Round Robin: The Offseason
Pitchers and catchers report in just a few weeks, so it's about time for the Cubs DNA team to share their thoughts on some of the moves teams made during the offseason. Here we go!
So that Mookie Betts trade, eh? Does this make the Dodgers a World Series lock? And how do we feel about the Red Sox?
Pronk: There is no such thing as a world series lock in the offseason. They got better, yes, but I'm not sure this changes the hierarchy of the NL. The Dodgers will need to stay healthy and get hot at the right time.
Staci: Let's see... the Dodgers were a lock to win the World Series when they traded for Yu Darvish, then again when they traded for Manny Machado. Those rings they got sure are beau... oh wait. They lost both times. Maybe let's play out the season and see how it goes... their bench took a bit of a hit with Verdugo and Pederson off to other places, and with Stripling and Maeda out the door, so did their bullpen/long relief options. Obviously Mookie makes any team A LOT better, but I'm not willing to hand them the trophy just yet. As for the Red Sox? I'm never going to be OK with offloading an elite player almost for a pure salary dump. If the Cubs were to unload Sparkles to, say, also get rid of J-Hey's contract I would be LIVID, regardless of any return. And the Sox didn't get enough at all, in my opinion.
Brooke: Another offseason, another lopsided Dodger's trade. I am kinda jealous. The Dodgers effortlessly shed salary and get good players and never really suffer. I mean I don't know their farm team that well, so maybe their fans stare longingly in some opponent's dugout like the Cubs fans do with the Yankees and Gleyber. As for the World Series, I am sure they have the best odds, but no one is ever a lock. Meanwhile I don't even think the Red Sox have a manager yet and they just got rid of their star player. I'm not sure how it could get worse for that fandom!
Matt: On paper, it looks like a shrewd move. They got arguably the 2nd best player in baseball but are losing 2 starting bats, and possibly two SP (Maeda and Stripling). Price should be good but was a bit of distraction in Boston after feuding with one of the TV personalities (Eckersley). I'm not convinced Roberts is a good manager. They should steamroll the regular season, but will come up short. Again.
Tina: LAD as NL West winner? Pre-season World Series favorites? Sure. But we all know what happens at the end of the season. Whatever team is hot at the end wins it. If I were a Red Sox fan, I wouldn't be happy. The FO basically gave those guys away.
Steve: The Dodgers are the favorite to win the NL West. They were the favorite before the trade so this move is strictly for the postseason. The postseason is such a crapshoot that its really difficult to say anyone is a lock to win or even make the World Series but right now I say they have the best chance of anyone in the NL. As for the Red Sox, I am not a fan of this move. Mookie is arguably the second best player in baseball and they just didn't get enough back even with the inclusion of Price to shed salary. If I were a Red Sox fan, I would be very upset with the Front Office/ownership.
Gerrit Cole ($324/9, $36 AAV) and Stephen Strasburg ($245/7, $35 AAV) signed the two biggest pitching contracts in baseball this offseason. Which one do you think will best live up to their contract?
Pronk: Strasburg. Cole's older and is getting paid stupid money. Strasburg may have more injury history, but he's also been much more consistent than Cole. Big pitcher contracts rarely work, but I think Strasburg is a coin flip, where Cole will bust by year 4 (Then have 5 to go).
Staci: Honestly, I think it's a toss up. Cole has been fantastic in Houston, but I don't trust anything about that organization or any of their players' performances now that the whole cheating thing has been verified. Cole just wasn't the same guy with the Piebutts. Stras? Well, his health is always a concern, but if he can give you 180+ innings every year, I think he'll be the better deal.
Brooke: Pitchers just don't get 9 year deals, so it's really hard to go out on that limb and pick Cole. So I guess I'm picking Strasburg and his best case scenario is not turning into an Adam Wainwright.
Matt: I think Strasburg. While, I think he's the higher injury risk, but I also think Cole was the beneficiary of the Houston 'Special Sauce'.
Tina: That's crazy money for pitchers but if I had to pick who lives up to the contract, I will pick Strasburg. I just have a feeling that he'll regress a little now that he's out of Houston.
Steve: This is a tough one since Cole's deal is 2 years longer but I think he is the answer. I trust him to stay healthier than Strasburg while putting up equal or better numbers.
With all of the hysteria regarding the Cubs inactivity this offseason, has the NL Central improved? Will the Cubs finish worse than third in the division?
Pronk: Reds have definitely improved. Brewers are worse as they overpay bench pieces. The Cardinals and Pirates are same, although I think the Redbirds are due for regression. The Cubs should be better with a revamped pen and bounce back seasons from mainstays.
Staci: The Cubs will absolutely not finish worse than third, and unless one of the other teams pulls off a miracle trade, I peg them to contend for the division title. As it stands now, the Reds look like their toughest competitor on paper, especially if Joey rebounds. That said, I'd still take the Cubs over the Reds, especially if Sparkles is on the opening day roster.
Brooke: Reds seem to be the only NL Central team aggressively trying to improve this offseason. Pirates are the ones shedding payroll before it even starts!
Matt: The rumors of the Cubs death have been greatly exaggerated. The Reds are the only team that has improved on paper (so far), but I don't think it works out for them. Cubs are a very talented team, who may just have a chip on their shoulder. Cubs, Cards, Reds, Brewers, Pirates.
Tina: Well, it will be an interesting season. The Reds look like the most improved team on paper. I still think the Cubs finish either 1 or 2, providing everyone stays healthy.
Steve: I think the Cubs finish first or second in the division. The offense still has so much potential, and while I think the pitching took a step back, I think the offense is more consistent. Also I believe Ross will manage the bullpen better than Maddon did.
Does the addition of Rendon and Maddon get the Angels to the playoffs this year?
Pronk: Now that the Astros are falling apart. Maybe. The A's are good too. It'll be close, but I think they fade in the last week and finish a couple games out. They still need more pitching, and as of this moment, are still a few arms shy.
Staci: Nope, because their pitching staff is pretty scary looking, and not in a good way. They really needed to go out and invest in some top tier pitching and failed miserably, so I think they're still another year away.
Brooke: I hope so, the top teams have been the same old, same old for so long! Let's mix things up! Plus I'd like to see Maddon succeed.
Matt: Maybe. Maddon bring a lot of magic, early. I don't think they win the division, but I think the Astros are going to mysteriously take a step back this year. Hmm... I think they are a Wild Card and move on to the Divisional Round.
Tina: Maybe sneak in for the wild card. It'll be fun to watch tho.
Steve: The Astros are still a good team but we will see how they handle the cheating fallout. The A's should still be a playoff contender. The Rangers and Mariners will be at the bottom of the division. I think the Angels battle for the Wildcard and sneak in.
Blake Treinen signed with the Dodgers for 1 year at $10 million. Should the Cubs have taken a gamble on Treinen at that price?
Pronk: Nope. He hit the wall last year and is way overpaid by a desperate Dodger team. It's a one year deal but I'd rather have 20 dice roll RPs at $500K than 1 $10 million Treinen.
Staci: I think that's high for Treinen after the year he had in 2019. As much as I'd love to have him, that's a steep price tag.
Brooke: No, I'm tired of these high priced gambles: Chatwood, Kimbrel, Morrow etc. Bullpen is BLOATED at this point.
Matt: No. It's a lot of money for a guy who looked broken last season. That's full price for a guy who many expected to be signed 'cheaply'.
Tina: I love the Witch but the way he pitched last season, $10 mil was an overpay.
Steve: No especially if the Cubs are so worried about the luxury tax. I would have liked to see them go after him but the wallet is closed this offseason.
Prediction time for the remainder of the offseason. Will the Cubs trade one of their core players before the beginning of the season?
Pronk: Yes. Willy or KB.
Staci: I think the Bryant thing is still happening, unfortunately. It just feels like too much of a foregone conclusion at this point.
Brooke: Well I guess Bryant now that the arbitration case is settled. But it kinda feels like to wait so late in the offseason might destroy whoever's mental game so that just seems unfair to the player.
Matt: I think there is too much smoke for a big trade not to happen. Bryant makes the most sense (if you remove emotion from the equation)...
Tina: Sure feels like the writing is on the wall for KB, but I hope not. (Isn't the off season supposed to be stress-free? Cause I felt on edge the last 2 months. haha)
Steve: I don't see it happening. I think Contreras and Bryant are still on the Opening Day roster and they both have fantastic years.