MLB Offseason Analysis Series: Chicago Cubs

Josh continues his MLB Off Season Analysis Series and makes his predictions for the Chicago Cubs

Cubs

For each division, we will be doing an in-depth look at each team’s situations for the offseason and offer some insights to what would make sense.

We now move to the NL Central… the home of the NL MVP’s Brewers, the never-ending drama’s Cubs, the defensively challenged Cardinals, the “we’re not rebuilding, but we are” Pirates… and the Reds.

Comment below, hit us up with questions/thoughts on Twitter (@TheCombineBlog), or post your best NL Central memes on our Facebook and keep the discussion going.

Chicago Cubs

Departing FAs:

Jaime Garcia SP
Jesse Chavez P
Jorge De La Rosa P
Daniel Murphy 2B
Justin Wilson RP

 

Budget:

  • $0M ($20M over their 2018 payroll already)

 

Biggest Needs:

  1. RP
  2. 2B/SS
  3. Replenish farm system

 

Top FA Targets:

  1. Manny Machado, SS

With Addison Russell on his “Bobby Brown” shit… only fitting that they add a replacement that isn’t “Johnny Hustle”.  Maybe Joe Maddon could get him in line?

  1. Carson Smith, RP

Low-cost/high upside… exactly what the Cubs should shoot for this year after big swings and misses lately with Heyward, Darvish, Chatwood, and Morrow.  Plus it’d allow them to avoid trading more prospects for bullpen help again…

  1. David Phelps, RP

Ditto.

  1. Jerry Blevins, RP

With Justin Wilson departing via free agency (barring a re-signing), the Cubs will be in the market for a LHP… there’s not many better in the business at shutting down lefties, than Blevins.

  1. Garrett Richards, SP

Just like most contenders, Garrett Richards would be a good sign for a 2 year deal.  He likely won’t be able to start a game in 2019, but may be ready for relief work come playoff time.  With Hamels’ contract up after 2019, he could slide into his spot in the rotation.

Top 3 Trade Possibilities:

  1. Cubs trade 2B/RF Ben Zobrist & SP Kyle Hendricks to the Angels for INF Zack Cozart & RP Blake Parker

Kyle Hendricks is set to make $8M in 2019 and under team control in 2020 & Ben Zobrist is set to make $12.5M in the last year of his contract… but the Cubs need to slash some payroll according to reports and these are expensive depth pieces for this team.  Since Chatwood has no value, it would be prudent to move these two to fill other needs.  Enter the Angels, who need a SP and have a spot at 2B available again for another aging player.  In Cozart ($12.6M/year thru 2020), the Cubs get a replacement for Addison Russell, a reliable set-up man with closer experience, and shave ~$6M off their payroll.

  1. Cubs trade SP Tyler Chatwood and cash to the Rockies for RP Michael Dunn

I know I just said Chatwood has no value… and here is evidence of it.  But Chatwood performed well in COL in 2017 and maybe needs to go back.  Mike Dunn is set to make $7M (+$1M buyout of 2020 option) and provided negative value to COL last year.  The Cubs toss in some cash to somewhat offset next year’s salary just to get rid of one of their free agent mistakes.

  1. Cubs trade LF Kyle Schwarber to the Astros for OF Derek Fisher and prospect SP J.B. Bukauskas (#8)

The Schwarber experiment needs to end in Chicago.  A defensively challenged player, playing in the National League… not ideal.  Send him to Houston, snag some prospects, and help your pitchers out.  For Houston, they get a big bat to throw in at DH and he will mash in that tiny park.

Bold Prediction:

  • Cubs trade 3B Kris Bryant to the Yankees for 3B Miguel Andujar, SP Chance Adams, and prospect OF Estevan Florial (#1)

Theo Epstein deserves credit for getting Chicago their World Series…. But he also deserves credit for fucking their finances/budget up moving forward.  Kris Bryant (or someone else… i.e. Rizzo, Baez, etc) will have to be moved because of all the money owed to Heyward and Darvish long term, paired with their expensive arbitration players in a few years (Baez, Hendricks, Almora, Contreras, Edwards, Happ, etc).  In this trade, the Cubs get a replacement 3B, a SP that they can groom in a long-relief role in 2019 (then assume Hamels spot in 2020), and an OF prospect for depth.  The Yankees obviously get a stud 3B and potential future HOFer to lock down 3B for at least a few years.

 

Other MLB Offseason Predictions

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Author: @TheCombineJosh

The Combine is where sports and and the fans can unite and discuss their favorite topics. Stay tuned as we grow!

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