The Situational Hitting Problem

CSF77

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Nobody really goes static anymore.
Injury caused it to become more unstable. But in general Rizzo was at 1B. Contreras at catcher. Bryant would have been every day 3B but his injury prevented it. Less wear at LF.

As far as line up construction the lead off is key. Stablizing it would help stabilize the middle.
 

JP Hochbaum

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I am cool with Happ or Schwarber as our leadoff options. I don't think Joe's experiment with Schwarber failed, it was just too soon to do it.
 

anotheridiot

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I think the moral of the story of this season is that our best hitter, Baez, is a guy that should be hitting 7th or 8th in the order.
Russell was supposed to develop into that 5th hitter that made more contact and struck out less, which he did for a brief while when he approached hitting .290 at one point. But he is likely gone because he's not a good human.
Machado is the answer to this.
and I'm nuts? You get your best base runner on base so he can get stranded by 8 and 9?

Funny how he led off the WBC, let off the all star game, but is not good enough for cub fans.
 

CSF77

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I think the moral of the story of this season is that our best hitter, Baez, is a guy that should be hitting 7th or 8th in the order.
131 wRC+ says that you are wrong.

Russell was supposed to develop into that 5th hitter that made more contact and struck out less, which he did for a brief while when he approached hitting .290 at one point. But he is likely gone because he's not a good human.
Machado is the answer to this.

Russell was originally viewed as a future lead off. Hit in a RBI favored spot in that line up and feasted on the OBA ahead of him. He was non existent in the play offs and series that year. Then got injured the next. After that more injury and suspension. Fact he didn't fight it after denying it kinda paints a pix on this turd.

That part is 100% right.

Spending 30 mil per year when you have Bryant at 3B, Baez at SS and Zobrist at 2B. All you are doing is forcing one of the 3 into another position which shoves another out of the line up.

If all the Cubs had to worry about was 1 guy then this would be a non issue. To add 30 mil they have to subtract payroll.

Hamels: Makes the team worse.
Heyward: Wishful that he opts

Those 2 IMO are key. If they pass on Hamels then they are looking at a big fish. This case they could be viewing Smyly and looking to trade for depth and then with that 20 mil open eating 30 mil is more realistic.

If Heyward opts out then I see them going after Harper.

But I expect Hamels resigned and Chavez inked. Honestly I've been pretty close on my predictions over the years. Even Cole I saw early on but questioned the wisdom of it.

From the list my predictions are retention of Cole and Chavez. They go after Brantley but I'm not sure that they match up. Marwin Gonzalez I can see if he doesn't resign with Houston. Leonys Martin a dark horse.
 

beckdawg

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To add 30 mil they have to subtract payroll.
What are you basing this assumption on? I mean sure they have a lot of money tied up in payroll for next year but that doesn't mean they can't spend money. After 2019 they are losing $28 mil in Kintzler, Smyly, Duensing and Zobrist. If you did nothing you could just structure the deal such that the money doesn't hit the 2019 payroll. While that doesn't effect the luxury tax which uses AAV, so long as they aren't going over the second threshold that is super punitive they are fine. They are going to have a boat load of extra money coming in next year because of the new tv deal.
 

CSF77

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What are you basing this assumption on? I mean sure they have a lot of money tied up in payroll for next year but that doesn't mean they can't spend money. After 2019 they are losing $28 mil in Kintzler, Smyly, Duensing and Zobrist. If you did nothing you could just structure the deal such that the money doesn't hit the 2019 payroll. While that doesn't effect the luxury tax which uses AAV, so long as they aren't going over the second threshold that is super punitive they are fine. They are going to have a boat load of extra money coming in next year because of the new tv deal.
I know this. The problem is two fold.
1. They have more than 1 need.
2. 3B was 125 +RC+, SS 131 wRC+, 2B 123 wRC+. Those 3 spots were not the problem.

I posted this on the other thread but wRC+ has the main problems as Caratini at 65. Russell at 80 LaStella at 86 and Almora at 89. All of these guys are NOT ML quality starting players. This needs to be addressed.

Machado is a great player but he is not a fit. The only way that you make it fit is to commit to Bryant to the OF. Zobrist is not a every day OF. He is not a every day RF. He was forced out there. Murphy can't hang anywhere else and before that they had the miss conception that Russell's D made up for the loss that his O brought.

Bringing Manny in just jams up a position of strength and doesn't address the real problems.

Add to it if the idea is Bryant can't play 3B then he defaults to LF. Then you have to move Schwarber. That is losing 115 wRC+. That cuts into the value that you add in Manny and the cost increase works against rounding out a team.

To me what makes more sense if they have to trade Schwarber is to attack in that trade and to bring back a front line CF. Adam Eaton. That makes sense somewhat if they go that way, OBA is lead off quality. Schwarber would be protection against Harper leaving.
 

beckdawg

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I know this. The problem is two fold.
1. They have more than 1 need.
2. 3B was 125 +RC+, SS 131 wRC+, 2B 123 wRC+. Those 3 spots were not the problem.
That's pretty deceiving way to look at things. You're presumably calling SS Baez and 2B Zobrist. Zobrist played 395.2 at 2B and 424.2 in RF. In other words, he's closer to a RF than a 2B. As for Baez, he played 699.2 innings at 2B and 462.2 at SS this year. You can't say Zobrist isn't an every day RF and then plug him in as your every day 2B. Hell, he wasn't even bad defensively in RF this past year. While I think it's valid to say given his age you don't want him literally starting every day, that fits perfect into what the cubs are likely going to do anyways. You're going to have roughly 2200 PAs between all outfield in a given season. You can easily slice that 4 ways between Zobrist, Heyward, Almora and either Happ or Schwarber and use the other for a trade piece. You can give each of the 4 you keep between 450-500 PAs which is exactly how joe used them this past year.

If you do that then Baez is your starting 2B where he's far better defensively(19 DRS at 2B vs 4 at SS with about 300 more innings at 2B). Plus, if you don't sign machado you literally have no one on the roster other than Baez who can play SS for at least a month and that's assuming Russell is back with the team which we literally have no idea about right now and which the cubs likely wont make a decision on until spring training. So you're literally creating a hole by not signing another SS.

As for having other needs, I mean not really. Sure I think you need a better back up C but the cubs don't have to have someone amazing. They only spent $2.5 mil on David Ross in 2016. You can find someone like him for fairly cheap. The starting rotation is very likely set. 6 of the 8 bullpen arms are likely set unless they decide to move Monty in trade given his previous comments on wanting to start. They also likely have no choice in bringing back Kintzler and Duensing as the first has a player option he likely accepts and the second is under contract so you may as well bring him to camp and see how it plays out.

Simply put, you maybe need 1 bullpen arm and I haven't even talked about possibly using Alzolay out of the pen or allowing Dakota Mekkes to compete for a job. Both would likely be strong internal options should they choose that path as well as Maples/Norwood/Rosario/Hancock/Zastryzny/Mazzoni/Mills....etc who they used as shuttle arms to great effect.

The roster is pretty robust. I mean sure you'd like a lead off hitter and maybe a more impactful bullpen arm but you have Happ, Caratini and maybe Monty to shuffle around should you so choose not to mention if you do bring in someone like Eaton he's likely taking another guy out of consideration. I mean just as an example here, you could package Caratini, Monty, Happ and Bote for a lead off hitter and a reliever and then have Zobrist as a 5th OF/back up 2B. Wouldn't even need to be in the same trade. Caratini and Bote for a half decent reliever on a shit team would make sense and Monty and Happ would likely return a pretty good lead off hitter.
 

CSF77

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Pen wise the AAA guys would have to beat the guys with guaranteed contracts. That would be Kintzler, Chatwood and Duesing. You figure that those 3 would be given the chance to fix themselves.

IF wise I’ll disagee with you and call it a day. I believe you go after Manny if Bryant has to move to the OF. Then you want Manny at his strongest spot which is 3B. As a SS he was inferior. That point Schwarber will be pushed off and setting up a trade for Eaton makes sense. I’m not sure if it is even. Control wise I do. That pulls 1 below avg wRC+ out of the starting rotation.

That is the only scenario that I see it making sense. Any other causes Zo to being forced into RF which is less quality D than Heyward and Heyward pushed into a lesser position for him. To boot Manny is at a worse position D value wise.

It feels contrived.
 

beckdawg

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It feels contrived.
Regardless of how you may feel you didn't address the elephant in the room. The cubs don't have a back up SS in your scenario. You don't go into a season without at least 2 guys on the active roster who can play short and going a full month waiting for Russell is playing with fire not to mention you yourself said that was where the biggest problem was offensively.
 

CSF77

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Regardless of how you may feel you didn't address the elephant in the room. The cubs don't have a back up SS in your scenario. You don't go into a season without at least 2 guys on the active roster who can play short and going a full month waiting for Russell is playing with fire not to mention you yourself said that was where the biggest problem was offensively.
I did post What I thought was the best solution:

Go after Marwin Gonzalez if Houston lets him walk. He covers 3B/SS/2B/1B/LF If you need to cut back in AB's from Zobrist he is starter quality wRC+.

I would use him to replace Russell.

Back up catcher is also a major concern. Nick Huntley put up a 91. I don't see them getting weird and signing Yasmani Grandal. Even though that would be a improvement. 125 wRC+ and more skilled as a catcher. It would be tempting to muse that and move Contreras to RF and Heyward to CF. As a out of the box signing.


Now what do I expect?

20 mil towards Hamels. 4 mil towards Chavez. Russell is untradable so he might not be offered Arb and he floats. That opens up SS and Marwin becomes target #1.

At that point they look at back up catcher and the innings that Contreras logged in. Nick would be my #1. What they do? 65 wRC+ is not sustainable for a sub avg catcher. The might go after Kurt Suzuki with Yu returning and I would support it.

So that takes care of my back up SS and catcher. My worst 2 positions. Now my 3rd. CF. Almora at 89 wRC+ and Happ at 106. Now this can be attacked big as in Harper. Which I feel is a nope. or trade as in Eaton. Move for what they want. 19:$8.4M, 20:$9.5M club option ($1.5M buyout), 21:$10.5M club option ($1.5M buyout) So it comes with 3 years of control.

As far as their team goes they have Soto in LF. 145 wRC+. Robles 131 wRC+ in CF and Harper if he resigns in RF. They have no need here. Maybe protection for Harper in Schwarber.

2B is a area of concern. Difo with a 71 wRC+ is a caveat. So Happ might have value in this scenario.

IMO Eaton for Happ and Montgomery flat is a solid trade.
 

CSF77

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But to support:

"We're set up to have some depth in the starting staff next year," Epstein said last week at his end of the season wrap up. "We're not looking to get rid of starting pitchers. We're looking to have as much depth as possible, so we can withstand multiple injuries."

which points to spending the 20 on Cole.

All Epstein would say about the free-agent market is that they're still discussing their financial flexibility.

"We've spent a lot of money on players, and that's not always the answer -- to rush back out and spend more," Epstein said. "There are a lot of attractive players out there, and some impact players out there and we'll get together and figure out what's possible, what's not possible and all the best approaches to this offseason."

Which tells me not going big. They will retool vs blow up.
 

CSF77

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The same Marwin Gonzalez who was a -30.6 UZR/150 last year and -5 DRS at SS? No thanks.
You realize Manny went from 9.9 UZR 150 in 2016 then 2.2 in 2017. Moved to SS and put up a -6.9. If you are using that as a gauge spending 1-5 mil on a back up makes far more sense than 30 mil of a sub avg SS.

Manny is a 3B. And when he finally grows up he will figure that out.
 

fatbeard

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Manny is a 3B. And when he finally grows up he will figure that out.
80% of his MLB innings have been played at 3B. Machado had barely played SS before this season, and then mostly because the Dodgers lost Seager and already had Turner. Not sure where you're getting this idea that he thinks of himself as a SS.
 

beckdawg

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You realize Manny went from 9.9 UZR 150 in 2016 then 2.2 in 2017. Moved to SS and put up a -6.9. If you are using that as a gauge spending 1-5 mil on a back up makes far more sense than 30 mil of a sub avg SS.

Manny is a 3B. And when he finally grows up he will figure that out.
-11.8 UZR/150 and -18 DRS with Baltimore. 2.7 UZR/150 and 6 with the dodgers. You can perhaps forgive him for not immediately being the best defensive version of himself after having played 6 seasons at 3B. Plus what was killing him in Baltimore was his range. The UZR portion for range was -10.6 in baltimore and is 0.2 in LA. You're more than willing to plug in baez to SS. In 462.2 innings at SS he was 2 DRS and -1.3 UZR/150. Those numbers with the dodgers are 424.1 innings for Machado. In other words, over a similar sample with the dodgers Machado was better than Baez was this year.
 
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