More “Most Improved” Love for the Cubs
With Spring Training underway, and the vast majority of offseason moves in the books for all teams, it is nice to get one last industry look at how the Cubs fared.
That’s not the exclusive reason Jayson Stark spoke with a panel of anonymous MLB insiders, but it was one of the few questions that featured the Cubs. Other discussions include predictions for the season ahead, storylines folks are interested in following, and much more.
But, here’s what caught my eye:
The Mets spent $423.17 million at Steve Cohen’s favorite Free Agent Super Store. … The Padres laid out almost $300 million to display Xander Bogaerts, Michael Wacha, Matt Carpenter, Seth Lugo and other assorted friends in their free-agent showroom. … The Cubs signed nine free agents to major-league contracts, to deals worth north of $300 million. And yet, while those three clubs all got many votes in this survey for Most Improved National League Team …
None of them got as many nominations as the Phillies. Thank you, Trea Turner!
MOST IMPROVED TEAMS ( NL)
As you can tell, the 29 insiders were permitted to mention multiple teams, which is how you get the overlap there. The Cubs showed up on 18 of the 29 “ballots,” which sounds about right – generally speaking, folks who’ve been watching believe the Cubs did have a solid offseason. They got some bigger names, they addressed some glaring holes, and they raised the floor at several positions.
Did the Cubs have a MONSTER offseason that catapulted them into the national consciousness and the forefront of all projection models? No. But they improved. A lot. (In fact, I’m not actually sure how you can say the Mets “improved” more than the Cubs when they more or less simply replaced the guys they were losing. Are the Mets better on paper than the Cubs? Yes! By miles! But they were already much better. I tend to think the Cubs improved quite a bit more than the Mets did.)
Anyway. That’s probably the last I’ll mention of the relative improvements in the offseason for the Cubs, or at least how the industry perceives those improvements. I think we know the general perspective by now: solid offseason, improved a lot, but HAD a lot of room for improvement, still a ways to go.