Chicago Cubs 2020 Season

#1
With the Washington Nationals (and former Cubs bench Coach Dave Martinez) winning World Series to cap the 2019 season, it feels about time for a new Chicago Cubs discussion thread.

A disappointing and perilous dive end to the regular season resulted in the Cubs missing the postseason for the first time since 2015. This resulted in a shift change at manager with David Ross replacing Joe Maddon. I'm intrigued to see who will round out the coaching staff.

Additionally, several the Cubs roster will see a fair amount of turnover, as several players are now free agents: Nicholas Castellanos, Steve Cishek, Cole Hamels, Kendall Graveman (option), Derek Holland (option), Brandon Kintzler, Jonathan Lucroy, Brandon Morrow (option), David Phelps (option), Pedro Strop, and Ben Zobrist.

To prepare for the offseason, I'd recommend the following resources:
I'm curious as to how the Cubs will address the holes in their roster this offseason, especially given their limited payroll flexibility. I don't have delusions of grandeur that involve the Cubs spending big on a Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon, but I do hope they re-sign Castellanos and shore up the bullpen (Will Harris?). I also think it's well beyond time that Addison Russell is shown the door and is replaced at 2B (Nico Hoerner?)

Cheers to next year being here!



 
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#2
This leadoff man problem needs solved yesterday. The top half of your order shouldn't be tinkered with every single as much as Maddon did. Not all the blame is on him, you gotta have the right mix of personnel. Get me a leadoff hitter and I'll live with the rest of the line up with the guys currently signed. I don't think this roster currently has one, though I am 100% serious about batting Rizzo there consistently (I just dont think its the best option).

Nick is a great 2 hole hitter. I worry using him as a leadoff man would diminish his power hitting value, but if he can OPS close to 350 he'd be an upgrade over most on the team already.

Pitching worries me much more than the offense. The system looks to have some quality 3-5 starters ready pretty soon, which is great news considering Lesters age and Q's expiring contract. There's a lot of uncertainty on that side of the team, I'm banking big on Kimbrel being a solid closer.

Something that I believe hasn't been brought up in this thread yet is Bryants hearing as to whether or not he can become a free agent after next year. That would force the front offices' hand hard. Might be the biggest story line of the off season.
 
#3
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
I think they could get a decent return for Schwarber. Dude hit .250 with 38 HR, but I think the Cubs could use someone who Ks less than 150+ times each season more than the HR.

Separately - the Cubs have been mentioned as having interest in trading for Starling Marte. I'd like to see that happen.
 
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#4
I think they could get a decent return for Schwarber. Dude hit .250 with 38 HR, but I think the Cubs could use someone who Ks less than 150+ times each season more than the HR.

Separately - the Cubs have been mentioned as having interest in trading for Starling Marte. I'd like to see that happen.
Could you provide me some reading material on this? Marte is one of my favorite non-Cubs.
 
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#5
Could you provide me some reading material on this? Marte is one of my favorite non-Cubs.
I haven’t seen anything specifically linking the Cubs to Marte. But if you know the Cubs need a lead off man and a center fielder and you look around the Majors at a player who could do both and who is feasibly available, the list basically comes down to Marte.
 
#6
I haven’t seen anything specifically linking the Cubs to Marte. But if you know the Cubs need a lead off man and a center fielder and you look around the Majors at a player who could do both and who is feasibly available, the list basically comes down to Marte.
If Marte is available, he's going to come with a pretty hefty trade price. Maybe the whole steroid stink keeps his market down (I doubt it), but he's a sure thing 3 win OF with 2 dirt cheap years left on his contract. A lot of teams are going to be in on that.
 
#7
If Marte is available, he's going to come with a pretty hefty trade price. Maybe the whole steroid stink keeps his market down (I doubt it), but he's a sure thing 3 win OF with 2 dirt cheap years left on his contract. A lot of teams are going to be in on that.
Wasn't that like 2-3 years ago? I, too, doubt that would impact his value now.
 
#10
I've been skimming some lists of free agents this offseason with a few that caught my eye, and have some thoughts regardless of fit for the roster.
  • Shogo Akiyama, OF (Japan): Recently broke his foot, but could fit the leadoff role.
  • Will Harris, RP (Houston): Big fan of one of the most unappreciated relievers in baseball.
  • Alex Wood, SP (Cincinnati): Good stuff, though often injured, though the injuries haven't been arm related.
  • Starlin Castro, 2B (Miami): Just to talk about for nostalgia's sake.
  • Jose Iglesias, SS (Cincinnati): Plus glove and the Cubs need depth at SS, especially if Hoerner starts in the minors and Russell is gone. Likely good enough to start somewhere, however.
Goodness the RP market is slim.
 
#12
The Cubs also - to nobody’s surprise - picked up Rizzo’s option today.

They picked up Quintana’s yesterday. They declined Holland’s. I don’t expect them to pick up Morrow or Phelps, but I’m guessing they might be trying to negotiate cheap extensions for them before cutting them loose.
Kendall Graveman was declined as well. Must not have recovered well-enough from Tommy John.
 
#13
Kendall Graveman was declined as well. Must not have recovered well-enough from Tommy John.
That makes then 0 for 2 on signing rehabbing TJ pitchers. They were at least able to trade Smyly for some salary relief to pick up Hamel’s option last year. They got a big fat nothing out of Graveman.

Assuming they don’t pick up or extend Phelps, their top 8 relievers are the following - Chatwood/Mills (whichever isn’t starting), Ryan, Wick, Kimbrel, Underwood, Maples, Webster, and Wieck. Ugh! Even if you assume Kimbrel has a bounce back year, that’s a really bad pen.
 
#17
I would not be opposed to trading Contreras depending on the return.

He’s arguably the best offensive catcher in the game right now. In the top 3 at worst. He has an amazingly strong arm, with maybe the quickest release in the Majors. But he’s not a good game caller, not a good pitch framer, not great at blocking the ball, and often doesn’t use that bazooka arm as well as he could from a situational standpoint.

So basically, all of his good stuff is going to degrade and all the bad stuff is how veteran catchers retain their value after they age and mounting injuries start eating into their athleticism.

Which is all to say that this is the perfect time to trade him. Get a center fielder or middle infielder who can lead off, or get some cost controlled young pitching who can contribute to the pen now and have potential to grow into a starter’s role. Pair Caratini with a cheap defense-first veteran free agent and I’m fine with that.
 
#18
Little Rock, Arkansas
I would not be opposed to trading Contreras depending on the return.

He’s arguably the best offensive catcher in the game right now. In the top 3 at worst. He has an amazingly strong arm, with maybe the quickest release in the Majors. But he’s not a good game caller, not a good pitch framer, not great at blocking the ball, and often doesn’t use that bazooka arm as well as he could from a situational standpoint.

So basically, all of his good stuff is going to degrade and all the bad stuff is how veteran catchers retain their value after they age and mounting injuries start eating into their athleticism.

Which is all to say that this is the perfect time to trade him. Get a center fielder or middle infielder who can lead off, or get some cost controlled young pitching who can contribute to the pen now and have potential to grow into a starter’s role. Pair Caratini with a cheap defense-first veteran free agent and I’m fine with that.
As always, love your analysis CC. You and Ian both.
 
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#20
Side thought... Pairing Contreras with Heyward could be the perfect way to get out of that contract. It would be a very similar trade to Theo's Adrian Gonzalez & Carl Crawford trade.

Contreras isn't the superstar that Gonzalez was, but he's three years younger and has two years of team control before hitting free agency. Heyward is a better player than Crawford was at that point of his career, is healthy where Crawford wasn't, and has a far less onerous contract than Crawford did - 4 years @ $80MM versus 6 years at $120MM.

Of course the Cubs shouldn't be in a position to be cutting salary just to cut salary. So doing a Contreras/Heyward trade doesn't make much sense unless the Cubs are going to turn around and spend that money they save on Heyward on something else... So that would be Rendon, Cole or a Bryant extension.
 
#22
Houston, Texas
Which is all to say that this is the perfect time to trade him. Get a center fielder or middle infielder who can lead off, or get some cost controlled young pitching who can contribute to the pen now and have potential to grow into a starter’s role. Pair Caratini with a cheap defense-first veteran free agent and I’m fine with that.
Like?
 
#23
Houston, Texas
Side thought... Pairing Contreras with Heyward could be the perfect way to get out of that contract. It would be a very similar trade to Theo's Adrian Gonzalez & Carl Crawford trade.

Contreras isn't the superstar that Gonzalez was, but he's three years younger and has two years of team control before hitting free agency. Heyward is a better player than Crawford was at that point of his career, is healthy where Crawford wasn't, and has a far less onerous contract than Crawford did - 4 years @ $80MM versus 6 years at $120MM.

Of course the Cubs shouldn't be in a position to be cutting salary just to cut salary. So doing a Contreras/Heyward trade doesn't make much sense unless the Cubs are going to turn around and spend that money they save on Heyward on something else... So that would be Rendon, Cole or a Bryant extension.
Refresh my memory, does Heyward still have a no trade clause? Who would you trade both to?
 
#24
Starling Marte would be who I'd go after. Considering where the Pirates are, I imagine they want prospects. So you'd probably trade Contreras (or Schwarber or whomever) for prospects and then combine some of the prospects you got with some homegrown prospects to get him.

Haniger with Seattle would be another target. I have no idea why they'd want to trade him, but Seattle is so trade happy, maybe they could work something out. He's mainly a right fielder, but has played about a quarter of his games in center.

Mark Canha - Oakland - would be another.

Fewer attractive middle infielders... Maybe someone like Brock Holt or Greg Garcia, but it feels like the Cubs have already gone down that route with Descalso. Whit Merrifield would be really expensive.

Refresh my memory, does Heyward still have a no trade clause? Who would you trade both to?
I believe he has no trade restrictions on him this year. His 5 and 10 rights kick in next year. If the Cubs are going to be able to off load him (a really, really big IF), this is the year to do it.

Who to trade them to... The Mets make a lot of sense. Both guys would go right into the starting lineup. Heyward and Contreras to the Mets for Seth Lugo and Brandon Nimmo? Remember, we're assuming the only reason the Cubs would do this is if they were also going to unload a dumptruck of money on free agents. Check out the spending spree Theo went on in 2013 after unloading Gonzalez and Crawford.
 
#25
Gordon Wittenmyer with some whispers of the Cubs potentially bringing back Brandon Morrow on a minor-league deal.