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Monday, December 18, 2017

Status of the Roster mid-December

Figured it was a good time for a new thread, but it’s also time to take a step back and look at how things stand for the Cubs right now.  The Cubs still have some moves to make, though they could field a 25 man roster today if they absolutely had to. 

Catchers
Contreras, TBD. 

I haven’t seen many rumors linking the Cubs to any backup catcher FAs as of yet.  Obviously, Caratini is an option, but as we’ve gone over before it would appear the Cubs are enamoured/comfortable with his defense back there.  I’d expect the Cubs to sign some sort of veteran type, but this is far from a priority and I’d guess the Cubs are just waiting for the right time to get someone on the cheap.  If they sign someone for more than 1 year (which there isn’t a need to), I’d guess Caratini is on his way out in a trade.

Infielders
Rizzo, Bryant, Russell, Baez, LaStella.

For the purposes of this post, I’m classifying both Happ and Zobrist as OFs, but that could change if there were a trade.  I’d expect TLS to stay on the team as the PH extraodinaire, but if someone came calling he’s also quite expendable.  Bote is now on the 40 man roster, so that’s at least one other guy that can play SS, but there’s always room for a NRI come spring training.

Outfielders
Heyward, Schwarber, Almora, Happ, Zobrist.

If the Cubs don’t make a trade of a position player for a pitcher, I’d expect the 12 hitters are going to be the 11 guys above plus the backup C.  Like the IF, there’s room for a NRI or two here.  I could also see the argument that TLS is totally replaceable and the Cubs should find another guy who can handle CF defensively.  I don’t really have strong feelings there, though at the moment I lean towards TLS and the extra bench bat since Happ and Heyward both can cover in CF (so could Bryant in a pinch). 

Rotations
Hendricks, Lester, Quintana, Chatwood, TBD.

That TBD is by far the biggest remaining question this offseason.  The Cubs have been linked to Cobb forever, but I’ve started seeing that the Cubs aren’t interested in paying him $20mil/yr.  That has now led to rumors of the Cubs “kicking the tires” on Darvish.  Signing Darvish would make a ton of sense, depending on the deal.  It’s pretty hard to predict what’s going to happen in the SP market, but it’s interesting that Chatwood is the biggest SP that’s signed anywhere so far (CC resigned in NY on a 1 year deal; then you had a reliever and a guy from Japan sign).  So maybe Darvish is signable on a deal not too much higher than $20mil/yr.  Maybe Arrieta’s market is coming back to earth too (though it’s Boras, and his guys usually do wait it out and end up getting paid).  The other option is that position player trade, with guys like Archer and Duffy being mentioned - the package would be quite a bit bigger for the former than the latter.  Montgomery is the guy that could get plugged in today, though I think everyone besides him would rather get an upgrade.

Bullpen
Morrow, Cishek, Strop, Wilson, Edwards, Montgomery, TBD, TBD.

The Cubs have a number of guys that are options for those last 2 spots - Alvarez, Maples, Tseng, Mills, Butler, Zastryzny, but all signs seem to point that the Cubs are going to get one more FA.  There were some Davis rumblings - again, the closer market hasn’t developed at all, so perhaps there’s a smaller deal option there - but that’s going to depend on what happens with the last SP spot.  You’d have to guess the Cubs would want one of those spots to be usable to move guys up and down from Iowa, and almost all of the internal options have options. 

Predictions, thoughts, opinions?

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 18, 2017 at 11:22 AM | 186 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Spahn Insane Posted: January 18, 2018 at 09:38 AM (#5608616)
I don't understand why Reed went to Minny rather Wrigley (or why the Cubs didn't pursue him)... The Reed signing thread theorized that he was going to get to close - but I saw a Minny beat writer via rotoworld say that the Twins say the job is still Fernando Rodney's.

Perhaps Reed's betting this is the year Rodney finally coughs up the closer's role. (This doesn't seem unreasonable, though it feels like we've been waiting for it to happen for around 15 years. Rodney is the Rasputin of relievers.)

But yeah, I would've thought the Cubs would've been more strongly in on Reed, especially since they might've offered him the nominal closer slot. Reed isn't dominant like a Chapman or Davis (v. 2014-16), but he's been durable and solidly above average.
   102. Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2018 at 01:33 AM (#5610751)
he's been durable and solidly above average.

Depends on the role. Maybe. I wish there was an easy way to identify who the "high leverage" relievers are in P-I but I haven't been able to think of one. But, for 2015-17, individual seasons with 20+ saves .... 73 qualifying seasons, the median ERA+ is 156. The list will be biased upwards somewhat since pitchers who started the season as the closer but didn't do well won't have made it to 20 saves and would have been replaced by the hot reliever who maybe made it 20 saves before cooling off. Anyway, that kinda makes Roberto Osuna the "typical" closer of the last 3 years (159, 160, 137). Pretty much everybody above that line is either a top closer or a top set-up guy ... with a few flashes in the pan. The guys below that line are clearly a step down and almost none of them have held the closer role for long (or got hurt).

I guess another way to look at it is to identify guys who've made at least 150 relief appearances over the last 3 years. That produces 98 players with a median ERA+ around 127. The upper quartile is in the upper 140s. That suggests maybe 145 is around where "legit closer" starts. If we chop that list down further to guys with FEWER than 40 saves (basically no more than one season at closer in the last three), there are 75 pitchers and the median ERA+ is 124.

Anyway, like a lot of relievers (including guys on that list), Reed has been up and down. For his career, he's got a 122 ERA+ and 1.16 WHIP -- I suspect that's pretty close to average for "high-leverage 1-inning reliever." He was at 154 in 2017 and 204 in 2016 and those are both very good. But the 250 innings before that were just 102 ERA+. Maybe that's a sign of a guy who's come into his own and is now good enough to go into the elite reliever group. Reed is 7th on that last list I looked at because of those last two seasons. (Strop is 16th by the way.) He jumps to 3rd by FIP (Strop 13th). So he does seem like he's probably as good a bet as any reliever outside the top 10-20.

Jared Hughes -- go figure. Apparently still used in lower-leverage situations, but he's been a pretty nice reliever the last three years. In terms of results at least, lousy FIP.
   103. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 22, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5610840)
I imagine that the Cubs would like to try and avoid hitting that with the last SP signing so they have room at midseason for whatever type of upgrade they need to make.

Considering the state of the farm I don't think the Cubs should plan around the ability to make any impactful midseason acquisitions.

And I too thought the Cubs would be in on Reed. Without any further acquisitions the 2018 bullpen is worse on paper than the 2017 version.
   104. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: January 22, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5610850)
Considering the state of the farm I don't think the Cubs should plan around the ability to make any impactful midseason acquisitions.


Yeah - the prospect lists are also NOT being kind to the Cubs (not that anyone expected otherwise). They'd have a rough time crafting a package to get a backend rental... salary cast-offs aside.

I agree that the bullpen looks even worse than last year, but I'm not terribly concerned about that - so much variance and who knows that, well, who knows...

It really feels like the Cubs are placing a risky upside bet on the pitching.... Hendricks getting back to 2016 form. Lester bouncing back. Chatwood hitting high end expectations. Enough of the live arms in the pen staying healthy and learning to throw strikes. Certainly not impossible SOME of those things happen, but feels like a bad bet to essentially trust all or most of them to happen.

Could be a rocky year... though, they've still got a good defense behind the questionable pitching and I feel like the offense ought to be able to play with anyone.
   105. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 22, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5611038)

I agree that the bullpen looks even worse than last year, but I'm not terribly concerned about that - so much variance and who knows that, well, who knows...


It's a product of the 2016 team being so good (and it's kind of illogical) but it's depressing to watch a net outflow of talent the last couple of offseasons. The Cubs may yet surprise me by doing something bold but I've resigned myself to Alex Cobb and the 2018 Cubs being spreadsheetedly weaker in both the rotation and the bullpen. They still project to be one of the best 3 teams in the NL (which is really really good). And yet.
   106. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5611601)
Without any further acquisitions the 2018 bullpen is worse on paper than the 2017 version.

As hard as bullpens are to predict, I don't see any reason to really assume the bullpen will be worse, at least compared to what we thought going into last season. Davis was a bit of a question mark coming off his injury, we really had no idea what to expect out of Rondon or Strop due to their injuries/ineffectiveness late, I think we had high hopes for Edwards, Duensing was panned/dismissed, and Montgomery was support to be ok. They were good in the first half, and then terrible in the 2nd half/playoffs. I'd guess/predict the pen as currently constructed is better than that 2nd half/playoff group but a little less certainty at the end without Davis, but won't be as good as the first half pen. I see some potential to be pretty good, but outside of the Yankees pen what bullpen would you say with any confidence is going to be good?
   107. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5611605)
Cubs signed Chris Gimenez to a minor league deal, which whatever, fine. But it's supposedly possibly notable because Darvish apparently likes throwing to him. And the Cubs are actively talking with Darvish.

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN 2h2 hours ago

If Yu Darvish, 31 years old, winds up with a 5-year deal worth something in the range of $100m-$125m, that would be a heck of a contract in the current market. A 6-year offer might represent a possible tipping point for an interested team.


That's all speculation, but if he can be signed for that deal, holy hell jump all over it already.
   108. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 23, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5612156)
Mooney at the athletic:

The Cubs are setting their sights on Yu Darvish, trying to land the star Japanese pitcher who could help them get back to the World Series.

The Cubs remain involved in the Darvish negotiations, a source said Tuesday, as Major League Baseball’s long winter might finally be starting to thaw for one of the top free agents on the open market.

...


While the Associated Press reported Monday night that the Cubs are in “active talks” with Darvish’s camp, it’s not clear whether either side truly deactivated since their face-to-face meeting last month in Texas.

But there is a sense that the negotiations have recently picked up momentum, with Darvish’s options not limited to the teams identified publicly: the Cubs, Dodgers, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers.


Really nothing more, but iirc Mooney usually is pretty vague, though accurate, when talking about rumors like this.
   109. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: January 24, 2018 at 08:52 AM (#5612245)
Possible that they're all traceable to a single source, but yes - lots of rumors now that the Cubs are trying to get a Darvish deal done.

I approve.
   110. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 25, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5613171)
Some pretty direct quotes from Theo on the Cubs closer usage:

“When we signed [Morrow], we told him, in our minds, he was our closer unless somehow, we were able to bring back Wade Davis,” Epstein said. “It’s the best role for him.”

“With Wade going exclusively in the ninth, that structure allowed him to stay healthy and thrive,” Epstein said. “That should serve Morrow well also. This is one of the areas where optimal analytical usage butts against reality. The best way to play someone like Morrow is matching up against different parts of the order in different innings. That’s where you can get the greatest impact from a shutdown guy. But in reality, using him the way we used Davis should allow him to thrive over what we expect is a seven-month season. I’ll take suboptimal usage on a nightly basis for a better chance to stay healthy over the course of seven months.”


I've assumed as much with how Joe used Chapman/Davis during the regular season vs playoffs, but sounds like almost an official organizational philosophy.
   111. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 25, 2018 at 06:55 PM (#5613562)
Yelich is a really nice get for the Brewers. They can still spend big if they want on another SP.

Edit: rumors are they're also trying to sign Cain. Interesting.
   112. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 25, 2018 at 07:36 PM (#5613579)
Cransick:
Lorenzo Cain has agreed on a 5-year, $80M deal with the #Brewers, source says. It’s the biggest free agent contract of the offseason. The deal includes no-trade protection and significant award bonuses. Milwaukee building a super outfield with addition of Yelich and Cain.

   113. Voodoo Posted: January 25, 2018 at 07:57 PM (#5613585)
Damn. The Brewers are NOT ####### around this off-season.
   114. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 26, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5613938)
Today's rumor non-update from Heyman:

The Chicago Cubs are viewed as having a decent chance to land top free agent starter Yu Darvish, though it isn’t known where the negotiations currently stand.

The Twins, Brewers, Phillies and Yankees have shown interest as well, but some folks around the game see the Cubs as the favorite, for various reasons. Though one source familiar with the Cubs’ situation said nothing had changed in the several weeks from the time of their offer until the day the AP reported they were in “active talks” a few days back, others are assuming – right or not – that all things being equal, Darvish would opt for Chicago over the other main contenders, at least.

The Brewers have been reported to have made an offer, and the Twins, who made Darvish their No. 1 target, were expected to make their play this week assuming they got a signal they’d have a chance. In any case, things appear to be moving – if very slowly — for the starter many consider the top one on the free agent market.
   115. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 26, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5613997)
Does anybody really think Darvish would seriously consider signing with the Twins?
   116. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 26, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5614051)
I think the thought is that the Twins GM was in the Rangers FO when they signed Darvish and the two have a good relationship.

If that's enough to overcome the Cubs giving a minor league deal to catcher Darvish likes, well, what more could the Cubs do?
   117. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 26, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5614059)
It's that enough to overcome the Cubs giving a minor league deal to catcher Darvish likes, well, what more could the Cubs do?

Clear precedent indicates that they could sign the catcher Darvish likes to a two-year major league deal, promise to keep playing him when he hits .180, and turn him into a cult hero who gets multiple standing ovations, a book deal and network TV appearances upon retirement.
   118. Walt Davis Posted: January 28, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5614702)
#110 -- I don't think we have any data on the health angle though. I'm not sure we even realistically can. Limiting him to one inning at a time (as nearly all relievers are) and giving him some non-pressure innings (as some 9th innings kinda are) have common sense (and possibly non-existent!) connections to health but there really aren't any cases of a 1-inning, high-leverage fireman to have any idea what the health differences might be in having him occasionally pitch the 7th or 8th innings instead of the 9th. It's "easier" for all concerned to limit him to the 9th but the health benefits of that would seem trivial at best. (You would need to track of any extra warm-ups ... makes sense to avoid those as much as possible.)

Darvish -- surely that deal (esp the 5/$100 one) would have an opt-out. I can see that he might have to settle for Cueto's contract but hard to see it being worse than that.

On pitcher health, the Cubs have had an excellent run, even among relievers. We've had some shorter-term injuries over the last few years but I don't think there's been a major (ML) pitcher injury in Theo's tenure. Maybe Randy Wells? (I don't recall if that was injury or suckitude.)

By the way, looking at the Cubs franchise pitchers' page, it lists the top 5 starters, closer and 3 relievers by "years". Lee Smith is the closer of course, Charlie Root is both our #1 SP and our #1 non-closer. Then Willie Hernandez (OK) and then ... James Russell! He did pitch in parts of 6 seasons. Strop will tie him this year and I don't know what the tiebreaker is but Strop would be less embarrassing as our #3 all-time set-up man.

   119. Walt Davis Posted: January 28, 2018 at 06:45 PM (#5614703)
And is it my imagination or is the status of the roster at the end of January the same as it was mid-December?
   120. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: January 29, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5614856)
By the way, looking at the Cubs franchise pitchers' page, it lists the top 5 starters, closer and 3 relievers by "years". Lee Smith is the closer of course, Charlie Root is both our #1 SP and our #1 non-closer. Then Willie Hernandez (OK) and then ... James Russell! He did pitch in parts of 6 seasons. Strop will tie him this year and I don't know what the tiebreaker is but Strop would be less embarrassing as our #3 all-time set-up man.


Ah-HA!

/Costanza

Who was it that was giving me the business over my defense of Russell in another thread... Moses? Face?
   121. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 29, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5614940)
Wasn't me. Would have been if I saw it though.
   122. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 29, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5614942)
#110 -- I don't think we have any data on the health angle though. I'm not sure we even realistically can. Limiting him to one inning at a time (as nearly all relievers are) and giving him some non-pressure innings (as some 9th innings kinda are) have common sense (and possibly non-existent!) connections to health but there really aren't any cases of a 1-inning, high-leverage fireman to have any idea what the health differences might be in having him occasionally pitch the 7th or 8th innings instead of the 9th. It's "easier" for all concerned to limit him to the 9th but the health benefits of that would seem trivial at best. (You would need to track of any extra warm-ups ... makes sense to avoid those as much as possible.)

I'd tend to agree, but do wonder what types of things the Cubs monitor internally that we'll never see that makes them think that way.
   123. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 29, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5614945)
Wasn't me either. Spahn perhaps?
   124. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 29, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5615284)
A Dodger beat writer:

Yes. My understanding is that Yu Darvish has made clear he would like to return to the Dodgers, and part of the delay in his free agency is related to waiting to see if the team can move some of the money. The Dodgers have explored scenarios for moving useful but (theoretically) extraneous assets such as Yasmani Grandal, Logan Forsythe and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Given the fact that those players are still Dodgers and Darvish is still a free agent, you can guess how the market has reacted to this gambit by the front office.


Heyman:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman Jan 28

folks are now expecting darvish deal may go down this week. they've also seen cubs as the favorite. but other teams have been involved.


That Heyman tweet is actually another link to the article of his I quoted in 114.
   125. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 30, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5615923)
Non-update, today from Morosi:

One industry source believes the Twins are willing to offer Darvish a five-year contract, while the Cubs' comfort level has been at four years. When contacted by MLB.com, the teams did not confirm whether they have made offers of those lengths, and Darvish's representatives have not commented on negotiations.

The Dodgers still would like to re-sign Darvish. The Los Angeles Times has reported that they likely would need to trade Matt Kemp, Logan Forsythe or Yasmani Grandal in order to afford Darvish while ensuring that they remain under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold this year.
   126. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: January 30, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5616024)
Gonfalon Brewers Update -

Brewers inked Matt Albers to a 2/5 deal -- he was outstanding with the Nats last year, but at age 35 - not sure he's a good bet to repeat his career year.

Mainly, I'm just interested in it because it adds another 2.5 mil to the Brewers payroll and with them going all-in, I'm hoping to see Darvish/Arrieta priced out of their range.
   127. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 30, 2018 at 05:18 PM (#5616062)
Brewers inked Matt Albers to a 2/5 deal

Hey hey hey!!

Seriously, he only stands out from the Parade of Faceless Relievers because I remember him pitching for the Nats last year and he is...not svelte. I'm sorry, a guy named Matt Albers being overweight is just making it too damn easy.
   128. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 30, 2018 at 07:53 PM (#5616147)
Avila to dbacks.
   129. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: January 31, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5616376)
Darvish update...

LA Times Andy McCullough reports that Darvish would prefer to return to the Dodgers, but LA needs to move money to make it happen. Good luck on getting some to take Kemp off their hands -- other pieces mentioned being shopped are Grandal, Forsythe, and Ryu... None sure who or why anyone would be interested in Forsythe. I'd think Grandal would be movable, but can't think of anyone really pining for a catcher.

Hell, if they'll take peanuts -- maybe the Cubs ought to just give Darvish an ultimatum and if he declines, give the Dodgers peanuts for Ryu.
   130. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 31, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5616420)
Hell, if they'll take peanuts -- maybe the Cubs ought to just give Darvish an ultimatum and if he declines, give the Dodgers peanuts for Ryu.

I would be down with that but I suspect it's going to cost more than peanuts to pry Ryu away from them.
   131. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 31, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5616714)
Jon Heyman @JonHeyman 1h1 hour ago

Alex Avila got $8.25M for two years #dbacks


That's a really good deal. Probably gets more PT in AZ than he would have here, but I would have signed him to that in a heartbeat.
   132. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: January 31, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5616722)
That's a really good deal. Probably gets more PT in AZ than he would have here, but I would have signed him to that in a heartbeat.


That's an awful lot of money for a backup C, I think... especially when you've got a perfectly serviceable one waiting for Joe to get over him eating Joe's dog or whatever.

In a world where Contreras looks like a budding star - if he isn't already - backup catcher is just one area where I'm not really looking to spend much. I suppose if the Cubs are comfortable enough Schwarber as a legitimate 3rd catcher -- meaning, Avila is a regularly available bat off the bench on days he doesn't catch... maybe.
   133. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 01, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5617171)
Daily non-news:

The Milwaukee Brewers improved their lineup, and they are now working hard on their rotation – hard enough that they seem determined to land at least one of the “big four” starters on the free-agent market. It will be a surprise if they do not. And here’s an interesting question: Is it possible they could go for more than one top starting pitcher?

They have been contact with the other top starters in addition to the well-chronicled pursuit of Yu Darvish, and the Brewers only have three set starters in the rotation at present – Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Jhoulys Chacin. The Brewers were reported by FanRag Sports to be strongly in the mix for Darvish, who is said by sources to have at least one five-year offer and at least one (and probably multiple) offers for at least $100 million – though he has been seeking something closer to the Stephen Strasburg deal of $175 million for seven.

The Brewers, who haven’t signed an outside free agent for $100 million or more in their history (they made nine-figure offers to their own Prince Fielder and Zack Greinke, and locked up Ryan Braun with such a deal), are thought by some to have been the most aggressive to this point in the Darvish derby, with the rival Cubs (who are also believed to remain in the mix), Twins, Phillies, Rangers, Yankees and Dodgers also showing interest.
   134. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 01, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5617178)
That's an awful lot of money for a backup C, I think... especially when you've got a perfectly serviceable one waiting for Joe to get over him eating Joe's dog or whatever.

How much did the Cubs give Ross a couple years ago, 2/$5mil? Sure, it's a luxury, but the Cubs aren't pinching pennies here. He surely would get enough ABs here to justify that cost (and it would allow the Cubs to be more comfortable giving Willson more rest) and it's perfectly fine to spend a little more on those luxuries when you expect to be good like this.

I'm also ready to be over the Caratini grumbling or whatever. I think enough's out there to understand why the Cubs weren't interested in playing him more last year. If Gimenez wins the backup job over him, I don't see a reason to doubt the decision making process. In a pretty shallow system, no one is ranking him as a real prospect, and it's not like a Dusty situation where it's clear Joe has an anti-kid fetish or whatever.

EDIT: I should add, the better argument against this might be that Avila just isn't projected to be that good (though still better than either Caratini or Gimenez).
   135. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 01, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5617304)
Another thing that has happened is
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 21m21 minutes ago

Cubs agree to terms on a minor league deal with speedy OF Peter Bourjos.
   136. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 01, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5617333)
How much did the Cubs give Ross a couple years ago, 2/$5mil? Sure, it's a luxury, but the Cubs aren't pinching pennies here. He surely would get enough ABs here to justify that cost (and it would allow the Cubs to be more comfortable giving Willson more rest) and it's perfectly fine to spend a little more on those luxuries when you expect to be good like this.

I'm also ready to be over the Caratini grumbling or whatever. I think enough's out there to understand why the Cubs weren't interested in playing him more last year. If Gimenez wins the backup job over him, I don't see a reason to doubt the decision making process. In a pretty shallow system, no one is ranking him as a real prospect, and it's not like a Dusty situation where it's clear Joe has an anti-kid fetish or whatever.


True - but at the time, they were pairing Ross with a clearly declining Miggy Monty (though I think Ross was signed before the Montero trade, no? Regardless - if he was, it only makes it more worthwhile to sign a backup C who isn't awful). That, plus I assume Ross was always something of a Lester lure.

I guess I'm just saying with Contreras, my calculus changes. I.e., as you say - it's real just "rest" I'm interested in. I don't want to overspend on "rest".

I'm actually over the Caratini grumbling too... well, maybe not over it - just "it is what it is".

I'm just saying that I'm fine with Giminez, too (even if I prefer Vic). I.e., ultimately - take that ~10 mil and add it the Darvish offer or whatever.
   137. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 01, 2018 at 01:13 PM (#5617335)
Cubs agree to terms on a minor league deal with speedy OF Peter Bourjos.


Isn't this a return engagement?

Or am I confusing him with another long ago prospect who never learned to hit...

EDIT: I am - I was thinking of Julio Borbon.
   138. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 01, 2018 at 01:15 PM (#5617344)
Tony Campana Part II?
   139. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 01, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5617360)
Tony Campana Part II?


Poor Quentin Berry... gone and forgotten!

Actually, I suppose I'm kind of underselling Bourjos by comparing him with Borbon (and about half a dozen guys who fit that same billing).

A bbref refresher shaking the dust off now reminds me that Bourjos actually did have a few seasons - one in particular - where he hit well, quite well, now that I remember he is (was?) a very nifty CF glove. Unfortunately for him, it would appear he's forgotten everything he knew in 2011. Looks like his glove has slid a bit, too.

Talking depth at Iowa probably shows just how slow this offseason is moving, I guess. That said - and I'm not necessarily in favor of this - I suppose that if there IS a trade to be made, and one is not an Almora believer.... Bourjos is a decent enough glove-first backup OF.
   140. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 01, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5617362)
True - but at the time, they were pairing Ross with a clearly declining Miggy Monty (though I think Ross was signed before the Montero trade, no? Regardless - if he was, it only makes it more worthwhile to sign a backup C who isn't awful). That, plus I assume Ross was always something of a Lester lure.

Castillo was also still on the team too, though obviously not for long.

Somehow I don't think Avila's rather small salary is the difference between getting Darvish or not.
   141. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 01, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5617383)
Somehow I don't think Avila's rather small salary is the difference between getting Darvish or not.


Most years, I'd agree with you... but this year, it seems like another 10 mil might well be enough to get a guy to just say "fine, #### it already. I'll sign".
   142. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 01, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5617394)
Unless the Cubs are willing to pay the tax, Darvish's AAV won't be $30mil no matter what, much less the $35mil of room the Cubs still have under the tax. So no, it still doesn't matter.
   143. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 01, 2018 at 02:19 PM (#5617415)
I was thinking more like 10 mil spread over the course of a 4-5 year deal.

I.e., no idea where the market is right now - and we all got nothing but rumors about whether anyone is blinking on going past 5 years.... but just for the sake of argument, let's say the best offer 5/120. Does 5/130 reach the point of "fine, I'm tired of haggling"?
   144. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 01, 2018 at 02:41 PM (#5617437)
If the Cubs are worried about $10mil over 4 or 5 years, just close up shop now. Sheesh.

I think I'm fine with 5/$130mil for him, but multiple Avilas (Avilii?) have no impact on that deal.

---

Montero to the Nats on a minor league deal.
   145. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 01, 2018 at 04:54 PM (#5617529)
If the Cubs are worried about $10mil over 4 or 5 years, just close up shop now. Sheesh.

I think I'm fine with 5/$130mil for him, but multiple Avilas (Avilii?) have no impact on that deal.


OK, FTR - I'm only arguing with you because continually refreshing rotoworld for SP news gets boring and this something different to do :-) - but I'm just saying that ultimately, resources ARE finite, regardless of what team you are. Setting aside where that finite line lies...

We're talking about a backup catcher... on a team that starts a really good catcher.

Hey - sure - in a perfect world, Avila in the backup catcher, Ben Zobrist is your super-utility, maybe Jarrod Dyson is your 4th OF, and IDK - maybe you toss 10 mil at Carlos Gonzalez to PH and step in if someone in the OF goes down.

Alls I'm saying is that probably the best backup catcher in the world - good enough that he's at least nominal starter/platoon mate - is not something I'm really interested in spending my finite resources on at this point.

Again, let me stress for the record -- hang on,...refresh... still nothing -- I'm only arguing because it's !@#!@#!@#!@ February 1st, pitchers and catchers certainly have their plane tickets in hand (woo-hoo!), and my OCD needs something else to occupy my time while I wait to decide whether I laud or curse Thed based on what the penciled rotation looks like in 2-3 weeks.
   146. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: February 01, 2018 at 05:01 PM (#5617534)
With every new post, I check in to see if there is news, only to find the post is lamenting no news.
   147. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 01, 2018 at 05:28 PM (#5617553)
Miserlou - don't read

Hey - sure - in a perfect world, Avila in the backup catcher, Ben Zobrist is your super-utility, maybe Jarrod Dyson is your 4th OF, and IDK - maybe you toss 10 mil at Carlos Gonzalez to PH and step in if someone in the OF goes down.

Sure, that hypothetical would be ridiculous - and not just cause CarGo is probably completely washed up - but think of it this way instead: the Cubs would be paying under $5mil total for the best catching tandem in baseball.

There's a time to be concerned about the finite resources, and there's a time when it doesn't matter. I think when the Cubs are $35mil short of the tax line - which they very easily can afford - with maybe 2 roster spots open, being worried about less than $5mil is a bit misguided. Hell, don't forget the Cubs paid Koji $6mil last year for 40 slightly above average mid-leverage innings. Pocket change, bro.
   148. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 01, 2018 at 06:41 PM (#5617592)
Heyman non-news:

The Cubs are still in the mix for Yu Darvish but for now seem to be hoping that Darvish will choose them for reasons that are not economic. The Cubs are a very attractive team/organization and Chicago is a great city so it is entirely possible they win this, but they appeared to be running behind in terms of the offer, quite likely to at least the Brewers.


The Brewers offer better be stupid if they're outbidding the Cubs.
   149. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 01, 2018 at 07:06 PM (#5617606)
The Brewers offer better be stupid if they're outbidding the Cubs.


Heh - well, then we get into definitions of stupid... and the line just might be pocket change.

I mean, hey - if the Brewers are throwing 30 AAV at him... well... good luck with that.

I think my stupid over/under is probably around 25 mil.
   150. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 02, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5617884)
I'd define stupid as say another year at nearly the same AAV, so 5/$125 to 6/$150 or thereabouts. Or like you said 5/125 to 5/150
   151. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 02, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5617934)
So - I'm totally making these up and not even thinking TOO hard about the figures, just curious. You can sign one of the following:

Cobb for 4/60
Jake for 5/110
Darvish for 6/120
   152. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 02, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5617944)
Hmmm...I first leaned Darvish, but now I'm thinking maybe Cobb? The Darvish and Arrieta contracts would take each through their age-36 season, and given their trajectories, I think I'd rather have 35-36 Darvish than Jake. But the Cobb contract would only run through age 33, and it's less of a financial risk as well. Pitchers being pitchers, I don't know if you can say for sure that Cobb is at any greater risk of a major injury at this point than Arrieta or Darvish. Maybe less than Jake (remember them?) because he's already had TJ.
   153. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 02, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5617972)
Darvish, no question.

Cobb's K rate is well below his peak and gives him the feel of a time bomb, IMO. I don't think he's the same pitcher as he was back in 2013/2014 when he was at his best.

Darvish's worst season is still very good (excepting the year he missed to TJ).

Obviously there are no sure things with pitchers but I consider Darvish much, much less likely than the other two to go Edwin Jackson.
   154. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 02, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5617984)
FTR - I'm not even sure how I'd answer my own question...

4/5 of the rotation is set (and I'm on record many times over in being a Chatwood believer), so one perspective is that it's really a 5th starter we're after - so go with the cheapest, shortest option (Cobb). Then, I think "yeah - but it's 4/5 with a true stud of ace... it's three #2s and a Chatwood who could be anything"... which moves me up the ladder... but THEN I argue with myself and say "so? Darvish and Jake aren't necessarily shutdown aces, either".... THEN I go back and say "yeah, but if there's not a clear #1 to be had - better to have four #2s".

I lean Darvish... but that may change a post or two from now.
   155. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 02, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5617999)
EDIT: Nevermind
   156. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 02, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5618054)
I don't *hate* any of those proposed contracts, but I don't love any of them either. As much as I might hope for Chatwood to break out, signing Cobb to that big of a deal feels like it'll hurt more if it goes bad than the other ones (which I think might be counterintuitive; but I also think Cobb is by far the riskiest of the 3).

That Darish deal is quite a bit better than the Jake one though. I'm going to say the Darvish one is my choice.
   157. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 02, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5618118)
Cobb's K rate is well below his peak and gives him the feel of a time bomb, IMO. I don't think he's the same pitcher as he was back in 2013/2014 when he was at his best.

Yeah, I hear you on this, but didn't it pick up quite a bit in the second half? I was giving him some credit for upward trajectory after TJ recovery. Could be wrong.
   158. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 02, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5618124)
better to have four #2s

Eh, I had that last Saturday, and it was unpleasant.
   159. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 02, 2018 at 02:19 PM (#5618143)
Yeah, I hear you on this, but didn't it pick up quite a bit in the second half?

He had a fantastic August, September and October, striking out 9.4 per 9 innings in August and 8.6 in September/October. But that was in only 16 1/3 innings in August and 22 innings in September/October. It was a run of 7 excellent starts to finish the year. However, His K/9 month by month was:

April/March 6.5
May         6.4
June        5.8
July        4.5
August      9.4
Sept
/Oct    8.6 


I'm leery of hanging my hat on his strong finish
   160. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 02, 2018 at 02:34 PM (#5618164)
Because I'm just watching the clock at this point on a Friday afternoon...

Cobb went to the DL with turf toe in early August. He made a start August 5, and didn't make his next one until August 24th. After he came back he averaged fewer than 5 1/3 innings over his final 5 starts. I'm not sure what to conclude from all that but there you go.
   161. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 02, 2018 at 02:51 PM (#5618182)
Cobb went to the DL with turf toe in early August. He made a start August 5, and didn't make his next one until August 24th. After he came back he averaged fewer than 5 1/3 innings over his final 5 starts. I'm not sure what to conclude from all that but there you go.

No turf parks in the NL, so just don't let him pitch at TB or Tor. Problem solved.
   162. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 02, 2018 at 02:54 PM (#5618184)
Plus, he will be much further from the ocean and should therefore have less exposure to surf 'n' turf.
   163. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 02, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5618254)
So WTF.

I thought this was the supposed to be "the week?!?!"

Sigh.

Preorders to OOTP19 just started... Would you all like to hear about my OOTP18 final sendoff recreation of the 2016-2017 Cubs is going? I always make a habit of trying to squeeze in one last ~5 year run before sending OOTP $30 in what amounts to a roster update and new starting year.

I just started June - sitting pretty atop just the NLC (by 8 games), but at 33-15, I've also got the best record in baseball. Jason Heyward is hitting 339/401/513. Javier Baez leads the team with 13 HRs - despite missing two weeks with a bad hamstring. I've added - through various moves - Ichiro!, Clay Bucholtz, Yovanni Gallardo, Brad Peacok, Nori Aoki, and Jesse Chavez to the mix. John Lackey, Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm, Montero, Brett Anderson, and assorted chaff have left town.

I just finished sweeping the Cardinals at Busch (as happened IRL) to start June. However, unlike IRL - those back-to-back 3 game sweeps in LA an SD went the other way. I took two of three in each - highlighted by one of the best games I've ever managed - Kyle Hendricks came off the DL and outdueled Kershaw. Kershaw threw 8 innings of 5 hit, no walk, 15 K, 1 run ball. Hendricks matched him with 5 hit, no walk, 10 K one-run ball for 9 innings (hey - he started the 9th at 89 pitches. And pitched a quick 1-2-3 9th. So save your PAP). Kyle Schwarber led off the top of the 10th with a PH HR off Jansen. Wade Davis (who I extended for one more year) locked it down.

EDIT: Oh yeah - I should also note... screw you, haters! I grabbed Arismendy Alcantara off waivers from the Reds and he's having a really nice year as my new super utility guy.
   164. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 05, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5619637)
ZIPS projections finally posted.

I'll take the over on Bryant (I've been saying without a ton of confidence that one of these years Bryant is going to put everything together and spit out a monster season - might as well be this year), Contreras, and Russell (well, that's more hope than anything). I'll take the under on Heyward, Zobrist, and Caratini (ZIPS really likes him).

ZIPS likes the bullpen - and to a lesser extent the rotation - more than I do.

   165. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 05, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5619662)
Bryant's #1 comp is Ron Santo.
   166. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 05, 2018 at 01:37 PM (#5619801)
The Happ comp is also amusing. The Edwards one, less so.
   167. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 07, 2018 at 05:54 PM (#5621470)
Non-news, Nightengale edition including predictions:

RHP Yu Darvish
He was eyeing that Zack Greinke six-year, $206.5 million deal, or perhaps that seven-year, $217 million David Price pact of 2015. He’s not going to get close to either.

But he will be paid.

Darvish has several teams who have offered five-year deals, and he would like to at least get the six-year, $130 million contract that Johnny Cueto received two years ago with the San Francisco Giants.

Three teams badly need him - the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers - but he continues to wait to see if the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers can move some contracts to make it work.

Considering he has no desire to sit out all season before those two teams can clear money to stay under the luxury tax, there’s one team that stands out among the rest.

Destination: Chicago Cubs, five years, $125 million.


RHP Jake Arrieta
The best pitcher in baseball in 2015, he seemed destined for a Price-Clayton Kershaw type megadeal.

Yet, along came nagging injuries, reduced velocity, and concerns about his violent delivery that could lead to arm problems before his next contract expires.

One of the biggest fears for teams seeking Arrieta: What do the Cubs know about him that the rest of baseball doesn’t? The Cubs and Arrieta barely even engaged in contract talks this winter, leaving a reunion as unlikely as a Bill Belichick comedy show.

Agent Scott Boras may be relying on old pal Ted Lerner once again to save the day.

Destination: Washington Nationals, five years, $120 million


He also predicts Cobb to Mil for 4/$65mil.
   168. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 07, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5621501)
Oh, and PETCOA predictions out. 89 wins...
   169. Walt Davis Posted: February 07, 2018 at 06:58 PM (#5621528)
Bored ... and nothing going on over in newsblog ...

Cobb at 4/$60 is probably the best value (or best mix of value and limited risk) but I'm not sure what I do with the extra money. Also would need to decide how serious I am about making a run at Harper next year and whether I really have a shot -- in which case, that's where the extra money goes. Maybe if we'd grabbed Cobb at 4/$60 (not that he'd take it necessarily), we'd have grabbed Avila or Dyson or other nice bench piece.

he has been seeking something closer to the Stephen Strasburg deal of $175 million for seven.

This is one of the craziest contract structures out there ...

$10 M signing bonus deferred to 2019
2017: $15
2018: $15
2019: $35 ... but with $30 deferred but with that $10 M bonus added in
2020: $25 ... with $10 deferred
2021: $15
2022: $15
2023: $45 ... $30 deferred

The $70 deferred is paid out at $10 M per year for 2024-2030. There is also a bonus of $1 M in each year he pitches at least 180 innings. Cots claims that a NPV of $162. But a real NPV calculator says that at 7%, that's $114 NPV. Whack it down to 5% and it's still just $128. If Darvish take that deal, sign him. If you're offering 4/$100 then getting an extra 3 years for $14-28 M seems a no-brainer.

He has opt outs after 2019 (with the $30 deferred paid out over 2020-22) and 2020 (with the $40 deferred paid out over 2021-24). Those work out to a deferred 3/$75 or a deferred 4/$100. If the Cubs are already offering an un-deferred 4/$100 (that's not clear) then they probably won't panic if he took the opt out.

Of course I suspect the reporter or his source didn't look up Strasburg's contract and are saying that Darvish wants 7/$175 M un-deferred (so do I!).
   170. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 08, 2018 at 09:32 AM (#5621703)
Minnesota has apparently made its "formal offer" to Darvish - reported to be 4 or 5 years, around 100 mil... which sounds like it's less than the Cubs were talking.

And long ago Zonk utility-crush Ryan Flaherty has signed a minor league deal with an NRI with the Phillies. Ryan Flaherty is 31. That makes me feel oddly young and oddly old at the same time.
   171. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 08, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5622191)
Cubs win arb case for Grimm, so he gets $2.2mil (he asked for $2.475mil).
   172. Walt Davis Posted: February 08, 2018 at 11:00 PM (#5622359)
Looking at those ZiPS projections ... that all looks about right, even the top comp list seems pretty spot on. Good team.

It's weird how many top comps have a Cubs connection:

Bryant Santo
Contreras Soto (oh-oh)
Happ Chili Davis
Yasiel Balagert (way down the list) Bryan LaHair
Wilson Ohman
Strop Wendell
Daury Torrez Donnie Moore
Jen-Ho Tseng Sergio Mitre
Grimm Wellemeyer
Parra Knowles (really?)

I know, probabilistically it's probably not as strange as it seems.
   173. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 09, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5622628)
Buster Olney reports that Jake may be setting his sights on a big "one year and try again" deal... Hmmm....
   174. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 09, 2018 at 02:02 PM (#5622666)
I absolutely would be fine with a decent 1 year deal for Jake. Might even prefer that to 5 years for Darvish.
   175. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 09, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5622766)
Yeah, I think so, too.

I kind of feel like I've got a little ahead of myself in thinking Darvish is such an obviously and significantly better play than Jake - I mean, I think he is, but the long slog of waiting feels like it's obscured the reality a bit.

So, sure... I think that if Jake wants to come back for one more year - I probably do that instead. Olney doesn't reference a price tag - but I cannot imagine it's more than what... 1/25? Maybe 1/30?

Even at 1/30, I think I'd probably go for that.
   176. Meatwad Posted: February 10, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5622982)
darvish for 6 years 150 mil per mlbtr
   177. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 10, 2018 at 02:59 PM (#5622985)
Robothal:

Clarification: Darvish six-year guarantee with #Cubs is $126M with ability to get to $150M, according to sources.


Sounds like a good deal.
   178. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 10, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5622987)
Sources: Chances of Darvish getting to $150M with #Cubs quite slim; would need to win multiple Cy Young awards. His guarantee is $126M over six years, making contract the longest and richest free-agent deal of off-season.
   179. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 10, 2018 at 08:23 PM (#5623076)
Awesome sauce #######!
   180. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 10, 2018 at 08:32 PM (#5623079)
We gotta be the NL favorites now, right? I mean, the Dodgers are still a good team - but I think we're now the best team in the NL. I love aughts cubfandom!
   181. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 11, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5623143)
Darvish fits the bill nicely, and the price is not as high as expected, although I don't like the no-trade clause. On the other hand, there is no draft pick compensation either.

I'm not concerned about the terrible WS start he made -- seems like that was a matter of good hitters hitting a good pitcher. He's a fly ball pitcher but strikes out enough batters that it might not matter. He has a decent walk rate so hopefully he won't catch the Cubs walk virus.
   182. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 11, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5623197)
We gotta be the NL favorites now, right? I mean, the Dodgers are still a good team - but I think we're now the best team in the NL. I love aughts cubfandom!

FG puts Cubs and Dodgers both at 94 wins; PETCOA I don't think is updated yet for this signing but had the Dodgers 10 games ahead beforehand (99 to 89).

I think there's a case to be made for either team, and a lot depends on how you think guys coming off career years on LAD will do (Taylor, Turner, Bellinger specifically) vs. the Cubs underachievers from last year (Schwarber, Russell, Lester). My tinted glasses don't see those 3 from LA repeating those years while I'd expect at least those 3 on the Cubs to be better than last year. The Dodgers have more depth in the rotation, but outside Kershaw, I wouldn't take another of LA's starters ahead of the Cubs top 4. I think the Dodgers have shown a better ability to get the most out of their pen, plus Jansen's clearly ahead of anyone we have, but I do like the arms/options in our pen. I like the Cubs hitting and defense over LA's, maybe even by a lot depending how the breakouts/bouncebacks go. LA has more potential help on the farm (either in promotions or trade fodder), though the Cubs still have more space under the tax (and less incentive than LA to stay there this year as the Cubs didn't pay in last season). If there's anything to be said for recovery from last year, the Cubs might have a small advantage there not having played the extra 7+ games (I don't put a whole lot into that, no matter how much the Cubs talked about it last year).

tl, dr; it's damn close, with the Nats really not far behind. I guess the race is to be the team not to have to face the other one in the NLDS this year. I do say it'll be a surprise (on same level, allowing for injuries to hurt any of them) if any of those 3 aren't in the playoffs.
   183. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 11, 2018 at 08:13 PM (#5623319)
I would put the Dodgers in the high 90s. Certainly we should expect a bounce back from last year, and they can't rely on the Giants and Padres handing them so many free wins this year, but that's a pretty stocked roster and they will do what they need to win.

Right now my gut feeling for the Cubs is 91 or 92 wins, based on the current roster. However, there is a lot of room for this team to grow. Guys they might be thinking about picking up on the FA market in 2018-19 could show up on the roster in late July. And of course, deals could be made between now and April.
   184. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 12, 2018 at 10:34 AM (#5623433)
So the Cubs starting rotation for next year (compared to last year).....

They have a full year of Quintana, instead of a half-year

Tyler Chatwood replaces John Lackey. That seems like an upgrade

Yu Darvish replaces Jake Arrieta. Seems mostly like a lateral move in terms of talent. I like Darvish moving forward, but Arrieta had a decent year, given his strong second half. (Well, strong until his injury).

Jon Lester returns. Hopefully a bounce back season.

Kyle Hendricks returns. Still a really good pitcher. Should avoid a weird finger injury like he had last year that cost him a month-plus of games.

In all, the starting rotation looks a bit better. Not dramatically so, but better. Health is always the wild card.
   185. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 12, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5623441)
In all, the starting rotation looks a bit better. Not dramatically so, but better. Health is always the wild card.

Chatwood is really replacing Bret Anderson, et al. now that Darvish is in the fold and theoretically bumping him down to the 5th starter spot.

EDIT: And I feel really, really good about the starting rotation now.
   186. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: February 12, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5623454)
In all, the starting rotation looks a bit better. Not dramatically so, but better. Health is always the wild card.


Oh, I think I'd go as far as dramatically better.
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