Chicago Cubs 2021 season

#1
I think with Theo stepping down we can close the books on 2020 and start a 2021 thread.

It sounds as if the Cubs want to reshuffle the lineup and slash payroll. So, my fairly grim predictions for this offseason...

1. The Cubs trade Bryant for a cheaper bad contract. Maybe Inciarte from the Braves and get a non-prospect or two to go with him.

2. The Cubs trade Contreras for a couple actual prospects, neither of whom are MLB ready.

3. The Cubs non-tender Schwarber.

4. The Cubs go on a dumpster diving free agent “spree,” signing some veterans to cheap one or two year contracts - a couple starting pitchers - maybe Archer and Desclafini, high upside guys with questions, to put it lightly; a formerly high leverage reliever coming off a bad year, trying to catch Jeffress-style lightning in a bottle again - someone like Melancon; a cheap all-glove/light bat infielder - Caesar Hernandez?; a 3rd/4th OF who can play CF - Jackie Bradley Jr.; a league minimum level back up catcher - Sandy Leon.

Going by BR’s arb estimates and MLB trade rumors free agent salary predictions, that roster would have a payroll of roughly $135MM, about $60MM less than last year. The team would likely hit worse than the current roster is predicted to, but not worse than last year’s team did, particularly if you get any bounce back from Rizzo and Baez. It would be a better defensive team and a deeper pitching staff.

Not a great team by any stretch, but probably still the favorite to win a mediocre/bad NL Central.
 
#2
From my lifetime, the upcoming off-season reminds me of the Cubs in the early 70's dismantling the lovable '69 team. It was a major explosion:

Jenkins - Texas
Santo - White Sox
Williams - Oakland
Holtzman - Oakland
Kessinger - Cardinals
Beckert - San Diego
Hundley - Minnesota

As such, I'm going to be bold and go with the dumpster fire route. However, I think Hoyer is getting a ton of prospects back in return -- and/or some players with excellent major league experience. I think the big 5 --- Contreras, Darvish, Bryant, Schwarber and Rizzo --- are all going to be discussed in trade scenarios and I'd be content if 4 of the 5 were gone (I prefer to keep Rizzo for the club house).

The Braves, Dodgers, Nationals and Mets all seem to be good 3rd base trade partners, so I'll start there. Maybe even the Yankees?

OPTIONS: --- (BRAVES: Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Austin Riley and even Ender Inciarte; DODGERs; Gavin Lux, Josiah Gray, Kody Hoese, Kiebert Ruiz, Brusdar Graterol; METS: Dom Smith, Andres Giminez, Amed Rosario, JD Davis, Francisco Alvarez, David Peterson; NATIONALS: Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles).

Could be really exciting! I really like the Mets and Dodgers as potential partners.
 
#3
Houston, Texas
Those two Washington guys are no longer prospects. They are guys you’d hope fulfill their once promising potential. I would hope they would get more than that for Bryant.
 
#4
Geneseo, IL
Hard to see how this isn't a liquidate most of your assets and start a major rebuild type of project. I think Contreras is still worth holding on to. I know he still has to improve his defense and framing but you just don't get that type of offensive punch at that position very often.
 
#5
Hard to see how this isn't a liquidate most of your assets and start a major rebuild type of project. I think Contreras is still worth holding on to. I know he still has to improve his defense and framing but you just don't get that type of offensive punch at that position very often.
His framing went from one of the worst in the league, to one of the best last season. His offense is what hurt him last year. If he can put it all together, he'd easily be the best catcher in the league.

Out of everyone, including Javy, he's the one I'd like to see stick around. Mainly because we wont get enough for him right now, IMO.
 
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#6
Appreciate you starting this thread, /u/champaignchris!

Regarding the roster, I'm in agreement with the consensus thus far in that we'll see a fair amount of turnover to signal the shifting of an era. I'm hopeful for a Baez bounce-back season, along with seeing what year #2 of Nico Hoerner looks like. I like the idea of taking a reunion flyer with Chris Archer, along with adding some depth to the bullpen.

Leaguewide I'll be interested in seeing how spring training and the MLB season is handled within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was hoping to cross off a handful of unvisited ballparks this summer (Minnesota, Chicago's South Side, St. Louis, Colorado), but barring mass distribution of a vaccine, I'm less optimistic we'll see stadiums at capacity next season.
 
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