If I can separate my vacation self from my Cubs fan/writer self, I’m having a really nice start to my week! That vacation part. Not the other part.
- Because of the vacation, I have to pre-write this set of Bullets on Monday night for Tuesday morning, which is unfortunate, because here on Monday night I AM HOT. Within the span of just over 36 hours, the Cubs missed out on Kodai Senga, Sean Murphy, Chris Bassitt, and Christian Vazquez, all of whom had been reported targets for the team (of varying degrees of seriousness), and all of whom got completely reasonable contracts/trade prices. It sucked.
- The options to make for a successful offseason are rapidly dwindling, and frustration is rapidly rising. There was zero excuse for the Cubs not to be able to assemble a competitive roster this offseason (as I’ve been defining it: 85 wins on paper come Spring Training, thus a good chance at +5/-5 wins from there). To date, they have not done it, and seemingly every 12 hours or so, that job gets a lot harder. Yes, I can still concoct an available “successful” offseason, but it is also basically now coterminous with the Cubs executing a *PERFECT* offseason from here. How likely is that?
- Nobody understands this trade for the A’s. Nobody:
- I’ll set that part aside, because Billy Beane does it own thing – he’s made trades like this time and again – and it’s futile to say “Cubs could’ve done that!,” even though they quite clearly could have. Instead, I’ll look at the Brewers part, because they seemingly made out like bandits by inserting themselves into this Braves-A’s trade.
- Esteury Ruiz, 23, is admittedly very well-liked by some prospect pundits (he was one of the pieces who came to the Brewers in the Josh Hader trade), but the versatile, slappy, speedy outfielder is seen as a mere role player by others (FanGraphs has him as a 40 FV!). Again, I’ll concede that there are some out there who see a big future for Ruiz, but most just seem him a nice complementary piece who could have a long as solid, if unspectacular, career.
- For him, the Brewers get a solid big league reliever in Joel Payamps, a mildly interesting relief prospect in Justin Yeager, and All-Star catcher William Contreras, who hit .278/.354/.506/138 wRC+ this year at age 24, and who isn’t a free agent until 2028. The only way this makes ANY sense is if Contreras is viewed as almost completely unplayable as a catcher (as in, far worse than his older brother), and is just a bat. The Braves being willing to move him in the first place does kinda suggest it, but even if just a bat, it’s a really good bat! Contreras The Younger hit 20 homers in just 376 PAs this year.
- Anyway, so now we get to watch the Contreras brothers rake for the Cardinals and the Brewers for the next five years, so that’s pretty great. Offseason is going SUPER well. Tick freaking tock …
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Baseball Prospectus’s Preseason Top 101 Features Three Cubs Prospects, But Maybe Not the Three You’d Expect