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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Now what?

I’m hungover and at work.  This is probably going to be an incoherent mess.  I probably will end up disagreeing with some or all of this, probably sooner than later.  However, might as well start thinking about how the Cubs are going to approach this offseason. 

The easy route is making some small changes around the edges - maybe splurge on a reliever or two, bring a couple more long shot rebound types - and talk about being healthier and improving from within.  There’s probably some merit to that, and it very well could work.  They could burn it all down - fire Maddon, make a couple big, splashy trades, and spend a ton of money in FA.  Maybe there’s some merit to that too, but that still would be an overreaction.  I expect them to do something in between (wow, really going out on a ledge here, aren’t I), but it still very likely will be more turnover than we’ve been used to lately.  So, let’s break it up by area.

Coaching Staff
I don’t think I’d be stunned if they fired Maddon now, but I’d be a little surprised.  Robothal has a piece today that feels like a little more than just pure speculation to me.  Maybe it’s just someone sending out feelers to gauge the reaction, maybe it’s nothing.  I think I’d like them to move on from Chili Davis; how much credit or blame should he really get though?  The offense is really the problem here, and it’s so incredibly damning to see how the Red Sox and Cubs went in opposite reactions based on him. 

Hitters
Absolutely, positively will be back: Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, Heyward (he’s not going anywhere, and I don’t see any way they get rid of him).  Will not be back: Russell, Murphy. After that, I think everything else is in play.  I have some hope they’ll get *something* for Russell (look at the Osuna deal).  I think moving any of Schwarber, Happ, or Almora would be also selling them at a lower point in their value; none of them really are guys who’ve shown they should clearly be every day regulars, although you could make an argument for giving each of them a chance to play more.  I do think the Cubs are going to go pretty hard after one of Machado or Harper - though I don’t necessarily seeing them being able to outbid the Phillies (so much damn money available) or the Yankees/Dodgers if they really want one of them.  If they do get one of them, it’ll mean at least one of those 3 young guys becomes expendable trade bait.  I keep going back and forth on which one of them I’d prefer the Cubs to go after, and I think today I’m thinking Harper (he’ll cost less) and just putting him in LF (bye bye Schwarber); I really don’t want to see a regular OF of Schwarber/Heyward/Harper.  If they went after Machado, they could move Bryant to LF fulltime (again, bye bye Schwarber) or move Javy back to 2b (the lesser of those two options).   

I think the Cubs need a new backup catcher.  I’m actually ok with Caratini, but they need someone that can give Contreras a lot more rest.  Whether that’s a coaching thing that Joe just won’t play him, or a real reason they don’t like him getting regular appearances, they can’t expect Willson to play this much again and be worth anything with his bat.  I still hope that for Contreras, he just needs more rest and he’ll be fine.  The Cubs need a fulltime 2b and CF, but it very well could be those spots continue to be a rotation of in house guys (Almora/Happ/Zobrist/Bote/Heyward).  I can live with that (and Heyward getting most of the starts in RF) if they add a big bat elsewhere.  However, I have a suspicion that Cubs add someone else from the outside to fill one of those spots.  I like the idea of Bote and Zobrist as bench regulars who each start a few times a week, but think the Cubs are better if neither are counted on to start 140ish times (Zobrst, just due to his age, can’t really be expected to be this good again in this much PT). 

Bottom line, I think the Cubs end up with 2 new starting position players and a different looking bench.

Pitchers
Pick up Hamels’s option is step 1.  Find some way to make Chatwood disappear is step 2.  I don’t see the Cubs spending much money here at all (biggest expenditure will probably how much of Chatwood’s deal they have to eat).  Rotation is then set with Montgomery and Mills are the long men/6th starter options (I think I want Mills on the roster all year next year).  They need to add more guys at the AAA level that could also fill in as starters (who knows what to expect from Azolay, but he’s going to make some starts next year if he’s healthy).  I would expect them to make another Morrow/Cishek range signing, maybe a lefty since Wilson is most likely gone.  You have a solid bullpen base with Morrow (for the times he’s healthy)/Strop/Edwards/Montgomery.  Bullpens are hard to predict, so I’d again expect them to approach it with quantity.  In addition to Wilson being gone, I’d also expect Duensing, Kintzler, and Garcia to be removed one way or another.  Anything else is TBD, and I don’t have any specific guys in mind (I would love for Maples to figure his #### out).

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:27 AM | 220 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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