Cubs 2023 Season

#176      
The Cubs will say they’re spending money now, and I guess that’s basically true.

They’re spending more than the last couple years, but are still $40-50 million under the luxury threshold and outside the top 10 in payroll. They have about $90 million in salary coming off the books next year assuming Stroman opts out (which he will if he has any sort of season at all).

We can try to tell ourselves that the Cubs going conservative while the rest of baseball goes on a spending spree must mean that Jed knows something that everyone else doesn’t. He’s zigging when everyone else is zagging. He’s Moneyball-ing it with defensive players and control pitching when everyone else is spending on power bats and power arms, etc.

Problem is, I have no evidence Hoyer has ever been the smartest guy in the room when it comes to baseball. His list of accomplishments when he hasn’t been lashed directly to Theo’s hip are minimal.

He may very well prove me wrong. In five years we all may be breathing great sighs of relief that the Cubs aren’t saddled with “one of those contracts” as other teams are desperately Bobby Bonilla-ing former stars. But I really don’t have any reason to believe this will be the case. More likely we’re going to see a slew of Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in the late 2030s consisting entirely of guys who were free agents the Cubs decided not to pursue.
The thing that needs to be kept in mind here is playoff expansion.

What the Mets are doing on some level doesn't even really make competitive sense. There's not very much value in being excellent in baseball. That's a huge problem for MLB, but it is what it is in terms of individual team strategy.

It's a total outrage that the Cubs are so far from the top payrolls, don't get me wrong, I don't want to seem like I'm disagreeing with you there. But I do think they retain a decent amount of flexibility here, I don't think Jed has spent all the ammo he has.
 
#177      

DeonThomas

South Carolina
Right.

The Cubs really don’t have an everyday DH. So a Hosmer signing doesn’t take any at bats away from Mervis.

Hosmer is likely a better defensive 1B than Mervis. So he plays the field most days and Mervis concentrates on his bat.

Hosmer is a bit underrated due to his not living up to the massive contract he signed with the Padres. He’s been consistently a league average offensive first baseman who still has a pretty good glove.

He’s basically a free player for the Cubs to pick up, as the Padres are still on the hook for his contract. (Like Heyward with the Cubs.) No risk. If he’s bad, you can cut him at no additional cost. But it looks like he’d add a nice floor to the Cubs’ 1B/DH position which had been a big question mark.

Overall, you go around the diamond and the Cubs are “fine” at every position. They’re completely absent of star power, but have an actual MLB player everywhere. They’ll play great defense, won’t be a black hole in any spot in the lineup, and will consistently give you quality pitching starts. I’d like to see more depth in the pen, which is something every fan of every baseball team can say.

Hoerner or Swanson being injured for a significant amount of time would be a disaster. The bullpen might take some time to come together. No elite hitters means the offense is going to be shut down against elite pitching. I could see them eke into the playoffs with 84 wins and then go scoreless in two games.
Spot on!

And I love the Hosmer signing.
 
#178      
the cubs are severely lacking power in their lineup. suzuki has the potential for decent power if he can stay healthy. if mervis gets called up he does as well and if bellinger can recapture his MVP hitting but that's a lot of "ifs"
 
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#179      
the cubs are severely lacking power in their lineup. suzuki has the potential for decent power if he can stay healthy. if mervis gets called up he does as well and if bellinger can recapture his MVP hitting but that's a lot of "ifs"
Yeah, and that's the weird thing since Jed has been speaking publicly about wanting to improve that for months.

Bellinger and Swanson do add quite a bit of power relative to what they'll be replacing, I guess. And after Aaron Judge it wasn't a homer-filled free agent class.
 
#180      
the cubs are severely lacking power in their lineup. suzuki has the potential for decent power if he can stay healthy. if mervis gets called up he does as well and if bellinger can recapture his MVP hitting but that's a lot of "ifs"
The power will come down the road. This was not a rebuild or so that is what we were told. However, it would seem like the last pieces will come in the next few years. Look at the Braves. They will contend for a long time. Hopefully we get this right and build the farm system up to where we are consistent for 8 years or more.
 
#181      

KBLEE

Montgomery, IL
The Cubs minor league system was one of the Top 5 most improved last year according to MLB Pipeline.

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#182      
Yeah, and that's the weird thing since Jed has been speaking publicly about wanting to improve that for months.

Bellinger and Swanson do add quite a bit of power relative to what they'll be replacing, I guess. And after Aaron Judge it wasn't a homer-filled free agent class.
Looking at the projections at both FG and BR, Wisdom, Mervis, Swanson, Happ, Morel, and Suzuki all project at 20-25 HRs. Bellinger and Hosmer both project at double digits. Really, the only positions they’re not projected to get any power is 2B and C and that’s pretty typical.

They hit 159 HR last year (9th in NL) and look to project to hit right around 170-180 this year (177 was League average last year). An incremental improvement, like pretty much every other improvement this off season.
 
#183      
In regard to the payroll, I think they illustrated a willingness to spend. You want to make sure you spend wisely, and it takes two to tango. The top Free Agents didn't sign with re-building clubs. They signed with teams that were already contenders.

DeGrom to the Rangers was an outlier, but he's also only made 33 starts the last 3 seasons combined.
Outside that, the best free agent that signed with a team under .500 for 2022, was Dansby Swanson to the Cubs.

Spending for the sake of spending to maintain optics isn't good strategy, nor is way over-paying to make yourself more attractive.

I believe we are better equipped to compete this year than we were last. We have maintained a lot of financial flexibility to take on a big contract via trade or add another major FA next season. As long as we keep building, I'm okay with it.
 
#184      
I'm not a Cardinal hater and reserve my vitriol for the team closer south to us that wear black hats. I almost grudgingly respect the Cardinals organization.

Pru, When was the last time the Cardinals (a mid market team) had to do a major tear down that seems like a regular part of the Cubs (a major market team) 5-7 year cycle? I don't recall the Cardinals last rebuild.
 
#185      
I'm not a Cardinal hater and reserve my vitriol for the team closer south to us that wear black hats. I almost grudgingly respect the Cardinals organization.

Pru, When was the last time the Cardinals (a mid market team) had to do a major tear down that seems like a regular part of the Cubs (a major market team) 5-7 year cycle? I don't recall the Cardinals last rebuild.
Because they have players in the farm ready to come up. The Astros are the same way. You build from within and we are starting that process. We will be much better this year barring a ton of injuries.
 
#186      
Because they have players in the farm ready to come up. The Astros are the same way. You build from within and we are starting that process. We will be much better this year barring a ton of injuries.
It’s easier to have those farm players constantly coming up when your team got a decade of “competitive balance” picks for being a “small market” team despite having a radio network across the mid-south, a billion dollar television contract, and 3 million in attendance every season for three decades.

Now that those bonus picks are going away with the new CBA, I’ll be very curious to see how the Cardinals farm fairs over the upcoming decade.

We Cubs fans really don’t have much right to complain in this regard. The Cubs also have several historical built-in institutional advantages that, unlike the Cardinals, the Cubs have never exploited to their fullest. Now, Sox, Royals, Brewers, and Reds fans… yeah, they should have been screaming about the Cardinals’ extra draft picks for years.
 
#187      

pruman91

Paducah, Ky
I'm not a Cardinal hater and reserve my vitriol for the team closer south to us that wear black hats. I almost grudgingly respect the Cardinals organization.

Pru, When was the last time the Cardinals (a mid market team) had to do a major tear down that seems like a regular part of the Cubs (a major market team) 5-7 year cycle? I don't recall the Cardinals last rebuild.
I posted the Cardinals stuff all in good fun , but to answer your question off the cuff without doing any research , my answer is " I can't remember"...lol

Ever since Mo has been the GM of the cardinals we have not had a losing season .....So that's been 17-18 years I believe....The Cardinals philosophy has been to be very competitive every year and reach the playoffs.....

The days of Whiteyball when he was the manager and GM were whirlwind dealing days and with the volume of trades he made I guess you could MAYBE compare it was a rebuild , but nothing compared , I believe to the cubbies and their sell-off of stars after their first WS win in 108 years that blow's my mind as a fan of baseball....It would hard for me to be a fan of such wanton tearing down because of $$$.........Fiscal responsibility sometimes gets me down with the Cardinals
not spending more to plug some visible holes in the roster and settling for low hanging fruit.......

I view the cubbies - Cardinals rivalry as the best in baseball over the yankees - red sox and the dodgers - giants...........I also want the Central Division in the
NL to be stronger and not be viewed as the weakest in MLB..........

Again , just having a little fun with my post .........JMHO.....
 
#188      
I posted the Cardinals stuff all in good fun , but to answer your question off the cuff without doing any research , my answer is " I can't remember"...lol

Ever since Mo has been the GM of the cardinals we have not had a losing season .....So that's been 17-18 years I believe....The Cardinals philosophy has been to be very competitive every year and reach the playoffs.....

The days of Whiteyball when he was the manager and GM were whirlwind dealing days and with the volume of trades he made I guess you could MAYBE compare it was a rebuild , but nothing compared , I believe to the cubbies and their sell-off of stars after their first WS win in 108 years that blow's my mind as a fan of baseball....It would hard for me to be a fan of such wanton tearing down because of $$$.........Fiscal responsibility sometimes gets me down with the Cardinals
not spending more to plug some visible holes in the roster and settling for low hanging fruit.......

I view the cubbies - Cardinals rivalry as the best in baseball over the yankees - red sox and the dodgers - giants...........I also want the Central Division in the
NL to be stronger and not be viewed as the weakest in MLB..........

Again , just having a little fun with my post .........JMHO.....
Absolutely no offense taken.
Rivalries will be watered down a little with the more balanced schedule. And I guess no more loading up on the Reds and Pirates.
 
#190      
Cardinals haven't really had a 5-7 rebuilding plan that I can ever remember. The closest to having a few seasons here and there would be in the 90s. Once Dewitt Jr took over ownership in the 90s they have put out a competitive squad. They hardly ever spend the maxiumum they can(which does frustrate some) but also want to see how the team chemistry is before making moves.

Cardinals had to build the farm system up like all teams. Many years ago they had one of the worst farm systems around. Mozeliak started in his mid 20s in the scouting area and is still with the team in his early 50s after being GM and is now President of Baseball Operations. They tend to work like BB and have a plan in place for the current year and years ahead.

I like the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry but it isn't the same for me as when I was growing up in central IL. The Cubs always play hard against the Cardinals but as a Cardinals fan I would like to see the Cubs and Cardinals on top of the division more years than not fighting each other. Cubs have had success but they tend to keep it for short term periods.
 
#191      
We’re about a month from Spring Training. Maybe something minor happens between now and then but mostly, I think what we’ve got is what we’ll have.

The Cubs have made a lot of really safe, boring, un-sexy moves that I think have built up their floor without raising their ceiling.

I think they’ve made it so their range of outcomes is between 75-85 wins instead of between 65-85 wins.

They have a lot of minor league talent that will make their MLB debut this year and about $90 million coming off the payroll at the end of the season. So I understand them shoring up the foundations, keeping their powder dry, and seeing how things shake out this year. They’re being maddeningly conservative, but I get it even if I don’t agree with it.

If Mervis comes up and mashes, Bellinger finds some semblance of his former self, and the young pitching succeeds more than it fails, the Cubs will have the resources to go get some more help at the deadline. Otherwise, I suspect they’ll fumble along around .500 and look to make more incremental improvements next year.
 
#192      
We’re about a month from Spring Training. Maybe something minor happens between now and then but mostly, I think what we’ve got is what we’ll have.

The Cubs have made a lot of really safe, boring, un-sexy moves that I think have built up their floor without raising their ceiling.

I think they’ve made it so their range of outcomes is between 75-85 wins instead of between 65-85 wins.

They have a lot of minor league talent that will make their MLB debut this year and about $90 million coming off the payroll at the end of the season. So I understand them shoring up the foundations, keeping their powder dry, and seeing how things shake out this year. They’re being maddeningly conservative, but I get it even if I don’t agree with it.

If Mervis comes up and mashes, Bellinger finds some semblance of his former self, and the young pitching succeeds more than it fails, the Cubs will have the resources to go get some more help at the deadline. Otherwise, I suspect they’ll fumble along around .500 and look to make more incremental improvements next year.
I'm with you on this take. Seems like this is a 75-80 win team on the surface.
 
#194      

bdutts

Houston, Texas
We’re about a month from Spring Training. Maybe something minor happens between now and then but mostly, I think what we’ve got is what we’ll have.

The Cubs have made a lot of really safe, boring, un-sexy moves that I think have built up their floor without raising their ceiling.

I think they’ve made it so their range of outcomes is between 75-85 wins instead of between 65-85 wins.

They have a lot of minor league talent that will make their MLB debut this year and about $90 million coming off the payroll at the end of the season. So I understand them shoring up the foundations, keeping their powder dry, and seeing how things shake out this year. They’re being maddeningly conservative, but I get it even if I don’t agree with it.

If Mervis comes up and mashes, Bellinger finds some semblance of his former self, and the young pitching succeeds more than it fails, the Cubs will have the resources to go get some more help at the deadline. Otherwise, I suspect they’ll fumble along around .500 and look to make more incremental improvements next year.
Lots of ifs in there…

I’ll say somewhere between 70-75 wins.
 
#196      

Mr. Tibbs

southeast DuPage
Trevor Bauer - strange dude
I kept wanting to like him, mainly because he seemed like he marched to a way different drummer, which is atypical for a MLB pitcher, but then that alleged sexual stuff came out and he simply became a toxic arsehole . Rather similar in many ways to Addison Russell

Not sure how there is a patchway for him to return, but I guess there is always a MLB team somewhere that will give him another chance.
 
#197      
Lots of ifs in there…

I’ll say somewhere between 70-75 wins.
I dunno, I have a hard time seeing this team being worse than last year. There were some overperformances by guys like Morel and Thompson that aren't likely to repeat, but all of the losing happened in the first half of the season when there were AB's and innings going to absolute garbage.

This team won't have to just keep trotting Frank Schwindel and Nick Madrigal and Jason Heyward out there for want of better options.
 
#198      

bdutts

Houston, Texas
I dunno, I have a hard time seeing this team being worse than last year. There were some overperformances by guys like Morel and Thompson that aren't likely to repeat, but all of the losing happened in the first half of the season when there were AB's and innings going to absolute garbage.

This team won't have to just keep trotting Frank Schwindel and Nick Madrigal and Jason Heyward out there for want of better options.
They will play better defense for sure. Will the offense be better? They added a ton of strikeouts in Bellinger and Swanson. Hosmer is less prone to K than the others but probably is around 100k per year if you average his career. Pitching is a huge question mark.

I see what you’re saying but due to all those ifs that I don’t see coming to fruition, 70-75 seems right. Not sure they will be worse than last year but I don’t think they’ll be better. About the same as last year.
 
#199      
They will play better defense for sure. Will the offense be better? They added a ton of strikeouts in Bellinger and Swanson. Hosmer is less prone to K than the others but probably is around 100k per year if you average his career. Pitching is a huge question mark.

I see what you’re saying but due to all those ifs that I don’t see coming to fruition, 70-75 seems right. Not sure they will be worse than last year but I don’t think they’ll be better. About the same as last year.
How big a question mark is the pitching? At least the starting pitching?

Taillon, Stroman and Smyly are all proven commodities. They put up seasons last year that were pretty close to their career expectations. They should come pretty close to repeating those performances. That gives you about 400 innings of sub-4.00 ERA starts.

In today’s baseball, you’re looking for about 800 innings from your starters. So the Cubs are looking for 400 more decent innings from some combination of Hendricks. Sampson, Steele, Thompson, Wesneski, and Assad. Those guys combined to throw 493.1 innings with a 3.50 ERA last year.

There’s enough redundancy here that if someone isn’t performing, they can be sent down or shipped out and replaced with someone else. Killian, Wicks, Brown and a couple others are all also not too far from contributing. It’s pretty clear that their strategies is to throw bodies at the starters’ slots and see who sticks.

It worked during the last half of last year, and I think it will work again. Really, the only point last year where the starting pitching was bad was in June when the top 6 starters in the organization were all hurt at the same time. That was a slice of bad luck pretty unlikely to repeat itself.

The bullpen is a much bigger question mark. They added Boxberger to returnees like Wick, Hughes, Rucker, Alzolay, and whichever starter above doesn’t make the rotation. There are some kids that will start getting chances the way Hughes and Effross did last year. He’s also added, by my last count, 6 veteran relievers signed to minor league contracts, a strategy that has worked pretty well for him the last couple years. I also think there will be at least one more MLB reliever signing.
 
#200      

bdutts

Houston, Texas
It
How big a question mark is the pitching? At least the starting pitching?

Taillon, Stroman and Smyly are all proven commodities. They put up seasons last year that were pretty close to their career expectations. They should come pretty close to repeating those performances. That gives you about 400 innings of sub-4.00 ERA starts.

In today’s baseball, you’re looking for about 800 innings from your starters. So the Cubs are looking for 400 more decent innings from some combination of Hendricks. Sampson, Steele, Thompson, Wesneski, and Assad. Those guys combined to throw 493.1 innings with a 3.50 ERA last year.

There’s enough redundancy here that if someone isn’t performing, they can be sent down or shipped out and replaced with someone else. Killian, Wicks, Brown and a couple others are all also not too far from contributing. It’s pretty clear that their strategies is to throw bodies at the starters’ slots and see who sticks.

It worked during the last half of last year, and I think it will work again. Really, the only point last year where the starting pitching was bad was in June when the top 6 starters in the organization were all hurt at the same time. That was a slice of bad luck pretty unlikely to repeat itself.

The bullpen is a much bigger question mark. They added Boxberger to returnees like Wick, Hughes, Rucker, Alzolay, and whichever starter above doesn’t make the rotation. There are some kids that will start getting chances the way Hughes and Effross did last year. He’s also added, by my last count, 6 veteran relievers signed to minor league contracts, a strategy that has worked pretty well for him the last couple years. I also think there will be at least one more MLB reliever signing.
It's a team of 3rd, 4th and 5th starters with most of them 4th and 5th starters. While that's great in terms of depth like you said, they have no stoppers in the starting rotation. Who can you count on to stop a losing streak? They might not get blown out much; they'll just lose 5-4 or 6-5. I hope you and Gritty are right but until I can see them do it for a full year, the starting staff is one of a whole bunch of ifs (I think your post had all the ifs).