Feeling uneasy about the Cubs 2020 season? We took on a few of the global questions fans have grappled with all offseason now that we're getting ready to strap it on for the real thing. Here we go!
As of right now: will the Cubs be competitive in 2020?
Matt: Of course, reports of the Cubs' death have been greatly exaggerated. Their lineup is going to score some runs. I think the starting pitching will be fine, but the pen is a mystery right now. Ultimately, I expect they'll win the division but who knows come playoff time. Depends on if/what moves they make at the TDL
Brooke: I think they will be competitive this year. Seems like everyone has a fire in their belly! Excited too see Darvish/Hendricks and I think the second baseman combo (whomever it ends up being) will be productive!
Steven: I honestly expect the Cubs to win the division. This is a team that has a solid core to a lineup in Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Schwarber, and Contreras. Yu and Hendricks are a good-to-great top to the starting rotation, and I think Kimbrel has a big bounce-back year at the closer role. The rest of the NL Central does not scare me so I think the Cubs win the division by 2-3 games.
Staci: Of course! I think it'll be a dogfight between them and, yes, the Reds for the division, but I think this will be the year the Cubs pull it out.
Tina: Definitely. A healthy Cubs roster is still formidable. With the Reds adding on to their team in the off season, I think they climb up the division ranks and pester the Cubs more than ever. The finish will be interesting.
Pronk: Yes, absolutely. They will not run away with the division unless everything falls into place unpredictably good. Like, if Almora becomes a .300 hitter, Schwarber becomes an MVP candidate, etc. They'll be in the running, and are fully capable of getting a wild card slot. Missing the playoffs would be a disappointment. I expect them to be competitive, barring injuries.
Do you agree with the front office's decision to try and stay under the luxury tax?
Matt: Honestly, yeah. Ultimately they were never going to outbid the field for Cole or Rendon. So why spend money just to spend it? The FO has more misses than hits lately, so I can understand why they would be hesitant to open the purse-strings to meh free agents. Cishek, Castellanos, and Castro would have been nice adds to the squad but Shrek has been ridden HARD the past few season, Nick has nowhere to play and defensive concerns, and Starlin would potentially be blocking Nico. Souza and Kipnis have filled those roles nicely (so far) and at a fraction of the cost.
Brooke: While the offseason was frustrating I don't think there was anyone glaringly obvious that they missed out on. I guess maybe Big Stick Nick? And they didn't end up trading anyone (knock on wood something doesn't come up before this is published!)
Steven: I get it but I don't necessarily agree with it. The issue is not that the Cubs couldn't go out and get Cole or Rendon, it's that they couldn't even compete for the less tier group of players. They had to rely on signing players to minor league contracts and the chances of those guys having big impacts on the team are closer to zero. I understand wanting to build for the future but this team is in win-now mode and I don't think the Cubs did much to increase their chances of winning the World Series.
Staci: I think Thed need to prove themselves a bit to ownership. So while it stings a bit as a fan, I get that the FO hasn't done a great job in the last few years with their signings and the bosses want to reset things and get the coaching and scouting staffs improved. We'll see how things work out. I still want them to extend everyone, tho!
Tina: I don't love it as a fan, but I get it. At this point, the core position players will need to be extended and I'd rather see them get re-signed than to spend on a big contract on another player not named Bryzzo.
Pronk: Yes, 100%. You go over this year, and you just let a bad problem grow worse. With impending extensions for longtime players due in 2 years and a reworked CBA on the horizon, you maintain flexibility for tomorrow. For this current Cubs roster, the players they've committed to need to step up like expected. All the success rises and falls on the core, and there's no feasible dollar amount for this offseason that will magically turn this roster into a winner or not. Cole and Rendon aren't the answer, nor are any other spare parts. The core has to play better.
Is this Cubs team talented enough to go over the cap limit?
Matt: Honestly, maybe. If Yu and Cyle pitch to their potential, that's a helluva 1-2 punch. The lineup is definitely good enough. BP is going to be the key. Dirty Craig has GOT to be dirty again for them to have any chance.
Brooke: Is this question asking if the Cubs will have any glaring holes that they MUST fill at the trade deadline in order to make a run at the postseason? If so I think it's the same holes they have always had (lead off hitter, bullpen, etc). I'm not sure if there is a quick fix? So I'll take Staci's answer: "We'll see in July".
Steven: I don't think so. I think this team is talented enough to win the division but looking at the Dodgers or Braves, I don't think the Cubs are near their talent levels. If the Cubs do look to add a piece or two at the trade deadline, I expect it to be more marginal pieces like middle of the bullpen type players. The Cubs won't go over the cap for those additions.
Staci: We'll see in July.
Tina: Talented? Definitely. We'll see how things work out mid season. Hopefully everyone stays healthy.
Pronk: Not yet. They weren't last year, and it's the same guys with a lot of the same questions. The core needs to play better, period. If in July they look like they are putting it together and the team is one piece away (like Chapman in '16), then I give Theo and Jed the go ahead. But that remains to be seen and it's not worth going over in the offseason, which would be very premature. There's potential there. If the Cubs play well going into the deadline, I see them going all in. If scuffling, I'd expect a 2016 Yankees style reboot, which could mean trades of Chatwood, Heyward, Kimbrel, Bryant, etc.