The Reds Suddenly Look Passably Competitive, Leadership on the Cubs, and Other Bullets

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The Reds Suddenly Look Passably Competitive, Leadership on the Cubs, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Family is going to be doing some holiday’ing this weekend, as I hope many of you are doing as well. I’ll periodically check in for activity around the league, and you can expect that if something big goes down or a big rumor breaks, we’ll be on it. Otherwise, though, I’ll be eating cookies and drinking ale.

Until then …

  • We focused quite a bit on the Dodger-related impacts of yesterday’s big trade with the Reds, for obvious reasons, but I don’t want to sleep on what it means for the Reds. For the cost of a little extra money and two good, but not elite, prospects, the Reds added quite a bit of offense in their outfield in Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, and a starting pitcher in Alex Wood who has quietly been excellent for several years now (when he’s healthy). FanGraphs suggests it could be upwards of a three to four-win improvement for the Reds, albeit in a very competitive division. I look at a solid offense, a very good bullpen, and a passable rotation there, and I see a team that may have gotten its projections to right around .500 for 2019, which puts you in the range of a playoff spot if you get a lot of bounces and breaks over the course of the year.
  • A projected Reds lineup looks pretty solid (I didn’t realize how good Jesse Winker was last year):
  1. Scooter Gennett, 2B
  2. Yasiel Puig, RF
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
  5. Matt Kemp/Jesse Winker, LF
  6. Tucker Barnhart, C
  7. Phillip Ervin/Scott Schebler, CF
  8. Jose Peraza, SS
  9. Pitcher
  • The Reds also have a top 10 farm system from which to graduate and trade.
  • For the Cubs, although you would not be wise to pick the on-paper Reds over them in the Central, it would be fair to say that the Reds’ upgrades probably chop a projected win away from the Cubs (given the 19 in-division match-ups on the schedule). While the Cubs continue to indicate they will lean heavily on internal improvements to stay in the mid-90s win range next year, the rest of the NL Central is efforting to improve their roster. And, given how strong the NL East looks, it’s not a lock that two – or even one – Wild Cards will come from the Central. No great revelation here: the Cubs would be wise to considerably shore up the bullpen and add a reliable impact bat. Somehow. Lest they risk wasting a critical year in their window.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • The Cubs were pretty explicit with Daniel Descalso about the extra-curricular things they want from him:

  • A related read:

  • As Epstein said, the Cubs specifically got Jon Jay to be that guy in 2017, but then felt like they couldn’t afford the roster spot/playing time for him in 2018, and it was a decision they may have come to regret. So it seems like Descalso is supposed to be that guy, a respected and loud voice in the clubhouse. Which is not to say the Cubs don’t already have leaders – as Epstein says, Anthony Rizzo is of course a leader – but they’re looking for that one focal point leader like David Ross and Jon Jay, apparently.
  • The Cubs are gonna have to knock this guy around a bit this year:

  • I think this means Kyle Hendricks needs to experiment with being a switch-pitcher, too. How much velocity could he lose:

  • As the year draws to a close, people were doing this, so I did it, too:

Author: Brett Taylor

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