It has been an oddly quiet off-season for baseball fans, especially the Cubs fans. There were talks of Ohtani, who we ultimately missed out on. We lost Wade Davis to a massive contract, but then also signed Tyler Chatwood. The rest of the off-season has been a whole lot of “he said, she said” rumors. Things like Arrieta to the Cardinals, Addison Russell for Machado, and a little sprinkle of Bryce Harper being a Cub.
But what is the most important thing right now? Starting pitching? Depth in the bullpen? Figuring out how to use Schwarber? How in the world to replace Heyward’s defense to avoid a lacking offense? Yet again, the infield is stacked and in Joe Maddon’s mind there could be 100 different starting lineup scenarios. That is how talented the guys up front are. This also causes more controversy though, for example, the shortstop position… But these are the least of our worries, “too much talent.”
Looking forward to “Next Year”
As an organization of “next year’s”, we know better than anyone that looking forward has been the best plan. Stop worrying about what has happened and who we have lost and start focusing on which pieces will bring together the bigger picture. It’s not like we are far away from that, but there is also a lot of strong competition and talent around the league… We saw that in the playoffs this past year. How far can we go and how much money do we spend to get the players we think will capitalize the most and take us deep into October? (Now that we know how that feels.)
That is the big question and with words flying around about losing Arrieta, starting pitching will be a very important aspect of making this team repeat playoff contenders. But then again, I think we all know how impulsive Maddon is when it comes to the first sign of decline for a starter during the game, pulled immediately. So, I’m thinking the route we should do is spend some money on the bullpen, one we can trust in the 5th inning when Joe is feeling feisty.
A shallow pool of options
As Andrew Simon wrote in an article for MLB.com, the pool for lefty reliefs is rather shallow. Tony Watson, a lefty relief from the Dodgers, is a name I have heard loosely floating around. Not the big pitcher name most Cubs fans are looking for, but with a narrow selection of left-handers, he could be a good filler. Watson has only allowed five hits in the 11 postseason games he played in 2017, with a 2.57 ERA in the playoffs. Now Watson isn’t known for his strikeouts, but his main pitch is a sinker which produces a lot of ground balls. Plus, as I stated above, we know our infield is great and can handle grounders like the champions they are. Tony Watson was the Dodgers main go-to during the postseason this year and if that doesn’t make you a little confident, I don’t know what will. Either way, moves need to be made or the direction the team wants to go should be decided soon; before the good free agents are gone and before someone snags Jake. We have the chance to decide what is most important, let’s do that ASAP. Cheers to the off-season picking up a bit!