The Collapse

wonky73

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On Sept 6 Cubs were 76-64 a .54 winning percentage and a 90 something percentage chance of the playoffs.
Since then 6-14 a .3 winning percentage.

Who's to blame? Discuss below.
 

JP Hochbaum

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So I wouldn't want to just point fingers and blame people, it gets toxic when we do that.

The problems wit this team was a bullpen that lost 7 8th inning leads in 3 weeks, and a starting staff and defense that didn't stay elite at the end of the year as it was most of the year.

Hitting pretty much stayed consistent.
 

Probie2429

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The Cubs overachieved most of the year. The roster especially pitching is horrendous. Missing the playoffs is meh but not trading Bellinger and Stroman when he was having a career year before getting hurt is a big black eye on Hoyer’s tenure.
 

JP Hochbaum

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The Cubs overachieved most of the year. The roster especially pitching is horrendous. Missing the playoffs is meh but not trading Bellinger and Stroman when he was having a career year before getting hurt is a big black eye on Hoyer’s tenure.
This I just can't get behind. Bellinger is a great player to BUILD around, and trading him would have prevented that. We can't rebuild forever and getting this close was important to have for attracting free agents this year. Yes that matters, many players have specifically avoided the Cubs the last few years because they were sellers.
 

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They should have dealt Stroman. I get that he went down right before talk heated up so maybe there was never a serious offer?


They ought to try and retain Bellinger. He works as a Cub and it's just money.
 

Diehardfan

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This I just can't get behind. Bellinger is a great player to BUILD around, and trading him would have prevented that. We can't rebuild forever and getting this close was important to have for attracting free agents this year. Yes that matters, many players have specifically avoided the Cubs the last few years because they were sellers.
Stroman was the key guy. A lifetime #3 starter is pitching for well over half a season like a #1 and Hoyer sits on him till he gets hurt. Huge loss there. To me it would depend on the return for Bellinger....since he seems to really like it here, there is a chance the Cubs could resign him but you are correct...if they traded him the chances of him resigning reduce significantly. The return would've needed to be mega for him.

I hear ya about rebuilding forever but really....pitching is so much of the game today and Hoyer hands Ross an average at best starting staff and an absolute garbage bullpen. Then says at the deadline...."We're not selling, we're buying now go win a WS". His buying was 2 shit pitchers and Candy who other than about 10 day run, hit about .120. Until he shows me otherwise, Hoyer is a fucking clown.
 

TL1961

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Interesting that we cannot blame Ross for any decisions made over a 162 game season but we can blame the general manager for Stroman getting hurt.

Trading Bellinger and Stroman, because you thought they would both be gone in free agency would have been an understandable decision.

Holding onto both of them, because he wanted to make a run at the postseason is also an understandable decision.

I cannot understand how people think we should have kept one of them and traded the other. That would’ve made no sense whatsoever.

Granted, Stroman pitched very poorly in the second half of the season, but I guess we’re expecting the GM to predict that and trade a guy the team signed as a FA just when he started returning value.
 

JP Hochbaum

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Stroman was the key guy. A lifetime #3 starter is pitching for well over half a season like a #1 and Hoyer sits on him till he gets hurt. Huge loss there. To me it would depend on the return for Bellinger....since he seems to really like it here, there is a chance the Cubs could resign him but you are correct...if they traded him the chances of him resigning reduce significantly. The return would've needed to be mega for him.

I hear ya about rebuilding forever but really....pitching is so much of the game today and Hoyer hands Ross an average at best starting staff and an absolute garbage bullpen. Then says at the deadline...."We're not selling, we're buying now go win a WS". His buying was 2 shit pitchers and Candy who other than about 10 day run, hit about .120. Until he shows me otherwise, Hoyer is a fucking clown.
Hoyer can't be a clown and also have the tough decision you gave him. I think you may be a bit too hard on him. Was the team peret? Hell no. But no team ever is, and he tried to fill the holes to make a playoff run possible.
 

JP Hochbaum

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So here this out. JUan Soto might be getting dealt out of SD so they can get back to a 200 million salary.

They will want an MLB player and some prospects in return.

Soto for Happ and prospects, they both play LF, SD gets their cut in salary, Cubs upgrade. The prospects? I have no idea who they would be.

But if you get Soto, keep Belly (1B), and Have PCA play CF with Suzuki in RF we got a great powerful lineup no matter what is in the infield...
 

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Pitching is the most important thing for this team going forward.
 

CSF77

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So here this out. JUan Soto might be getting dealt out of SD so they can get back to a 200 million salary.

They will want an MLB player and some prospects in return.

Soto for Happ and prospects, they both play LF, SD gets their cut in salary, Cubs upgrade. The prospects? I have no idea who they would be.

But if you get Soto, keep Belly (1B), and Have PCA play CF with Suzuki in RF we got a great powerful lineup no matter what is in the infield...

It is only 1 year of arbitration left. 2023 he made 23M so 25M would be his baseline and he could walk after the year.

So I would respectively pass on this trade. Jed IMO should focus on the bullpen first, Even before Bellinger.
 

CSF77

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But going at it from a needs perspective.

Jed will need a RH counter to PCA at CF. Harrison Bader will be on the market. Would make a decent platoon partner.

Bull pen:

Middle Relief: Reynaldo Lopez (30)* No Q offer to deal with. He has been up to 98MPH in the pen. City should know him well.

Closer: Josh Hader (30) I'm pretty sure SD will give a Q offer and Jed should accept it regardless.

Now the main issue will be getting full time PA to Morel and Canario.

One out of the box approach is moving Happ to 1B. He came up at 2B. Has played 3B so 1B should not be a reach and he ages into the position.

LF goes to Canario full time.

This opens up Morel to work on 3B for the off season.

If Morel is hopeless at 3B then a investment would be needed for 3B. Matt Chapman would be the prime target there and Morel continues as the prime DH.

Bellinger would end up forced into 1B full time on the Cubs and I'm no sure if that is the best opportunity for him in the market.
 

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Purely on the wishful thinking list, but the first thing I'd want is for the CBT not to be a concern for the 2024 season. Just go into it understanding that 50-70M is coming off the books so being over 1 year is not an issue.

Second - Stroman is most likely opting in. He can be traded but there'd probably be next to no return for him. Hendricks pitched decently well, could be a good teacher for the younger guys, and a bit of nostalgia to get one last ride so I'd want them to pick up his option. Gomes seems to be very much a heart guy who handles the staff well and certainly hits well enough for a catcher. I want his option picked up.

3rd - Bite a bullet. See if you can package Smyly (presuming he doesn't opt out), Wisdom, and 4M to cover part of Smyly's deal for essentially a PTBNL just to free up the 2 roster spots. Toss in a less than top 30 prospect if needed just to free the 5.5 M in CBT

Primary target to keep - Bellinger - 8Y280M and don't blink about it.

Primary target to add - Snell or Nola - Stroman and Hendricks are 99% both gone after 24. While there's plenty of arms on the farm, they need to add one more. Snell is more the TOR type player but that also means more suitors and a higher price tag. Sublime would be to get either at 4Y140M but if it's 6Y210M to get one, then do it.

Secondary targets to add - If they aren't sold on Madrigal at 3B until Shaw is ready, then either bring back Candelario at 2Y30M or see if Chapman can be had for 2Y40M. BP is tough because they are almost all rolls on a roulette wheel. I'd say rock with Adbert as the closer and pretty much stay as is. If you add a guy, go Hader and push everyone else down a slot.

Presuming success on Bellinger, Nola, Candy, and the trade away, the Cubs have this going into 24.

C - Gomes
1B - Bellinger
2B - Hoerner
3B - Candelario
SS - Swanson
LF - Happ
CF - PCA
RF - Suzuki

OF - Tauchman
IF - Madrigal
C - Amaya
IF/OF - Morel

SP - Steele
SP - Nola
SP - Stroman
SP - Taillion
SP - Hendricks

CL - Alzolay

Pen - Merryweather, Leiter Jr, Assad, Wicks, and Cuas

That leaves 3 spots open. I'd go 2 bats and 1 BP. If I signed a LHB for the bench, Brandon Belt wouldn't be a bad get. Otherwise, go with Mervis and then decide if you want Canario getting regular PAs in AAA or getting MLB experience as he can on the bench. That gives lots of flexibility to rest or semi rest guys with them just DHing for the hitters.
 

CSF77

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After losing seasons in both 2021 and 2022, the Cubs finished 83-79 this year, representing some progress. Unfortunately for Wrigleyville, that record left the team one game behind the Diamondbacks for the last NL wild card slot, as a 5-12 slide in the Cubs’ last 17 games quickly muddied what seemed like a clear path to the playoffs a few weeks ago.

As such, team chairman Tom Ricketts was measured in his praise when speaking with reporters (including The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma and The Chicago Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro) today. While “there was a lot of excitement and the organizational health is as strong as it’s been in a long, long time,” Ricketts also said “I don’t think that we want to start calling seasons we don’t make the playoffs good seasons. That’s a consolation prize and we don’t play for consolation prizes.”

Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer recently gave manager David Ross a public vote of confidence, seemingly confirming that Ross would return for 2024 (the final guaranteed year of the skipper’s contract). The odds of Ross continuing with the team grew even stronger today when Ricketts also credited the manager’s work.

I think Rossy did a great job. He creates a great clubhouse culture, the players love playing for him,” Ricketts said. “He keeps a steady, balanced approach game in and game out, that you need over the course of 162 games.” Specifically citing the full-season aspect in a year when the Cubs started with a 26-36 record, Ricketts noted that “when the team got down, way below .500 and it looked like the season was over, he didn’t let it go. He got the guys back and playing hard. We got to here. He was a big part of that.”

Another Wrigleyville staple also return in 2024, as Ricketts said “at this point I would see [Kyle Hendricks] coming back,” though the chairman said Hoyer would ultimately be making the decision. Chicago holds a $16MM club option ($1.5MM buyout) on Hendricks for next season, and it seemed like Hendricks was on the decline after down years in both 2021 and 2022. However, the veteran righty bounced back nicely from an injury-shortened 2022 to post a 3.74 ERA over 137 innings this year, increasingly his chances of getting that option exercised. Even if Marcus Stroman doesn’t opt out of the final year of his contract, retaining Hendricks might still make sense to bolster the rotation depth.

The rest of Chicago’s payroll picture will naturally factor into the $14.5MM decision on Hendricks. Ricketts again stated that Hoyer is calling the shots on player personnel, but with an Opening Day payroll of roughly $184.2MM last March, Ricketts said “I think we’ll stay at those levels” for 2024, and “we’ll see where that shakes out” in terms of whether or not the Cubs would be willing to boost spending closing to the $237MM luxury tax line.

The Cubs’ rebuilding efforts of the previous two seasons helped add a lot of younger talent into the system, which Ricketts cited as another (and perhaps wiser) method of improving the Major League roster. “We’ve got a lot of good young players and hopefully some will be ready to go next year so we can bring homegrown talent to supplement the guys we have out there,” Ricketts said.

That’s the ultimate way you maintain consistency and try to stay in the playoff hunt for years to come…The key to consistency is to not build a one-year super team, but to try to get to the playoffs as often as possible. You do that by finding guys that you like, giving them extensions, solidifying your core and then trying to supplement them with guys from your system and the occasional free agent. That’s going to be our strategy going forward.”

It isn’t as if Ricketts and Hoyer have shied away from larger investments, such as signing Dansby Swanson, Seiya Suzuki, or Jameson Taillon, or in locking up Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ through 2026 on contract extensions. However, should Stroman opt out and Cody Bellinger leave in free agency, that is automatically two big holes that need to be addressed, in addition to the Cubs’ other roster needs.

At the very least, Ricketts’ comment seemingly indicates that the Cubs will make a measured effort at best to re-sign Bellinger, who figures to land one of the winter’s biggest contracts. It could be that the front office and ownership are willing to spend a bit bigger now that the Cubs have gotten over the .500 hump and back into playoff contention, though it may take a particular target (i.e. Swanson last winter) to really move the organization to make a splash.
 

CSF77

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Well Ricketts pretty much said 185M is the expected 2024 payroll. Unless he was including Heyward. That is another 22M. That ended up as a 223.7M payroll.

That makes a huge difference.

So I would take it as Hendricks and Gomes are sticking. Stroman most likely stays. Then Jed will push Cody to return. With Hendricks the payroll sits at 152M. Cody at 30M would push it up to 182M. 20M for pen upgrades and filling arb cases. That leaves 20M for a major play. Like Hader or Chapman. Even re-signing Candy.

Status que is not horrible. Getting the younger players established while adding experienced pen depth is a good option.

So I take it from what Tom said: Ontani is a hard no. I'm not making the choices but I am making a hard cap.
 
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knoxville7

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Well, I for one am glad they aren’t spending hundreds of millions on some guy named Ontani. Prudent to not spend that level of money on a total unknown, like I mean nobody has heard of this guy even. He could probably be had for a vets min contract
 

CSF77

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Well, I for one am glad they aren’t spending hundreds of millions on some guy named Ontani. Prudent to not spend that level of money on a total unknown, like I mean nobody has heard of this guy even. He could probably be had for a vets min contract

"At the very least, Ricketts’ comment seemingly indicates that the Cubs will make a measured effort at best to re-sign Bellinger, who figures to land one of the winter’s biggest contracts. It could be that the front office and ownership are willing to spend a bit bigger now that the Cubs have gotten over the .500 hump and back into playoff contention, though it may take a particular target (i.e. Swanson last winter) to really move the organization to make a splash."

It is fair to assume that Cody is #1 priority.
Then they will target a F/A that holds impact.

Only 2 in this scenerio are Josh Hader and Matt Chapman.

Of the two needs I would give the edge to Chapman due to Alzolay. Jed IMO can't worry about Matt Shaw until his hand is forced to make a decision. And making decisions are better at a position of strength vs weakness.
 

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