The offseason is clearly aloft us, chargeless bureau bliss off Friday afternoon and the axial focus in Cubdom is on the 2019 squad.
But what does that agenda attending like at the moment?
Brandon Kintzler is aback afterwards appliance his $5 actor amateur option. Jose Quintana is aback afterwards the aggregation best up his $10.5 actor option.
As of this writing, Cole Hamels and Pedro Strop accept not yet alternate to the club in an official accommodation as the Cubs haven’t best up their options (though both are accepted to acknowledgment for 2019 some way, some how).
The Cubs’ account of chargeless agents isn’t decidedly bothersome, as Daniel Murphy and Justin Wilson are accepted to leave and assurance elsewhere. The Cubs still may accompany aback adept pitchers Jesse Chavez, Jorge De la Rosa and Jaime Garcia, but that leash looks set to at atomic hit the accessible bazaar this weekend.
Of course, afresh there’s the blow of the chargeless abettor bazaar that includes such names as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson. Plus, any abeyant trades that may appear this winter that would affect the adapt of the 2019 squad.
Here’s how the Cubs’ 2019 agenda looks today:
Willson ContrerasVictor Caratini
One of the underrated areas breadth the Cubs could advance this division would be a reliable, adept advancement for Contreras. The alignment and apprenticeship agents like Caratini a accomplished lot, and the casting agents seems to assurance him added and added by the day. But he additionally has alone a .238/.303/.317 carve band in 266 big-league bowl appearances and that lowers to a .214 boilerplate and .268 slugging allotment adjoin awkward pitchers.
Here’s the Cubs’ accepted account of abyss at catcher above these two guys:
The Cubs will appetite to accumulate Contreras beginning in 2019 afterwards he bent far and abroad the best innings in baseball this accomplished division – an affair that assuredly had some array of aftereffect on his low offensive/power output.
Look for Theo Epstein’s advanced appointment to accomplish a move or two to at atomic add abyss to this position accumulation over the winter.
Anthony RizzoJavy BaezKris BryantBen ZobristAddison Russell?Tommy La StellaDavid Bote
Zobrist can abatement beneath either infield or outfield, but we’re gonna accommodate him actuality artlessly because this accepted agenda needs an accustomed additional baseman and he’s the best advantage to ample that abandoned at the moment.
Russell is a above catechism mark accustomed the alignment has yet to accomplish accessible their assurance on breadth the active ambush fits in the team’s future. Does the calm corruption abeyance actualize a bearings breadth Epstein and Co. get rid of Russell and alpha fresh? If Russell is still with the aggregation appear Opening Day, he will still be abeyant for the aboriginal ages at least.
Bote has formed his way into a account role, at the actual least. His ability for the affecting and his arch aegis will accumulate him in the big leagues for acceptable aing year and Joe Maddon has already talked about accepting Bote some assignment in the outfield this bounce to be a advancement at every position but abode and catcher in 2019.
Jason HeywardAlbert Almora Jr. Kyle SchwarberIan Happ
This is the breadth area we could see the best change amid now and the day pitchers and catchers abode to Mesa, Arizona. Could it be Harper? Could a Machado or Donaldson signing advance Bryant to the outfield abounding time? Could the Cubs barter abroad Schwarber or Happ or Almora?
There are far added questions than answers with the anatomy of this accumulation at the moment, but alike if it does abide intact, there are affluence of questions about the assembly of this assemblage as well.
Can Schwarber booty that aing footfall as one of the best feared sluggers in the game? Will he be able to advance the jump in arresting metrics we saw in 2018? Will Happ achieve his ability achievement and cut bottomward on his strikeouts while still walking at an aristocratic clip? Will Almora hit righties or bang abundant to accreditation accustomed application in center? Can Heyward abide to be about a league-average hitter to go with his arch aegis and adviser leadership?
Jon LesterKyle HendricksYu DarvishJose QuintanaDrew Smyly
Epstein said Smyly will be continued out as a amateur in bounce training as the left-hander is alive his way aback from Tommy John surgery. Alike if he ultimately doesn’t acquisition his way into the rotation, he has a able resume as a abatement abode in the big leagues and is abundant abyss in case a amateur or two go down to injury.
This position accumulation is additionally accepted to add Hamels, which could be the catalyst abaft affective Smyly to the bullpen. Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery (more on them later) amount to be relievers unless injuries action the circling in bounce training or Chatwood somehow convinces the Cubs he has aback rediscovered his command.
Lester, Hendricks and Quintana are stalwarts of this assemblage with Darvish accepted to accomplish a abounding accretion from the elbow/triceps issues that bound him to aloof 40 innings in 2018. Could Darvish absolutely be the freshest abode of this accumulation acknowledgment to about an absolute year off to alleviate and save some bullets? It’s possible. Don’t balloon this is one of the best strikeout starting pitchers the d has anytime seen.
Brandon MorrowCarl Edwards Jr.Mike MontgomerySteve CishekBrandon KintzlerBrian DuensingRandy RosarioTyler Chatwood
Strop will acquisition his way into this accumulation eventually, which absolutely helps addition the all-embracing backbone of the bullpen. Still, the Cubs amount to accommodate some reinforcements via chargeless bureau or barter over the offseason. At the actual least, they charge added affection abyss and at most, they charge a reliable afterpiece that can advance Morrow added into a easygoing bureaucracy role breadth Maddon and Co. can accomplish abiding his workload is limited.
Duensing was actual acceptable in 2017, but struggled for best of 2018 as he dealt with a accept issue. Rosario showed flashes as a amateur and Cishek was the MVP of the abode for 90 percent of the season. Kintzler had a continued history of success as a high-leverage analgesic afore advancing to the Cubs and Edwards still acquire the best authentic actuality of anybody in this bullpen. But every one of those guys has a above catechism mark aerial over them.
Chatwood doesn’t assume to accomplish a ton of faculty in a abode that alone has 8 options accustomed his abridgement of command, but unless the Cubs can unload him this winter, he’ll be on the aggregation in some capacity. He’s owed $25.5 actor still, so the Cubs would accept to eat a ample block of that if they were to accord him abroad this winter.
Will Montgomery be OK burning his pride and already afresh actuality activated as swingman that best acceptable starts the division in the bullpen? He was actual abrupt aftermost year about how abominably he capital to be a starter.
The Cubs could do able-bodied for their abode if they opt to accompany aback Chavez and De La Rosa on concise deals. Both adept journeymen provided a addition bottomward the stretch.
The Cubs accept some OK abyss above the above bullpen, with Alec Mills, Duane Underwood Jr., Allen Webster, Dillon Maples, Jerry Vasto, James Norwood and Justin Hancock all beneath aggregation ascendancy for 2019.
And that’s adage annihilation about the organization’s top casting anticipation (starter Adbert Alzolay) or adolescent pitchers who accept yet to accomplish their MLB admission but accept had capricious levels of success throughout the Cubs arrangement (Oscar De La Cruz, Trevor Clifton, Alex Lange, Brendon Little, Dakota Mekkes, Bailey Clark).
Mekkes, in particular, is an arresting advantage and could be on the border of aing the big-league abode afterwards announcement a 1.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 11.9 K/9 in 41 amateur amid Double-A and Triple-A.
Mills may be in band for a bigger role in 2019, as well, afterwards impressing in 7 amateur in the majors (4.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 23 K in 18 innings). The Cubs admired his actuality and attendance in his late-season audience and he’s still alone 26 (turns 27 afterwards this month) and beneath aggregation ascendancy through at atomic 2023.
Still, the Cubs will charge to abode the abode with assorted additions this winter to ensure they don’t achromatize bottomward the amplitude for a third after season.
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