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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Chicago Cubs hire Cleveland Guardians executive Carter Hawkins as their new general manager

The Indians over the last several years have done a good job at two things—grooming starting pitchers and front office executives for other teams.

The latest example of that is Carter Hawkins, who has been hired as the Chicago Cubs new general manager. Hawkins just finished his 14th season with the Indians, the last five as an assistant general manager to GM Mike Chernoff.

Hawkins, 37, and James Harris, the Indians vice president of player development, were finalists for the Cubs job. Other finalist included Carlos Rodriguez, Tampa Bay’s director of player development and international scouting and Jeremy Zoll, the Twins assistant GM.

Jed Hoyer, Cubs president of baseball operations, has been looking for a GM since he replaced Theo Epstein as Chicago’s top baseball decision maker. Epstein, who delivered the Cubs first World Series title since 1908 at the expense of the Indians in 2016, left the team following the 2020 season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 13, 2021 at 08:39 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, cy slapnicka, guardians

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Cubs’ Jed Hoyer seeks ‘value,’ making top free agents unlikely

“I’m not going to tip our hand as far as what we do in free agency. I’ve said repeatedly that we do have financially flexibility. We have money to spend this winter. But I think it’s really important that we do that in an intelligent way.”

In other words, the mega-revenue team with less than $40 million committed to only three contracts on the books so far for next season will stay away from the deep end of free agency and take more of a volume approach, looking for lesser-cost upside guys or players who might not be on everybody’s radar screen?

“I wouldn’t say that,” Hoyer said. “I think it’s just being opportunistic and striking when you feel like the value’s right.

“We’re going to be active,” he added. “We have a lot of holes to fill on this roster. We have a lot of areas we need to improve, so I think we’ll certainly be active. But I think we need to be active in a way that we feel we’re getting the right value for the dollars we’re spending and we’re also making sure that we’re not hindering ourselves going forward with expenditures for right now.”

Doesn’t exactly sound like a big-market team.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 07, 2021 at 11:43 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Friday, September 24, 2021

Chicago Cubs plan to be ‘really active” in MLB free agency, says team president Jed Hoyer

The Chicago Cubs are committing to the MLB free-agent market this winter after trading away about half their roster this season.

“We plan to be really active in free agency,” team president Jed Hoyer said Friday afternoon. “We plan to spend money intelligently. We’re scouting that market heavily. We’re going to analyze that market heavily. There’s offseasons when free agency is something you do a little bit of, and obviously we have to be a little more active than usual to fill out our roster, because we have a lot more open spots.”

It remains to be seen whether Hoyer is committing to bringing in proven players or simply end-of-the-roster guys. After trading free-agents-to-be like Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Joc Pederson and others in July, the team is embarking on building a new-look contender as soon as possible.

The Cubs have had surprise contributions this season from minor league call-ups such as center fielder Rafael Ortega, first baseman Frank Schwindel and third baseman Patrick Wisdom. In fact, the team has compiled a higher OPS since trading its star players, while Wisdom already broke Bryant’s rookie home run record of 26. But all three are over 30 years old.

Hoyer was asked whether any of them are the long-term answers at their respective positions—or even starters for next season.

“Age is a factor, of course,” he responded. “The honest answer is I don’t know. To answer that question now is impossible. ...It’s been fun to watch. I really respect the effort these guys have given.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2021 at 11:26 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Friday, September 10, 2021

Cubs playing their best baseball in months as rookie sensations provide energy boost

It looked like the Cubs were in for a long final two months after all their roster turnover at the trade deadline. Indeed, things started out rough and headed toward rock bottom — including a 12-game losing streak to go along with an 11-game skid earlier in the season.

But then something happened. A group heavy on unknowns and first-time major-leaguers began to show life and started playing good baseball.

The recent success of players such as first baseman Frank Schwindel, outfielder Rafael Ortega and infielder Patrick Wisdom isn’t just having a positive impact on the Cubs as a whole — it’s also establishing them individually as potential pieces for 2022.

“The best way to press forward is to continue to push guys who are playing really well, and [this is] not their ceiling,” said interim manager Andy Green, who’s filling in for skipper David Ross during his COVID-19 quarantine. “As long as the guys are climbing, they’re not trying to just hold their ground, and there’s a huge psychological advantage in that. So anybody that has accomplished what a few of our guys have accomplished in the last month or last week, there’s always more, and as long as you’re hungry for more and pushing for more, you’re more concerned about your trajectory than you are your legacy.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 10, 2021 at 10:56 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Is Patrick Wisdom a viable building block for the Cubs?

What Wisdom is at this point isn’t a secret. He’s a big power guy with an absolute ton of whiff in his game. That combo first manifested itself in Triple-A back in 2017, when he hit 31 home runs with the Memphis Redbirds and struck out at a rate of nearly 30 percent. He followed that up with another 31 homer campaign in 2017 with the Nashville Sounds. The K% that year? 27.6.

So nothing about his line this year comes as any sort of surprise. Wisdom has slashed .259/.321/.586/.907 for the Cubs, with 25 homers and a .327 ISO through those 275 PAs. His strikeout rate sits at 39.3 percent, which is easily the highest among any Major League hitter with at least 250 plate appearances under his belt. His whiff rate is 19.3, which trails only former Cub Javier Báez among that same group.

It’s definitely a situation where you have to take the good with the bad. On one hand, you have that power bat. When Wisdom is making contact, he’s hitting the ball hard. His Hard% is at 46.9 percent; only Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Aaron Judge have done so at a higher rate. His Barrel% is at 17.6, which puts him 12th among his position playing counterparts. The ISO trails only Shohei Ohtani, Mike Zunino, and Tatis. Not terrible company to keep.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 01:37 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, patrick wisdom

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Inaugural Cubs Hall of Fame class set to be revealed at Wrigley Field rededication event

The Chicago Cubs are unveiling a team Hall of Fame at Wrigley Field on Thursday as part of a Wrigley Field rededication event. Also set to be revealed at the stadium are two new plaques, one in honor of the Friendly Confines being designated as a National Historic Landmark and the other in commemoration of the Ricketts family’s commitment to the preservation of the iconic ballpark.

The inaugural Cubs Hall of Fame class will be announced at Thursday’s event, which will feature the premiere of the Cubs-produced documentary “Saving Wrigley Field,” which is about the Wrigley Field 1060 Project renovations. Attendees will be able to watch the documentary on the Wrigley Field videoboard and tour the new Hall of Fame. Those in attendance will be Cubs season ticket holders, and the airing of the documentary is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. local time.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 17, 2021 at 12:28 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, August 08, 2021

When Will the Cubs Roar Again?

The thing about the Cubs is there’s no indication that they’re suddenly going to start spending like the Pirates. Contreras and Happ are the two key contributors who are arbitration-eligible, and even assuming they combine to make $20 million in 2022, most of the rest of the roster without guaranteed deals is on pre-salary arbitration contracts. The trio of arbitration-eligible relievers (Ryan, Holder, Brothers) isn’t going to be expensive, either. Depending on your assumptions, with player benefits, that 71-win team above has a luxury tax number of somewhere around $90 million.

The Cubs have given little indication that they’re going to scrape against the luxury tax ceiling anytime soon, but they ought to spend more than that figure. I would expect them to add an outfielder, a first baseman, and at least two starting pitchers in free agency, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add $50 million or so and end up with a luxury tax number around $140–$150 million. It’s unlikely that they’re going to pay $7.5 million for each of those wins either; there are definite signs that outside of bullpens, nobody pays that amount for the first expected win on a contract.

So, what’s my projection of a projection? I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Cubs enter 2022 as an 81-win team. The division helps them in this regard; the Brewers are a good team but not likely as good as their 2021 record, and there’s little indication that anybody else has an interest in going on a spending spree. The Cardinals are probably the closest, but like the Phillies last season, they have to make up their free-agent losses before improving on this year’s squad. Entering the season as a .500 team in the NL Central leaves you in the divisional race.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 08, 2021 at 10:20 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Thursday, August 05, 2021

The Cubs move ahead with plans for a Wrigley Field sportsbook

Last September, the Cubs unveiled plans to partner with DraftKings for a sportsbook in the neighborhood around Wrigley Field, and last month it was revealed that the team was moving forward with those plans, which require approval by the Chicago City Council.

Today, Danny Ecker of Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the team will make a presentation to the Council Thursday:

The team is slated to go before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks today to present its plans for a 22,350-square-foot structure that would be developed along the southeast corner of the stadium at Sheffield Avenue and Addison Street, team plans show.

It’s a key step toward building the future DraftKings Sportsbook at Wrigley Field—part of a sponsorship deal the team struck last year with Boston-based DraftKings—and stands to make gambling an integral part of game day at the Friendly Confines.

But there are significant hurdles to clear: In addition to winning approval from the landmarks panel, the team needs the City Council to sign off not only on the development itself but also pass an ordinance that would allow sports betting inside the city’s major stadiums.

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) introduced such an ordinance last month, but the proposal was sent to the Council’s Rules Committee, which could stall its consideration. The ordinance isn’t without controversy, as some aldermen are concerned that sportsbooks at pro sports venues including Wrigley Field and the United Center could cannibalize spending at a future Chicago casino, something the city is counting on as a vital new revenue source.

In addition, the team would possibly have to get approval from Major League Baseball to have a sportsbook inside the ballpark, per this ESPN article from September 2020:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2021 at 11:24 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, wrigley field

Monday, August 02, 2021

Rays, Cubs Discussed Potential Trade Involving Tyler Glasnow And Kris Bryant/Craig Kimbrel

The Rays were known to be in discussions with the Cubs last Friday about swinging a deal to land Kris Bryant and/or Craig Kimbrel. Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin of the Athletic shed some light on the talks, noting that the teams kicked around various potential frameworks — including ones worked around Tyler Glasnow or Kevin Kiermaier.

Moving Glasnow would’ve been part of a larger package deal that sent Bryant and Kimbrel to Tampa Bay, Rosenthal writes. It’d have been a fascinating development, since Glasnow’s one of the best pitchers in the league when healthy but facing a prolonged absence. The 27-year-old tossed 88 innings of 2.66 ERA/2.89 SIERA ball before suffering a UCL tear in mid-June. He’s spent the past six weeks attempting to rehab the injury, but reports from over the weekend suggest he’s likely to require Tommy John surgery, which would keep him out of action for most or all of the 2022 season.

The Rays made the Cubs aware of that possibility in discussions, Rosenthal notes; Tampa Bay wasn’t hoping to sneak Glasnow through a trade without the Cubs noticing he would probably need to go under the knife. Indeed, Glasnow’s forthcoming surgery was a significant roadblock in that kind of deal getting done.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 02, 2021 at 05:12 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: craig kimbrel, cubs, rays, tyler glasnow

Chicago Cubs’ Jed Hoyer says inability to sign stars to long-term deals ‘greatest source of frustration’

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer says his ‘greatest source of frustration’ was the team’s inability to sign any of their stars to long term contracts before trading them last Friday.

Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez were the talk of the baseball world last week as all three were moved within a span of 24 hours before MLB’s trade deadline. After years of conversations with the trio—attempting to sign them to long term contracts—Hoyer finally gave up and moved on.

“That will probably be my greatest source of frustration from this era,” Hoyer said on ESPN 1000 radio in Chicago Monday morning. “I put my head on the pillow every night knowing we put our best foot forward. The extensions we offered these guys will hold up exceptionally well…against the open market. I don’t know why guys didn’t want to sign. I don’t know why guys didn’t want to even counteroffer, often times.”

There isn’t a one size fits all answer to why each is no longer a Cub. Baez was negotiating with the team in the spring of 2020 but the pandemic shut those talks down.

“We counteroffered then the pandemic hit,” Baez’ agent Nick Chanock said Monday.

Hoyer never indicated that all three refused to counteroffer, only that some didn’t. After suffering huge financial losses in 2020, the team wasn’t ready to spark up talks again with Baez considering he had a terrible season. The Cubs never made an offer to Baez again as the trade deadline approached, according to sources familiar with the situation.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 02, 2021 at 05:00 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Saturday, July 31, 2021

San Francisco Giants acquire Kris Bryant from Chicago Cubs for two prospects

Kris Bryant was the face of the Chicago Cubs for a long time.

His new bosses in San Francisco were thrilled that joining the Giants meant so much to him, despite the emotions of leaving the only major league team he’s ever known.

Bryant grew up in Las Vegas and loved to watch Giants slugger Barry Bonds—and now the versatile star will get a chance to play not only in the home run king’s former spot in left field, but all over the diamond.

The first-place Giants made a big splash just before the trade deadline Friday by acquiring Bryant from the Cubs for two minor leaguers….


Chicago received right-hander Caleb Kilian and outfielder Alexander Canario in the deal, with the Giants picking up the rest of Bryant’s hefty contract that is paying him $19.5 million this year.

The 29-year-old Bryant, who can become a free agent after this season, was one of the top position players available on the market as the disappointing Cubs sold off several stars. He is batting .267 with 18 home runs and 51 RBI.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2021 at 01:02 AM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, giants, kris bryant

Chicago White Sox acquire closer Craig Kimbrel from Chicago Cubs, give up Nick Madrigal

The Chicago White Sox acquired closer Craig Kimbrel from the crosstown Cubs on Friday, a move that should give the AL Central leaders a fearsome bullpen for their playoff push.

The White Sox already had one of baseball’s best closers in All-Star Liam Hendriks. Now the South Siders add Kimbrel, who has a 0.49 ERA and 23 saves in 25 opportunities for the Cubs this season and leads NL relievers in strikeout rate and opponents’ batting average. Kimbrel ranks ninth with 371 career saves during his 12 years in the majors.

White Sox manager Tony La Russa said he had a plan for how to use both closers, but was not ready to divulge specifics.

“On any given day, one may be available, the other one may not be,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “It puts us in a position where we have a very dynamic and impactful bullpen regardless of the situation that arises in each game.”

The White Sox paid quite a price to get Kimbrel: They sent second baseman Nick Madrigal, a budding star who is out for the season with a torn right hamstring, to the Cubs along with right-handed reliever Codi Heuer.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2021 at 12:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: craig kimbrel, cubs, nick madrigal, white sox

New York Mets acquire star SS Javier Baez from Chicago Cubs for OF prospect

Javier Baez got his wish: He’s headed to New York to play with longtime pal Francisco Lindor.

But first, the Mets are counting on their big-name newcomer to hold down the fort at shortstop for a while.

With the trade deadline fast approaching Friday, the Mets acquired Baez and pitcher Trevor Williams from the Chicago Cubs for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong.

Baez, a two-time All-Star and 2020 Gold Glove winner, gives New York an immediate fill-in for Lindor. The star shortstop, obtained from Cleveland in a blockbuster deal last winter, is sidelined with a strained oblique and not expected back until at least mid-to-late August.

“I’m super excited. I couldn’t be happier,” Lindor said. “I can’t wait for him to come out here and put on a show for everybody.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2021 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javier baez, mets

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Yankees To Acquire Anthony Rizzo | MLBTR

5:47 pm: In exchange, Chicago will pick up two prospects — outfielder Kevin Alcantara and right-hander Alexander Vizcaino –– Curry reports. He adds that the Cubs will retain the entirety of Rizzo’s remaining salary.

Hombre Brotani Posted: July 29, 2021 at 07:01 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: alexander vizcaino, anthony rizzo, cubs, kevin alcantara, trade, yankees

Ryan Tepera heads to White Sox from Cubs as Chicago rivals make deal

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to acquire veteran right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera from the crosstown Cubs in exchange for lefty prospect Bailey Horn. Both teams announced the deal on Thursday, a day before the 2021 MLB trade deadline.

Tepera, 33, has pitched to a 2.91 ERA and a career-best 4.71 K/BB ratio in 43 1/3 innings for the Cubs this season. Across parts of seven major-league seasons, Tepera owns an ERA+ of 122 in 279 relief appearances and one start. He’s owed the balance of an $800,000 salary for 2021 and is eligible for free agency this coming offseason. On the South Side, Tepera figures to fortify a right-handed setup and middle relief corps that has some impressive arms but has been light on depth and consistency.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2021 at 04:35 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, ryan tepera, white sox

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Chicago Cubs trade Joc Pederson to Atlanta Braves for 1B prospect Bryce Ball

The Atlanta Braves acquired outfielder Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball, the teams announced on Thursday.

Pederson, 29, had 11 home runs and a .718 OPS in 73 games for the Cubs after signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal that included a $10 million mutual option and $2.5 million buyout. The deal comes just days after Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. tore the ACL in his right knee.

Atlanta begins the second half of the season four games behind the first-place New York Mets in the National League East and a game under .500. They’ve dealt with an inordinate amount of injuries throughout the first half—Acuna is just the latest.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are beginning to subtract from their third-place team in an attempt to retool, as half their roster is set to become free agents after this season.

Ball was a 24th-round pick for the Braves in 2019 and has compiled a .377 on-base percentage over two seasons in the minors. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel describes Ball as a player with “huge exit velocities” but with some “contact problems.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 15, 2021 at 10:04 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cubs, joc pederson

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Why the Cubs need to say goodbye to members of their 2016 championship core and sell at the trade deadline

Eleven. Yes, eleven consecutive losses. They were competitive through much of it. There were six one-run losses through the first nine. They’ve been totally humiliated in the last two, however, and the proverbial writing is on the wall.

That writing very legibly and succinctly states: “It’s over.”

Little by little, the core that won the 2016 World Series has gone away, but the vestiges of that title are some of the biggest names. The Cubs still have 2016 MVP Kris Bryant along with franchise centerpieces Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez and Willson Contreras. Clubhouse leader Jason Heyward remains. On the pitching side, they still have Kyle Hendricks, who beat Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 of the NLCS to clinch the pennant and then also threw well in Game 7 of the World Series. They brought back Arrieta for this season after a hiatus. That move has been a bust.

As much as the fan base might hold some love for those players—and they should, for the rest of eternity, given the 2016 title—it’s become pretty clear in the ensuing seasons that something is broken with this core. This losing streak has bludgeoned us over the head with the seeming fact that it’s unfixable.

With the trade deadline less than a month away and the Cubs nine games out in the NL Central, it’s time to let go and move on.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2021 at 07:04 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger hits walk-off homer after Jason Heyward loses homer on controversial call

Here is the game-winning homer. Bellinger was not in Saturday’s starting lineup, but he entered the game as part of a double switch in the seventh inning. He flied out to center in his first at-bat before launching the walk-off homer next time up.


“It’s good to see him smile,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters, including MLB.com’s Sarah Wexler, following Saturday’s game. Bellinger went into Saturday’s game hitting only .217/.349/.304 with one home run in 19 games around injuries this season.

Saturday’s game was not without controversy. In the seventh inning, Jason Heyward hit what appeared to be—and what was initially called—a go-ahead solo home run off righty Phil Bickford. The ball snuck just inside the left field foul pole.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 27, 2021 at 07:02 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dodgers

Friday, June 25, 2021

Cubs combine to throw record-tying no-hitter

A night that started with a home run blast in the first inning turned into history on the mound at Dodger Stadium. Chicago starter Zach Davies set the tone with six spotless innings, followed by Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel for the Cubs’ first combined no-hitter in franchise history.

The offense continued to flash its home run power in the 4-0 victory through long balls from Javier Báez and Willson Contreras, but Chicago’s pitching was the main star under the Strawberry Moon that cascaded over Chavez Ravine.

The effort marked the seventh no-hitter of 2021, which ties the Modern Era (since 1900) AL/NL mark also set in 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015. It was the 17th no-hitter in Cubs history, the most recent one coming from Alec Mills last season against the Brewers.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 25, 2021 at 10:17 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, no-hitter

Monday, June 07, 2021

Patrick Wisdom hits two more homers, continues to be ‘a real offensive force’ for Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs infielder Patrick Wisdom reached a milestone on Sunday accomplished by only two other players in history.

Wisdom, 29, hit two home runs in the Cubs’ 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants, giving him seven long balls in his first eight starts with his new team. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only Cincinnati Reds outfielder Aristides Aquino and Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story have hit that many in their first eight games with a team.

“He’s been carrying us,” Cubs manager David Ross said after the game. “He’s a real offensive force for us right now. It seems like every time he gets up he’s going to do something really good to help the team. Real damage. What is that, seven home runs? Real power since he’s been up.”

Wisdom was a 2020 addition to the Cubs after stops in St. Louis and Texas, but he played in only two major league games last season. And before about a week ago, he had four career home runs. Cubs center fielder Ian Happ summed up the team’s strategy right now.

“If we can just get it to Wisdom with guys on base, we’ll be all right,” he said with a smile.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 07, 2021 at 03:43 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, patrick wisdom

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Javy Baez fools Pirates into the dumbest baseball play of the season

With a runner on second, Baez hits a ball to Pirates third baseman Erik Gonzalez. The ball is fielded cleanly by Gonzalez, who throws it to first baseman Will Craig. Gonzalez’s throw takes Craig off the bag, so Craig decides he’ll just tag Baez instead.

Recognizing this, Baez starts running back toward home plate. He remains in the base path, so he hasn’t broken any rules. As Baez gets close to the plate, the runner who started on second sprints toward home to try and score. Craig throws the ball to the catcher, but is too late. The run scores, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Baez, who was never tagged, begins to quickly sprint toward first base. In the confusion, no Pirates player is covering first. A member of the Pirates sprints over the first, but the throw from Pirates catcher Michael Perez is just slightly off target. Baez slides into first, but then quickly gets up and makes it all the way to second base.

The Cubs dugout — primarily Anthony Rizzo — erupted in cheers and laughter following the play.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2021 at 11:57 PM | 125 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pirates

Friday, May 07, 2021

Cubs deal Sox can’t refuse: Bryant would be MVP move

What we know for sure is what we saw in January with that Yu Darvish trade and what we’ve seen since from a team off to its worst start in seven years, thanks to some resulting starting pitching problems and overall depth issues.

So act now, while supplies last, Rick! Players like this won’t be around all summer!

Push, pull or drag your best three or four teenage trade-ins (or maybe Yoelqui Cespedes?) for a chance to pull your outfield out of the 2021 crapper and restore those World Series visions you’ve been selling on the South Side the last six months.

What’s in it for Hoyer and the Cubs?

We already can see the drool on ownership’s face at the mere mention of the additional prorated part of Bryant’s $19.5 million salary coming off the books instead of waiting until perhaps July to consider trading him.

From Hoyer’s perspective? Did we mention Cespedes?

Whether Hahn, the Sox general manager, is willing to part with the top international player from the recent signing class, he needs a definitive, bold response to losing outfielders Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez to months-long injuries — unless all that talk about World Series expectations was just so much blowing smoke.

Bryant, who followed up his Player of the Week honors Monday by raking against Cy Young winners Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer in a doubleheader Tuesday, would be the signature move — literally the MVP move — to make.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 11:11 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant, white sox

Monday, April 19, 2021

Report: Javy Báez Declined Cubs’ Offer ‘Somewhere in Range of $180 Million’

I’ve been steadfast in refuting the report that Kris Bryant turned down an extension offer of “well north of $200 million,” so I want to tread carefully when it comes to the latest report about Javier Baez‘s negotiations. Or rather, his past negotiations. We do know via multiple outlets, one of which was Javy himself, that the shortstop was engaged in extension talks last spring prior to the shutdown. We also know that he did himself no favors with an abysmal 2020 performance.

According to Buster Olney, who wedged the info into a larger column for ESPN+, that disappointing campaign “followed a negotiation that concluded with him passing up a Cubs’ offer somewhere in the range of $180 million.” In Javy parlance, that’s a large number. So large, in fact, that it seems pretty difficult to believe in light of the organization’s spendthrift ways when it comes to position-player spending over the last several years.

Even before they slashed payroll and reportedly low-balled Anthony Rizzo, and even when Javy was still viewed as a potential perennial MVP candidate, $180 million would have been a stretch. My attempt at predicting a deal back in January of 2020 came to $136 million over six years ($22.67M AAV) with a max of $160 million over eight years ($20M AAV). Olney didn’t give a length on the deal in the two paragraphs devoted to the topic, but I’m thinking it had to be eight or nine years ($20-22.5M AAV).

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 19, 2021 at 07:15 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javy baez

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Why the Cubs’ awful offense could trigger full rebuild if downward trend continues this summer

As a team, the Cubs have a 66 OPS+. For those not very familiar with the stat, that means if you lump their on-base percentage and slugging percentage together, adjusting for ballpark and league context, they are collectively 34 percent worse than a league average hitter. ...

Now, here’s where we talk about small samples and how it’s early and all that. The problem is that this isn’t new. The Cubs won the NL Central last year, but they hit .220/.318/.387 as a team with mostly the same personnel (swapping out Kyle Schwarber for Pederson isn’t a huge difference, skill-set-wise). Sure, there was lots of context behind that, including that it was only a 60-game season during a once-in-a-century pandemic.

If we looped that back in, though, we’re now talking about a 70-game sample with pretty terrible offense. Back another year, one of the complaints about the Cubs from 2019 was too much boom-and-bust. That was, they’d go a stretch scoring little or no runs and then would explode and it would make their overall stats a bit deceptively good. Well, the boom is gone now. In 10 games, the Cubs have scored this many runs per game, sorted by most to least: 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, 0.

Unable to string hits together, four of those runs have come on sac flies while 14 of their 29 runs have come on home runs. Ross pointed out after Monday’s loss they seem to be too offensively-reliant on the home run, but the problem with the home runs isn’t necessarily the percentage. It’s that 10 of their 12 home runs have been solo shots. No one is ever on base. If there was more traffic, those 12 homers might’ve resulted in something like 20 runs and they could be 6-4 or even 7-3 right now.

Instead, this has all the makings of a pretty terrible offense, baking in the context of how their six games against the Pirates’ went.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:48 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Friday, December 11, 2015

IT’S THE CUBS’ WORLD NOW

Not to spoil the ending, but:

But the Cardinals aren’t doomed. They still have a solid lineup, a solid rotation and a solid bullpen, and you’d have to think they’ll add somebody. But for years, some fans have claimed, wrongly, that Cardinals-Cubs isn’t a real rivalry because the Cards have always been so much better than the Cubs. This, not coincidentally, is the same thing Yankees fans used to say about the Red Sox, before Epstein took over there as well. Now, some have said, in the wake of the Cubs’ signing of Heyward, that this ratchets up the rivalry.

But if anything, I believe it dampens it. Even before Friday, the Cubs were a better team than the Cardinals in just about every way. Now that the Cubs took the Cardinals’ best player, the gap between these teams have widened. If anyone needs to prove this is a rivalry, it’s the fading Cardinals.


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