The Cubs' Improvements So Far This Offseason and Other Bullets

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The Cubs’ Improvements So Far This Offseason and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

The Wife is sick, which in isolation would not necessarily impact my sleep, but for the fact that The Littlest Girl is also getting sick, which means she was up almost hourly last night. And since I was keen on letting The Wife rest to maximize recovery, I was up with The Littlest Girl each of those hours. Ooh baby, today is a grind already …

  • ESPN has a hot stove check-in of sorts, looking at each team’s winter activity, and how it has changed the team’s baseline projection for wins from before the offseason started, but after free agents were taken away. It doesn’t really look like you’d expect. For example, despite adding Brandon Morrow, Steve Cishek, and Tyler Chatwood, the Cubs are projected to win 1.1 fewer games. I can only assume this is because of shifts elsewhere in the National League, but even that is bizarre: the Reds get a 1.2-game bump because they signed Jared Hughes? The Brewers get a 1.8-win bump for signing Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo? Huh? I can only assume there is something else wonky going on in the system and there was some course-correcting going on. The Cubs were projected for a strangely high 97.1 wins before the offseason began, so … yeah, maybe the whole thing is screwy.
  • Given how little has taken place this offseason, I really like what the Cubs have done so far. Remember, you have to start from a baseline that the free agents are gone – I don’t mean for projections, I mean for evaluating an offseason. There’s always a lot of talk about “this guy can’t replace Arrieta” or “that guy can’t replace Davis,” but to me, that’s an irrational way of thinking. The Cubs aren’t trying to recreate the 2017 team. They are trying to put together the best 2018 team, starting at a baseline of whichever players are under team control the day the World Series ends. With money still to spend and moves yet to come, the Cubs have already added two quality relievers, added an extremely intriguing 27-year-old starting pitcher with upside, and brought in a good pitcher recovering from Tommy John.
  • Even if going by the Steamer projections, Brandon Morrow, Steve Cishek, and Tyler Chatwood combine for 3.0 in projected WAR for 2018, so the Cubs have certainly “improved” since November. Are they better than they were in 2017? Right now? Probably not. But again, that’s not what the offseason is, and it’s also far from over.
  • Also, doesn’t it seem like forever ago that the Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood? Well, that’s *STILL* the largest contract given to a starting pitcher this offseason.
  • BA came out with the Tigers top prospects list, and former Cubs prospect Isaac Paredes (traded in the Justin Wilson, Alex Avila deal, together with Jeimer Candelario) comes in at number seven. The write-up on Paredes sounds familiar to those who were following him closely last year: the bat will play, but how much value he has will depend entirely on his defensive home, which is hard to project because of his thicker build. He looks like a guy who winds up moving off of shortstop, and then he looks more like a potential utility bat than an impact starter. But if he can stick at shortstop, he could be very, very good. Gulp.
  • Cubs are havin’ some fun:

  • And Cubs keepin’ you warm with thoughts of Spring:

  • Speaking of which, pitchers and catchers report semi-soon:

  • A front office hire for the Cubs on the business side:

  • This is a fun quartet of clips, and you’d have to go with Jim Edmonds if judging solely based on them:

  • Among the news from the Bears’ world, their offensive coordinator is now gone.
  • I now remember it was this way last year, too, but Amazon’s January deals of the day frequently feature fitness equipment and attendant goods (like Contigo water bottles today). It’s smart. But hopefully the folks who make those purchases in January with the hopes that they’ll make good on various resolutions really do it this year.


Author: 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.