Winter Leagues Week 16

Good morning! With the chill of new-fallen snow, what a better way to warm up than with reports of our summer passion, baseball, from the sunny Caribbean! Today, the winter leagues wrap up as Venezuela crown a new champion with Cubs’ prospects playing a pivotal role. Cubs Den also names their Cubs Player of the Winter! For more information, take a look inside.

 

 

 

Venezuelan Winter League

Sunday –  Anzoategui 9 – Lara 6

Rafael Ortega photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Rafael Ortega photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Anzoategui ahead in the championship series two games to none, Sunday’s contest was tight before each team started getting into their bullpens. In the first four innings, the only tally was a solo home run by the Caribes’ Oswaldo Arcia. The tribe then opened things up in the fifth inning, When Cubs’ prospect Rafael Ortega doubled in the second run of the inning to put Anzoategui up 3-0. The Caribes would go on to score two more runs in the fifth to go up 5-0 on Lara.

After the Cardenales tightened things up with three runs in the top of the sixth, the Tribe was able to bounce right back. Anzoategui put up another four runs, highlighted by Ortega’s bases-clearing, three run triple. That would be all the Caribes needed as the bullpen wavered against the Redbirds in the final innings to make the final at 9-6 closer than the game seemed.

For the game, centerfielder Ortega was 2-for-5 with a double, triple, four RBI, and two runs scored. Ildemaro Vargas started at second base and batted second for Lara, going 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored.

Tuesday – Anzoategui 8 – Lara 7, 10 innings

Ildemaro Vargas by Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

Ildemaro Vargas by Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

Fighting for their playoff lives, Lara came out swinging on Tuesday. But the Anzoategui offense was too much for the Cardenales, as they was swept four games to none as it took 10 innings for the Caribes to beat them 8-7. Leadoff hitter Ildemaro Vargas got things started for the Redbirds in first with a walk. Vargas would then come around on a three-run homer from third baseman Carlos Rivero. The Tribe answered in the bottom of the first with two runs of their own.

Anzoategui then regained the lead in the third as Rafael Ortega had a one-out single and then stole second base. A base hit by second baseman Ali Castillo brought in Ortega and DH Oswaldo Arcia drove in Castillo.

The lead would change hands another five times, as Lara tied the game at 7-7 in the top of the ninth when Vargas doubled and scored on a single by centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez. In the bottom of the tenth, pinch-runner Cristian Pedroza scampered home on a close play as third baseman Niuman Romero delivered the walk-off single and championship to the Caribes.

In the game, Ortega would go 1-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored for victorious Anzoategui, while second baseman Vargas was 2-for-5 with a walk, double, and two runs scored for Lara.

Player of the Winter – Rafael Ortega, OF

Signed by the Cubs in November, Rafael Ortega has bounced around in six different organizations since being signed by the Rockies in 2008. That also includes four stints in the majors with the Rockies, Angels, Marlins, and Braves.

A veteran of the Venezuelan Winter League from as early as 17-years old, Ortega has compiled a lifetime slash line on .278/.374/.397/.771 with 11 home runs and 19 stolen base in 310 games over the past ten years.

This past season, Ortega was the catalyst for champion Anzoategui. While he hit in the second and third slot, Ortega primarily batted lead-off and went .301/.427/.480/.906 with 8 doubles, a triple, 4 home runs, 2 stolen bases, and 20 RBI in 35 regular season games.

The 29-year old left-handed hitter will competing for a roster spot in spring training to provide an extra option at both lead-off and in centerfield.

 

This concludes Cubs Den’s coverage of the winter leagues for this season. We hope you have enjoyed the updates.

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  • Thanks for the time and info you shared here, Tom.

  • With adding Chafin that puts the roster at 38

    I think they still need:
    1. A reclamation starter (innings guy)
    2. Utility infielder/outfielder
    3. Possibly another reliever?

    Any thoughts on who is out there and who might fit these spots for the cubs?

  • The starting rotation is the major problem. On paper, they look to be competing with the Orioles and Pirates for the worst rotation in the majors. I know that we keep hearing they plan to add a starter, but that was also before they spent on Chafin. My expectation is that guy will likely be Samardzija, that's not who'd I'd target - but that's who I expect they'll add. The rumor is Arrieta is too expensive, which obviously rules out somebody like Odorizzi or probably even someone like Porcello as well.

    They certainly still need depth and can probably find some in the form of minor league deals. Probably a couple of more arms to compete for spots and depending on their plan for Hoerner, some level of utility infielder. A late inning defensive replacement for Happ in center would be wise too (although that might be Miller).

    In the end, the rotation is probably bad enough that they'll likely be comfortably south of .500 regardless of how the offensive core performs. I'm thinking something like 76-86, but the division is bad enough that might still be enough to keep them in the hunt into September... I could totally see 79 wins being enough to take this division this year (as things stand right now).

    This is the first year since 2015 that I haven't gone into the season expecting the Cubs to be in the playoffs (and that would be true this year even if there 16 teams!!)

  • In reply to stephenwdavis:

    I think Samardzdija will want to be paid and Ross will piggyback the 5 spot in the rotation with our young and rehabbing guys, who are going to need innings to develop.

    I'm surprised that Pederson is being given the opportunity to be an everyday, instead of a platoon. I like the signing however it goes.

  • In reply to stephenwdavis:

    Cubs signed the one free agent starter who would take their big offer!!! T. Williams Ex-Pirate 1 year-$2.5 million. Cubs rule 5 pick pitcher in the Orioles system. Even with Hendricks, people could make a strong argument that Cubs might have the worse pitching staff in the majors?

    Off-season isn't over, but very disappointing- lose Schwarber for nothing, one trade for prospects, and less than $15 million spent on free agents so far. At least the Cubs have a middle of the road or worse farm system. Hope the Cubs make some good in-season trades, and spend big over the next few off-seasons.

    The Cubs are not being aggressive enough for me. I was expecting a few more trades for prospects, & many more value driven free agent signings.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    You could still get your wish.

  • Fangraphs currently has the Cubs projected to have the 3rd worst pitching staff overall, 3rd worst rotation and 3rd worst bullpen. Now with that being said, I do think that the projection systems seem to tend to sell the soft-tossing control pitchers short, especially Hendricks.Regardless, it's very easy to look at this roster and see a complete lack of depth. Any injuries at all and this team is cooked. Still time to add depth players on non-guaranteed deals though....

  • Almora Jr. to the Mets. As Albert' s hitting coach, I could add 40 points to his batting average. I'd recommend that he just 'go play'. That approach worked best for JHey as well. Sometimes it's better not to try too hard to change what works best for some hitters. Another example the Cubs tried to alter Castro's 'see ball, hit ball' approach with diminishing returns too.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Another failed top ten draft pick added to theo’s resume. One of many reasons he works for mlb commissioners office. Smart organizations see his reckless free agent signings and failure to develop a single pitcher that he drafted.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Yep, Theo was the worst. I guess he is just the luckiest GM in baseball history.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Then I guess you like the present state of this team? Should have won another World Series. The heyward signing is the worst free agent deal in cubs history. Worst of all is that we did not even heyward for 2016. Heyward is still on the payroll for the next 8 years. Think about that! Theo did not step away by his choice. Rickets had enough of this guy.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    From 2007-2016 there were 10 world series champions and theo was responsible for 3 of them.

    It is easy to cherry pick bad signings (I dont count heyward as one of them). But you can't possibly argue with his ability to find hitters. He knew to sign innings eating starters who have a history of health. Yes his weakness was developing pitchers but at least he didn't waste high draft picks on them.

    Appel was the pick many wanted over Bryant, thank goodness Theo had the correct strategy.

    Thank you Theo, I just wish my grandpa could have lived long enough to see 2016!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Some org was going to draft him. I'll wait to see what he does in NY to say that. All I know is, that he came to professional ball as a confident hitter and left Chicogo with no clue. My point is, if coaches had done nothing, he would have been a better hitter. Maybe that that just happens sometimes. I wish Albert and Theo the best.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agree. I think joe screwed him up big time by platooning him a few years ago. Iirc wasn’t he leading the league in hitting at some point and joe still wouldn’t commit to him?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    AA was never the same after the foul ball he hit nailed the little girl in Houston. I wonder if he ever got over that.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Agree, that incident was emotional for AA, and definitely flattened his game, but he was already struggling. I'm pulling for him in New York. Almora seems to have a 'baseball rat' feel to him, or use to have. I hope that Albert hangs in the mlb, even if he is not star quality.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    He had already slipped and was producing a 93 wRC+ at the time of the foul ball. He fell off drastically after the foul ball incident with his 41 wRC+ -- one of the all time worst splits ever. He just never got over the hump. After a feeble 4 HR season in nearly 500 at bats, he tried to turn on power with 12 HR the following year but his walk %, AVG, OBP, and SLG all suffered culminating with a -17 OWar in less at bats. He comes across as a genuine dude. And a likeable guy. He just lost the ability to hit at even a below average clip. He became one of the 3 worst hitters in all of baseball. Maybe a fresh start was needed. Wish him well when not facing the Cubs.

  • Well, Villar has signed a major league contract with the Mets. There are still second base options out there, but I surmise that the plan all alone was that Nico Hoerner was always going to be on second in Chicago. Many figured that Nico needed more time in the minors, but apparently his train ticket to Iowa left the station without him. The Cubs have bigger holes to fill and Hoerner will have to learn on the job at the plate.

  • I heard on 1000am that (I believe) pecota has the cubs at 85 wins and the white sox at 83 wins. Boy would that be funny!!!

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    And 85 wins would put the cubs in the playoffs.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    That would be something. I am not sure I can see the Sox under 90 wins. Can the Cubs break 80? It’s possible.

  • I was just reading, that Ryan Bauwn is thinking about retiring. I'd love to have him on the Cub bench for the short side of the days off for Pederson and JHey plus DH duty when appropriate. Pederson plays right field and Brawn would kick a few balls in left, but he still could do a ton of damage at the plate. I know his history. Still, even though he not what he once was, that is ome dangerous s o b with a bat in his hands. Ryan might not need much money at this point. Maybe Jed should kick the tires?

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Never Braun. Never.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I guess so. We do have Phillip Ervin for that role. With the game on the line I'd rather have Brawn at the plate. Anyway, Ryan got caught using roids. I doubt Jed had any interest. Just a thought about a player who hits with authority.

  • Any chance Tom or Michael plan to pen a pre-season minor league feature? I would be interested in how they anticipate the Cubs will deploy their shortstop prospects, and where Kohl Franklin might play.

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    I just saw that BA has the Cubs farm system rated at #17. That's an increase from #22 last year, and including the youngsters we got in the Yu trade.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'm definitely curious how it pans out. Keith Law ranks it #26, "...the organization is really short on potential stars after Brennen Davis..."

  • In reply to cubs09:

    There are many very young players in the Cubs farm system. Depending on how they develop, the Cubs may have quite a few potential stars. Some have compared Christian Hernandez to Arod and Manny Machado. If that is not a potential star I don't know what is. We just have to be patient. I lump Keith Law with the Trib's Sullivan. They like to talk/write but I don't take them seriously.

  • In reply to John57:

    I might be drinking the koolaid, but I agree. I feel like the Cubs have some potential good players in the system.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    I also like the Cubs minor league system. More teams are putting more resources into the minors than ever before. It seems to be paying off, for far more teams than the Cubs! Cubs seem to be heading in the right direction with amateur scouting and player development, but still should be hyper-focus on improving/coping what the better organizations are doing. Spend more bucks on those departments.

    How much influence, and impact will Dan Kantrovitz, and the remade player development department have on the Cubs scouting/development for the draft/international free agent? Truly hope Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod can stand back, and let the new guys take over that part of the Cubs organization. Those two found very little in the way of hidden amateur talent after years of trying!!

    Outside of the Darvish trade, not a fan of Jed Hoyer's off-season playbook. Darvish trade was bold. Everything else reeks of the past few off-season. Signing a veteran CF with over 2,000 plate appearances, & career .281 OBP. Why? What wrong with giving minor league free agents M. Hermosillo, I. Miller, or anyone else a chance to have a .281 OBP in 2021. Signing mediocre veterans to fill out the bottom of the roster with guaranteed deals year after year- hurts player development! Cubs absolutely were a top heavy team with talent since 2015, and this front office could not take chances with the bottom 20% of the roster.

    Nico is the potential future, give him the AB's. Give him a chance to figure it out for at least the first half of 2021 season.

    On paper the whole NL east might be better than the Cubs, and of course Dodger and Padres might be the two best team in all of MLB.

    I hope the Cubs are in complete sell off mode. If the best you can do is get back some athletic 18 year old, that is better than nothing.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think BA has it pretty close. My guess before the rankings came out was 18-22 before the Yu trade. I think guys like Jensen, Riley Thompson & some others are being under rated as a collective. A guy like Roederer could also have a big impact on their ranking if he takes that next step. I am looking so forward to the minor league season to see where & how the prospects improved.

  • Marisnick is already what we had hoped Almora would become.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm not a fan of signing players like Marisnick. I know he is inexpensive. Cubs endless quest for experienced depth for the 22nd to 26th man on the roster. Roster flexibility is actually more important than Marisnick fielding, & experience.

    I personally would rather have seen the Cubs use the Chafin, Williams, & Marsnick money-$6.75 million on one player.

    Taking a chance with the bottom of the roster is where other large market teams find players. Yankees found good production from Voit, Urshela, & Tauchman. Cubs found some ok relief pitchers by being forced to take some chances in 2020.

  • News that Jake to sign with the cubs for 1 year around $7M

  • In reply to stix:

    Sounds good but it depends on Jake's health. I remember many Cub fans wanted to sign him instead of Darvish. Looks like Theo made the right choice between Jake and Yu 3 years ago. Now let's rejuvinate Jake once again. :-)

  • In reply to John57:

    Sorry, I'm not excited about this signing. Jake is on the downside of the 'has been' curve. I know that we need innings, but? I hope that I'm wrong. I like the Williams signing better.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Of course he is not the pitcher of 2015 and 2016. He is 34 going to turn 35 soon. Darvish is 34 and Lester is 37. The last two years he has had some health issues but is apparently healthy now. He hears what some are saying and he wants to prove them wrong. I would not bet against him. He took very good care of his body. I would guess he could last several more years doing OK or better.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed 44. I hate to say it but this sounds like a nostalgia signing. Arrietas stats and peripherals are on a clear downward trajectory, and I think they could’ve done better for $7 million in this cheaper Covid environment. I want them to sign starting pitchers on 1 year deals in order to sign and flip them. I’m not sure Arrieta is a good signing from that vantage point, as he’s seemingly in an obvious downward trend. To me this signing is more for marketing purposes. This isn’t the type of signing you make if you have a plan, and are strategically building for the long run. There’s better sign and flip candidates then Jake, but too often teams prefer someone they know then someone they don’t know. Woulda prefer a bounce back candidate like archer or someone whose not clearly past their physical primes.

  • The cubs have swapped Darvish, Lester, Chatwood and Quintana for Davies, Williams, Arrietta, Shelby Miller, and Kohl Stewart. Which group will do better in 2021? Hendricks, Mills and Alzolay are the holdovers. Abbott, Brailyn Marquez with probably Shelby Miller and Kohl Stewart too starting in triple A to get ready for possible call up. Starting pitching is not great but is not terrible either.

  • Now they have a few hot commodities to flip. With Bryant, Pederson, Arrieta, Kimbrel, Davies, William's etc. the deadline haul could be substantial.

    Of course the tricky part is if those guys are flippable are fans OK with a contending Cubs flipping these guys?

    I am. Because they are no way on the same level with the Dodgers and Padres.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    If the team is doing well they might not be flipping as much as you think. They might even extend some of them like Davies who is relatively young. But if they get blown away by an offer, then I can see them making a trade. We will have to wait to see what happens.

  • That will be the dilemma. Would you rather watch Marquez and Alzolay than William's and Arrieta? Plus a restocking of our prospect inventory?

    It will be hard to do if they are pitching well. But 2021 & 2022 will be the years to do it.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Definitely Alzolay over Williams. I think Marquez should have 5 or 6 AAA starts or more before getting brought in. I would have liked to see Abbott & Steele get some starts. However, it looks like it’s reclamation & minimal upsides vs finding out what these guys in their own system can do.

  • I am surprised no articles since February 1st? Does this sight need writers?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Being a writer is demanding as far as time, knowledge, and ability. Those who can do it have to make a living, have family needs, and other responsibilities. It's still a good, if not the best vehicle, for participation in Cub discussion for fans like the numerous Denezans here. I'm not sure what lies ahead though. It's volunteer work.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    The only articles since the new year are on the winter leagues. The site is dying. I wonder if they have given any consideration to repurposing it as a Cubs forum of some sort. I am not sure how that works.

  • Long time since writing.
    I am disappointed in Cubs lack of boldness 9n not beginning a teardown already. The White Sox hesitated but finally gave up on piecemeal rebuilding. Their trades of Quintana for Jimenez and Cease, and Sale for Kopech and Moncada were extremely shrewd. The Cubs should have gotten more for Yu Darvish and traded Kris Bryant before the league mastered his weakness.
    They still can trade Bryant, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras for up and coming players.
    With their pathetic starting pitchers they are not a legit contender.
    I am a lifelong Cubs fan but it is hard to say that I will watch a lot of Sox games this year, but they are truly an exciting team. They will have a great battle with the Twins and eventually the Yankees.
    There will be demand for Bryant, Baez and Contreras and possibly Davies. Hoyer’s destiny and the Cubs’ is tied to making wise trades.
    And why is nobody talking about Ed Howard as Javy Baez’s replacement?

  • In reply to Swarf:

    How could anyone know about Howard's future, as he has yet not played a pro game. It's too early. As for trades, it takes a trade partner with some return.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    The weakness has been top & bottom of the batting order. Lack of hitting by the guys who should have been hitting. Thus letting some guys walk this year. The pitching kept them in games for the most part. Davies, Arrieta & Alzolay aren’t Yu, but are they as good as Q, Chatwood &/or Lester? I personally think Alzolay is going to be a ToR guy eventually.

    That said, the other weakness not addressed is the late inning setups other than reupping Chafin. Losing Jeffress & to some extent Osich. I’m wondering if they feel Underwood will take that next leap They still have Wick & Ryan, but I think another solid guy might be needed. Maybe they’re finally going to go with some sink or swim guys like Maples, Norwood, Steele & Adam if they survive the 2 looming 40 man roster cuts. Some if not all could be about out of options anyway.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Underwood is another failed high draft pick by Theo Epstein. Alzolay will be lucky to crack any starting 5 in any year.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I cant believe they hired that Epstein guy. He set Cubs baseball back 100 years!

    Honestly, Oldno7 please don't cherry pick to fit your narrative.

    I believe (I havent looked it up) the Cubs had the best record in baseball from 2015-2020. The best 6 year stretch for the Cubs since the early 1900's.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Looked it up it was 4 years 2015-‐2018

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Alzolay actually pitched pretty well. Underwood had his moments of really good & a few bad. But thanks for your very informative insights.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    You’re welcome. Underwood will be 27 in July. He has logged a total of 36 innings for the mlb club in his career. Time to cut bait with his 1.500 whip in 2020. Not someone I want in my pen or starting rotation.

  • Maples may be the most intriguing possible Cub. The guy needs therapy more than a pitching coach. Watching him pitch is an ordeal but we saw another headcase in the bullpen emerge last year. Let Maples pitch himself into a rhythm even if it costs a couple games. This team isn’t going anywhere without a miracle, so let him throw the cutter(or whatever it is) until he claims his confidence . If he fails, well, trade him to the Pirates or Orioles.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Cubs have been trying to harness Maples control for a decade.

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    Something a lot of you may have missed, but with the signing of Jake, you also add a good hitter to your lineup on the days he's pitching, and also add another pinch hitter without using up a position player on the bench, just a silver lining in the clouds.
    Off topic I do think our minor league prospects are looking up, and with the upcoming MLB draft and IFA draft, along with the trade deadline deals, we could position ourselves nicely with the 22 free agency, we could have a ton of money to throw around to improve quickly, just have to get baseball back to normal and get fans back.
    Living in Tempe and unable to watch our minor league camp last year and this year, so far, is killing me. I watched all our youg players come through, especially starting in 13 and 14,and now we are starting to see some good prospects in the chain again is exciting. Go Cubs!!!

  • In reply to tater:

    An informal observation I had when several years ago when Arrieta was a Cub, Kris Bryant had good days at the plate more times than not when Ariela pitched. Guess we will see if that holds up this year.

  • Jake's bat is a good point, but not a major one. Getting hitters out is. As the days go by, I'm feeling a little better about signing Arrieta. It's not impossible that has a good year in him, and either help win something for us, or be a good flip candidate at the deadline. I wasn't one who wanted to punt this year, I want to fight.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    We are all disillusioned by the season ending soown the last three years from our core, but rebounds happen occasionally. On paper, the roster looks similar or even less, but there are some new faces and its a new year?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Didn't Jake have some bone chips taken out of his elbow in 2019? He also had a minor hamstring problem last year in 2020. They say he is healthy right now. I would not be surprised if Jake had a good year. Not 2015 or 2016 good but good for a 35 year old former Cy Young winner. Plus he could really take a few young pitchers under his wing and teach them a thing or two. For 6M he seems like a good signing IMO.

  • In reply to John57:

    Exactly - especially the bit about taking some of the youngsters under the wing. $6M is a very good price for what Jake brings to the table. Now - if he can only stay healthy.

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    Not really saying it was a good sign or not, would have preferred someone like Walker, but anything is better than nothing, this year is a stepping stone to Hoyers future Cubs...

  • Obviously, the Cubs feel that the nl central is worth competing for, and I like it. With Darvish/Caratini trade Jed was able to wrestle away some of the Padres future for ours and salvage our 2021 season with a competent middle of the rotation veteran pitcher. Pretty smooth work for our new leader. And saving beaucoup dollars for any extensions and appropriate this or next year's free agent signings. Well played!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    are we getting Strop too? Jake and Pedro are a pair hard to break up it seems.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    July should be interesting. If things pan out right, they could have a player for any need. Need a starting pitcher: Davies. Lefty slugger: Pederson. Closer: Kimbrel. Third baseman: Bryant. Catcher: Contreras. And more.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    The Cubs will be one stop shopping for contenders looking to unload their young talent.

  • I like the Arrieta signing - the price is good, and the buyout/option terms for next year are also not bad. No - he's not likely to be the Ace that we remember from 2015 and 2016,... but if he's able to go 140 or more IP (20-25 starts) and has similar performance to what he did that first year with the Phillies when he wasn't hurt (ERA less than 4.00, WHIP 1.2-1.3) he's worth the money and we know he's a good influence and a competitor. The contract is also a good one to flip in the summer if the team is not doing well and is looking to be a seller.

    Am looking forward to seeing if Strop has anything left in the tank as well. He was easily one of the best and most consistent RPs I have seen on the Cubs roster for a lot of years.

    A rotation of Hendricks, Davies, Arrieta, Mills + the grab-bag of current #5/#6 contenders actually doesn't look bad,

  • This is the time of year when I become real optimistic. When pitchers and catchers report, I'm all in. The roster for 2021 is solid. Let's rebound and win this thing. The Cubs don't look as good on paper as some teams do, but so what! Or do they? As is often noted the game isn't played on paper. Basically the Cubs have the same core, that won it all in 2016, and have been to the playoffs for five of the last six years. What happens between the lines is what counts. The kicker is that we will have some money to spend in 2022 an beyond for extensions and free agents. It's a great time to be a Cub fan. Enjoy the ride fellow Denizens.

  • Cubbies are loaded with flippable assets. Honestly, we need, Arrieta, William's, Davies, Kimbrel, Robertson?, Bryant, Pederson to be killin' it at the deadline. We could keep reloading for 2022.

    Of course if they are all playing well. We will more than likely be in first place.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    And if they are in first place the Cubs will be buyers.

  • Cameron Maybin was useful for the Cubs last year. So I think that that is a good signing. It would not surprise me if we see quite a bit of him in Wrigley. He can fill in any outfield position for an injured starter and hang on both sides of the ball when needed. Runs the bases too.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think that Ross will be playing KB in the outfield again against some lefties at one of the corners. Otherwise, I don't think Jed would risk the DFA of Ervin. Also, it gets Bote' s bat in.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Well, I guess it also would give more options on getting Marisnick in center, who hits lefties pretty good, moving Happ to a corner. Cubs should be exceptional on defense. Ross will get to mix and match quite a bit with this roster. Joe Maddon well be envious. Excuse my excitement, but this team is going to be very competitive. Many a Debbie Downer will be in for a surprise.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    While I'm beating my DieHard chest, how about that ace of the staff Kyle Hendricks guy. The next off year he has will be his first. With big Jon, Jake, and Yu, the Cubs were blessed with second a stopper with the professor ready to save the day. Anybody want to bet against him having another Hendricks year.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Is the Cubs lineup even the best in Chicago?

    I think a successful 2021 season for the Cubs is winning on some sell off trades.

    I hope Jed Hoyer packages players together, and make trades in volume like the Cubs have never done before. Can the Cubs bite the bullet and sell off the core? Cubs are not in the position to let players walk for nothing like Schwarber. It is hard to imagine a single trade netting the Cubs a great return in 2021, that is why I hope Jed trades players in volume. I'm all in on trading every pending free agent, and more if necessary.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I hope Jed makes trades that make sense and not make trades for the sake of making trades. We essentially traded Schwarber for Pederson. I say we won that because Pederson is a little better than Kyle and cost a little less. No team out there was going to give us prospects and take Kyle on with a $10M salary. At this point Kyle has no surplus value to trade for.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Seems to me that one could make a pretty good argument that the Cubs have had one of the best lineups the last six years with this core. They have struggled the last couple, but it's not an addition by subtraction yet. There is no point in giving away former or even current All Stars still in their prime years for pedestrian talent, because they only have one year of control. That's one year that we have them and one year that twenty-nine other orgs do not. This core is good at baseball and are Cubs, who got us to the playoffs five out of six years, and won a World Series. I make no assumption, that it cannot happen again.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I assume Bryant, Contreras, & maybe others were shopped a lot. Nothing Cubs have done this off-season beside signing Pederson shows me they are trying to win in 2021. I think, I understand the Darvish deal. Sort of like some of Cubs other off-season moves.
    I didn't see the Cubs trying to compete much in 2021 off-season- beside the standard guys must perform better.

    Cubs won't find the next Hendrix, Strop, or anyone else if Cubs refuse to pull the band-aid, and make trades. Nothing is stopping the Cubs from acquiring prospects even second tier talent, and then using the surplus in future trades. Other teams do stuff like that. Cubs are in the habit of keeping even secondary pieces until they have very little trade value. I hope they break that habit, based on revenue alone they should dominate the NL Central.

    Cubs are going to have to spend, & hopefully develop/find a few young players to help build the next winner.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I wouldn't trade Bryant or Contreras for second tier talent and I don't think Jed would either. Now, if July comes around and the Cubs would have to jump two or three teams in the standings to get to the post, that would be different. I believe it's possible that this roster can hang. Williams and Arrieta are thrilled to be here and have had success in the past. Hendricks is an ace. Pederson is more of an All-around talent, Hoerner is a year older, Bryant and Baez are better than they looked in 2020 etc. It's not a juggernaut, but enough to be hopeful for better days. I wouldn't want to start a season thinking that our best payers need to traded for whatever we can get. When one can't fight with the team that they wish that they were, he fights with team that he has. Maybe we fall short again, maybe not. I'm all in either way.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I hope Bryant does not play OF. He looks unsure out there and that is where he hurt his wrist or thumb last year. Let's keep him healthy and playing onthe dirt.

  • In reply to John57:

    I've made that same statement, but the Cubs will need their best right hand bats in the lineup against lefties. Actually, I agree, Kris does look like he is feeling his way out there. I'm sure he and the team are hoping for a healthy year.

  • I predict that Vargus and Bote fill out the infield depth and Marisnick and Maybin will be the forth/fifth outfielders. Looks like Jed and Ross are focused more on defense and hitters who give them good at bats and put the ball in play, more so than just three outcome at bats and pedestrian defense.

  • For those who think that Nico needs more time in triple A, they could correct, but it looks like second is his to lose. He will have to hit his way back, or should say 'not hit' his way back. Vargas and Bote wiill have some say in the competition.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I tend to agree on both points 44. I think he would benefit greatly from a half-season or so of at-bats against AAA competition, and that Bote especially would benefit from regular at bats and a relatively stable IF defensive position. Vargas I'm not as sold on, but then again I haven't seen or read much about him.

    But - especially if Hoerner has a bunch of good spring training at bats - he's going to be hard to argue against as starting the season as a regular at Wrigley.

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