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If the Expansion Draft Were Today, Which 15 Cubs Are You Protecting? And Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

I kinda used up my “off-topic” stuff in two Bullets down there below, so now I’m left without something obvious to say here. So I said this.


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  • The particulars on the Steve Cishek deal, which are pretty straightforward:

  • Cool to think back about the expansion that brought us the Rockies and Marlins 25 years ago:


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  • That got me thinking about the last time there was expansion, in 1997, with the Diamondbacks and Rays, which got me looking at the details from the expansion draft. Very young prospects (basically, guys who aren’t yet eligible for the Rule 5 Draft) were automatically protected from the draft, but outside of that, you could choose only 15 guys to protect in your organization for the first round (28 picks), and then you could add three more players for each subsequent round.
  • Fun game? Which 15 Cubs/Cubs prospects would you protect for the first round? Nightmare, right? Well, it might be a little easier than you’d think, since you can risk guys with huge contracts being unprotected. My 15, shooting very much from the hip:

Kris Bryant
Anthony Rizzo
Willson Contreras
Javy Baez
Addison Russell
Kyle Schwarber
Albert Almora Jr.
Kyle Hendricks
Ian Happ
Jose Quintana
Mike Montgomery
Adbert Alzolay
Carl Edwards Jr.
Tyler Chatwood
Victor Caratini


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  • The first 12 or so names on there were very easy when you consider their value to the Cubs and their attractiveness to an expansion club. Where it gets difficult is down there at the end, and you’re having to decide about the value of retaining a bullpen arm or a recently-signed free agent against the risk that an expansion team would seriously consider taking – for example – Jon Lester and the three years and $85 million remaining on his deal. I tend to think they would not want to add a guy like that, knowing full well that they won’t be competitive for several years.
  • (Here’s where I’m dreading that I’ve made some obvious omission there in the list. “YOU AREN’T PROTECTING STEVE WINNEBAGO?!?!? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU, BERT?!?!?!?!”)
  • Expansion will come to MLB eventually – there has been chatter this year – but it will probably not be for several more years.

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  • Michael wrote about the Cardinals’ ZiPS projections here yesterday, and I agree with his overall take – it looks really conservative across the board. Then again, maybe it’s too easy to get caught up in the offseason hubbub, and to ignore things like the fact that Marcell Ozuna and Tommy Pham were not MVP-caliber before last year, the fact that Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Adam Wainwright are yet another year older, the fact that Lance Lynn has departed and Alex Reyes is returning from Tommy John surgery, and the fact that the team won just 83 games in 2017. I still think, with one or two more smart moves, the Cardinals can be competitive – seriously competitive – in 2018, but the dispassionate ZiPS are a reminder that it’s far from a lock.
  • Good stuff:

  • Also totally off-topic, and also a reference to a TV show revival, albeit more explicit:


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  • It is well-accepted and correct that ‘The Office’ was brutal for its final two or three seasons, and I thus have a great deal of trepidation about it returning, especially without Steve Carrell. But if they get a new, very different boss in there, change up the dynamics considerably … maybe. Just maybe.
  • Amazon’s last minute deals include the Fire 8 tablet for just $49.99, the full Hunger Games set for dirt cheap, and a Deal of the Day on tools.

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.