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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cubs need to get their pitching in order or else this entire foundation could crumble | NBC Sports Chicago

“You don’t want to make a living or make a habit out of trying to solve your problems with high-priced pitching free agents,” Epstein said, “because over the long run, there’s just so much risk involved. It can really hamstring your organization.

“But we have a lot of players who have reasonable salaries who contribute an awful lot that might put us in a position to consider it going forward in the future.

“So I wouldn’t rule it out completely, and I wouldn’t rule it in. I would just say it’s not our preferred method. We prefer to make a small deal and find Jake Arrieta, but you can’t do that every year, either. That’s tough.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2017 at 08:30 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 25, 2017 at 10:17 AM (#5561709)
I'll take "Unwarranted alarmism" for $2,000, Alex.

Yes, the Cubs' FO has work to do on the pitching front. They've also got a strong front 3 in their rotation (unless Lester becomes toast, which I don't think is going to be the case for a while) under contract for the next three years and a ton of money to spend, and a smart front office to spend it. Apparently people who thought the Cubs' rebuild would result in multiple uncontested titles without any significant roster moves along the way are disappointed.
   2. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: October 25, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5561841)
Yeah, this is pretty much just clickbait.

The White Sox had 3 great starters for several years and couldn't get anywhere - because they had nothing else! The Cubs have plenty. They also have reasonable payroll room. I could see them signing a couple of reclamation projects like Clay Buchholz, Hector Santiago, Chris Tillman - they're just placeholders until Tseng is ready anyway which could be the second half. By then a couple of veteran arms could be shook loose from a team falling out of contention.
   3. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 25, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5561850)
A bigger question is how well do they sign some power arms to fill out the bullpen, which was the Achilles heel this year.
   4. Brian C Posted: October 25, 2017 at 12:28 PM (#5561865)
I hate this kind of tone, to be honest. They had their pitching sufficiently in order to get to the NLCS the third straight year. How quickly we get spoiled. I can't stand acting like the 2017 Cubs were some kind of disgraceful failure. They were a good team and were legitimate contenders.

Beyond that, this is a story that is essentially "BREAKING: CUBS NOT SET AT EVERY POSITION FOREVER". Sure, they need some bullpen help and sure, they have a couple question marks in the rotation heading into the offseason. These are conditions that have affected basically every team ever, being pretty much inherent to the nature of roster-building and all, so I don't know what the big deal is.
   5. Man o' Schwar Posted: October 25, 2017 at 12:48 PM (#5561887)
I hate this kind of tone, to be honest. They had their pitching sufficiently in order to get to the NLCS the third straight year. How quickly we get spoiled. I can't stand acting like the 2017 Cubs were some kind of disgraceful failure. They were a good team and were legitimate contenders.

Tell me about it. Childhood me would have killed for a team this good. We had 1984, and then a whole bunch of crap on either side.

They'll get some bullpen help (hopefully, internal or external), and at least one more starter, and they'll go into next year as the strong favorites to win the NL Central again. I can live with that, even if they don't break the bank signing Otani.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: October 25, 2017 at 04:59 PM (#5562132)
As I point out in the Gonfalon thread, it's not clear the Cubs have that much money to spend. They've got plenty for 2018 but not beyond that. Between Cots and my one good guesstimate and one vague guesstimate the Cubs payroll (guaranteed, obvious options, arb, filler) looks approximately to be $140 for 2018 then $150 then $160. Something like Darvish and Davis would be $40-45 per year essentially meaning they wouldn't be able to make any other long-term FA signings for 2019-20 without blowing past the lux tax threshold. Signing any important FA this year would seem to rule out Harper unless we can actually shift Heyward's money or we trade away multiple arb players.

But as I also noted the Cubs have something maybe unprecedented in the FA era. For the next 4 years, we have control over an entire above-average lineup of Contreras, Rizzo, Baez, Russell, Bryant, Schwarber, Almora, Heyward plus Happ along with 3 years of control on Hendricks, Lester and Quintana. And the oldest of the position players at the end of those 4 years will be Rizzo and Heyward at 31 -- it's an entire lineup in its prime for 4 years. Obviously something will go wrong among that group of 12 players and you'd be happy to find an upgrade in places (or add to the pitching obviously) but it's really hard to imagine a team better situated. High payroll, almost no money tied up in old players (Zobrist, eventually Lester), almost no dead money (Heyward still has his uses even if the bat is dead, Zobrist might be dead).

What Theo does after 2020 when Hendricks, Q and probably Lester (option) become FA then, after 2021, when most of those hitters are scheduled to be FA is gonna be interesting. Somewhere in there is a decision point about whether there's enough talent in the pipeline (and early extensions) to keep it going or is the window closing? If the window's closing, do you go all in for the last couple of years or do you start trading mid-2020 to re-stock? (I suspect not) If they did start trading, they'd look a bit more like the White Sox of the last year who had good, young, controlled players to trade for quite good return. (The Cub players wouldn't have as much control though.) White people problems for sure.

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