The Cubs and Whom to Copy, Bellinger Official, New Home Ballpark, Prospects to the Convention, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Cubs and Whom to Copy, Bellinger Official, New Home Ballpark, Prospects to the Convention, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It was a good vacation at a personal level, but boy did I miss a whole mess of awful and disappointing and confusing Cubs news. When I left last week, I didn’t quite think I’d be returning to a landscape where Dansby Swanson might be the only way the Cubs can salvage their offseason …

  • Speaking of which … I want the Cubs to land Swanson, and I want the Cubs to have great defense up the middle. But this tweet says a lot:
  • You can’t argue with the success of the Guardians and Rays, and it’s not a coincidence that the Cubs’ pool of GM candidates under Jed Hoyer came in large part from those two organizations (with Carter Hawkins, formerly of the Guardians, getting the job). They do some things extremely well, and you SHOULD want to copy them. But there’s something about talking about the Cubs in the same breath as those two organizations in RELATION to spending decisions that … gulp. Don’t feel great. I think I’m just primed to be irrational right now.
  • Speaking of which, Jesse Rogers shared a Jed Hoyer anecdote on the radio yesterday (as heard by Evan Altman). The gist was a discussion about whether you can win without a lot of “star” players, and if the Cubs don’t see future “stars” in their system, then they have to go out and get them. Rogers says Hoyer may have agreed, but he also pointed out that the Rays win without a lot of “stars.” If that captures Hoyer’s point well enough, then, I mean, he’s not wrong (and Rogers added context on Twitter that it was just a conversation, not Hoyer suggesting the Cubs are going to be exactly like the Rays). But again, it gives you that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. We want the Cubs to copy the things the Rays do well, not the pennies they pinch along the way. So it is, I think, pretty understandable that Cubs fans would flinch at the mere mention right now.
  • (The Cubs *should* be copying the Dodgers to the extent possible: do all the scouting and development work that maxes out your ability to provide Guardian-and-Rays-like farm infusions, but also spend more than the rest of your division every single year.)
  • The Cubs announced the Cody Bellinger deal, making it officially official. The deal is for $12.5 million for 2023 and then a $25 million mutual option for 2024, with a $5 million buyout. As we know, the mutual option is more or less guaranteed not to be exercised by one side or the other, so this is, in reality, a one-year $17.5 million deal, with $5 million deferred for the season. It’s what the Cubs do with seemingly every contract at this point. The 40-man stands at 37, with Jameson Taillon’s addition still to be finalized.
  • Oh, by the way? I do still appreciate the Bellinger signing at a high one-year price tag that teams like the Guardians and Rays would rarely consider for a high-risk play like Bellinger. The Cubs can afford to take these kinds of risks when they make roster/timing sense, and it was good that they did take this particular risk. In a vacuum, of course.
  • Hey, typos happen, and I’m not here to make fun. But Bruce’s typo DOES make me wonder: if the Cubs could sign any one mutant, who would improve their team the most? Like, it’s baseball, so one player can only do so much, but who adds the most wins on their own?
  • FanGraphs took a look at Bellinger’s move to the Cubs from a fantasy perspective, with a specific focus on his change in home ballparks. As you might expect, Bellinger sees a dip in his expected HR/FB (Wrigley is not as favorable for extreme lefty pull guys), but his other hit types see a pretty considerable jump from Dodger Stadium to Wrigley Field. It winds up being close to a wash, in terms of his projections (maybe a sliiiight bump).
  • Steamer projects Bellinger at .224/.297/.405/97 wRC+ this season, by the way, which would make him roughly a league-average player overall when considering his defense. Honestly I’m not so sure we can put much stock into Bellinger projections because of his unique double-injury-wrecked-his-swing situation. I kinda feel like either he gets it back (not ALL the way back, but just above-average back), or he continues to just not be able to make consistent solid contact anymore.
  • What’s interesting to me about the ZiPS evaluation of the Carlos Correa contract (13/$350M; projected value is just about $380M) is not that ZiPS does see it being roughly market value over the life of the deal, but instead is that a full $100 million of the deal is projected to accrue in just the first two seasons. We KNOW this to be true about aging curves and projections, but sometimes it’s just stark enough to really hammer home the point: when you sign a deal like this, you are expecting to get WILDLY DISPROPORTIONATE value in the early years.
  • A ton of Cubs prospects will be coming to the Cubs Convention this year, and I hope they are treated well by the fans, who could conceivably be otherwise feeling consternation about moves on the big league roster. These are still important players for the future of the organization:
  • If there are any tea leaves to read there, I would say it’s a good sign that Miguel Amaya (Lisfranc injury) and Brennen Davis (stress reaction in back) are coming, and it’s intriguing that Daniel Palencia (hasn’t yet reached Double-A and isn’t on the 40-man) is being included. Methinks the org is very high on him.
  • Speaking of Cubs pitching prospects:
  • Adbert Alzolay happiness:
  • Bonkers delivery, but not a bad pitch:

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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.