It's Been a While Since the Last Cubs Playoff Win, the Rough Third Base Market, Accepting Risk for Aces, and Other Cubs Bullets

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It’s Been a While Since the Last Cubs Playoff Win, the Rough Third Base Market, Accepting Risk for Aces, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I couldn’t go to the gym this morning, which threw off my entire daily rhythm. So I have had some serious trouble getting these Bullets to where I wanted them. I guess we all have off days.

Or maybe I’m just bummed that the Cubs are involved in this postseason only by extension and memory …

  • It felt notable that yesterday featured three former big-name Cubs players getting a lot of airtime in deep postseason runs with the not-Cubs. Anthony Rizzo’s Yankees move on to the ALCS. Yu Darvish pitches great for the Padres in the NLCS, but takes the loss against the Phillies in part because of a monster home run by Kyle Schwarber. All three were players that the Cubs did not *HAVE TO* move on from, but chose to do so for reasons of varying degrees of understandability. I wish those three nothing but the best, but obviously it produces mixed feelings to see them having success elsewhere.
  • Also notable about yesterday? It was the five-year anniversary of the last Chicago Cubs postseason win – a dead cat bounce in the 2017 NLCS against a Dodgers team that more or less smoked ’em. It’s been a long time since the Cubs won a playoff game, and it’ll be another year at least.
  • I don’t know about you, but when the 2015 Wild Card Game happened, it felt to me like it had been ages since the Cubs had been in the playoffs. Maybe that was mostly because the Cubs didn’t win any games in the playoffs in 2007 or 2008, but that was just a seven year gap. The Cubs did make the playoffs in 2020 (getting swept out in two games), but that didn’t really feel like making the playoffs because of the pandemic season. Anyway, I guess that’s all to say that the 2015-17 window really is starting to feel like a long time ago.

Tony Andracki writes about the situation for the Cubs at third base right now, where there are a ton of “yeah, I guess he could do it” options on the roster, but not necessarily an obvious starter:

  • The Cubs could just go with Patrick Wisdom again next year, but he seemed to take some significant steps back in 2022 at the plate, and the defensive metrics suddenly hated him at third. Maybe that’s just noise, but it was not, overall, a performance that locked down the position. Christopher Morel had his serious throwing issues over there, and still seems to be at his highest value as a guy who moves around. David Bote actually did hit this year, but in a very small sample. Zach McKinstry turned it on late, but, like Morel, is more of a utility guy than a starter.
  • The problem, as Andracki points out, is that third base is not a really fruitful area of free agency this year. Maybe Nolan Arenado opts out, but even in that case, he’s expected to just re-sign with the Cardinals. The big four shortstops could theoretically move over (or Nico Hoerner could move), but you’re not necessarily offering $200 million to one of those guys to play third base. The next best free agent third baseman is … Brandon Drury (can you trust the breakout)? Jace Peterson (can you accept the bat to get the glove)? Donovan Solano (is the decline coming)? It’s just not a remotely strong group this year. I tend to think the Cubs will aim to upgrade elsewhere and make do with utility guys at third.
  • Nico Hoerner getting a lot of love from Pat Hughes, who thinks Hoerner will be with the Cubs a “long time”:
  • I noticed that Amazon flipped a number of iPads to a discount today, probably because of the new line of models that just got announced. So if you were looking to get an iPad for a little cheaper and don’t care if it’s not the newest edition, take a peruse right here. #ad
  • Random Zack Wheeler notes, as he pitched exceedingly well last night and might wind up in the World Series with the Phillies:
  • Remember this:
  • I think there’s actually an important takeaway there, and it’s not just the ripping on the Mets. Wheeler was a guy who had long flashed ace potential when he could stay healthy, which was not often. The Phillies took the risk on a guy like that on a big five-year deal in advance of his age 30 season (I remember some folks talking about how crazy that deal was), and it has paid off in spades. That wouldn’t always be the case, but sometimes that’s the risk you have to take if you want to land an ace in free agency.

Speaking of aces, it’s interesting to see how this has sorted out this postseason:

  • Some of that is because of there simply being more games this year, and last year’s was probably still pandemic-impacted. But it is a reminder of how valuable those starting pitchers are who give you length even after a full season of work. If a starter goes seven strong – into or past the third time through – then you really only have to use your best one or two relievers to finish off the game, and/or you can pull the plug very quickly on one of them because you didn’t have to use your third or fourth best relievers to bridge the 5th and 6th and 7th.

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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.