2021 Spring Training Thread.

CSF77

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First topic.


  • The Cubs are planning on discussing contract extensions with some of their important veterans during spring training, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer revealed (via Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago). It’s “almost” certain they’ll talk new deals with first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Javier Baez, Wittenmyer reports, though it’s unclear whether the Cubs will make a spirited effort to retain third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant for the long haul. All three players are only under team for one more season. Bryant has been part of plenty rumors in recent weeks, so he seems the most likely of the trio to be part of a trade.
 

CSF77

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I've felt that the best scenerio for 3B is to sit on Bryant for the season.

My thoughts are time normally fixes issues but they can prepare for his F/A in the meanwhile. With Joc signed this year and having semi control over him going forward it creates opertunity with Happ. As we know Brennen Davis is fairly close and is a natural CF vs Happ who is not. But Happ has versatility in his toolbox and has played innings at 3B. So this could naturally become a internal issue going forward.

At SS Baez's biggest value is in his tags. Let's be real here. His bat is so sporadic that most of us could not justify a 3B move. It would decrease his value because his strongest asset is his ability to make impossible plays up the middle thus lessening the impact of his lower OBA. Even last year with him hitting .200 the fact that he took the gold glove at SS lessened the impact of a off season. At 3B this would not be the case.

1B this should be almost a non issue. Jed has kept Tony in his hip pocket sense drafting him in Boston. Then trading for him when he became a GM in San Diego. Then again trading for him when taking the GM job here. I expect a large contract to pay him back for the savings that he gave to the Cubs over his first deal.
 

CSF77

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Jed quotes:


The idea of a set five-man rotation is not going to be a real thing," Hoyer said. "I just think you're better off getting your mind around that. We're going to have to be flexible. We're going to have to think about things a little bit different than in the past, and there's nothing wrong with that."

Manager David Ross said on Tuesday that the team is not considering a six-man rotation. One concept under discussion is having pitchers who can move between the rotation and bullpen as a way to manage the innings-limit realities of the 2021 campaign.

You're not going to have a 200-inning guy this year," Ross said. " I think this is going to be something that we're going to have to adjust to and see whether health or performance, there's going to be a lot of factors into who's taking the ball, as well as innings and protecting these guys."
 

CSF77

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So this has spot starter written all over it.

In layman's terms:. If we have a day off nope. If we are on a string of games yes we can slot a guy in to creàte that day off effect.

They are looking at Kohl as a swing guy and Shelby Miller will be given opertunity to win a swing role.
 

CSF77

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Cubs ink Jake Marisnick to a 1 mil with a 4 mil opt. They swapped 4th OF with NYM. They got Almora. But Jake has speed and plus D. So this is a late inning PR D swap.

They DFA Ervin which kinda made sense after signing Joc and Jed telling him that he will play full time. Ervin would be limited in his biggest asset (hitting LHP)

This is a ok tweek to the team. Add some speed and late inning D. Basically Billy Hamilton type of signing.

they also signed Maybin to a minor league deal. So he has the feel of insurance for injury in 2021 vs breaking with the team.
 

CSF77

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How will the Cubs look on Opening Day?
February 20th, 2021



The Cubs' offseason of change is now officially over. There were some dramatic alterations to the roster, and plenty of other trade rumors that did not materialize. The future was balanced against the present.
And at present, Cubs manager David Ross is planning on taking his cast of players into the 2021 campaign with the goal of winning the National League Central for a second straight year. As camp opened, new president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer also made it known that the major transactions are likely done for now.
"By and large, I would expect this is what our team's going to look like," Hoyer said. "For the most part, this is going to be the group that we open up against Pittsburgh with."
The Cubs will begin the 2021 regular season with an April 1 tilt against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. That gives the North Siders roughly six weeks to sort through position battles, injury issues, contract details or other unforeseen developments in order to construct the initial 26-man roster.
Here is an early breakdown of how the Cubs' Opening Day roster could look:
Catcher (2): Willson Contreras, Austin Romine
There is no ambiguity at this spot for the Cubs. Contreras was the starting catcher for the National League All-Star team in 2018 and '19 and is coming off a 2020 season in which he dramatically improved his pitch framing. Ross' biggest challenge will be convincing Contreras to take a day off every once in a while. Romine was signed over the offseason to take over for Victor Caratini (traded to San Diego) as Contreras' primary backup. Adding the veteran Romine also allows more development time for prospect Miguel Amaya.


First base (1): Anthony Rizzo
When healthy, Rizzo has shown he can provide around 30 homers, 70-plus walks and 100 RBIs, while playing Gold Glove-level defense. In last season's abbreviated season, Rizzo's average was down (.222), but he still managed to post a .342 on-base percentage. The first baseman also picked up his third straight Gold Glove Award for a Cubs defense that took a big step forward in 2020. Rizzo is entering the final year of his contract with Chicago, so uncertainty surrounds his future beyond this year.

Second base (1): Nico Hoerner
While this one is written in pencil right now, the Cubs might find its best to hand the keys to second base over to the 23-year-old Hoerner. Improving the lineup's contact rate is a goal for Chicago and Hoerner -- even coming off a down year offensively -- can help in that regard. He was also a Gold Glove finalist at second in 2020, and defense at the position will be a priority this year. That said, the North Siders will be using this spring to determine the best path for the keystone. David Bote and Ildemaro Vargas are also jockeying for innings at this spot on the infield.

Third base (1): Kris Bryant
Another offseason filled with trade rumors is in the rear-view mirror and Bryant, once again, remains with the Cubs. The white noise will continue into the summer, given the reality that the star third baseman is set to hit free agency after the season. Bryant will surely be thrilled to move past 2020, when persistent injury woes limited him to 34 games and crushed his production (.644 OPS). Bryant will be aiming to get back to the level of the previous five years, which includes a .901 OPS and plenty of hardware. Bryant can also serve as a backup at first and, if needed, in the outfield. Bote, Hoerner and Vargas can help out at third base.

Shortstop (1): Javier Báez
Like Bryant and Rizzo, Báez is entering a walk year with free agency possibly looming after the season. Of the three, the shortstop might be the most likely to receive a contract extension before hitting the open market. Also like Bryant and Rizzo, Báez is coming off a down year in the batter's box (.203/.238/.360 in 59 games). The shortstop did take home his first Gold Glove Award as the anchor of Chicago's defense. Báez, who had an .865 OPS and 122 OPS+ in the 2018-19 seasons combined, was vocal about how the lack of in-game video in 2020 hindered his approach. Behind Báez, Hoerner is the Cubs' top backup option for shortstop.

Outfield (4): Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Joc Pederson, Jake Marisnick
The big change here is the absence of slugger Kyle Schwarber. In an offseason full of change, one significant move was the Cubs' decision to non-tender Schwarber (and center fielder Albert Almora Jr.). Schwarber signed a free-agent pact with the Nationals and the Cubs later inked Pederson to a one-year deal (with a mutual option for 2022) to be the new left fielder. Happ earned the everyday job in center last year, while Heyward also enjoyed a strong 2020 and will keep providing a veteran presence and Gold Glove-caliber defense in right.
The Cubs made their deal with Marisnick official on Saturday, and non-roster invitee Cameron Maybin also has a shot at the Opening Day roster, especially if the Cubs plan on carrying two extra outfielders for platoon-advantage purposes.


Utility (3): David Bote, Ildemaro Vargas, 1 TBD
The situation at second base will have a trickle-down effect on the makeup of the Cubs' bench. Expect Bote to either be getting the bulk of the at-bats at second, or serving as a versatile utility option all around the infield. Vargas is a switch-hitter and can similarly offer depth at multiple spots. If Hoerner is not the starting second baseman, he could either start at Triple-A Iowa for regular playing time, or work as a utility option as well.


Starting pitchers (5): Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Jake Arrieta, 2 TBD
This is an area the Cubs really turned over during the winter months. Ace Yu Darvish was traded to the Padres, while Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood and José Quintana were allowed to exit via free agency. Hendricks returns as the rotation leader, Arrieta returns after three years with the Phillies and Davies was part of the return in the trade with San Diego.
The Cubs will be sorting through the back of the staff this spring. Trevor Williams was signed as a comeback candidate and he'll compete for a job in the coming weeks. Alec Mills and Adbert Alzolay are leading candidates for jobs, too. Chicago will also be looking at Kohl Stewart as a contender for rotation innings or as a swing man for the bullpen. Chicago might also see younger options like Brailyn Marquez, Cory Abbott, Tyson Miller and Justin Steele impact the team this summer.

Relievers (8): Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin, Kohl Stewart, Dan Winkler, Brandon Workman, 3 TBD
This will be a source of spring-long storylines for the Cubs, who are weighing a variety of scenarios -- much like every team -- to best manage the team's total innings this year after a 60-game season.
Kimbrel is back as the closer, with Chafin (lefty) and Workman (righty) offering setup options. Winkler was quietly impressive in 2020 and Stewart will be a strong candidate for a multi-inning role. For now, Rowan Wick (intercostal injury) is too much of an unknown to put in the Opening Day projection. It is also worth noting that both Mills -- who's out of options -- and Alzolay (vying for rotation jobs) could wind up in the bullpen as a swing-man option. Duane Underwood Jr. and Dillon Maples are also out of options. James Norwood remains in the hunt for a roster spot, and righty Jason Adam will be given a strong look, given his late emergence as a relief weapon last season. Lefties Brad Wieck and Kyle Ryan will also be up for jobs, though the latter is currently delayed while on MLB's COVID-19 related injury list. Jonathan Holder (MLB deal), Robert Stock (claimed off waivers) and Gray Fenter (Rule 5 Draft) were also added to the mix over the offseason.
The list keeps going when including prospects on and off the roster, and when looking at the more veteran non-roster invitees. The Cubs have a lot of decisions to work through on this front.

 

knoxville7

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Ugh.....seeing it in this format just underscores how weak the team is in the OF and with pitching overall.
agreed. That OF might be one of the worst in all of baseball. Arrieta is garbage at this point in his career. I actually have higher hopes for Trevor williams than I do Jake. Jake is just another trumper that went to shit as soon as he attached himself to trumpy boy.
 

CSF77

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I would cut the OF some slack. Happ and Heyward led the Cubs last year in fWAR. Just the fact that Heyward posted a .392 OBA was a major improvement. Joc was bad last year. We will see if the gets back on track or not.

My opinion is they have to produce. Bryant, Baez and Rizzo tanked in 20, Heyward, Happ and Contreras carried the team. They get bounce back years from the former and the latter keeps around the same production this team can get rolling again.

It comes down to the core of Bryant, Rizzo and Baez more so than the OF this year.

The staff.. well I do have faith in David Ross. He lost 2 of his starters last year and really didn't miss them. He got Kimbrel back on track. So I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he can make it work.

This staff is not going to mow guys down. They are going to be pitching to contact and the D will be aligned to make the plays. That will play up more this year in the pitchers hitting location vs ramping up the MPH to get outs.
 
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zack54attack

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alzolay only went one inning. But his stuff looked good. Touched 96 I think.
 

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