How to build this team going forward.

JP Hochbaum

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At the start of the Epstein era it was clear they were going to build their farm in a OPS heavy fashion. And to draft arms in later rounds but draft them often and take their time developing them.

While high OPS teams are still a necessity, we saw what happened when we lost guys like Fowler and Zobrist, who didn't K as much and put more pressure on the defense by putting the ball in play more. When we have to much swing and miss in our lineup our lineup falters far too often and disappears in the playoffs. This team has replaced those guys with players like Hoerner, Sogard, Duffy, and Rizzo having a great K/Bb ratio. You need these guys sprinkled in the lineup so that it forces pitchers to change from at bat to at bat.

Investment wise the last 7 years we spent heavily on pitching and relied on rookie contracts to carry the offense. It appears we can reverse this team building philosophy on the investment side. Our pitching wave may be starting this year, hence why I think it was easier to handle the Darvish deal. I am not sure if the Cubs plan to keep the young arms in the pen (Thompson, Steele, etc) or convert them to starters in the near future, but regardless we have guys who can get sprinkled into the rotation, cheaply, over the next few years. I also believe the Cubs minor and major league pitching infrastructure has proven they can turn players careers around, so they can turn cheap investments into gold.

Which brings to the next point of investing in offense, within the system by resigning, or via free agency. Here is where we can easily make the argument of resigning Baez and Bryant starts to make more sense now, than it did at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of this year I had been fine with those two getting dealt for a rebuild. But I think our young pitching wave has caused me to think twice about that.
 

CSF77

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At the start of the Epstein era it was clear they were going to build their farm in a OPS heavy fashion. And to draft arms in later rounds but draft them often and take their time developing them.

While high OPS teams are still a necessity, we saw what happened when we lost guys like Fowler and Zobrist, who didn't K as much and put more pressure on the defense by putting the ball in play more. When we have to much swing and miss in our lineup our lineup falters far too often and disappears in the playoffs. This team has replaced those guys with players like Hoerner, Sogard, Duffy, and Rizzo having a great K/Bb ratio. You need these guys sprinkled in the lineup so that it forces pitchers to change from at bat to at bat.

Investment wise the last 7 years we spent heavily on pitching and relied on rookie contracts to carry the offense. It appears we can reverse this team building philosophy on the investment side. Our pitching wave may be starting this year, hence why I think it was easier to handle the Darvish deal. I am not sure if the Cubs plan to keep the young arms in the pen (Thompson, Steele, etc) or convert them to starters in the near future, but regardless we have guys who can get sprinkled into the rotation, cheaply, over the next few years. I also believe the Cubs minor and major league pitching infrastructure has proven they can turn players careers around, so they can turn cheap investments into gold.

Which brings to the next point of investing in offense, within the system by resigning, or via free agency. Here is where we can easily make the argument of resigning Baez and Bryant starts to make more sense now, than it did at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of this year I had been fine with those two getting dealt for a rebuild. But I think our young pitching wave has caused me to think twice about that.

Steel and Thompson are both starters. It is common to bring up guys in the pen first then extend them out. Both hoover in the mid 90's and and have proven successful thus far.

Marquez has not pitched at any level this year. Covid slowed him down and he is still conditioning in Mesa. I wouldn't bank on him for 2022.

Hitting wise Davis was moved up to Tenn. He was rocking SB hitting over .300 and crushing the ball. I expect the same. He crushes then he goes to Iowa. We could see him this year if needed.

That is why I would be down using Happ to get a SP rental. Davis is close, Marisnick and Heyward are in a rehab. Happ trade to get a arm rental. Keep Bryant in RF and platoon CF with Heyward/Marisnick. Happ has been dead weight but I could see the Royals doing a trade for Danny Duffy strait. They traded for Benintini. So this is not a stretch at all for them.
 

Bust

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Javy is all but gone when his agent reads this stuff


“One of the top shortstops in the game. … Hopefully, he can get something as big as us,” said Tatis, 22, who signed a $330 million, 14-year extension with the Padres in February.

“He’s at the top [of the class],” said Lindor, 27, who signed a $341 million, 10-year extension with the Mets at the end of spring training

“He made a lot of money for the Cubs. A lot of money,” Lindor added. “So did [Kris] Bryant, and so did [Anthony] Rizzo. They made a lot of money for the Cubs.”
 

Chicagosports89

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Javy is all but gone when his agent reads this stuff


“One of the top shortstops in the game. … Hopefully, he can get something as big as us,” said Tatis, 22, who signed a $330 million, 14-year extension with the Padres in February.

“He’s at the top [of the class],” said Lindor, 27, who signed a $341 million, 10-year extension with the Mets at the end of spring training

“He made a lot of money for the Cubs. A lot of money,” Lindor added. “So did [Kris] Bryant, and so did [Anthony] Rizzo. They made a lot of money for the Cubs.”
I would assume his agent isn't a moron and realizes he's not close to the players tatis and lindor are. Realistically he has no chance at getting similar money to them
 

beckdawg

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In my personal opinion, I think the way teams should start building is high contact and speed. First of all it's just more fun to watch than 3 true outcome games. Go back and watch any 80's cardinal game and you'll see what I mean.

Aside from that, there's a method to the madness. If you go back to the thinking during the moneyball era, it was that stealing was bad because essentially you have to be very successful in order for the times you're caught to not hurt the team. But consider the environment that game was in. It was on of if not the greatest offensive eras in MLB history. We're not in that world anymore. Now I don't know how the game is gonna look if they get rid of the high spin rate crap but even then you got guys throwing harder than ever and strikeouts are still likely to be very elevated comparable to that era.

Anyways to get back to the point, you can't hit your way to runs anymore. You got to slug your way to them. However, i you can steal bases, singles can turn into doubles and it makes scoring opps more prevalent. And obviously the better your contact the less k's are going to hurt you. I go back and look at the expos and think what if the expos had the cubs type of money? They developed players with crazy tools but never could keep them all together. You had guys like Dawson, Raines, and Walker to name a few.

From a more stylistic approach however, I would prefer they ran more like Cleveland than like NY/LA. Develop your own players and don't play at the top of the FA market. I mean other than Lester we have sorta seen how risky that is. Save your payroll for compelling trades. This is something St. Louis has always been good about. They didn't develop Rolen. They didn't develop Edmonds. They didn't develop McGwire. And they now have Arenado...etc.

The good news is it appears the front office has already heavily taken steps to be better at development. And I think you could argue a lot of the players they have drafted post-Ian happy draft have fit the mold of the type of player I'm talking about.... perhaps less so on the blazing speed type but you still have guys who can run a bit.
 

JP Hochbaum

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Yeah @beckdawg you are pretty much where I am at. Guys like Hoerner and Rizzo, are going to be the future of the game. It is highly disappointing how bad Heyward is right now, because he would also fit this mold.

The sluggers need to be more like Bryant and less like Baez (who I would trade at the deadline no matter what place we are in). In Bryant, he still K's a lot, but lower than most sluggers and he has a high enough walk rate to make up for it.
 

CSF77

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I would rather have speed like Baez and Tatis Jr. It is a part of their game. Not their game.

I will say that they need a diverse line up.

But I would built:

Core power
Bench versatile.

You build your core to your ball park. 81 games are played there so you have to dump assets to it.

So Duffy brings strong contact and can play all corners. That brings a contact bat. That plays up more in bigger parks that his ability to spray has a bigger zone. WF plays big when the wind is blowing in. That is when you want him on 3B and Wisdom on the bench as Wisdoms strength is negated by the wind.

Speed in itself is pointless. That is a pitch runner not a hitter. The larger the pens have gotten the bench has to be optimized. Speed is a luxury not a necessity. If a player brings strong contact, Versatility and speed. Awesome. That is Alacantra right now. SH decent speed UI. That is a keeper.
 

beckdawg

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Yeah @beckdawg you are pretty much where I am at. Guys like Hoerner and Rizzo, are going to be the future of the game. It is highly disappointing how bad Heyward is right now, because he would also fit this mold.

The sluggers need to be more like Bryant and less like Baez (who I would trade at the deadline no matter what place we are in). In Bryant, he still K's a lot, but lower than most sluggers and he has a high enough walk rate to make up for it.
I mean... I've never been Baez's biggest fan. I think my track record on here supports that since day one. With that being said, I don't think it's that simple personally. To start with, I agree he's not really my preferred style of player.... however, his caliber of defense at SS isn't easy to find. I think of it this way... Ozzie Smith was a career 90 wRC+. Different era and all that but the point I'm getting at is sacrificing some offensively for defense makes sense.

Secondly, you have to consider the impact Baez makes on Latin players. You talk to any of these young IFA's and almost universally their favorite player is Baez. That has some value because like with the Yankee mystique, you have a generation of players growing up wanting to be like Baez.

Now having said all that, I don't think you just write a blank check. I think Baez needs to be like your 4th or 5th highest paid player not in your top 3. The idea there being when Baez is hot he is nuclear hot but you want more consistent players carrying the weight when he's not.

So personally, I'd like to see him on a team friendly deal and frankly given he's batting .235 with a .270 OBP in a FA class loaded with SS options, he should be cheaper. If the cubs can get him for anything under $20 mil a season I think they should consider it. Anything over $20 mil and I worry a bit personally.
 

knoxville7

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It’s not really about how much these guys get annually, it’s more about for how long?

example…
Kris Bryant. He’s likely going to want around an 8 year deal that pays him around 30 mil per year. It’s the 8 years part that scares me. I’d rather give him a 4 year deal that pays him 35 mil per year

I don’t worry about baez getting over 20 mil per year, I worry about him getting that for too long of a timeframe. What happens when baez starts to decline defensively as he ages? Does he really have any value outside of his defense? Sure, he drives in some runs when he’s hot, but with a shit ton of K’s mixed in and an OBP under .300. Once the defense fades a little, you’re stuck with a player that won’t even produce at a replacement player level at that point. If it’s a 4 year deal, I’m down for it. After that, it’s a pass
 

CSF77

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It’s not really about how much these guys get annually, it’s more about for how long?

example…
Kris Bryant. He’s likely going to want around an 8 year deal that pays him around 30 mil per year. It’s the 8 years part that scares me. I’d rather give him a 4 year deal that pays him 35 mil per year

I don’t worry about baez getting over 20 mil per year, I worry about him getting that for too long of a timeframe. What happens when baez starts to decline defensively as he ages? Does he really have any value outside of his defense? Sure, he drives in some runs when he’s hot, but with a shit ton of K’s mixed in and an OBP under .300. Once the defense fades a little, you’re stuck with a player that won’t even produce at a replacement player level at that point. If it’s a 4 year deal, I’m down for it. After that, it’s a pass

They can afford to pay Bryant 8 years at 30. The dollars rise every year. There was a time when ARod was making 27.5M per. Then it went up to 40M. Right now the 10% should be making near 30M. But before that ARod was making 25.2 per.

So the value of contracts are going up. Why teams want to sign long term deals to to avoid inflation.

Not to mention Bryant is not going to take 4/140M and be 34 and looking at picking up a deal at deflated value.

Vs a 8 year deal at 240M. That leaves him 4 years to make up the 100M he left on the table. 25M per at 34 is a bit of a reach.

So that notion is unreasonable for Bryant to even entertain.

Now the Cubs:. 30-38 yo. Players still play until then. 5/10 rights would come into play a few years in so Jed could pull the trigger.

So I would give Bryant no barging power outside of his current rights as a player. If Jed wants to do a deal before Bryant gets his right to deny it should be on the table. Eat some to get a solid return makes sense.

So I wouldn't worry about it if Jed does retain. What Theo did was stupid with Heyward. He should have traded bad contracts to get out before it locked in.
 

CSF77

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Plus giving a player the right to deny x teams is stupid. Players put the normal contenders so they have bargain power in the deal. It is not to avoid bad teams. Bad teams are not looking for big ticket players to play on a suck ass team. Except Miami's old ownership.
 

knoxville7

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They can afford to pay Bryant 8 years at 30. The dollars rise every year. There was a time when ARod was making 27.5M per. Then it went up to 40M. Right now the 10% should be making near 30M. But before that ARod was making 25.2 per.

So the value of contracts are going up. Why teams want to sign long term deals to to avoid inflation.

Not to mention Bryant is not going to take 4/140M and be 34 and looking at picking up a deal at deflated value.

Vs a 8 year deal at 240M. That leaves him 4 years to make up the 100M he left on the table. 25M per at 34 is a bit of a reach.

So that notion is unreasonable for Bryant to even entertain.

Now the Cubs:. 30-38 yo. Players still play until then. 5/10 rights would come into play a few years in so Jed could pull the trigger.

So I would give Bryant no barging power outside of his current rights as a player. If Jed wants to do a deal before Bryant gets his right to deny it should be on the table. Eat some to get a solid return makes sense.

So I wouldn't worry about it if Jed does retain. What Theo did was stupid with Heyward. He should have traded bad contracts to get out before it locked in.

and that’s why it’d be a no from me on resigning him. I don’t want to pay big dollars to an age 36-38 year old Bryant. Hence, why I’ve been pro trading him. If you aren’t going to sign him to that mega long contract, then it’s time to move him. Now, maybe the cubs will agree to that long of a deal…but, it would be a mistake
 

CSF77

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and that’s why it’d be a no from me on resigning him. I don’t want to pay big dollars to an age 36-38 year old Bryant. Hence, why I’ve been pro trading him. If you aren’t going to sign him to that mega long contract, then it’s time to move him. Now, maybe the cubs will agree to that long of a deal…but, it would be a mistake

I believe he will be 5/7 at signing.

If they sign him they would have 2 years of trade rights.

The way that I would approach it is
2022 40M
2223 40M
80 M gone.

32 he would be at 6/160M. Or 26.67M AAV

Which holds value to trade partners more than a rental.

That adds 2 years to allow more internal talent to filter in.
 

CSF77

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Even if they decide to let him play out they can defer.

8/240

40M deferred in 8 payments after the contract ends. Cubs pay if Bryant traded.

2022-2023 40M each

That removes 120M. That leaves 24-29 20M each year.

Which is very doable. He would be a 1B at this point or a DH if that becomes a thing.

So he can get paid and not kill them long term.
 

CSF77

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Also I think of the Andre Dawson. Cubs got him and he was great for them.

Sori took crap but that dude was smoking balls to the end.

Bryant holds that level of talent. 30 is not 80

Dawson. Age 32-37 as a Cub. 174 HR. .285 Hitter. He was a better hitter as a Cub than the 11 years as an Expo. Not to mention his knees were wrecked from the turf.

So that was before the roid era.

Well I will agree to disagree. Players adjust and still play at a high level.

To me it is saying a 7 WAR player becomes a 3 WAR by 36-38. Uhm that is still 3 WAR. We are not getting that out of players in their prime.
 
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knoxville7

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Yeah, because kris Bryant’s game and swing is comparable to andre dawnson’s 🙄

using that as your reasoning as to why you’re on board with giving Bryant a big 8 year long contract is ridiculous
 

Bronek

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I'm not impressed with Bryant enough to suggest he should be resigned. IMHO, Baez, Contreras more valuable to the team for lot less money.
 

beckdawg

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It’s not really about how much these guys get annually, it’s more about for how long?

example…
Kris Bryant. He’s likely going to want around an 8 year deal that pays him around 30 mil per year. It’s the 8 years part that scares me. I’d rather give him a 4 year deal that pays him 35 mil per year

I don’t worry about baez getting over 20 mil per year, I worry about him getting that for too long of a timeframe. What happens when baez starts to decline defensively as he ages? Does he really have any value outside of his defense? Sure, he drives in some runs when he’s hot, but with a shit ton of K’s mixed in and an OBP under .300. Once the defense fades a little, you’re stuck with a player that won’t even produce at a replacement player level at that point. If it’s a 4 year deal, I’m down for it. After that, it’s a pass
I agree with this to an extent but they kind of go hand in hand. Any $25 mil deal tends to be 5-6 years+. Additionally, the money does matter in so far as it limits the depth you can build around players. Like sure $5 mil from $20 to $25 mil doesn't seem like it matters much but that can be 1-3 bench/bullpen pieces. And as we've seen this year depth really matters on your ability to win because even if you have the best players at every position people get hurt.
 

CSF77

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Yeah, because kris Bryant’s game and swing is comparable to andre dawnson’s 🙄

using that as your reasoning as to why you’re on board with giving Bryant a big 8 year long contract is ridiculous

It is hard to compair both of them.

Dawson started at age 21. Played 11 years with the Expos before being a Cub. He had a 6, 6.7, 7.3, 6.5 from 1980-1983. 1984-86 the injuries must have piled up. He went from a 18 DEF RF to a 9 then Neg value. His D was the biggest sap of fWAR going forward.

Hitting wise he pushed 117 wRC+ over his career. It hovered around that as a Cub. It didn't nose dive until he went to Boston at age 38.

So looking ahead I think Dawson is a decent comp. Bryant might get more fWAR do to not having wrecked knees and a better walk rate. Dawson was a swinger for the most part as a 5.5% career walk rate attests to. Bryant on the other hand 11.6% 2x's the walk rate. career .281 BA to Dawsons .279. So you could say that Bryant should pass what Dawson did as a Cub over the same age span. 32-37. The numbers support it. Injury is the only unknown factor and that is just the same with any signing.

Build up:

Bryant 3 years with 6+ fWAR. 7 years combined is at 30.8 to date (age 29)That will go up a bit.
Dawson 4 years with 6+ fWAR. His first 11 years 44.3. (age 31)

Going from Bryant's playing ages 23-29
Dawson:
4.0, 3.7, 6.0, 6.7, 7.3, 6.5, 2.6 36.8 fWAR. That was his peak. Last year sapped a chunk of value from Bryant and his shoulder injury in 2018 didn't help. Adding this year where you expect another 4 fWAR they are comprable.


Going forward:

Dawson got hammed by his knees. He was putting up Heyward level RF in his prime. from 30-37 he posted 21.7 fWAR. He was avg -5.9 Def. That was taking a toll on his fWAR. Remove the knee issue you might even add 10 fWAR to his career total as his bat was not suffering as fast.

I wouldn't be concerned with Bryant going forward. He is not damaged goods. He hits like Hawk with 2x the walk rate.
 

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