Chicago Cubs 2020 Season

So what is a realisic expectation for 20 Cubs? 4th? 3rd upside?
They are marginally the most talented team in a division with no great teams, but only one bad team.

They should win 88-90 games and be in the division race until the end. If they make the playoffs, they’ll probably be smoked by whomever they play.
 
Likes: IanKEvans2
Geneseo, IL
Can't say I've paid a ton of attention to the Cubs' offseason. The subtractions are a lot more significant than the additions(?) imo. Pitching-wise, is the bullpen plan to pretty much rely on Ryan, Wick, and Chatwood and hope that Kimbrel has a turn-around? And who's the fifth starter?
 
Can't say I've paid a ton of attention to the Cubs' offseason. The subtractions are a lot more significant than the additions(?) imo. Pitching-wise, is the bullpen plan to pretty much rely on Ryan, Wick, and Chatwood and hope that Kimbrel has a turn-around? And who's the fifth starter?
Chatwood or Mills is the 5th starter. The other is in the pen. They both had better ERA’s than Hamel last year and one or the other will probably be fine as a 5th starter.

They’ve made a lot of low key bullpen additions this offseason with Jeffress, Tepara, Winkler and others. They’ll have enough bodies to throw at the front end of the pen and sort out a decent rotation. The question will be the back end and that will all come down to Kimbrel.
 
For sake of comparison...

Betts is a better player than Bryant, but two years of Bryant is significantly more valuable than one year of Betts.

Jason Heyward is 4 years younger, $10MM cheaper and projects to be a more valuable player over the course of his remaining contract than David Price.

In return for Betts and Price, the Red Sox just got:

A 24-year old consensus top 40 prospect coming off a 3+ WAR rookie season.

A 21-year old consensus top 70 prospect who last year played mostly at AA and made his MLB debut.

Thus, the Cubs should get more than that for a Bryant/Heyward package.
 
For sake of comparison...

Betts is a better player than Bryant, but two years of Bryant is significantly more valuable than one year of Betts.

Jason Heyward is 4 years younger, $10MM cheaper and projects to be a more valuable player over the course of his remaining contract than David Price.

In return for Betts and Price, the Red Sox just got:

A 24-year old consensus top 40 prospect coming off a 3+ WAR rookie season.

A 21-year old consensus top 70 prospect who last year played mostly at AA and made his MLB debut.

Thus, the Cubs should get more than that for a Bryant/Heyward package.
You're missing the big caveat of the Red Sox paying half of Price's contract, so they basically bought one of those prospects. And Price definitely projects better than Heyward, not sure where you're getting that from. Price still projects to be a 3 win pitcher in only 128 innings next year, Heyward only projects for <2 wins in 500 PAs next year.

Bryant is probably is a little more valuable than Betts, just due to the 2 years of control. But you're a ways off on the package of Bryant/ Heyward really being even close to Betts/ Price
 
Likes: IanKEvans2
You're missing the big caveat of the Red Sox paying half of Price's contract, so they basically bought one of those prospects. And Price definitely projects better than Heyward, not sure where you're getting that from. Price still projects to be a 3 win pitcher in only 128 innings next year, Heyward only projects for <2 wins in 500 PAs next year.

Bryant is probably is a little more valuable than Betts, just due to the 2 years of control. But you're a ways off on the package of Bryant/ Heyward really being even close to Betts/ Price
I’ll grant you the money Boston chipped in for Price. I forgot to take that into account.

But Price hasn’t been a 3 WAR pitcher since 2016 and at 34 is much more likely to continue to decline than to resume his earlier career form.
 
Likes: IanKEvans2
I’ll grant you the money Boston chipped in for Price. I forgot to take that into account.

But Price hasn’t been a 3 WAR pitcher since 2016 and at 34 is much more likely to continue to decline than to resume his earlier career form.
I'm just saying what ZIPs says. If he's healthy enough to throw 150 innings, then he'll easily be worth 3 wins. I have no idea if he's actually healthy though, didn't really pitch in August or September last year, which obviously doesn't bode well for 2020.

But even in his hobbled state the last few years, he's still been more valuable than Heyward every year since 2015. And 1.5 to 2 win OF grow on trees, even consistent 2.5 to 3 win pitchers are much harder to come by which make them more valuable.
 
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-considering-new-postseason-format

The proposed format, which has been gaining traction among owners and within the Commissioner’s Office, would see the total number of playoff teams in each league increase from five to seven, with the Wild Card round expanding from a one-game playoff to a best-of-three series. The new format could go into effect as early as the 2022 season.

The league’s potential plan was first reported by the New York Post.

Here’s how the new format would work:

The team with the best record in both the American and National League would receive a first-round bye, automatically advancing to the Division Series. The other two division winners would host all three games in a best-of-three Wild Card round, as would the Wild Card team with the next-best record.

Three other Wild Card teams would also advance to the best-of-three round, though none would host a game.

The division winner with the second-best record in the league would then get to decide which of the bottom three Wild Card teams it wants to play in the opening round -- a decision that would be aired on live television on the final Sunday night of the season, just hours after the regular season concludes.
 
Little Rock, Arkansas
Just saw something from yahoo sports that said the reds might win the NL Central. Is this real life?

They went 75-87 last year so not THAT far off from at least being in the hunt...I just didn’t realize they were primed to make a leap forward.
 
Just saw something from yahoo sports that said the reds might win the NL Central. Is this real life?

They went 75-87 last year so not THAT far off from at least being in the hunt...I just didn’t realize they were primed to make a leap forward.
Made some good signings, have some young players ready, and the central is going to be a claw to the finish line. But, the Reds are definitely 4th fiddle in the race. They aren't easy wins, but they're on the outside looking in at this point.
 
Likes: IanKEvans2
Made some good signings, have some young players ready, and the central is going to be a claw to the finish line. But, the Reds are definitely 4th fiddle in the race. They aren't easy wins, but they're on the outside looking in at this point.
Yeah. The Reds are the hip pick because they made more obvious additions in a division where everyone else pretty much stood pat. But they’re probably still a 4th place team. Just a better 4th place team.

Meanwhile, it looks like the Cubs are going to sign Jason Kipnis, which would have been a massive signing 5 years ago. But he checks the “better than Daniel Descalso” box, and is therefore at least a minimal roster upgrade.
 
Likes: IanKEvans2
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
Current state of the Cubs:
 

Attachments

Link

Article grading all of Epstein’s major FA signings ($10MM+) since coming to the Cubs.

7 of 9 prior to 2016 are graded B or better. 1 of 6 since 2016 are graded B or better.

Although 2 of those 6 - Kimbrell and Darvish - could rise in score before the end of the contract.
 
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
Unfortunately, once he leaves Arizona, that becomes a lazy fly ball to the left fielder.
 
Regarding Almora, there was an article that I wish I could find and link to that pointed out that the Cubs got the best combined season of this era (since 2015) from its core 5 players of Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Contreras and Schwarber...

Contreras 409 PA, 272/355/533 24 HR, 64 RBI
Rizzo 613 PA, 293/405/520 27 HR, 94 RBI
Baez 561 PA, 281/316/531 29 HR, 85 RBI
Bryant 634 PA, 282/382/521 31 HR, 77 RBI
Schwarber 610 PA, 250/339/531 38 HR, 92 RBI

But still under performed offensively due to how horrible the rest of the roster was offensively. Which is amazing considering in addition to the performances above, they also got their best year to date out of Jason Heyward... 589 PA, 251/343/429 21 HR, 62 RBI...

Great half seasons out of Nicholas Castellanos (225 PA, 321/356/616 16 HR, 36 RBI) and Ian Happ (156 PA, 264/333/564 11 HR, 30 RBI)...

...And solid bench play from David Bote (356 PA, 257/362/422 11 HR, 41 RBI) and Victor Caratini (279 PA, 266/348/447 11 HR, 34 RBI.

Those are your best 10 hitters and should give you a dominant offense if you get anything resembling competent play out of the rest of your roster. Instead, the Cubs got...

Albert Almora 363 PA, 236/271/381 12 HR, 32 RBI
Addison Russell 241 PA, 237/308/391 9 HR, 23 RBI
Daniel Descalso 194 PA, 173/271/250 2 HR, 15 RBI
Ben Zobrist 176 PA, 260/358/313 1 HR, 17 RBI
Tony Kemp 93 PA, 183/258/305 1 HR, 12 RBI
Lucroy/Davis/Maldonado 93 PA 158/232/256 2 HR, 10 RBI

And maybe I shouldn't have included the Cubs' third catcher in there, except that everybody said heading into the season that the Cubs needed a better option at AAA for a third catcher, they passed on signing (among others) Rene Rivera (paid a grand total of $100,000 by the Mets), and then traded away a useful player in Mike Montgomery to get Maldonado mid-season because they didn't address the need during the off season.

That's 1,160 plate appearances - 19% of the team's total - essentially acting like a second pitcher in the lineup. It's an even 20% if you add in Mark Zagunis' and Carlos Gonzalez's combined 89 Plate Appearances. When you factor in the pitchers, opposing teams were able to get a pretty sure out in 1 out of every 4 ABs, about 2 and a half at bats every time through the lineup against the Cubs. Which goes a long, long way to explaining some of those low RBI totals among the Cubs' better hitters and the extended stretches where the Cubs were unable to get anyone in from scoring position.

Looking at these totals and the other internal options the Cubs had available, it's absolutely unconscionable that Almora got 363 plate appearances. Also makes you wonder why they couldn't have paid someone like Jose Iglesias less money to be a better player (and person) than Addison Russell. Or what went wrong with the Cubs scouting that they thought Daniel Descalso would be a better player than Tommy LaStella or Derek Dietrich or Wilmer Flores or any number of other players they could have gotten better performances out of for less money. It's also an argument for why having someone else filling out the lineup card might go a long way towards the Cubs having a better offense this year.
 
Geneseo, IL
Link

Article grading all of Epstein’s major FA signings ($10MM+) since coming to the Cubs.

7 of 9 prior to 2016 are graded B or better. 1 of 6 since 2016 are graded B or better.

Although 2 of those 6 - Kimbrell and Darvish - could rise in score before the end of the contract.
Theo has not had a good 3 1/2 years since the World Series win.
 
Geneseo, IL
Just curious how many of the regular posters here don't have access to Marquee at this point and if not, does your frustration lie with the Cubs or your provider. I have Dish and have no idea if they are even interested in carrying it. I've been without NBC Sports Chicago for about five months now and my local FOX affiliate for a couple months as Dish is in a pissing match with them. At this point I doubt NBC Sports Chicago is ever going to be carried by Dish again.
 
Likes: IanKEvans2
Just curious how many of the regular posters here don't have access to Marquee at this point and if not, does your frustration lie with the Cubs or your provider. I have Dish and have no idea if they are even interested in carrying it. I've been without NBC Sports Chicago for about five months now and my local FOX affiliate for a couple months as Dish is in a pissing match with them. At this point I doubt NBC Sports Chicago is ever going to be carried by Dish again.
My brother and I share an MLB.tv subscription and over the past few years I've had access to Cubs games provided they were not blacked out when playing teams in the market of the places I was living while finishing out grad school (WI, AR, VA, OH). That was nice until I accepted a position at the University of Iowa. In Iowa City I am blacked out of all Cubs, White Sox, Royals, Brewers, Twins, and Cardinals games.

When you can't watch games for 20% of the league because of your zip code, I find no shame in utilizing alternative methods for streaming all Cubs games.

In my opinion, this is MLB's biggest problem.

And as per usual, a tweet to sum up my feelings.