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Sunday, November 15, 2020

Analyzing the Cubs’ rotation going into 2021

“I think going into the year, we were hoping that Adbert could develop into a major-league starter, and now we see one,” team president Theo Epstein said last month. “And he’s somebody I think is prime to slide into the rotation, and that still leaves at least one open spot and the need to add some depth moving forward.”

The Cubs likely will look outside the organization for depth, as well. Free agents Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman both signed their $18.9 million qualifying offers from the Mets and Giants, respectively. While there are still several intriguing names available, such as Corey Kluber, Jake Odorizzi and Anthony DeSclafani, one name stands out from the others.

Right-hander Chris Archer hits the market after the Pirates declined his $11 million option for 2020. Archer, 32, has hit a rough patch over the last few years and has looked like a shell of himself with the Pirates. The right-hander was 9-17 with a 4.70 ERA over the last two seasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 12:28 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2020 at 02:49 PM (#5988842)
Chris Archer! No one is signing him expecting him to be a front line starter. Didn’t he just have a really difficult surgery, the one that few players come back from?
   2. Walt Davis Posted: November 15, 2020 at 03:48 PM (#5988849)
The Cubs aren't looking for a "frontline starter." The rotation is headed by Darvish and Hendricks. The need, as the excerpt clearly states, is for depth. What I think they need are a vet innings-eater (which these days is 150 innings I suppose) and a low-cost, high-reward gamble which the article explicitly notes Archer will be due to his injury. If the Cubs were to sign Archer (or Kluber) it would be after a medical and on a low-cost, inventives-laden contract.
   3. Brian C Posted: November 15, 2020 at 10:36 PM (#5988888)
The problem is that the Cubs aren't just looking for "depth", their rotation after the first two guys is a mess.

As much fun as the no-hitter was, Mills wasn't actually all that good last year and is essentially going to be a full-time major-league starter for the first time at age 29. What's the track record on those kinds of guys?

Alzolay is kinda-sorta promising but maybe 50/50 at best to be good for 100 major-league IP next season (presuming a full season)? He's pitched about 140 IP combined in the majors/minors over the last 3 seasons, so actually I'll probably take the under at 100 IP.

There's not even a 5th guy in the picture, other than maybe bringing back Lester.

So realistically, they're looking for a #3 or (and/or?) #4 starter, not "depth". "Depth" are the guys you're looking at to be #6 or #7, like Mills and Alzolay both probably should be. Or like Archer would be.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 15, 2020 at 11:03 PM (#5988892)
essentially going to be a full-time major-league starter for the first time at age 29. What's the track record on those kinds of guys?
300+ wins over another 20 years of pitching, and induction into the Hall of Fame!*




*Sample under consideration limited to Phil Niekro
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: November 15, 2020 at 11:28 PM (#5988894)
HOFer Dazzy Vance was a swingman with an 0-8 career MLB record through age 29.

he first became a full-time starter at age 31 in 1922 for Brooklyn.

he led the NL in Ks in his first 7 full seasons.

he went 50-15 in 1924-25.

but his best two ERA+s were are at age 37 and 39.

Randy Johnson's first starring season was in Seattle at age 29.

   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 15, 2020 at 11:29 PM (#5988895)
The problem is that the Cubs aren't just looking for "depth", their rotation after the first two guys is a mess.
That might explain the Cubs reported willingness to move almost any veteran. Could be a rebuild coming soon.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 16, 2020 at 10:38 AM (#5988931)
Man, that Kimbrel contract was dumb.
   8. Zonk Opposes Trial by Combat Posted: November 16, 2020 at 07:16 PM (#5989108)
I would like a flier on Archer.... 26-2, 2.24 ERA, 196 ERA+, 5.8 WAR as the unanimous CYA in my ootp season!.... but then, Kimbrel was also the top closer, so it’s not a realistic sim.

I obviously picked up the 11m option on Archer.... he wants a 7/200 extension.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 16, 2020 at 07:35 PM (#5989111)
If you're able to rig the OOTP settings so that your Cubs win about 140 games every year, and Archer goes 26-2, why not just go all the way and make it so that he'll play for $25k and a 10% discount at Arby's?
   10. Brian C Posted: November 16, 2020 at 08:18 PM (#5989120)
Well again, not to belabor the point, but "taking a flier" really gives the Cubs too much credit in this case. "Taking a flier" connotes that there's not a lot of risk involved to the team, and that's likely to be true enough in terms of years/money in Archer's case.

But what we're actually talking about here is a team where Alec Mills is currently the number 3 starter and the offense has been disappearing for literally weeks at a time now for 3 years running. In years past, the Cubs only needed to make some tweaks and maybe catch a break or two to stay in contention and maybe even get over the top. But for whatever reasons, they've been super risk-averse over the last few offseasons and post-2016 have largely squandered what figured to be the best seasons of their core, and had some bad luck besides that along the way, and now I feel like we're at a juncture where the Cubs have to do more than just tread water to stay an above-.500 team. They might not have even managed that this past season if they weren't saved by the bell after 60 games.

They're on the verge of collapse and Chris Archer just doesn't seem like the guy to help turn that around except in the sense that an actual lottery ticket is a possible solution to financial problems. Maybe Archer is now healthy and tears up the league, but he's been hurt/bad for 3 years running now and just being somewhat vaguely average for a full season seems like a huge ask from him, and putting yourself in a situation where you're relying on a guy like that is a huge risk even if the cost to get him isn't very high.
   11. Zonk Opposes Trial by Combat Posted: November 17, 2020 at 08:38 AM (#5989197)
If you're able to rig the OOTP settings so that your Cubs win about 140 games every year, and Archer goes 26-2, why not just go all the way and make it so that he'll play for $25k and a 10% discount at Arby's?


Ahem... 118... unless you're counting the 11-0 postseason, in which case it was 129. Sadly, challenge mode doesn't let you edit players attributes or contracts - though, if it did, I'd lop a year or two off the extension Rizzo signed because 2020 1st rounder Blaze Jordan slugged .980 in his first taste of pro ball and looks like he'll rise fast... faster than my grand plan expected. I am forced to cheat the old-fashioned way: signing every useful FA and immediately trading him, 1st/2nd double steals, avoiding the IF shift trap except for extreme GBers, and using the two day dead zone WS ends/offseason begins period to trade FOR free agents to be that are QO-worthy in order to pocket the draft picks.

* * *

They're on the verge of collapse and Chris Archer just doesn't seem like the guy to help turn that around except in the sense that an actual lottery ticket is a possible solution to financial problems. Maybe Archer is now healthy and tears up the league, but he's been hurt/bad for 3 years running now and just being somewhat vaguely average for a full season seems like a huge ask from him, and putting yourself in a situation where you're relying on a guy like that is a huge risk even if the cost to get him isn't very high.


I'm not sure what choice they really have... Betts didn't fetch all that much - KB, Baez, Rizzo, and Schwarbs will fetch far less and frankly, outside of the 1st rounders, I'm not sure I even believe they'd get the right B prospects back (though, I suppose, the scouting dept has been turned over).

It's likely to get ugly soon either way - they'd be best served taking one last shot with reclamations and 1 year deals to see if they can maybe avoid October being a disappearing act. I certainly wouldn't be trading any prospects - not that they have many (and if history is any guide, any C prospect or lower the Cubs deal away likely turns into another LeMahieu anyway).

Tell the Ricketts to take out a one-year loan... they ought to be loading up with 1 year FAs and even possibly swallowing bad 1-year left contracts by the pound. It all *really* turns to dust after 2021 anyway, so you might as well take one last big shot and prep for the 2022 fishy Cubs, waiting out the last year of Heyward and led by the arb-bought out David Bote... Oh, and FA to be Willy Contreras, I guess. Maybe Happ.
   12. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:12 PM (#5989260)
Theo has resigned. Hoyer is taking over.

I think we all thought that was possible next year when Theo's deal was up. Surprised it happened this year. Is he gonna go to another team (PHI?)?
   13. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:12 PM (#5989261)
So realistically, they're looking for a #3 or (and/or?) #4 starter, not "depth".

Agreed. Mills and Alzolay are #4 and #5 only if you squint just right. Cubs need a #3 and more.
   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5989263)
Source: Theo Epstein intends to take the upcoming season off. He’s not resigning in order to pursue a position with the Mets or Phillies

---

Theo needs to move on. If he takes another position this offseason I don't mind. Thanks for 2016.
   15. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:18 PM (#5989264)
He said he'll probably run a team again, but not this year.

Yeah, it was probably time, but it's still crazy.
   16. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:18 PM (#5989265)
I think we all thought that was possible next year when Theo's deal was up. Surprised it happened this year. Is he gonna go to another team (PHI?)?

Are you, though? If he thinks he'll be moving on after one more year then he won't want to be the architect of this coming ####storm of an offseason.
   17. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:22 PM (#5989267)
Are you, though? If he thinks he'll be moving on after one more year then he won't want to be the architect of this coming ####storm of an offseason.

True. I mean, yes, it's surprising in that I literally didn't expect it; but not surprising in that it's totally explicable that it would happen now. He bailed on the Red Sox too (actually twice, but once was only briefly) when things looked headed in the wrong direction*. I'd have to imagine he's frustrated with the Cubs ownership, over a number of things. A lot of the current mess is his doing, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he thought he had a lot more backing to spend his way out of some mistakes.


*This comes off snarkier than I intended. There's a skill knowing when it's the right time to leave.
   18. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5989269)
I bet he was promised flexibility before ownership discovered the magnitude of the Wrigley renovation cost overruns.

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