Chicago Cubs 2020 Season

#76
I think, much like Schwarber, most of Castellanos’ label of being a bad outfielder comes from his first season as a full-time outfielder in which he was abjectly awful.

In both cases since then they’ve been below average in Castellanos’ case and actually deceptively good in Schwarber’s case. I think if you were to put a very good fielding center fielder between them - someone like Robles or Kiermeier - they’d be a perfectly adequate outfield defense. Unfortunately, the Cubs do not currently have a very good fielding center fielder.

But more to the point, signing Castellanos when you still have Schwarber and Heyward on the roster makes no sense. And trading Schwarber and signing Castellanos makes no sense for a team that’s claiming they want to cut payroll.

A Castellanos signing really only makes sense if the Cubs have a) somehow unloaded Heyward and b) acquired a starting center fielder.
 
#77
Shogo Akiyama to the Reds.

This offseason has been felt like a crash course in learned helplessness.
 
#82
My only hope right now is putting faith in Theo/Jed. I can't see 2020 going any better than average, but I guess the plan is for a mediocre year, clearer personnel outlook in 2021, and a better plan going forward.

Still sucks though.
 
#83
Just an embarrassing offseason for this organization. I'm shocked Theo hasn't walked, tbh.
This has been the thing that’s puzzled me. Theo’s actions prior to about November 2018 don’t add up if he knew the financial plug was going to be pulled. But if he got blindsided by sudden restrictions on spending, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t just walk. What’s he got to prove. No one can say he didn’t do the job asked of him.

He’d have another job the second he decided he wanted one.

This makes me think that something else is up
 
#86
I understand not wanting to make any big financial commitments until the Bryant situation is figured out. He’s your best player and one of the 3 or 4 highest paid players on the team. You have to know if you have him for one or two more years before making big moves.

What I don’t understand is why a grievance filed 4 or 5 years ago wasn’t heard until last October and why it takes 2 or 3 months to make a decision.
 
#87
I was just looking back at the schedule from last year. It's easy to forget that on September 16, the Cubs were 14 games above .500, 2 games out of first, a half game behind the Nats for the first wild card spot, and had a 1 game lead over the Brewers for the last wild card spot. 12 games left, 7 against the Cardinals.

They had total control of their own playoff destiny and they completely pooped the bed.

They lost their next 9 in a row in possibly the most bizarre way imaginable. 7 of the 9 were by 1 or 2 runs, 5 losses in a row were by 1 run, 2 of them in extra-innings. During the 9-game streak, they batted .172 with runners in scoring position. They hit .264 with RISP the rest of the season, a couple points higher than League average. It's very easy to think that if they'd just hit their season average with RISP, they would have won 5 of those games.

What was that? A fluke? A mentally weak team coming up small when the season was on the line? In 2018, when the offense went into extended hibernation, you could draw a defined line from the crazy weather-induced gauntlet of a schedule to the drop in offensive production. They were a visibly exhausted team at the end of the season. Can't do any such thing for 2019. They just suddenly stopped getting hits with runners on base.

It should be noted that during the Cubs' losing streak, Milwaukee was on the second half of an even more bizarre 18-2 stretch, without which they never catch the Cubs. There was also Washington's 10-1 stretch to end the season and the Cardinal's 12-2 run in July and 18-4 run in August. It was a really weird year.
 
#88
I was just looking back at the schedule from last year. It's easy to forget that on September 16, the Cubs were 14 games above .500, 2 games out of first, a half game behind the Nats for the first wild card spot, and had a 1 game lead over the Brewers for the last wild card spot. 12 games left, 7 against the Cardinals.

They had total control of their own playoff destiny and they completely pooped the bed.

They lost their next 9 in a row in possibly the most bizarre way imaginable. 7 of the 9 were by 1 or 2 runs, 5 losses in a row were by 1 run, 2 of them in extra-innings. During the 9-game streak, they batted .172 with runners in scoring position. They hit .264 with RISP the rest of the season, a couple points higher than League average. It's very easy to think that if they'd just hit their season average with RISP, they would have won 5 of those games.

What was that? A fluke? A mentally weak team coming up small when the season was on the line? In 2018, when the offense went into extended hibernation, you could draw a defined line from the crazy weather-induced gauntlet of a schedule to the drop in offensive production. They were a visibly exhausted team at the end of the season. Can't do any such thing for 2019. They just suddenly stopped getting hits with runners on base.

It should be noted that during the Cubs' losing streak, Milwaukee was on the second half of an even more bizarre 18-2 stretch, without which they never catch the Cubs. There was also Washington's 10-1 stretch to end the season and the Cardinal's 12-2 run in July and 18-4 run in August. It was a really weird year.
Yea the Cubs played like a true talent 91 win team last year, just had some especially bad sequencing luck, especially in that stretch in September you mentioned. Which is why its crazy they're trying to cut bait and get worse in 2020 (through a Bryant trade), if they hold steady they're still probably the best true talent team in the NL Central.
 
#89
Yea the Cubs played like a true talent 91 win team last year, just had some especially bad sequencing luck, especially in that stretch in September you mentioned. Which is why its crazy they're trying to cut bait and get worse in 2020 (through a Bryant trade), if they hold steady they're still probably the best true talent team in the NL Central.
Hard for me to look at the Brewers roster and say they don't have a better team top to bottom. I think their offense is collectively better than the Cubs, starting pitching is probably worse (but I expect some regression from the Cubs this year on that front), and their bullpen has more proven, recent talent.

Now, raw talent? Maybe the Cubs have them beat. But the Brewers have proven guys who have shown the ability to be successful, at almost every position. And IMO they got better this offseason.

I will say I don't think the Cards are as talented, but it's not some giant leap between them and the Cubs.

Not trying to say the Cubs couldn't win the division with their current roster, I just don't think they've positioned themselves to be the favorite.
 
#90
Hard for me to look at the Brewers roster and say they don't have a better team top to bottom. I think their offense is collectively better than the Cubs, starting pitching is probably worse (but I expect some regression from the Cubs this year on that front), and their bullpen has more proven, recent talent.

Now, raw talent? Maybe the Cubs have them beat. But the Brewers have proven guys who have shown the ability to be successful, at almost every position. And IMO they got better this offseason.

I will say I don't think the Cards are as talented, but it's not some giant leap between them and the Cubs.

Not trying to say the Cubs couldn't win the division with their current roster, I just don't think they've positioned themselves to be the favorite.
The Brewers?!?! The Brewers are Christian Yelich, Josh Hader and a bunch of guys.

They are worse at catcher, first base and third base this year, switching Grandal for Narvaez, Thames for Smoak, and Moustakas for Sogard.

Urias is probably an upgrade over Arcia (how could he not be?) and they’ll benefit from a full season of Hiura.

Braun and Cain are just going to continue getting older and badder and any playing time they give to Avisail Garcia will probably actually improve the team.

There’s no reason to be scared of their starting pitching staff, bringing back Woodruff and Houser and switching out Davies, Chase Anderson and Chacin for Lindblom, Brett Anderson and Lauer.

Their bullpen should be excellent, especially if Knebel is back healthy.

The Cubs are better at catcher, 1b, SS, 3B, LF, and starting pitching. Fangraphs projects the Cubs current roster to be 3.5 games better than the Brewers.
 
#91
The Brewers?!?! The Brewers are Christian Yelich, Josh Hader and a bunch of guys.

They are worse at catcher, first base and third base this year, switching Grandal for Narvaez, Thames for Smoak, and Moustakas for Sogard.

Urias is probably an upgrade over Arcia (how could he not be?) and they’ll benefit from a full season of Hiura.

Braun and Cain are just going to continue getting older and badder and any playing time they give to Avisail Garcia will probably actually improve the team.

There’s no reason to be scared of their starting pitching staff, bringing back Woodruff and Houser and switching out Davies, Chase Anderson and Chacin for Lindblom, Brett Anderson and Lauer.

Their bullpen should be excellent, especially if Knebel is back healthy.

The Cubs are better at catcher, 1b, SS, 3B, LF, and starting pitching. Fangraphs projects the Cubs current roster to be 3.5 games better than the Brewers.
Ok ok I here ya. Maybe they aren't as talent as they have been.
 
#92
I’m sorry. The Brewers make me unreasonably angry. They’ve gotten so absurdly lucky over the last two years, starting with Christian Yelich suddenly turning into Barry Bonds midway through the 2018 season.

Seriously, is there a single person other than maybe Christian Yelich’s mom that believed that would happen?
 
#93
The Brewers?!?! The Brewers are Christian Yelich, Josh Hader and a bunch of guys.

They are worse at catcher, first base and third base this year, switching Grandal for Narvaez, Thames for Smoak, and Moustakas for Sogard.

Urias is probably an upgrade over Arcia (how could he not be?) and they’ll benefit from a full season of Hiura.

Braun and Cain are just going to continue getting older and badder and any playing time they give to Avisail Garcia will probably actually improve the team.

There’s no reason to be scared of their starting pitching staff, bringing back Woodruff and Houser and switching out Davies, Chase Anderson and Chacin for Lindblom, Brett Anderson and Lauer.

Their bullpen should be excellent, especially if Knebel is back healthy.

The Cubs are better at catcher, 1b, SS, 3B, LF, and starting pitching. Fangraphs projects the Cubs current roster to be 3.5 games better than the Brewers.
Yea the NL Central, as it stands now, is basically the Cubs by 2 wins over the Cardinals/Reds, then Brewers a little behind that. But none of those teams are really that much better than the other.

Obviously that could change. Ozuna is probably a 2 win upgrade for the Cardinals if they re-sign him, and the Cubs dumping Bryant is like a 4 win downgrade if the return is just prospects (which I think it would be since they're cutting payroll). The Brewers pitching should have sucked for the last like 3 seasons but they always out perform, you'd have to think it catches up with them eventually.
 
#94
Woodridge, IL
I’m sorry. The Brewers make me unreasonably angry. They’ve gotten so absurdly lucky over the last two years, starting with Christian Yelich suddenly turning into Barry Bonds midway through the 2018 season.

Seriously, is there a single person other than maybe Christian Yelich’s mom that believed that would happen?
FWIW, Derrick Goold, the Cardinals beat writer, said the Cardinals were super high on Yelich going into the 2017-18 off season. Yelich was their preferred choice over Stanton and Ozuna, however the Marlins weren't going to move him until they traded Stanton and Ozuna and even then there was no guarantee that the Marlins would trade him. Granted I doubt the Cardinals' projections were as high as what he's actually achieved the past two years with the Brewers.
 
#95
FWIW, Derrick Goold, the Cardinals beat writer, said the Cardinals were super high on Yelich going into the 2017-18 off season. Yelich was their preferred choice over Stanton and Ozuna, however the Marlins weren't going to move him until they traded Stanton and Ozuna and even then there was no guarantee that the Marlins would trade him. Granted I doubt the Cardinals' projections were as high as what he's actually achieved the past two years with the Brewers.
My recollection is that the reason Yelich was favored was due to his much more favorable contract. He’s only been paid $17MM for these last two years and is only due $41MM over the next three, including an option the Brewers are utterly assured of picking up. Ozuna only had two years of control left and was paid $21MM for those two.

As a Cubs fan, the silver lining on Yelich going to the Brewers is him not going to the Cardinals. What a nightmare that would have been. Yelich takes the Brewers from bad to competitive. He would have taken the Cardinals from good to World Series caliber.
 
#96
Woodridge, IL
My recollection is that the reason Yelich was favored was due to his much more favorable contract. He’s only been paid $17MM for these last two years and is only due $41MM over the next three, including an option the Brewers are utterly assured of picking up. Ozuna only had two years of control left and was paid $21MM for those two.

As a Cubs fan, the silver lining on Yelich going to the Brewers is him not going to the Cardinals. What a nightmare that would have been. Yelich takes the Brewers from bad to competitive. He would have taken the Cardinals from good to World Series caliber.
The contract was definitely one of the reasons Yelich was preferred, but the way Goold reported on it the Cardinals projected him as the best of the three.
 
#97
In real-life (i.e., non-roster) disheartening news, the toddler who was struck with a foul ball in Houston from Almora's bat has suffered permanent brain damage.
https://www.click2houston.com/news/...ers-brain-injury-from-foul-ball-is-permanent/
In a report posted Tuesday, Richard Mithoff told the Houston Chronicle that the child's brain injury is permanent. “She remains subject to seizures and is on medication and will be, perhaps, for the rest of her life. That may or may not be resolved,” he said.

Mithoff said doctors have described the effects of the injury to her central nervous system as similar to those of a stroke. The areas of the brain affected include those in which injuries can lead to seizures, loss of sensation and loss of spatial awareness, he said. Other potential effects include periods of unresponsiveness and staring spells, frequent headaches and night terrors, he said.

Doctors so far have not been able to determine if the child has cognitive deficits because of the skull fracture and brain injury resulting from the May 29 line drive to the back of her head off the bat of Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. “She is able to continue with much of her routine as a girl her age would do, but her parents have to (be) particularly vigilant — as they are,” Mithoff said.
Obviously this is a tragic incident and is in no way the fault of Almora, but there is no excuse not require extended safety netting in all MLB stadiums.
 
#98
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
the Cubs dumping Bryant is like a 4 win downgrade if the return is just prospects (which I think it would be since they're cutting payroll).
The Cubs aren't "dumping" Bryant. They are shopping one of their best assets. And there is no way they trade him for just prospects. Word on the street is that they've spoken to Washington about a trade, but are insistent upon a return that includes Robles.
 
Likes: IanKEvans2
#99
The Cubs aren't "dumping" Bryant. They are shopping one of their best assets. And there is no way they trade him for just prospects. Word on the street is that they've spoken to Washington about a trade, but are insistent upon a return that includes Robles.
I'd be thrilled with Robles.
 
The contract was definitely one of the reasons Yelich was preferred, but the way Goold reported on it the Cardinals projected him as the best of the three.
Even if we ignore the fact they probably wouldn't have traded Yelich without trading Ozuna first, I don't think the Cardinals could have matched the Brewers trade package at that point in time. With hindsight the players the Brewers traded don't look as good, but at the time it was a 60 grade top 15 OF prospect, another top 50 prospect, and two other 45 value guys. Cardinals didn't have that.