I know we are in a Lockout but...

Bearcub13

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I am excited about the next couple of seasons, but I hope the Cubs management doesn't screw the pooch and worry about anything but getting back to World Series level baseball. What I mean is, it will take several more years before the Cubs MiLB pipeline yields any gems, in the meantime I don't want to see the Cubs get bogged down with bloated overpriced (often past their prime) free agent contracts that will make it harder to shape the team for a world series level run. I just hope they stay nimble and pick up good value free agents on two year deals. Watching, the Angels waste a truly special season with Ohtani, while 40 million dollars in salary sat on the bench injured is a shame. I just use that as a broad example. Most teams have such horror stories (we have one in right field), but it is a risky way to run a team. In 2016 the Cubs big dollar free agents performed well, if we get some good young players up and running on the team then invested in a potential closer or No, 1 level starting pitcher might make sense, but not until the team is ready to take a stab at high level play.
 

knoxville7

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  1. Chicago Bulls
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It’s all about signing the right guys…if they do that, they will be back to competitive baseball with no albatross around their neck by the time any of the kids are ready to shine
 

CSF77

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Jed has been looking at short term control this offseason.

Marcus Stroman rhp
3 years/$71M (2022)
  • signed by Chicago Cubs as a free agent 12/1/21
  • 22:$25M, 23:$25M, 24:$21M
Wade Miley lhp

  • 2 years/$15M (2020-21), plus 2022 club option
    • signed by Cincinnati as a free agent 12/16/19
    • 20:$6M, 21:$8M, 22:$10M club option ($1M buyout)
Yan Gomes c
2 years/$13M (2022-23), plus 2024 club option
  • signed by Chicago Cubs as a free agent 12/1/21
  • 22:$6M, 23:$6M, 24:$6M club option ($1M buyout)
  • performance bonuses: $250,000 each for 81, 91, 101, 111 games started at catcher


So I see this as the start of a turn over. Jed got some deals done pre lock out. With Wilson he covered himself. Gomes can take over as the starter while Amaya and the rest get MLB ready. IMO Jed should have Amaya on the bench while on the DL learning this year.

Clint Frazier cf
1 year/$1.5M (2022)

  • 1 year/$1.5M (2022)
    • signed by Chicago Cubs as a free agent 11/30/21
    • performance bonuses: $50,000 each 200, 250 plate appearances. $75,000 each 300, 350, 400, 450 PA. $100,000 for 500 PA.
    • roster bonuses based on days spent on active Major League roster: $100,000 each for 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 days
Harold Ramirez of
1 year (2021)

  • 1 year (2021)
    • claimed by Cleveland off waivers 2/24/21 after being DFA by Miami 2/17/21
    • re-signed by Cleveland 3/21
    • acquired by Chicago Cubs in trade 11/22/21 after being DFA by Cleveland 11/19/21
Trayce Thompson of
1 year (2021)

  • 1 year (2021)
    • re-signed by Arizona (minor-league contract)
    • acquired by Chicago Cubs in trade from Arizona 5/11/21
    • contract selected by Chicago Cubs 9/14/21
Michael Hermosillo of
1 year/$600,000 (2022)

  • 1 year/$600,000 (2022)
    • re-signed by Chicago Cubs as a free agent 12/1/21 (split contract, $180,000 in minors)

So over all Jed has added some OF depth. SS is the biggest issue right now. This can be addressed by going big in Correa. Or going flex and targeting Jonathan Villar (31). Neither answer is wrong. Nico might break out and Villar then becomes a 3B option.

This might be a solid game plan as Wisdom moves to 1B which upgrades the IF D and Schwindel takes over as the prime DH.
 
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Raskolnikov

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Cubs remind me of a Reds team. Will be competitive and not embarrassing, if lucky could even tease at a couple points in season.
 

CSF77

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Which Remaining Free Agent Relievers Are Coming Off The Strongest Seasons?

By Anthony Franco | January 11, 2022 at 12:37pm CDT

As teams plan out their post-lockout needs, most are probably looking to the bullpen as an area that could use further help. With the number of relievers clubs deploy throughout a season, essentially all of them could be well-served to stockpile depth in the middle innings.
The most straightforward path to doing that is via free agency, and there are still a number of options from which to choose. Using MLBTR’s free agent list, we find 58 available arms who tossed at least 20 innings of relief last season. Some, like longtime Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, are notable enough to command a significant multi-year guarantee. Many others figure to settle for one-year deals with a low base salary or perhaps minor league contracts with a Spring Training invite.
Who should be priority targets coming out of the transactions freeze? As we did with rotation options last week, we’ll sort the remaining free agent relievers by various metrics of 2021 performance to identify some of the top arms. There are obviously other factors for teams to consider — quality of raw stuff, pre-2021 track record, the player’s injury history, etc. — but a brief snapshot on the top bullpen arms by last year’s performance should provide a decent starting point. (All figures cited, including league averages, are looking solely at pitchers’ outings as relievers).
ERA (league average — 4.17)
  1. Andrew Chafin (LHP), 1.83
  2. Collin McHugh (RHP), 1.90
  3. Jimmy Nelson (RHP), 1.98*
  4. Jesse Chavez (RHP), 2.03
  5. Kenley Jansen (RHP), 2.22
  6. Juan Minaya (RHP), 2.48
  7. Hunter Strickland (RHP), 2.61
  8. Ryan Tepera (RHP), 2.79
  9. Ross Detwiler (LHP), 2.82
  10. Joe Kelly (RHP), 2.86
Strikeout Rate (league average — 24%)
  1. Jimmy Nelson, 38%
  2. Heath Hembree (RHP), 34.2%
  3. Jake Diekman (LHP), 31.7%
  4. Brad Boxberger (RHP), 31.2%
  5. Kenley Jansen, 30.9%
  6. Ryan Tepera, 30.8%
  7. Collin McHugh, 30.1%
  8. Jesse Chavez, 29.5%
  9. Ross Detwiler, 28.2%
  10. Jeurys Familia (RHP), 27.5%
Strikeout/Walk Rate Differential (league average — 14.2 percentage points)
  1. Jimmy Nelson, 27.8 points
  2. Collin McHugh, 24.8 points
  3. Heath Hembree, 24.3 points
  4. Ryan Tepera, 22.9 points
  5. Jesse Chavez, 21.9 points
  6. Brad Boxberger, 21.8 points
  7. Ian Kennedy (RHP), 19.7 points
  8. Joe Kelly, 19.2 points
  9. Ross Detwiler, 19.1 points
  10. Jake Diekman, 18.7 points
Ground-ball Rate (league average — 43.1%)
  1. Joe Kelly, 58.9%
  2. Brandon Kintzler (RHP), 58.5%
  3. Archie Bradley (RHP), 55.7%
  4. Alex Colomé (RHP), 53.7%
  5. Juan Minaya, 53%
  6. Alex Claudio (LHP), 52%
  7. Jeurys Familia, 51%
  8. Steve Cishek (RHP), 49.7%
  9. Edgar Santana (RHP), 49.6%
  10. Robert Gsellman (RHP), 49.4%
FIP (league average — 4.17)
  1. Jesse Chavez, 1.75
  2. Jimmy Nelson, 1.82
  3. Collin McHugh, 2.29
  4. Ryan Tepera, 2.73
  5. Andrew Chafin, 2.98
  6. Joe Kelly, 3.08
  7. Kenley Jansen, 3.08
  8. Ross Detwiler, 3.28
  9. Conner Greene (RHP), 3.46
  10. Chris Martin (RHP), 3.47
Innings Pitched
  1. Yusmeiro Petit (RHP), 78
  2. Hansel Robles (RHP), 69
  3. Kenley Jansen, 69
  4. Andrew Chafin, 68 2/3
  5. Steve Cishek, 68 1/3
  6. Alex Colomé, 65
  7. Brad Hand, 64 2/3
  8. Brad Boxberger, 64 2/3
  9. Richard Rodríguez (RHP), 64 1/3
  10. Adam Ottavino (RHP), 62
* Nelson underwent season-ending elbow surgery last August; his health status for 2022 remains unclear.
 

CSF77

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MLB, MLBPA Expected To Resume Core Economics Discussions On Thursday

By Anthony Franco | January 11, 2022 at 11:43am CDT

11:43 pm: Bob Nightengale of USA Today sheds some light on the upcoming proposal. The league is not expected to address the service time structure during this session. MLB is expected to put forth an increase in the league minimum salary to $600K, with further hikes to a height of $700K by the end of a potential CBA term, as well as alterations to draft pick compensation/forfeiture for signing free agents tagged with a qualifying offer.
10:42 am: Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have scheduled a collective bargaining negotiation session for Thursday, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). Notably, MLB is expected to present a core economics proposal to the union, marking the first development on the most contentious issues of the lockout since the league instituted the work stoppage on December 2.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote yesterday that the league was preparing to make its proposal within the next two weeks. In a bit of a surprise, they’ll come in at the earlier end of that timetable. Thursday’s conference will take place over video, tweets Evan Drellich of the Athletic.
Last-ditch efforts to progress on core economics before the previous collective bargaining agreement expired proved fruitless, culminating in a seven-minute session during the afternoon of December 1. Entering that meeting, the league had reportedly informed the MLBPA it would only entertain core economics discussions that didn’t involve changes to revenue sharing, six-year free agency eligibility and the existing eligibility requirements (for the most part, three years of service time) for arbitration. The union refused to accept those conditions, and the parties have been in a holding pattern since that point, with the MLBPA waiting for the league to bring forth another proposal.
It remains to be seen whether the league’s offer will meaningfully reignite discussions. It’s unclear to what extent MLB’s forthcoming proposal differs from its previous iterations, to which the union has not responded favorably. (MLB, of course, has been similarly unhappy with the PA’s offers). The possibility remains that the union will not consider this week’s offer sufficiently dissimilar from MLB’s past presentations to advance negotiations. Yet it’s at least notable that the parties are set to speak with one another regarding the most important topics for the first time in nearly six weeks. The sides have met a few times since the lockout began, but those discussions were limited to points outside of core economics.
Spring Training games are scheduled for February 26. In all likelihood, the parties will need to have a new CBA in place within the first half of next month to avoid any cancellations of exhibition play. That’ll require bridging the gap on a handful of key sticking points, like the service time structure, league minimum salary, competitive balance tax, playoff expansion, revenue sharing and the universal designated hitter.
 

CSF77

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Collective Bargaining Issues: Universal DH

By Anthony Franco | January 11, 2022 at 9:11am CDT

Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered a series of issues that figure to be key areas of dispute in collective bargaining talks. In early stages of negotiations, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association presented varying proposals regarding such things as playoff expansion, the service time structure and the competitive balance tax.
Today’s collective bargaining issue seems, on the surface, as though it should be easier to solve. Expanding the designated hither to the National League seems to have appeal to both parties. The union would welcome the creation of 15 bat-only positions that might expand the market for defensively-limited players and aging stars. As many teams have prioritized constructing rosters with defensive flexibility, the market has devalued non-elite corner bats in free agency and arbitration. A universal DH wouldn’t reverse that trend entirely, but it should be of some benefit to offense-first players.
The league, meanwhile, seems likely to embrace the universal DH as a means of aiding offense. The sport’s ever-increasing strikeout rate has drawn plenty of consternation. The leaguewide strikeout percentage ticked upwards every year between 2005 and 2020, setting an all-time record each season. Last year finally marked a stop to the record-breaking streak, as the strikeout rate marginally slipped from 23.4% to 23.2%. That’s perhaps a bit encouraging, but last year’s number still checked in almost seven percentage points above 2005’s 16.4% mark.
Pitchers aren’t the only culprit for the decrease in balls in play, but they’ve had real issues making contact. Last year, pitcher-hitters fanned at a 44.2% clip. Overall, they hit .110/.150/.142 across 4,830 plate appearances. That’s ghastly production, even by the historically low standards at the position. Their five highest all-time strikeout rates have come in the last five years of pitcher hitting. Four of the five lowest pitcher-hitters’ wRC+ (which compares their overall offensive output to that season’s league average marks) have come since 2017. However one wants to explain that trend — improved leaguewide velocities, specialization that leads to less practice for pitcher hitting, etc. — pitchers are putting up less of a fight at the plate than ever before.
Just as the universal DH won’t alone reinvigorate the market for defensively-limited sluggers, it’s not going to erase the game’s strikeout prevalence. Position players already take up the vast majority of at-bats, and they’re striking out a lot. MLB and the union agreed to a universal DH for the 2020 shortened season, and the league still broke its all-time strikeout record. Yet the elimination of pitcher hitting would no doubt have some positive boost on offense that should appeal to those in the league offices.
Given its seemingly mutually beneficial nature, many expect the universal DH to be a part of the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. That said, it was widely expected the NL DH would be in play for 2021 as well, seeing as the parties had agreed to implement it the year before as part of the pandemic protocols. That didn’t wind up happening. The league, reasoning that the players had greater incentive to embrace the universal DH, reportedly sought to tie its introduction to agreement from the union to expand the postseason field (a key revenue generator for MLB). The MLBPA viewed that as an unequal tradeoff and ultimately, neither the universal DH nor playoff expansion were put in place last season.
The potential introduction of a universal DH figures to again come up in discussions once the sides reengage on CBA talks in the coming weeks. If implemented, it’ll no doubt be a divisive provision for viewers. From a fan perspective, the DH is largely an aesthetic question. Some will point to pitcher-hitters’ woeful numbers as evidence that their continued hitting is an anachronism. Others would view the universal DH as a blow to the game’s tradition. In a December poll, 62% of MLBTR respondents expressed support for an NL DH; 26% were against the possibility, while 12% were generally apathetic on the issue.
There have been some creative ways floated to perhaps reduce pitcher-hitting while maintaining an increased amount of late-game strategy. Jayson Stark of the Athletic is among those to have floated the idea of tying the DH to that game’s starting pitcher, such that a team forfeits their DH whenever they remove their starter from the game. It’s theoretically possible the league and union consider such an idea, although it seems they’d have more straightforward interest in simply adding the DH to the NL in its current American League format.
 

CSF77

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MLB Expected To Make Core Economics Proposal To MLBPA Within Two Weeks

By Anthony Franco | January 10, 2022 at 11:16pm CDT

Last week, both Jeff Passan of ESPN and Evan Drellich of the Athletic reported that Major League Baseball had been preparing core economics proposals to present to the MLB Players Association. Both Passan and Drellich suggested that could ignite collective bargaining negotiations by the end of the month. Bob Nightengale of USA Today adds a bit more specificity to that timeline, writing this morning that the league is planning to make its proposal “within the next two weeks.”
Whenever the league does put its offer on the table, that’ll serve as the first notable development in CBA talks since MLB instituted a lockout in the early morning minutes of December 2. The parties have since met a couple times regarding issues outside of core economics, but there’s reportedly been no discussion on the most contentious issues since the start of the lockout.
The league and union did put forth core economics proposals prior to the expiration of the previous CBA, but neither side responded favorably to the other’s offers. That culminated in a seven-minute bargaining session on December 1. Both parties have expressed openness to returning to the table, but they’ve been in a holding pattern as the union has waited for the league to put forth a new offer.
Renewing core economics discussions by around January 21 (two Fridays from now) wouldn’t give the parties much time to bridge the gap without threatening exhibition play. The first Spring Training games are scheduled for February 26, and there’ll certainly need to be a few weeks between the signing of a new CBA and the start of gameplay for players to report, clear whatever COVID-19 protocols may be in place and ramp up physical activity.
 

CSF77

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1. Reduct the season to 154 games.
2. With that freed up time open up a new round.

Sept baseball post deadline is 1/2 of the league pulling the white flag and the best teams hoping to bottom feed. It is rather pointless baseball. Reducing those games and replacing with playoff schedules is beneficial to all parties. Teams that historically sell will end up losing games of revenue. Which might force owners to stop branding bad products year in and out as they are looking at losing payroll on both ends and not increasing profits.

DH both sides want it. Non issue.

The rest, well I hope that they come to terms on some issues and push the rest forward.
 

CSF77

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Cubs remind me of a Reds team. Will be competitive and not embarrassing, if lucky could even tease at a couple points in season.
They are not done. But looking at right now?

3 solid starters and a few maybe's. Jed should address this as 1 injury can derail this.

Depending one 3 AAAA players who broke out at the same time? Kinda sketchy at best.

This team will be lucky to make .500.

To make them legit? Sign a TOR and Correa and Villar. This creates more stability where the question marks are not the main source of production.

To hammer the point in:

2B Madrigal .317/.358/.406
3B Villar .258/.326/.403 SH
SS Correa .277/.356/.481
CF Happ .241/.338/.467 SH (Toss him under the bus year)
C Contreras .259/.349/.458 You have to stick with your vets for stability.

Here is where you go with flex guys.

Schwindel 1B/DH
Wisdom 1B/3B/DH corner OF
Heyward RF
Ortega OF
Hoerner UI

This is what makes sense to me. There is a 50/50 chance that these guys tank and is was all puff and smoke last year. It is fine to approach it this way. Give some time to these guys to give them a shot at making some real cash but you do not go into a season banking on flukes in a market the size that the Cubs command.

As far as pitching goes really none of the Iowa guys really sealed the deal last year. I am okay with Mills eating some innings and the power trio of Thompson, Steel and Alzolay powering the pen. Nothing wrong with it.

If Boras wants to do a 3/60 on Rodon why not. He fits the profile wanted. 1-3 years of control. Gives a solid TOR at a injury risk discount. Even if he goes down the Cubs have 2 intriguing arms in Iowa that look like #2-3 types.

So over all why not.

But as of now? This team is not even good enough to be a pretender.
 

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