The Chicago Cubs ended their season earlier than expected. They haven’t lived up to expectations since their 2016 World Series title.
After getting swept by the Miami Marlins in the Wild Card round, the Cubs look to revamp their team for the upcoming season. Here are three questions for the Chicago Cubs this offseason.
Who to Trade?
There’s no question about it that the Cubs will be looking to trade some of their core players in 2021. After a poor season from Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs might look to deal one of them.
Three out of the four players excluding Rizzo will be in the last year of their contract in the 2021 season. It is almost impossible for the Cubs to sign all four players, so a trade will be the most logical for Chicago.
So who exactly will the Cubs try to trade?
At the top of the list is Bryant. Although the Cubs loved him coming out of the minors and especially when he won NL MVP, he hasn’t done much since 2016. Quite frankly, Bryant’s asking price is too high for the Cubs.
In 2018, The Cubs made an effort to sign Bryant to a long-term deal worth about $200 million. However, he turned down the contract hoping for more money.
Now fast forward two years later, in 2020, Bryant was one of the Cubs’ worst hitters. He only batted .206 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
There’s no reason to believe that Bryant wants anything lower than $200 million. It’s safe to say that the Cubs will once again be looking for trade partners for Bryant as they did last year as well.
Moreover, Schwarber is a guy that is likely to be dealt as well. In his six-year MLB career, he hasn’t done much other than hit home runs. Although his home run total is 121, he hasn’t hit over .250 in his career.
It’s going to be interesting to see which player the Cubs decide to trade prior to the 2021 season.
What to do about the Starting Pitching?
Lester started the season 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA through three starts. On the other side, Chatwood started 2-0 with a 0.74 ERA through two starts.
However, both pitchers finished the season miserably. Lester finished the season 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA while Chatwood finished 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA.
As a result, both players might be off the Cubs 2021 roster. Lester’s $25 million club option deems to be too much for the Cubs to take on. As for Chatwood, he is an unrestricted free agent this winter.
Another starting pitcher, Jose Quintana, is also a free agent this winter and his time in Chicago remains up in the air. Since he was hurt for the majority of the year, he wasn’t able to prove himself in a contract year. Nonetheless, Quintana has shown his potential by producing back-to-back 13 win seasons for the Cubs.
With Lester, Chatwood and Quintana all most likely free agents, the Cubs might look to re-sign them or look at other free-agent pitchers.
Although this starting pitching class isn’t the strongest, there are some elite pitchers the Cubs could sign. Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, Marcus Stroman and Robbie Ray lead the starting pitching free agency.
The Cubs will be very active in trying to secure 2-3 starting pitchers from the 2021 free-agent class.
What Hitters to Target in Free agency?
The Chicago Cubs have been one of the worst hitting teams in recent years. Although they have some dominant hitters, they haven’t been able to hit consistently.
In the postseason in 2020, the Cubs only scored one run against a very-young Marlins rotation.
From 2018-2020, the Cubs have scored just two runs in 31 innings of postseason play. As a result, the Cubs will look to add more offensive hitters to get them over the recent postseason slump.
Three key hitters have player options after the 2020 season; Nick Castonellos, J.D. Martinez and Giancarlo Stanton. If by any means these players decide to leave their team for free agency, the Cubs should be all over them.
The Cubs need to add more firepower to their offense including guys who are capable of getting hits in key moments.
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