Welcome to the aboriginal copy of the Cubs mailbag.
We’ll be answering your afire Cubs questions already a anniversary throughout the offseason, so break acquainted to @NBCSCubs and blaze abroad aback you see the alert for the aing accessible mailbag.
This week, we’re acclamation the futures of guys like Tyler Chatwood and Addison Russell while additionally diving into the Cubs offense, if the appointed hitter will appear to the National League and — of advance — Bryce Harper and the star-studded chargeless bureau class.
How can we advance the breach afterwards spending an absonant bulk of money? I would actually like us to accompany Chavez, Hamels, and Strop aback in the fold. — Brandon Hembrough (@BrandonJHembro)
Man, admirers are SO afraid about all the money the Cubs are spending. I’m analytical — why? The Red Sox acquire the accomplished bulk in baseball and aloof took a 2-0 advance in the World Series. It’s not like the Cubs spending added money on bulk increases how abundant it’ll bulk to go to a game. Ticket prices go up anniversary year anyways. Admirers absorbing over a team’s bulk has never fabricated faculty to me — it’s not their money.
That actuality said — the acknowledgment to Brandon’s catechism actuality is via barter if you actually don’t appetite the Cubs to absorb money to advance an breach that led baseball with 40 amateur breadth they denticulate 1 or 0 runs. Accustomed the Cubs are not currently in the business of trading AWAY pitching, they would acquire to accord from their accumulation of adolescent position players — which bureau they’d be trading breach for offense. Whoever they get in acknowledgment would acquire to be a added stable, constant attendance in the calendar than whoever they barter abroad (think: Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, etc.). That’s adamantine to cull off.
The easiest way the Cubs can advance their breach afterwards spending an absonant bulk of money is to aloof sit aback and calculation bottomward the canicule until 2019 bounce training. Because that’s aback Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras will be talking about how they can’t delay to get aback out there and appearance everybody that 2018 was aloof a bottomward year. Which…it was. Bryant is a abiding MVP applicant and Contreras looked like he could claiming for the NL approval in 2017. Unless these guys somehow forgot how to hit, bet big on a backlash in 2019 and that will be a HUGE benefaction for the Cubs calendar to get those two aback to normal.
What happens to the aboriginal 1st annular aces by Theo — Almora? A footfall advanced or barter bait? — Bala Ramachandran (@Bala8105)
Great catechism and one we may not acquisition the acknowledgment to for some time. It’s actually accessible Albert Almora Jr. is traded abroad this winter, but abandoned if the Cubs get article of bulk in return. It’s boxy to see that appear to accomplishment artlessly because Almora is an ambiguous article offensively and admitting he’s a absolute acceptable apostle in centermost field, he’s additionally not absolute fast and could attack to about-face out the aforementioned bulk defensively arena consistently in a added ample outfield than Wrigley. The Cubs won’t barter him abroad aloof to barter him, so affairs are college he’ll be on the 2019 aggregation at atomic as a advancement outfielder with a adventitious to comedy his way into a above role if he can booty accomplish advanced offensively.
How anon will the National League about-face to the DH and do you anticipate a alteration of capacity and the timeline that is accessible to happen? — Kathy Kummer (@PrincessKathy)
Interesting question. It wasn’t continued ago that we heard rumblings about the NL possibly adopting the appointed hitter afore 2020, but that looks to be awful unlikely now. The accepted Collective Bargaining Agreement goes through Dec. 1, 2021, so I can’t brainstorm the DH advancing to the NL afore then. But it should happen. It’s asinine that there’s such a desperate aphorism change amid the two leagues. America’s added able sports don’t acquire that. Brainstorm if the Bears got to use an added abhorrent amateur every time they faced the Patriots or addition AFC aggregation on the road. That’d actualize an uprising.
As for the divisions, I agnosticism that happens anytime soon, either. Baseball is affluent in attitude and history and it would be absolute difficult to abate that to realign divisions. It was a big accord aback MLB confused the Astros from the NL Central to the AL West.
Based on Theo’s postseason comments, do you anticipate Joe will accomplish added of an accomplishment to go with a consistent/steady calendar and leadoff man? — Stephanie Marmolino (@CubbySteph)
Yes…and no. Yes in that Maddon will actually accomplish added of an accomplishment to go with a constant calendar and abiding leadoff man, but no in the faculty that it artlessly may not be possible. Attending at the Dodgers. They’re in the World Series and the chic of the NL this year by accepting a army arrangement breadth abandoned a brace of players (Justin Turner, Manny Machado) are in the calendar anniversary day behindhand of who the opposing abode is. If the Cubs dont acutely change their personnel, there apparently won’t be abundant of a change aloft the batting adjustment or clarification bottomward through the rest.
However, if the Cubs do accomplish some above changes to their accumulation of position players — which absolute able-bodied may appear — it could be in an absorption to get a added abiding calendar and a “you go, we go” blazon of leadoff hitter in the Dexter Fowler mold.
Will we be seeing added David Bote in 2019? — kimberly. (@kimisrad)
Once again, we’ll go with: “Yes…and no” as the acknowledgment here. As it stands appropriate now, Bote is a admired allotment for the 2019 Cubs both in his arresting acumen, positional versatility and as a cost-effective advantage as the bulk starts to accelerate accomplished the affluence tax. That actuality said, Bote may not draw as abounding starts as he did in 2018 aback he abounding in for Kris Bryant.
Bote abstracts to be a account infielder for the Cubs affective advanced and possibly alike see some time in the outfield, as Maddon appropriate in September.
If Kershaw becomes available… Do the Cubs get him or a big name allotment like Machado or Harper? — Payton Arendt (@ArendtPayton)
Kershaw will about absolutely not become accessible by annihilation added than a technicality. He can opt out of his contract, but everybody expects him to aloof renegotiate a arrangement with the Dodgers for added money. The Cubs are not currently in the bazaar for starting pitchers and that includes Kershaw. Assuming they accompany Cole Hamels back, the Cubs acquire 8 options for the 2019 circling and there’s a accurate case to be fabricated for anniversary of those 8 guys casting every fifth day. Starting casting is apparently the one breadth the Cubs won’t blow this winter, aloof because it’s the everyman on the antecedence beat at the moment.
I do acquire the Cubs get a big-name allotment and I feel like Harper is the guy. The articulation amid Harper and the Cubs has been accessible ability for years (he called his dog Wrigley, you guys!!!) but above that, his bat fits in this calendar altogether as a feared awkward hitter to anatomy a alarming affection of the adjustment alongside Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez. Some added aggregation may wind up alms Harper a antic bulk of money that takes the Cubs out of it, but I apprehend them to be austere players for Harper this winter.
If the Cubs don’t get Harper or Machado, who abroad could they ambition for addition hitter or two? With Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, and Hamels acceptable advancing back, who will be the fifth starter? Will it be a circling in that atom alone? — Kyle Gore (@Cubsfan122112)
Great question. Everybody is focused on Harper and Machado — and appropriately so — but there are a lot of added bats on the bazaar as well. Andrew McCutchen and Nick Markakis are two such options, as we discussed on the latest CubsTalk Podcast. D.J. LeMahieu makes a amount of faculty accustomed his abhorrent profile, solid cuff and the actuality the Cubs charge a additional baseman besides Ben Zobrist, but the above Rockie is branch into chargeless bureau with some animal home/road splits.
As for the circling question, the acknowledgment is acutely Yu Darvish. Assuming he’s healthy, he will 100 percent be in the Cubs rotation.
Will the Cubs barter Tyler Chatwood, or will they attack to fix him? — Sam (@CptnDonuts)
The acknowledgment is possibly both. They may try to “fix” him this winter, but if everybody’s advantageous in bounce training, Chatwood could be appear a abounding allotment in the circling and appropriately Epstein’s advanced appointment could amalgamation him in a accord with the Cubs bistro some of the absolute money on Chatwood’s contract.
The Cubs can’t allow to aloof stick him in the abode — that’s the affliction abode for a guy with head-scratching command issues — and they additionally can’t accelerate him bottomward to the minors. If he doesn’t attending much-improved in bounce training, they may unload him to anybody who would appetite to booty a flier on a 29-year-old abode with the Cubs basement a agglomeration of the $25.5 actor absolute on the contract.
What should the Cubs do with Addison Russell? — Capper John T.F. (@johnroy76)
I’m not sure. We’re in aberrant area actuality from a Cubs perspective. The day afterwards the Cubs division concluded and aloof a few account afterwards Russell was handed a 40-game suspension, Epstein said he acquainted the Cubs alignment bare to be there to abutment Russell. Releasing or non-tendering the ambush would not be all that “supportive.”
It’s adamantine to see any added MLB aggregation absent to barter for him appropriate now with all the off-the-field accoutrements on top of the on-the-field struggles over the aftermost two seasons. The Cubs may aloof let Russell serve out his suspension, accompany him aback in May, let him comedy a little bit and addition his value, afresh accord him abroad midseason as they retool for a amplitude run.
That may not be the acknowledgment a lot of Cubs admirers appetite to apprehend accustomed Russell’s abeyance for calm violence, but it absolutely makes the best faculty from a baseball standpoint. I can’t pretend to apperceive how Cubs cadre absolutely feels about Russell afterwards he maintained his chastity to them for over a year, abandoned to afresh acquire the 40-game abeyance afterwards a action or appeal. It’s actually accessible that affect could amplitude the Cubs to accomplish a accommodation that goes adjoin “baseball sense.”
Who will the Cubs attending at to ample their added average infield hole? With Addison acceptable gone, as able-bodied as Murphy’s arrangement expired, what are some account to ample that additional abject spot? — Pat Doll (@mrpatsi2)
The acknowledgment could lie in the antecedent catechism — Russell would break the average infield aperture afterwards April. If the Cubs absorb Russell, they could go with a aggregate of Ben Zobrist and David Bote at additional abject until the abeyance has run its course.
If it’s not Russell, a brace solid veterans are in chargeless bureau and aerial beneath the radar. The Cubs acquire been admirers of Jordy Mercer’s d from distant and admitting he’s aging, he can still be a admired apostle in the average infield and accommodate some solid at-bats. Jose Iglesias is addition advantage as a glove-first ambush who could appear off the bank or draw some starts at shortstop, blame Baez to additional or third base.
How pumped up does it accomplish y’all to apprehend chants of “Let’s Go Cubbies” aback arena abroad from home? — Little Bear (@Little_beartx22)
You do apperceive we’re not the absolute Cubs, right?
Computerized bang zone…will it appear in my lifetime? — Marnita Curry (@13woman)
Well, it depends on how old you are and how continued your lifetime is.
I’ll say “no” as my official acknowledgment aloof because I acquisition it adamantine to acquire baseball will get rid of the animal aspect altogether.
But if Ben Zobrist were fielding this question, I anticipate we can all accede the acknowledgment would be a aural “YES!”
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