Chances that Ian Happ is still a Cub opening day 2020?
James: Low. Maybe he sticks around as a 4th OF or 5th IF as a Ben Zobrist type role, but I don't see him as being that kind of player who can thrive off the bench.
Matt: Zero. He's gone in a deal. He's too much like the rest of the squad. They need contact hitters who can hit FB up in the zone. That's not him.
Staci: Very, very slim. Happ has a lot of potential that maybe another team can unlock, but the Cubs will move him if they can get something useful for him.
Brooke: Very Slim. I bet he gets moved to Maddon's new team though. Maddon wanted him as Zobrist 2.0!
Tina: Slim. He's trade bait. Gonna miss that business up front, party in the back.
Steve: 25%. I think they move him to get some decent prospects. He still has a lot of potential but I don't think the Cubs will be patient to let him figure it out at the big league level.
Chances that Willson is a Cub opening day 2020:
Matt: 75% I love Willson, but he is their big trade chip that is best covered by depth. They should get an absolute haul.
Staci: 50%. I firmly believe one of Willson or Carrot will be traded this off-season, and I'm not sure I think Thed would hang onto Willson if they could get a big return.
Tina: 60%. Ditto.
Brooke: 60%. I love Willy but I do think that Caratini was used surprisingly a lot with vets like Hamels and Darvish. He caught 67% of Darvish's innings and 26% and 24% of Hendricks and Quintana. He only caught Lester 5% of the time though. If they do move Willy I'd expect they get a veteran for Lester.
Steve: 100%. They aren't moving one of the best catchers for anything other than something substantial. I don't know if Mookie alone does it. There would have to be other moves made for Mookie to make sense.
Do the Cubs unload Heyward for salary relief?
James: Now's their best chance. With a lot of other money coming off the books it could go either way. I think the Cubs may want to retool by getting more of a leadoff hitter in center and bringing back BSN for RF.
Matt: They love Heyward but I think he gets moved. They need to retool the lineup and Heyward is a prime candidate.
Brooke: I'm sure they would have to eat some salary, but if they seriously want to retool the lineup I think it has to start with Heyward.
Staci: In a heartbeat if they can make the deal.
Tina: Definitely, if they can get him dealt.
Steve: If they can, they do it.
If the Cubs have to trade one of Baez, Schwarber, or Willson, which one goes?
James: Depends on value. Losing Javy leaves a huge hole. Schwarber and Willson have some natural expendability in Happ and Caratini. If the Cubs think Schwarber's peaked, they might try to see what they can get for him.
Matt: Willson. Said it above, I love the guy but he's the best covered by depth.
Staci: Willson, absolutely. Like Matt said, catcher is the position best covered by depth, and Willson's stubbornness on framing doesn't exactly help his case.
Brooke: Schwarber seems like the most easily replaceable of all 3. Javy and Willy both have intangibles that can't be measured and would be hard to replace.
Tina: Definitely not Javy. Between Schwarbs & Willie, probably Willie.
Steve: Schwarber. He is the most easily replaceable of the bunch. To me, Willson and Javy are very similar players: near the top of their position and still have multiple years of control.
Do the Cubs pursue another closer?
James: Yes. Not a premier expensive option, but I think they get someone who's got a few saves under their belt in case things remain dire with Kimbrel.
Matt: Yeah, I think so too. An Ian Kennedy / Jason Heyward swap might work. I think Dirty Craig will be fine in 2020, but need some depth just in case.
Staci: It depends on how much they believe in Wick as an 8th inning fireman, but I do think they'd like to have a replacement for Strop's production.
Brooke: I feel like Strop is going to be the one they need to replace as a team leader and some stability within the bullpen. Six and a half years is an eternity in bullpen years!
Tina: They should & will add to the depth. Agree with James, no big money deals, but someone solid.
Steve: No. I expect them to add to the bullpen but it will be more for the middle innings, possible an 8th inning type of guy.
Does Strop come back?
James: No. I think he walks like Rondon did. Maybe comes back on a prove-it deal.
Matt: Yes. There is a lot of mutual love. It'll be a low base deal with lots of incentives.
Staci: I agree with Matt--I think they'll figure out a team-friendly deal to keep Strop's positive vibes on the roster and hope for a bounce-back.
Tina: Yes. Agree with Matt & Staci. He comes back only if the money's right.
Brooke: I'm not sure. I think that they value him as a leader in the bullpen, but maybe other teams see his value too. I hope he comes back though!
Steve: Like almost everyone else, yes if the money is right. I could see them doing a 1-year deal with incentives and a mutual option that becomes guaranteed if certain criteria are met. I would say 1 year/$5 million with incentives going up to $10 million total.