The Seemingly Obligatory Bold Predictions For 2020

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Welcome to a new decade, Denizens! I believe this coming decade will be the greatest in the long history of our beloved franchise. What a ride the last one was! From the lowest of lows to the ultimate fulfillment, that was quite the roller-coaster. My emotions ran the gamut, and I have the mental scars and immense feelings of pride to prove it. I'm sure you do as well.

We enter the 2020's with more than a bit of uncertainty. This lost feeling can be unsettling, and that is understandable. I've always embraced it. It makes me feel alive, like anything is possible. Sometimes that's all you have when things look bleak.

I've seen all the "bold prediction" stories making the rounds, so I figured we could take a swing at it. There ain't much else actually happening. Some of what I've seen labeled as "bold" is quite tame, like KB being traded or Javy extended, and others like Morrow leading the Cubs in saves in 2020 simply ludicrous (though certainly bold). Just to set parameters, I'll define "bold" as less than a 20% chance within mainstream thinking, but more than zero.

I've purposely not read any of these pieces in the last couple days in an attempt to be original; a palette cleanser, so to speak. These are all mine, for better or for worse. If my math is right, if I hit on one I'm at the Mendoza line. Two, and I'm in the Hall of Fame with my new peer Teddy Ballgame. Let's do this...

1: Tyler Chatwood will be the 2nd most valuable SP in 2020*

I have some reservations with this prediction. Prior to the 2017 season, I predicted Javy would have a top-15 MVP finish. At the time his role was still undetermined, and I soon realized that for this vision to become reality something bad would have to happen to KB/Rizzo/Russell for him to accumulate the playing time necessary to secure those vote totals. I walked that statement back in fear of jinxing another key contributor to our team, and ended up being off by only one year and 13 spots, regardless.

To be clear, I make this prediction not on any hopes of misfortune to the rest of the staff, but on my belief in Chatwood. I've been laying out my thoughts here for over five years, and I have to admit my initial assessment of Chatwood may have been my biggest fail. I was a believer before we signed him. I got caught up in spin rates and tunneling and other thought processes I didn't fully understand. I was wrong, and I've learned.

I still believe in Tyler. I respect him for facing failure but not letting it get him down. He never complained or felt sorry for himself. He put his head down and went to work. I think that attitude, along with his stuff, a new pitching structure, and a looming free agent contract will bring out the best in him.

*I'm basing 2nd most valuable SP on season totals with the Cubs. It's very possible he is dealt at the deadline.

2: Jason Heyward has his best season with the Cubs

OK, this may not seem bold at first. What I think makes it bold is the amount of progress he makes, and the amount of improvement he shows. I'm not talking the incremental gains we've seen, I'm talking BIG GAINS. I'm talking down-ballot MVP gains.

Heyward is a very introspective person, very hard on himself. Like Yu, he needs to feel comfortable in order to thrive. Injuries, contract pressure, and occupational uncertainty have hindered his time on the North Side. Depending on what happens in CF, he may finally be free of some of these burdens in 2020.

Jason has always said he is not comfortable as a lead-off hitter. He has said it does not fit him, that he thinks too much. The numbers certainly bear that out. His overall line of .251/.343/.429 (101 wRC+) in 2019 improves to .286/.373/.471 (119 wRC+) when not batting lead-off, and the lines improve even more if he can be protected from the best lefties. I know some fans will say everyone's numbers will improve with cherry-picking and the L/R splits indicate a platoon player, and I won't disagree. But I will say that I don't believe Heyward was used to the best of his abilities under Maddon, and I think Ross will fix that. Ross understands Heyward.

Add in the fact that Heyward's defensive numbers suffered greatly in CF as oppose to his natural RF, and the added stress that may have caused, I think freeing J-Hey from the lead-off spot and the positional uncertainty (if we can do that) will lead him to a career year. I think Grandpa Rossy will unleash the beast.

3: Nico Hoerner begins the season as our starting 2B, and wins ROY

I said bold, right? I'm even struggling with this one, but I'll try...

I've actually seen this elsewhere, but I disagree with why. Others have predicted that Nico Suave hits 30 bombs and/or drives in 100. That's ridiculous. He won't. The reason he starts the year as our 2B is out of pure necessity. He is better than anything else we got.

Another moment of reflection: in early/mid 2017, I called for Ian Happ to be brought up. At the time, he wasn't ready, but I got into heated debates about prospect development vs. big-club victories. I said to heck with his progress, he can help our team win. He was brought up, two days later, to everyone's (except mine) surprise. Whether or not that was a good call is certainly up for debate.

Nico's a different animal. I see him as Darwin Barney with more tools. Nothing is going to break this dude. He's not Robinson Cano or Roberto Alomar, nor do I want him to be. He is what we need at this moment, and he will soon be a clubhouse leader.

I think he puts up a line of somewhere around .285/.355/.470. The boldest part of this prediction is how he gets ROY votes with that line on a team that may finish in 3rd or 4th place.

That's why it's BOLD!

Every other rookie stinks? I don't know. Play along...

4: Javy Baez already has an extension

You know me, I have to have me some Javy.

I'll try to keep this brief. Between my desires and Javy's Instagram post and our future existence as a viable MLB team, this has to happen.

In all seriousness, there is talk that Javy has been extended, it just can't be announced due to league rules. This could all be BS, of course, but I choose to believe it. I would expect that the details lie in the AAV and the 2020 payroll, and how this extension is structured. Most people say it is an agreement on the 2020 arb figures, with the extension kicking in later. Sounds good to me.

Announced prior to the Cubs Convention? I don't know the rules. But Javy said "Gracias. Thanks."

That's all I need to know to be bold.

And now, the big, bold prediction I've been hinting about and the one I will surely take heat for:

5: Theo Epstein will not be back for 2021

Much like Joe Maddon, I have never been anti-Theo. I thank them for every hope, every win, and the ultimate satisfaction this team brought to me and the other millions of Cubs fans. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! You are forever a Cubs legend.

But just like Maddon, Theo's time has run it's course. Even more like Maddon, this feeling may be mutual. Theo has always said ten years is the maximum time to spend in one place. Ownership surely has taken notice.

There is no denying the franchise is in decline. Theo, through his own public statements, is almost done. He has hinted at his future ambitions: agency, ownership, even political office. Good luck to you, Theo. And again, thanks!

When an educated fan takes a broad view of this situation, I don't see how you can't see the end. The lack of infrastructure and development has led to a bloated payroll and a barren system. Ownership, who I assume plans to be here longer than the management, has stepped in to force a complete overhaul of the system. And cut off the monetary spigot because of wanton spending.

We are left with a paralyzed organization. This is not good for anyone involved. I believe the only reason Theo and Co. are still in the organization is because we didn't want to totally blow it up in front of the TV negotiations. That would have been bad.

Theo can't spend money, in fact has to cut salary, and has been forced to except a complete and involuntary makeover over the entire infrastructure he built. Theo cannot be happy, and I don't blame him.

These are professionals, and I expect him to do the right thing. I have heard tin-hat conspiracies that he will sabotage the team on his way out. He will not. He has integrity, and he has a future to look forward to.

I think I should end this now. I've tried to remain positive, but this train of thought gets me off a little. I'll expand my thoughts in the comments if you wish.

Again, if I hit on 1 of 5 I'm borderline. 2 of 5 I'm fishing with Teddy. I expect some to call me an idiot, that's what these whole posts are about. We'd love to hear your thoughts and predictions.

GO CUBS!!

 

 

 

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  • My Bold Predictions: Schwarber is a top 5 MVP candidate. He finally becomes the hitter we all knew he should be and maintains/improves power production.
    Brailyn Marquez terrorizes AA and AAA, gets called up at the All Star Break.
    Ross manages the team to the WS. As a result, KB gets his contract which isn’t obscene as most people feared.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    I'm with you on Schwarber and Marquez. Not so sure about the WS, but we can dream.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    Marquez “called up at the all star break” is bold. Terrorizing @ AA & AAA... not so much. He will. My prediction is he’s in the rotation 2021 out of spring & by 2022 he’s the ace. I like the other predictions you make as well! Go Cubs!

  • Great stuff BP! My thoughts on your predictions.

    1. Bold but plausible. I like it. And if it happens, the Cubs have a very solid rotation.

    2. Agree 100%. Spot on.

    3. Nico starts in AAA, but is our starting 2B by May. Has a very good year, but not ROY. Which is fine, we'll take it.

    4. Nice thought but no, he doesn't.

    5. Uh...no. Theo for sure returns in 2021 and my bold prediction is that he stays beyond it.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    #4: I can dream!

    #5: We'll see. I'm holding pretty firm on this one. I've taken heat before. This ain't just me drinking beer and typing. I admittedly do that, but I got more.

  • Love your predictions, except for #5. I’m with you on Chatwood & Heyward, I think they both could have big years. And this is the first I’ve heard the rumor about Javy. That will be awesome news if he’s extended.
    You very well might be right on Theo. I can definitely see your point of view. But I still think there is a chance that the front office & ownership are on the same page. It probably makes sense to get under the luxury tax and reset the penalties this year. The front office has always known they couldn’t extend everyone, so trading valuable players, if they can get what they want and change the roster makeup, probably also makes sense. My prediction is Theo gets the Cubs under the tax and gives some of their young players, like Alzoley, Mills & Nico, a chance to show what they can do.
    And then next year he gets his guy, Mookie Betts, as a FA to play CF & bat lead off for the Cubs.
    Thanks for the predictions, and GO CUBS!
    I can’t wait for baseball season to get here

  • Happy New Years Cub Fans! Larry from the forest of Oregon here. Here's my prediction for 2020, ala Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks: "The Cubs will win Plenty on 2020! I predict the Cubs will sign Nicky 2Bags, however, I predict the Cubs will trade Contreras and Happ for pitching help. I think they'll win their Division. My 57th year of being a Cubs Fan. Go Cubs Go!

  • I can see Chatwood having a decent year say 13-11 with an era slightly below 4. If that’s second best then the Cubs are in real trouble. You could certainly be right on Báez, something is up there. Regarding Heyward I think more of the same from 2019 is more likely. I also think Nico needs to concentrate on second in the minors and comes up by June. Don’t see a ROY but do see a productive .275 BA and a .340 OBP. A good solid year. Unfortunately I do agree with your Epstein take with Jed taking over which concerns me. I think that would be the beginning of the end for playoff appearances for a while. At least until they replace Jed.

  • This is off-topic, but I have not seen this mentioned on this site. I wanted to wait until a new piece appeared before posting, since I think it explains a lot, and should not be «buried» at the end of a thread. It is not however, happy reading.

    To summarize, the story details how the renovations to Wrigley have cost double that originally planned. The reason appears to be that the Cubs (read Ricketts, because he most certainly was aware of this) tried to avoid having the legally required number of seats for the disabled. The team was sued, and the effects of that suit have apparently caused the huge overruns.

    As I read it, the story provides no clear link between the overruns and the suit, since the renovations and the extra seats for the diasbled are not complete. It could well be that the 100 % overrun is thus projected, due to the delays and anticipated changes.

    Regardless, this seems to explain a bit why the purse strings for the Major League part of the operation have been tightened. The impact of one post costing $1 billion instead of $500 million on overall, long-term budgets is clear.

    I will not repeat the details of how the Cubs apparently handled the suit, but they are not pretty. The story claims they are self-inflicted, which seems a plausible conclusion.

    Here is link:
    https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2019/12/12/21011679/chicago-cubs-federal-review-of-the-wrigley-field-renovations-ada-david-cerda-ricketts-family

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Anyone who has been involved in an ADA issue or lawsuit will certainly tell you there are more than two sides of the story. ADA compliance is more like an octagon. It's ironic that the author has already convicted the Ricketts family.
    There are certain structures that will receive compliance variations. Who knows who is responsible for submitting that paperwork (building owner, GC, ??). What the Ricketts did in their response is follow protocol. You'd do, I'd do it, everyone would do it. There are significant ADA issues pending that may change the % because there is significant data that shows ADA compliant seating is going unused or being used by those attending an event with ADA fans. For example, a caregiver for an ADA restricted fan can sit adjacent to the ADA fan. However, in many areas others with that fan also wish to be in the ADA compliant area. That was not the intent of ADA compliant seating.
    If you want to see how ADA rules have gone off the rails, look at the "Google Earth" lawsuits filed against small and mid-size hotels with swimming pools that did not have ADA compliant devices that can place people in wheel chairs into and out of a swimming pool. The other favorite target is convenience stores that may not have a ramp or too narrow of a ramp. There is a lawyer on behalf of a disabled person in FLA who sues places on behalf of this disabled person and that person has never been to the hotels or convenience stores. Again, multiple sides of a story.
    I'll wait until justice runs its course. They may need to reconfigure the design and add something or not.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    I've seen some reporting on both these issues (cost overruns and the disability-access suit), though all I've done is a quick glance. I just read the article you linked and was immediately struck by how slanted and biased it seemed to be. I did some research on the author and can see why.

    I don't think the cost overruns have much to do with the accessibility issues at all, or not nearly to the extent that article claims. I think they are more par for the course with doing business with the City of Chicago, unfortunately. I've never seen large projects within the city come in on budget. Lots of hidden "permit fees", if you get my drift. Of course there were also mistakes made on the planning and oversight end.

    I also don't see these overruns having a big affect on the sudden payroll austerity. The Wrigley renovations and surrounding development and the baseball operations budgets are separate, although both slices from the same pie. It could have some influence.

    I think the payroll limitations are simply a matter of long-term planning within the organization. 2020 has become a transitional year with the roster, and if we need to take a step back and regroup, we may as well reset our penalties while doing so.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    There is a lot of handwringing about the “purse strings.” I firmly believe that they aren’t spending because it doesn’t make sense to from a baseball standpoint. The team is not well positioned to win a World Series in 2020. Ricketts is willing to take his lumps in the media, even see attendance drop, but is giving clear direction that he’s in it to win World Series, not PR. I’m so happy he bought the team!

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. I thought the article was slanted and reached conclusions not fully supported by the rest of the article.

    Agree that the Cubs’ payroll issues are more tied to (lack of) performance than lack of cash. If I were Ricketts, I would have been none too happy with the results from league’s 3rd highest payroll.

  • BP, I think we have disagreed before on the length of Theo’s tenure. If Theo’s acceptance of the organizational changes was involuntary, why is he still around? I cannot come with a logical reason for him to remain with the Cubs, if he is knows he will voluntary leave when his contract is up in 2 years. If one has already planned to leave in a couple years, has multiple career options, is (probably) not hurting financially, and is forced to accept involuntary changes, why stay? I simply cannot come up with a plausible reason, based on the information I have.

    My management prediction is thus two-fold:
    1. Theo will get an extension, or
    2. If Theo leaves after 2020, Jed and Jason will also be gone, and a completely new team will be put in place

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    I've created somewhat of a monster with my thoughts and comments on this issue, but it really isn't all that uncommon when top executives are ready to move on. This happens all the time and isn't unique to the Cubs' situation.

    My view is that the end is near. I'm being bold by saying Theo walks away from his final contract year. The chance that he finishes his contract is far more realistic. I base my thoughts on things I've heard that aren't discussed publicly. I'm not saying the Ricketts family has taken over baseball operations. They haven't. They won't. I'm saying that the changes that have been made throughout the organization weren't initiated by Theo. Because of waning confidence, outside opinions were sought to analyze the long-term health of the franchise. Those reports were not flattering. Pressure was applied to make changes.

    I think the reason Theo is staying on is because he's a fine man. As I said, this situation isn't unprecedented. My belief, and only my belief, is that a split may have already happened without the negotiations with the new TV deal. That would have caused major disruptions in a critical negotiation period.

    To answer the question "why would he stay?": because he's a professional man of integrity. The internet is full of stories of how he left Boston in shame and in shambles. A year or two from now, more loud voices will scream of his disgraceful exit from Chicago. None of that matters. People in the know, the ones Theo will be dealing with in the next phase of his life and professional career, know better.

    How he handles his exit is paramount, and I expect him to do it with grace. I think the exit plan is already in the works, and Theo has the trust and respect of ownership to advise on a new management structure.

    In conclusion, I just think all parties involved are ready to move on, but the massively important TV deal was a deterrent to announcing a move. I think Theo is actively involved in planning the future of our organization, in good faith, and may say following this year that it's time to move on. A certain group of fans and media will celebrate this as a failure, but those in the know will see the honor.

    And of course I could be completely wrong. Wouldn't be the first time, nor the last. :)

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks, BP, your reasoning makes sense and is an angle I had not considered. I suppose it all comes down to how deep a rift there is between Ricketts and Theo. I suppose that there may also be spme «mea culpa» from Theo, thus providing motivation to «set things right» before moving on.

  • Out of your 5, the only one I would have issue with is Heyward. Out of all the FA signings, his is the worst by a wide margin by Theo IMO. He crippled the offense and was untradeable because of his deal. When your name was followed by “sunken cost” by year 2 of a deal, you know it’s bad. His offensive game resembled batting with a wet newspaper and scoring points for hitting the ball right at the 2b.

    The other 4, I can see fitting your “bold” criteria.

    Nice work, BP

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Thank you!

    I can't disagree with anything you've said. The Heyward signing left me feeling exactly as I did when we signed Soriano: I love having this guy on my team, but that contract scares me.

    I'll admit to some bias with Heyward. I've worked with him a little when he was a teenager in the Braves organization, and I've known his family in Beaufort, SC. Some of the finest people you will ever meet. It's hard not to pull for a guy like J-Hey.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    When the Cubs signed Heyward, articles came out that said Cubs would develop Heywards power. Heyward offense was all over the place before he came to the Cubs. Heyward is now a platoon player/defensive replacement? After the juice ball year, Cubs will need multiple players to step up. Players with a lot less talent than Heyward, come out of nowhere. and have career year once in awhile. Why not a career year for Jason in 2020?

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Yes.

    I've made this same argument with Schwarber. Kyle and Jason are too eager to please. They are so willing to help the team they will sacrifice their own interests. Some players resist change, and some are complacent.

    Schwarber has found the courage to assert himself, and watch out. I think J-Hey is there, too. More than that, I think Ross will handle these guys better than Maddon's supposed wizardry.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    John Mallee once said to me about Heyward..."they sure didn't ask my opinion before signing him!" There were articles about holes in his swing prior to signing and while he has tried to improve them, they still exist.

    He really never has been that great of a hitter since his first few years. Perhaps it was the injury in his third year that permanently changed him or just adjustments finally caught up to him. Either way, I have never seen anything from Heyward to indicate he can produce. We signed him to this contract coming off a .293-.359-.439 year, which was his best for a few years, and I thought it was nuts to give him that money for that production and great defense in a less significant defensive position. Now if he even produced near his 2015 season, we'd be overjoyed.

  • I like your 2,3,&4 predictions. I think you are correct on Jason Heyward and his comfort. The same can be said about Schwarber. Ross might understand that importance, Joe did not, and was too stubborn to change. Sometimes the smart move is to get out of the way. No way the Cubs let Javy get away unless Baez wants to try free agency.

    It makes sense for the Cubs to get under the tax penalties so they will do what they need to do to do so. Anything can happen in 2020 from a world title to a complete rebuild at the trade deadline.

  • 1. Cubs will get under the salary threshold by negotiating extensions for multiple arbitration eligible players (including Javy) with reduced 2020 salaries coupled with deals beginning in 2021 so that the AAV's don't count for 2020. AAV is the likely reason they demurred on Rizzo extension offer.
    2. Ross will use openers for Quintana and Chatwood. Mills, Alzolay, Cotton,or Underwood/Tepera/Winkler will consistently go once through the lineup unscathed.
    3. Happ will be the lead-off centerfielder and have a better year than Shogo for the Reds despite the vitriol on this site against him.
    4. Reds and Cardinals will battle Cubs for division. Unfortunately, schedule favors Reds who finish with Pirates and Marlins while Cubs host Cardinals to close the season.
    5. Ricketts hires Dombrowski who takes the Cubs to the 2021 World Series after Theo fired for missing playoffs.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    Ohhh man, I hope you are completely wrong on hiring Dombrowski. If there is one GM that I would least like to get hired for the Cubs - it’s him. With unlimited funding in Detroit, he set them backwards. IMO.

  • I hope that Javy has done/will do what Alex Bregman did last off season. There was agreement on the arbitration amount then a new 5 year deal was agreed to that starts following the arbitration year. The AAV was set on the 5 year deal which allowed the Astros more financial wiggle room during this past season (2019).

    My crazy 0.5% trade is Bryant, Almora and Heyward (Plus $8Mil per year) to the Braves after they lose out on Donaldson. The return will be underwhelming in Inciarte, Riley and a pitching prospect. This is all about clearing dollars and not making it too painful for either side. Based upon a David Kaplan story in MLB Trade Rumors, Bryant's value is not as high as we may wish. per Kaplan, "Speaking to people around the game, Kaplan found real skepticism that Bryant remains the foundational superstar he was in 2016." Ugh...I'd rather keep him for 2 years if that is the case.

  • I think you’re right on Theo. He was offered a ten year deal in 2016 and opted for five. That wasn’t an accident. I would like to see Jed elevated to President of Baseball Ops and have him bring in a young mind as GM. I think this has always been the plan based on the opportunities Hoyer has turned down over the last few years. To whoever wants Dombrowski, no just no. He’s had a particular kind of success but it’s usually when he’s handed boatloads of money and that’s not in vogue in this game anymore.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Not sure about the 10 year deal for Theo Epstein. I never read anything about that. I just did a search and found nothing on this. Can you show a link to this?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    It was widely rumored at the time. Not sure anyone went on the record with it. Maybe it was bs but it made sense with Theo’s ten year comments.

  • fb_avatar

    Another good piece BP. I agree with you about JHey and think he'll stay in RF for the season, barring pinch hitting or rest make him play in CF. Of course, that means that Castellano won't be coming back but I never thought he would.
    Theo will be gone after his contract runs out. I love Theo and give him huge props for getting us the WS win, but his drafting (after the 1st picks) and his developing of players has been lacking. Maybe our scouts aren't as good as they could be or our instructors aren't but something hasn't worked and that needs to be corrected, especially since we're not drafting in the top ten anymore.
    I predict Q will be traded and Nico will start at 2nd, but our ROY will be Albert Alzolay. He will take Q's place and win at least 10 games. Jensen will be up and in the bullpen, and Marquez could very well be up after the AS game.
    We win the NL central and shock the Dodgers to play in the WS and beat the Yankees in 6 in an epic WS. A fitting good-bye to Theo.
    Go Cubs!!

  • You do a good job on these articles, Barly. My predictions:

    Cubs come in fourth in NL Central behind Cards, Reds, Brewers (not necessarily that order).

    Kimbrel, Lester, Q traded at deadline.

    Theo signs an extension, leads a rebuild which will result in two WS wins in ‘20s. (Theo has pointed to Bill Walsh’s ten-year rule, but Walsh is reported to having regretted leaving the 49ers.)

    Speaking of 49ers...final prediction: SF will win Super Bowl #6. George Kittle will win MVP.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Thanks, Cubs9. :)

    4th is too low. We won't finish below Milwaukee.

    I almost included a "white flag" prediction, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I think it is possible that we are within reach of the division lead in July and we still deal whatever is left of Q, Lester, Chatwood, Kimbrel, etc.

    Also, no love for the Nostradamus image? I thought maybe you would appreciate it.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    We’ll see. The Cubs won only 84 games last year. They have lost at least one key player, Castellanos (Strop too). They haven’t added a single player. They are rumored to be trying to trade their best player and All Star catcher; trading either can’t help morale, let alone what is on the field. And worst of all, the rotation does not look good to me. I mean, you Chatwood prediction might be true! Last year I gave the over under for the Cubs to be 88 (I predicted under). This year I ask: 81: over or under?

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Maddon being gone has got to add ~10 more wins next year. He lost the team in 2018 and 19. It showed in their base running and defense.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Love Strop, record breaking 5 year run before 2019, but his bad play last year is a big reason why the Cubs only won 84 games.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Under, but hope I'm wrong.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs09:

    Vikings just beat the Saints in OT. What a game!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    My wife is from New Orleans, so I pretended to be rooting for the Saints. But I am soooo happy the Niners don’t have to see Russell Wilson next week. In fact: Go Eagles!

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    the enemy of my enemy is my friend!!!

  • fb_avatar

    I think Bryant or schwarber will be gone along with Quintana before the season starts, I also think Hoerner will be traded for Merrifield before the season starts, the cubs will sign Salazar and Taijuan Walker as arms to take a chance on, the cubs sign Castellanos.

  • This may sound weird, but this is a slow point of the offseason. I'm trying to suppress my feelings of dread heading into 2020, and looking for ideas of what you may want to discuss. Writer's block, I suppose. Any suggestions?

    I have a couple ideas for light-hearted articles, like my most embarrassing moment at Wrigley and my apology to Kevin Bass, but I welcome ideas. It could help me to do research and bring some humor. Indulge me.

    I can't promise anything, but if we can reach some sort of consensus, a good time could be had by all.

    Thank you.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Given your love of music, perhaps preview the 2020 Wrigley concerts, who you'd like to see play there, and rate the past concerts (after the Pearl Jam one with Ernie that went past 2 AM). My daughter worked that one, came home at 4:30, and it was the only time in her life that she was greeted by four eyeballs from both parents. She was also ten feet from Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer dancing barefoot on Billy Joel's piano.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    there is an inappropriate joke there somewhere

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    :)

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    You lost me at ten feet from Amy Schumer dancing barefoot on Billy Joel's piano.

    "And the piano, it sounds like a carnival.
    And the microphone smells like a beer.
    And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
    And say, "Man, what are you doin' here?".

    I've never been to a concert at Wrigley. I'm not the one to be critiquing such shows. I also don't think we should hijack Cubs Den with that content, even as much as most of us love music. We can continue to carry on the musical roots of this site in the comments, however, and I promise to do my part.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    How about What would we like to see in the new CBA?

    I've been thinking about this from the player and owner side. Maybe 2-3 sets of rules for Free Agency.
    For example, a HS player that is drafted will be eligible for FA after 8.5 seasons (scenario would be 1/2 year in draft year, 3 years in minors, then 5 years in MLB, then FA).
    A Juco College Player that is drafted will be eligible for FA after 7.5 seasons (scenario would be 1/2 year in draft year, 2-3 years in minors, then 4-5 years in MLB, then FA).
    A College player that is drafted will be eligible for FA after 6.5 seasons (scenario would be 1/2 year in draft year, 1-3 years in minors, then 3-5 years in MLB, then FA).

    Luxury Tax Rate goes up 10%, then follows inflation? Floor on spending at $150Mil. Bottom 5 teams in payroll in each league in a decade must be put up for sale? It might be a fun thing to think and write about in our cold 70 degree winter in south Texas.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    This is actually something I've been thinking about. The last few offseasons have seen the diminishing demand for the mid-level free agent. The trend is towards younger players, and all but the best of the veterans are being low-balled.

    I think something needs to be addressed in the new CBA. Fewer arbitration years? Higher arb salaries?

    This is a solid suggestion.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree w/ CBA. I know very little about it. Since it's something that will effect all of baseball, I would love to understand.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    No one is interested in my humiliating story of being in the LF bleachers in 1989 with a hot dog, a blood-alcohol content of 0.024, a 60-grade arm, and Kevin Bass easing into the warning track to catch a long fly ball?

    There is video somewhere. I haven't been able to find it.

  • I believe Chattwood control has gotten better. Maybe a long shot but I could see him having more value in a closer role.

  • fb_avatar

    I'd like to see in the new CBA a raise for minor leaguers, a floor for spending (as Texas said above) and I like his ideas about FA. Also, something has to be done about the delaying of bringing players up, especially if it's only 10 games or so. Maybe after the AS break so none of this playing the money game for a few games. A automatic strike calling system that works more than the umps do, and I'm sure there's a survey that shows exactly how many calls are wrong by the home plate ump. Also, a pitch clock and a replay clock--at home, we can see 4 or 5 replays in 10 secs, why can't the umps. Give them a minute (that might be too long) and if it's that hard then the on the field call stands. I don't like the call where a runner is off the base for a millisecond and is called out.
    I have no idea what to do about the DH. I'm a National League guy so I like the decisions that go into the game and in the AL a lot of that is taken away so I don't know. I do think the NL will get it, and when a Cubs DH hits a game winner I'll be cheering like everyone else I'm sure. Oh, I'd like to see a list once in a while of everyone's music title when they're going to hit. I can't tell what it is on TV so it would be nice to know.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Just for reference, under the scenario I posted, there are no service time issues because every player automatically becomes a free agent after the time period listed. For example, Kris Bryant was drafted in 2013. 2013 is his 1/2 year. His 6 years would have ended at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Bryant would be a Free Agent right now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Thanks for clarifying. You make a lot of good points.

  • Does it matter what the rules are? Who cares? Apparently, players and thier agents are going to file grievances even when an org follows them.

  • Cool post BP. I like your Javy take.

    I disagree on your Chatwood prediction. But not because I don’t think he’ll be a good starter, but because I don’t think he’ll be a starter. I predict he’ll be in the bullpen out of necessity & will be a dominant late inning guy. He’ll finally get a defined role for the whole season.

    I also predict 1 loser of the Rea, Alzolay, Mills 5th starter competition goes to the pen & 1 gets traded (leaning to Mills). Leaning to Alzolay 5th starter.

    Abbott & Miller are the real deals & 1 could be in the rotation if Quintana is traded for salary relief &/or 5th starter falters.

    Also, the Cubs farm system isn’t as “barren” as most believe it is. It is devoid of that 1 high ops guy right now. Brennan Davis is the closest to that guy & could take that step this year. Roederer is next. Morel is sleeper in waiting. The 2020 draft may net that guy. Farm pitching heavily underestimated & combined w/above guys I mentioned, the current top 10 guys & sleepers, will carry the Cubs system to top 10 by mid season if not sooner.

    I have no prediction on your Theo take. It is interesting, but winning or losing will dictate what happens in that regard.

  • Reading thru most of the comments here, BP, I appreciate your candor on the Theo topic. But I do have questions... Why is Theo’s feet being held to the fire over his handling of the budget for baseball ops, but seems the business end with the renovation boondoggle & the uncertainty with the Marquee network is getting a pass?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    If you're asking me why I'm not criticising the business end as much as the baseball side, the simple answer is I'm much more well-versed in the baseball ops. I try to write about things I know, and I know more about some of motivations behind the organizational shake-up than I do the business side. Frankly, I have more interest in the baseball side, as well.

    There is certainly fault to be found with the cost overruns, but digging into that gets into some sleazy stuff involving dirty Chicago politics and other topics I try to avoid. The path our team has been on these past few years is depressing enough.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Let me clarify... &/or ask a question (or 2). And I’m not calling you out. Nor am I “criticizing” you for anything... Not sure how you read that into my post(Probably why I don’t engage regularly here or in any other blogs for that matter)... I was really just curious.

    It appears you have some basis for your prediction on Theo. Legitimately, I’m asking Have you heard anything about the business side? If not, that’s ok, then you don’t know. But if, not just for you but anyone who knows, Theo is to be held accountable for baseball ops side of things, why not the business guy for the business side of things? Renovations didn’t just go “a little over budget”, LoL, they went massively over. That’s not my opinion, it’s a fact.

    Again, no offense was intended for initial comment above & none in this reply here as well. Not sure if you read one of my other comments here, but I started it off with “Cool post BP.” I hope you took it as a compliment because that was my intent.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I took no offense at all. I stated that I write about what I know. I can do a Google search and act like I understand an issue, but that's not me. I know the baseball ops side far more than the business side. I am somewhat of a legal nerd and probably follow those lines more than others, but it just doesn't capture my interest as much as the product on the field.

    I'll offer a drink and a toast as a peace offering. Cheers!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    The name that no one mentions is the lovely and talented, Crane Kenny. How he has escaped this 100% over run boondoggle is beyond me.

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    As I said, I know a little about the baseball ops. I know a little less about the business side. I try to stay in my lane.

    Your comment gives me an opportunity to lighten the mood a little bit. This just popped into my head, and it seems appropriate in this atmosphere. One could also argue it describes my writing style:

    "Well you know my name is Simon.
    And I like to do drawerings."

    Don't look at my bum. :)

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I'm going to give my 2 cents. We don't know if the business side is getting a pass. To see an article that says that Crane Kenney lost his cafeteria privileges just won't get the clicks that Theo being held over an open pit like a Hawaiian hog will.

    I'm not certain that I would necessarily call the renovation a boondoggle. It is brutal trying to renovate a hundred year old facility. For example, if one chip of lead was found anywhere, that puts the EPA lead safe standards for construction in full force. Let's say that the cost to renovate a small area is $100,000. If lead is found to be in the area, that cost jumps to $250,000 or more plus potential fines for stirring up the lead, etc. The "fixer upper" couple in Waco, TX got fined $40k by the EPA for not following lead safe practices. That, unfortunately, can happen to even the most well planned projects. While it is nice to think that everyone should plan for an issue, most companies will not assume these issues will occur. It just does not make sense to assume that when securing renovation financing.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Thank you. I've been in the real estate/construction business my whole life, though obviously not at this level. I understand the process. I've dealt with government agencies and "thorough" inspection and approval hoops. Those contracts pay well, but with just little 'ol me and a few employees, I avoid them. Not worth the headache.

    When a billionaire client wades into the cesspool of Chicago politics with dreams of a massive renovation of an historic landmark, all hands are on deck, and all wallets are open and demanding deposit. Cash is preferable, ideally delivered to my associate in a manilla folder full of unmarked bills.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well, Don’t smart “billionaire client” & the people they hire to carry out their plan know that “Chicago politics” act this way & plan for that accordingly? If not, shouldn’t that person be held accountable for something that even you know, “though obviously not at this level.”?

    Again, questions I have. Didn’t mean to turn the post into condescending replies to each other. My bad. Have a good one.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I hear you, and wanted to expand on that thought in my response. My honest opinion is that those planning the budget for the Wrigley renovation and the surrounding Wrigleyville renovations underestimated the corruption they would face in this process. I assume they added some "fees" into the bottom line but didn't fully understand the level of depravity they were entering into.

    I also agree that this line of debate has the potential to devolve quickly, and I'd rather not go there. I'd rather focus on the development of Brennen Davis or the punishment Kyle Schwarber is about to unleash on NL pitching in 2020.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    All your points sound like things that should have been considered into the budget by smart people formulating it. I wouldn’t compare $40K fine to this LoL! Big apples & oranges.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I hear you. However, I'll try to make a point a little differently. There is a company I assist that hates the corrupt nature of business with the governments of certain countries. They hate it because it is not how they do business. Finally, they decide to play ball and play ball the way it needs to be played if you wish to grow your business in said country. However, the cost escalates well beyond their wildest projections. That's not smart people not formulating properly. That's decent people not realizing how corrupt, corrupt is. Like Barley said, try getting a permit on a historical building in Chicago. You think you need permit A and B. Next thing you know, you need Permits A-Z and a black bag for the collection. That is never in a budget. I don't care if your are a Rhodes Scholar.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I always appreciated Mike Royko’s Chicago Motto:
    “Where’s mine?.

  • Off the board for 20 prediction: Cubs top closer will be the newly converted Jon Lester (a la Dennis Eckersly). Has the arm and head to be a five-out game ender.

  • Cubs sign Carlos Asuaje. He should fit in nicely with Kemp and Descalso. They have a lot in common. Nice move Theo, great off season so far.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Another low risk, high reward signing everyone seems to like. LOL.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Signings like this tempt me to up my prediction of a 4th-place finish to 3rd.

  • Update on a Monday night:

    I just talked to a friend who I trust with solid information. That information wasn't positive. We are a paralyzed organization, and options E, F, and G are being discussed to shed salary.

    There was no talk of additions.

    If you would have told me in 2014 that going into the 2020 season, with all of KB, Rizzo, Javy, Schwarber, Russell, Contreras, and Almora hitting their prime years and the TV money rolling in that we would be desperate to offload a core player to shed salary in hope of a 3rd-place finish, I would not only have called you crazy, but I may have challenged you to a fight.

    This is where we're at.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yes, given the events of this off-season after the expectations from Theo’s end-of-the-season presser, «paralyzed» is probably the best word. Just hope desperate, pennies-on-the-dollar trades are not made now just to clear payroll. Trades to get under payroll can be made at the deadline in July.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    When you sign Heyward, Darvish, and a Chatwood getting minimal impact then you appear to be over-spent and a 3rd place team.

    Had Heyward trended up to a 4-5 WAR player, Yu assuming a true 1/2 slot and Chatwood taking the ball every 5 days posting numbers similar to Col (can’t believe I set the bar so low for a Roxkies pitcher to replicate his seasons pitching in Coors), then there wouldn’t be a bunch of deals needed to be made. I was against all 3 of those signings at the time. I felt the deals were too rich and would limit the team going forward. Kimbrel, Zobrist, Yu, and Chatwood tied up nearly $75 million for darn nearly zero return. That just can’t happen if you want to win a World Series.

    I’m ok with trades because we have some MVP talent that could be moved to fill 2-3 spots. I am ok to be patient to see the final product before the start of the season. This time is what Theo and Jed get paid for.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Maybe my silly, crazy trade idea is closer to reality that I thought.
    That trade is Bryant, Almora and Heyward (Plus $8Mil per year) to the Braves after they lose out on Donaldson. The return will be underwhelming in Inciarte, Riley and a pitching prospect. This is all about clearing dollars and not making it too painful for either side.

    For a pick me up, I decided to look at the history of Cubs draft picks by rounds at baseball-reference. The positive is that we drafted some awesome players over the years. The bad is that the best of them didn't sign with us the year they were drafted or were traded very young and had their careers elsewhere.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I hope the opposite happens.
    Trade Bryant, and Descalso to San Diego for Wil Myers, and all the prospects you can get for Myers bad contract, and Bryants value combined.
    Myers is due $68.5 million in dollars, but cost $13.833 against the cap for each of the next 3 years. It would save Cubs some money against the cap around $7 million this year, and maximize the return for Bryant.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    That's a good option too. I don't think we will get as mush as we had hoped for anyone. The league knows they can slow walk Theo.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    If this is the case, the Kimbrel signing was crazy reckless. They should have been able to see this coming in just a few months.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Cubs trying to get under all salary penalty limits, and not spending at all, just isn't fun. Especially after all these contracts are gone.

    Hamels $20, Zobrist $12.5, Morrow $9, Cishek $6.5, Strop $6.25, Kintzler $5.0, Russell $4.3, Duensing $3.5, Montgomery $2.44, Edwards $1.5, Cedeno $900K.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    while it is not exact, go to baseball-reference. Go to the Cubs section, then contracts. 2021 is currently in worse shape than 2020. It is no wonder that there are some reigns on the FO. The Ricketts are not cheap. They see where this is going and it is not a good place.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Pure speculation on my part, but I wonder is that wasn't the proverbial "straw" that kicked in some less-than-voluntary changes.

    From a competitive standpoint it was a good move. It also tells me that Theo had complete autonomy within the budget he was given. No Ricketts behind the curtains or pulling strings.

    Zo's money was, at least temporarily, off the books and Theo maxed out. But perhaps the lack of long-term vision and ramifications gave pause to an ownership group already weighing some lackluster evaluations regarding the long-term health of the organization if this path continued. Especially if they believe Theo is walking in two years anyways.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Dang there needs to be more communication between the 2 sides. You can't surprise your GM with that if he's always been under the assumption that he can go over the threshold every year. These aren't 1-year contracts players get. Seems like a better business decision to give your GM at least a couple offseasons to get under so you don't have to gut the team... But I'm no businessman.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I think you just hit on the biggest issue here. I've tried to say everything in a thousand ways without hitting on what may be the real dilemma: how to two potentially competing agendas coexist in a productive way?

    Theo is headed to the HOF having broken two "curses", and could be focusing more on the next chapter of his life. The Ricketts have purchased a flagging institution and pumped pride and modernity (not to mention billions of $) into a starving fanbase. I can see the potential for conflict with two such disparaging visions. Within any successful working environment, there must be a level of respect flowing in all directions. I'm not saying that is the case here, but does anyone think Theo is bound by the Ricketts, or the Ricketts by Theo?

    That's why I think it's time to move on, from each other. Something about too big for your britches.

    My hope is the Ricketts plan on owning this franchise and maintaining it as a top-shelf example for many years to come. I really believe Theo wants to exorcise some lingering demons and walk away from an incredibly healthy project that was all his.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    With all due respect BP, doesn't this happen with most, if not all, the teams. It is nothing new or unusual for the GM to try to make the team more competitive (it costs more money) while the owner finally puts a halt to more spending?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Absolutely. What I've been writing about is some things I've heard that aren't publicly acknowledged. This happens all the time within large corporations, and baseball is arguably scrutinized more than other industries.

    All I'm trying to do is give some insight into the current situation that isn't exactly the message being fed to the public. There are some issues, and I try to gather as much info as I can and express my take on what is happening.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Sorry, I didn't want it to look like I am criticizing your post because I do have a lot of respect for your posts. I was wondering if there was anything you know about anything behind-the-scenes. I can only post what I see and feel, nothing more.

    I, like most, feel deeply hurt by the lack of any movement by the Cubs but when I take a step back, I feel I am being like a kid before Christmas who is just having a hard time waiting to see what I got.

    But after I really start thinking about the Cubs situation, I don't want them to "make any moves just to make moves" to change their team. After all, our players are young and in their primes now. They have already proven they can win the WS so it shouldn't take much to get them back on the right track.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    No need to apologise, clarkAddson, and no offense taken. We encourage respectful debate.

    I have seemed negative lately, especially compared to my normal, optimistic self. I don't like it. This downward trend has just been tough to watch, and I had been holding things back for a year or so and finally broke and had to vent.

    I've got another post coming soon with a much more positive spin for 2020.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Great BP. I fully understand because I have been struggling with my negativity also as I am sure most Cubs' fans are.

  • As soon as Donaldson signs with Atlanta, both the Braves and Nationals will be out on Bryant. His grievance was rough on our off season and his value now is pennies on the dollar. Kris wants out and Theo will have to accommodate.

  • I wonder if the organization (Cubs that is) could file a grievance of sorts against the league and/or union to pressure a decision on the Bryant service time grievance. Let's say that three times, a grievance for a grievance...

    I guess I am really wondering how they pressure a decision, what are they doing? This is the main cause of the "paralysis" this winter.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    The grievance Is unwarranted. It effects the Cubs mostly, but it could have been any org. Look for repercussions. Can you spell ' lockout'. Too bad Bryant allowed himself to be a part of this.

  • I'm not as pessimistic as many here. The Cubs are not a bad baseball team by any definition. I also believe Happ and Schwarber began taking that big step forward in the second half last year. That's huge if the trend continues.

    The in house options for the #5 are fine. I also believe the pen is adequate heading into ST. The key being Kimbrel returning to form.

    I get teams are hesitant to give up the farm for KB until they're sure he's healthy and the KB we saw in '15-'16. I also don't want to see the FO give him up for a bag of BP balls and a reclamation pen arm.

    Give a Ross some leash and see where it goes.

    Bold predictions. Nico starts the season leading off at 2B and the fresh outlook ignites the Cubs to a division title.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    I'm not a pessimistic as either, there is plenty of talent on this team. They still have potential All Stars at 3B, SS, 1B and C and a possible ROY (if all went right) at 2B.

    But I will stay steadfast in saying that they cannot go into the season with Happ penciled in at CF. Not based on a good stretch at the end of last year. Counting on multiple guys to "take the next big step" is how they got into this situation. They need a legit CF.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I think you're right. Joe is the king of versatility and had Zo to play with most of the time (and tbh I'm still not sure all that position flipping is the way to go, or that Bote is better at 3rd than KB, or that KB is better in left than Schwarber). We'll see how Ross likes to handle the defense but it sure would make sense to not force a first-time-manager to play Joe-ball 162 games. If a trade doesn't happen that shakes this roster up, Happ and Almora are platooning CF. It's fine for D but Almora is looking more like a 5th OF nowadays. And of course, with Heyward in right, that's not much offense.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I'd like to see Zo back. He would make a good bench piece, spot starter, pinch hitter, and double switch guy.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Time to move on from Zobrist. He turns 39 next year and is in decline both offensively and defensively.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    True, but his decline might be more variable than others 'never was'. Twenty sixth man, at least, until Nico is fully baked.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    I totally agree with you. If you look at the past 5 years, I believe last year was the outlier. As I stated before, there were numerous things that helped to cause last year to be a failure.

    Missing Zo was definitely one of them along with all the injuries at the end of the season. In fact, it seemed that "Murphys Law" began with Zo leaving. Then, all the injuries began happening toward the end of the season and they happened to our major players all at once (counting all the nagging injuries). This certainly was not the best situation to be in when you are in the middle of a pennant race.

    We actually "limped" to the finish line and along with all the games that previously left a bad impression on all of us during the season, it is easy to think "all is lost". However, with a few "key" acquisitions or maybe just some of our existing players stepping up, we will be in the pennant race again this year.

    Obviously, the Cubs players will be going into this season with a different mindset and, that alone, could make the difference. Our players have proven to have the abilities to win it all.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Fair assessments clark.

    I was happily surprised by Heyward's relative consistency on offense,... and how Schwarber and Happ finished out the season offensively,... But indeed a lot of the issues offensively - fairly or otherwise - trace to a lack of Zobrist and his on base consistency and leadership in the lineup. And Murphy's Law definitely applied to most of the end of last season.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Thanks Dr. The one good thing about Murphy's Law is that it is only temporary.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Or is it only temporary clark? :D

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Doc, I am not sure you are being sarcastic or simply didn’t look at the numbers on Heyward. If he was anything in ‘19 it WAS wildly inconsistent, not surprisingly consistent. His wRC+ month by month was 141, 62, 147, 94, 58, 109. There was zero consistency. 1st half he posted a .355 OBP with a .457 SLG. 2nd half .327 OBP with a .393 SLG. He is just a below average to bad hitter. It’s surprising to me he doesn’t get more grief from Cubs fans. His contract is an albatross and he is wasting about $6-$8 million in payroll every season as he is overpaid for his production level. Heyward has had 4 years of Murphy’s Law as a hitter.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I wasn't being sarcastic at all rb. Note - in particular - my use of the word "relative" as regards Heyward's consistency. Compared to his previous seasons - 2019 was at least near league average for hitting. But yes - his contract is an anchor relative to his worth.

    One thing to note about Heyward's 2019 though - as a leadoff hitter he was solidly terrible in 2019. Batting 5th, 6th or 7th in the order he was quite a bit better. Batting 6th (~150 PAs) he was 0.289/0.348/0.507. Batting 7th (also ~150 PAs) he was 0.262/0.349/0.421.

    He also was considerably more consistent when he wasn't playing CF, but rather RF. ~290 PAs giving 0.289.0.362/0.488 instead of ~290 PAs giving 0.215/0.325/0.371 from CF. He was basically at his worst when pressed into CF and when leading off. When he was out of CF and not leading off - he was fairly consistent.

    One might think those two things shouldn't make that big a difference - but management could have made better use of his strengths, while attempting to mask his weaknesses.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Last sentence in 1st parargrpah -- "at least near league average" -- therein lies the problem. We are paying nearly $20 million for a near league average hitter. SMH!!!

    With all the movement for KB, he didn't seem to have issues posting a great year. I just don't buy how playing a different defensive position affects what a player does in the box when hitting--especially an OF.

    We are stuck with him, so here's to hoping for that .280/.365/.480 campaign over a full season we thought we signed up for.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    They need to find a better #5 than relying on inhouse options.
    They still need a couple bullpen arms.
    Nico should start in AAA
    I'd like the Cubs to keep Bryant

  • Kind of sorry to see Cishek go....he was generally pretty solid......but, this was his last shot to score a good payday.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    He was good when he was. Last year he was not. I don't really want to rag on Joe but he did ride Cishek pretty freaking hard. I'm fine with watching him throw gopher balls on the South Side.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    He did have that one Marmol game that he blew but he delivered more than I ever expected since being acquired.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Marmol was a bad dude. Frustrating? Certainly. To both Cubs fans and opposing hitters.

    96 MPH whiffle balls.

    I can only imagine Javy on first base, tracking a Marmol pitch mid-flight in a tight game and trying to decide if the trajectory computes to an un-catchable offering and a break to second base.

    Information overload.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Towards the end he only threw the slider. Javy would score in 3 pitches or less haha

  • BP - Thank you for this. I wish I shared your optimism, but hope you are correct.

    1. I hope so. I haven't understood why this doesn't happen based on his stuff. This would be great if he were viable, but even his best likely isn't that great - if he is 2nd best SP, we probably had a bad year.

    2. See above -- In terms of likelihood, I think Heyward being down ballot MVP candidate is as likely as Robel Garcia having better numbers than Heyward. Both very unlikely.

    3. I don't think so just because they signed so many 2B. I assume (and based on quotes from him, he assumes) he starts at Iowa. Hopefully Nico forces the issue and gets up quickly.

    4/5: Javy and Theo seem right. Not as positive on Theo -- adding new draft guy, the hitter and pitcher labs, etc. seems like giving him ability to focus mostly on managing the operations, which might be what he wants.

    My predictions:

    * Bryant and Contreras both have monster years in 2020. It just isn't clear to me where those years occur. If they can maximize their value at midseason, I think trading Contreras is the wise move (Caratini is a serviceable MLB starting catcher and lots of depth here) while Bryant less clear (he is a generational talent and we have no 3B depth).

    * 2B remains unsettled until Nico arrives, CF remains unsettled all season. Nico forced into leadoff role, does ok but has normal rookie struggles.

    * When monies clear, Rizzo gets an extension.

    * Gallardo has a Marquez-like breakout season (w/o constant 100 mph gas though) while Albertos and De La Cruz become afterthoughts.

    * Work in lab with Jonathan Sierra leads to him becoming top hitting prospect. He, Roederer and Davis all shine.

    * Morrow comes back well, Kimbrel somewhat returns to dominant form and bullpen turns out....ok. Lots of inconsistency with many young arms in and out. Luke Hagerty makes MLB debut in August.

    * Schwarber and Happ have same type of season as this year...ups and downs that tease us with potential, leading us to keep them even though they aren't producing.

  • On paper, a nice trade by the Cards to give up spare pieces for a potential #2-3 starting pitcher that is still 2 years away from MLB action. I don't think those types of deals are in the DNA of our front office.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    What are you trying to say? "On paper, a nice trade by the Cards to give up spare pieces for a potential #2-3 starting pitcher that is still 2 years away from MLB action. I don't think those types of deals are in the DNA of our front office."

    What has the Cards done lately? Other than being given the Division last year through trades and by default, they have only been mediocre lately, at best. I am very glad the Card's current type of deals are NOT in the Cubs Front Office DNA.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    anytime a team trades for a high prospect pitcher that just finished A ball, a lot can happen. They guy the Cards traded for is a highly thought of 20 year old left-handed starting pitcher. So, on paper, this seems like a great trade. The pitchers can become a Jon Lester type or a Danny Hultzen type. I hope this clears it up for you. I'm glad the New Year has made you more cheery!!!!

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Rumor out there is Cardinals looking to trade the pitcher, Libratore, along with their top prospect, 3B Gorman, to Rockies for Arenado. That wouldn’t be good news for Cubs

  • Theo is probably sitting on a multiplayer trade or two that will blow us away, as he waits on the grievance.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't know how much more of the wait I can take. The decision better come by Monday. They've made their point. Let's move on!

  • Completely off topic, but has anyone seen Jayson Stark article about possible changes coming to baseball? I’ve always been against the DH, but this idea I could get behind.

    “[I]t’s hard to find anyone in the game who doesn’t believe that one of these years — possibly as soon as 2022, once the new labor deal is done — every team will be writing a DH into its lineup.

    But wait! Here’s one possible wrinkle that has been kicked around in behind-the-scene brainstorming sessions: How about a rule that would allow teams to use their DH only as long as their starting pitcher remained in the game? Then, once the starting pitcher exited, that game would revert to old-school rules.

    The more we think about this idea, the more we like it. Starting pitchers would no longer hit, which would eliminate some teams’ injury paranoia. It would create incentives to keep starters in the game longer, which could lead to more offense. And it would preserve some elements of late-inning managerial strategy that fans of ‘NL rules’ still love.”

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    If your starter gets shelled in the first inning, you'll waste your DH then?

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    I don't the the players union agreeing to this only because the DH is a highly compensated position and this move would be eliminating the salary value of this spot when at bats are reduced.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Will never happen. Makes no sense. A team will waste big money on a dh and he will get 1 at bat? The way pitchers are used these days, they only pitch 3-4 innings sometimes. Players union would never agree to this.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    That is one thing that may have to be tweaked to get that idea to work. Maybe the DH is guaranteed for 4 or 5 innings, so if the starter is shelled early, you don't lose him after only 1 AB.
    But it does add anther wrinkle for the managers, which I like. I just hope the NL doesn't go to straight DH like the AL. This would be much better if we have to have a DH in the National League

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    I am pretty sure this DH idea will never happen. I think the NL goes with the DH like the AL has at some point. It has never made sense to have 2 leagues have different rules. It is like the NFL had NFL rules for the NFC and Canadian football rules for the AFC.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I hope you’re wrong. I will never be a fan of the DH, but if it happens in the NL, I just hope it’s an idea like this

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    I would jump on this idea over the current dh rule. But still I prefer no dh of course.

  • If Bryant is the catalyst behind the service time grievance, why would he agree to to a salary without going to arbitration and fighting for a higher amount? Is Bryant the paper tiger for the players union and/or Boars?

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I thought the same thing when I just read his signing a few minutes ago.

    Good news is at $18.6 MM Bryant has huge upside value to a club as that number constitutes about a 2.5 WAR player. Bryant is likely to double that value playing more like a $30-$32 Million/year player in 2020.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Kris probably figured nothing ventured=nothing gained with the grievance, but it wouldn't be a good look fighting over a few arbitration $$.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    In Bryant's defense that one year makes a big difference for college draftees.

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    Mookie Betts just set an arbitration record with a $28M payday. I just want to mention that he was a 5th round draft choice. First rounders are very important, but the teams that succeed over time are those who can find talent in any round.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Mookie was Theo’s guy. The Red Sox had developed a program when Theo was there that tested how quickly a person’s brain can relay information to the body. So basically how quickly someone could recognize a pitch and react to it. Mookie scored higher than anyone ever has on that test. They would have drafted him in the first round if they had an inkling that another team was as interested. Mookie wasn’t much of a prospect, but they still took him in 5th just to make sure they didn’t lose him.
    I believe Theo will go hard after Mookie as a free agent next year. Which is another reason to get under the tax threshold this year because they plan on blowing through it next year. At least that is my hope

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    In reply to Cubpack:

    Thanks Cubpack. That's what I like about Cubs Den--someone always seems to know something about everything.

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    In reply to Cubpack:

    Does he employ that test with the Cubs?

  • I think adding arbitration contracts in the luxury tax calculation kind of defeats the purpose of growing your own talent. I thought the luxury tax was designed to keep teams like the yankees and dodgers from buying a championship team every year, so I dont think rookie or arbitration contracts should be included.

    I dont know what percentage that is for the Cubs but I think it doesnt make sense. If it is being used as competitive balance then only FA or new contracts should be included (obviously it would bring the luxury number down to compensate).

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    The luxury tax is working perfectly. It is keeping the big market Cubs from spending money, in two back to back off seasons!

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Is that the luxury tax or the fact cubs signed too many bad contracts????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yes and yes.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The Cubs have done a poor job with amatuer scouting, and player development. Yet Tom Ricketts has zero issues speaking about how Cubs are trying to make aggressive changes to improve player development. Changes, and spending will hopefully improve player development.

    Cubs could take the same approach for free agents! Spend money differently, go after a different kind of player. Cubs have chosen not to spend at all for two offseasons! I would say the luxury cap taxes, and penalties are the driving factor in the Cubs not spending.

    Castellanos, and Cubs zero real news about them even talking. Castellanos seemed like a good fit, who shouldn't cost too much.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Earlier I suggested to BarleyPop that we should have a column written on what we would like to see in the new CBA if we were the players/union and owners.

    You comment above is perfect for such a discussion and, to me at least, is a brilliant observation. I have never thought of it as you describe it but it makes a lot of sense.

    Couple that with a shocking tidbit I read today in MLB Trade Rumors......Brett Gardner is one of only five players drafted by the Yankees to collect 1,000 hits in pinstripes, joining Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Thurman Munson and Don Mattingly.

    For how great we perceive the Yankees organization over the years, this number is amazing. I wonder what it's like for other teams....similar, different?

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