by rarely going deep into alot of games. Ricketts HAS money......Marquee is coming on line......buy some damn pitching. As it stands now all we have are 2 decent starters. If Baez was Clemente he alone couldn’t save this mess.......and he ain’t Clemente.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Just to be clear I’m not in any way advocating to trade anyone. Certainly they need to at least listen with all of these guys dwindling cost control, but I’m absolutely in the camp that thinks this team is better with Kris Bryant That’s just common sense. I wouldn’t just trade him to trade him this offseason, and I don’t think they will yet with a strong 3B FA market.

    I agree with you the pitching staff is in transition and needs to be top priority. It’s going to take a strong and active offseason, and I agree the ricketts need to at least accept going over the luxury tax thresholds that don’t carry draft pick implications they have no excuse not to at least have a similar payroll. My response was to cubber calling out javys work ethic and will to improve. I think it was a completely unfair assessment when you look at how much he’s frankly grown already (Is it not clear that he’s worked hard to improve lately???). I also believe Xander Bogaerts 6 year $120 million deal with Boston is a good precedent for baez contract talks, and I think at that price he’s absolutely worth keeping. That’s a lot less then the reported $200+ million Bryant is asking for, and boras isn’t an easy negotiation. I’ll leave it to theo on who he wants to keep of these core guys, but I think baez has been as good if not better then any core player on this roster these past few years. I also think he’ll be more willing to compromise on a somewhat team friendly deal, there just isn’t any negotiation leeway with these boras clients we saw that with Jake arrieta rejecting the teams more then fair 6 year $120 million deal

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    He’s furious which is why he attacked Báez. The whole post is biased and full of nonsense.

    There’s a lot of undertones too but I’ll leave that alone.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Great post kkhavi , very objective compared to the old guys lashing out at Báez.

  • I agree, Cubs need to pretend they are like a small market team for 50% to 75% of their roster.

    Trades is how they are going to build for next season, and the future. I still think they will sign some free agents, but play the waiting game, and be looking value.

  • I don’t like how Yelich came at Darvish on twitter today smh. Very defensive

  • Why is darvish bringing it up now? Darvish has been very out spoken this off season.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    If you read his follow up post he specifically says “not saying they’re stealing signs”. He responded in context to a conversation he was tagged in that he stepped off just to be certain they weren’t stealing signs. Gotta understand the context Of the conservation before we make judgments. In any event who cares what’s said on his social media the brewers should be defensive when their named the most blatant sign stealing organization in baseball. Good for them but I’m glad people are starting to bring attention to this story

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/cubs/christian-yelich-yu-darvish-twitter-nobody-needs-help-facing-you

    Link clears up some of the confusion even brewers fans think yelich is overreacting on Twitter when you really go into the full context of this twitter war. Darvish was clearly misquoted by some websites are trying to stir things by only linking one of his posts

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Guess I shouldn’t believe everything I read. I don’t think he over reacted. Yelich actually spoke truth.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The facts are the athletic named the Astros/brewers as the most egregious sign stealing team/ in baseball. Good for them but using technology to aid with stealing is absolutely illegal, and far different from having a coach watch the other dugout. Darvish should be at least asking questions when you learn houston was using cameras during their 2017 playoff run against LA plus others. All I know is all these ex-cardinal front office guys with Jeff luhnow ties keep getting caught cheating. Stl 1st gets accused of hacking into astros GM Jeff luhnows draft analysis data. Now the Astros organization plus current Milwaukee GM/former recent Houston assistant GM David Stearns are seemingly caught using technology to steal signs. Why are all of these men that worked closely together constantly caught breaking rules, and how much further does this go? As far as I’m concerned I hope more players follow in darvish’s footsteps, and start asking questions here. This is beyond just regular attempts to sign steal if they’re zooming in on coaches from the outfield. Hope Mlb addresses this or just gets rid of the rule, so that all teams are on level playing fields

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I think Yu's involvement started when LA fans took to Twiitter and apologized for their reactions following his poor showings in the 2017 ALCS. Class act that he is, Yu responded by saying something like "No, I was just terrible and, besides, game 7 was in LA"

    Actually, I'm glad Yu is relaxed and having fun. We need him to have a GREAT 2020 season.!

  • Sharma reports there’s a strong possibility Almora remains with the cubs, he has no Trade value and the cubs fo thinks he provides more value to the team than non tendering him.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed he’s not an impact talent at all but he’s better then he showed last year, and I think he profiles a lot better as a part time/bench guy. I see no benefit to quitting on him with his value is at its lowest, unless he continues to hit as poorly next season

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    My strategy going forward for Almora is just leave him alone. Somehow with best of intentions, the org managed to demoralize Albert and his natural talent. He didn't have a patient approach, but hit the ball with authority. The coaches eliminated his leg lift, which was his timing mechanism and Almora has not been comfortable at the plate since. A front leg lift works fine for Castellanos and many others. I think AAjr. will bounce back to talent level once he gets orientated anew.

  • KB 2019 rank among 3Bmen:
    OPS with RISP #11 (min 100 AB)
    OPS with RISP 2 outs #7 (40 AB)
    HR # 10
    RBI # 16
    AVG # 8
    OBP #3
    OPS #7
    Defense DRS #11

    this is where kris bryant ranks amongst 3rd baseman in mlb. Add in his injuries the last 3 seasons that sapped his production and this is why it's time to trade him NOW.DO NOT pay this guy 200+ whatever million he wants he's not worth it the boosted wrc+ and woba from his 4-5 5 rbi games vs the pirates/reds in may in a 15-3 blowout fools no one.I also don't want to hear about bryant not having opportunities to drive in runs when acuna and springer have 95-100 rbi's from the lead off spot.Bryant is over-rated clap clap clap clap clap clap, get his salary off the books and move on.The cubs won 95 games in 2018 led by baez and bryant missed 2 months, they won 84 games in 2019 with baez out the last month and bryant did what? hmmmmm not a coincidence.

  • In reply to bolla:

    blah blah blah. You need new material.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Keep cherry picking your stats to fit your divisive narrative squid.....you’re good at it.....and we’re bored with it.

  • Maybe Mr. Yelich needs one in the ribs from Yu. See if he can guess that pitch from stealing signs.

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    Yu is too classy to deliberately plunk Yelich.

    But, I do understand where Yelich is coming from. Yu essentially said that Yelich might have been cheating. I happen to think that Yelich might have been looking at how the defense was positioned and leaning. That's part of the reason he's one of the top MLB hitters.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    If Yelich is cheating, he's been doing it from day one, because the guy has always been a tough out.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    He’s always been a tough out, but I’m not so sure. He was a very good hitter in Miami, but not sure anyone saw him becoming one of the best hitters in the game when he was traded. You take a very talented player and let him know what pitch is coming, you get an MVP

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Could be.

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