The Tribune’s Mark Gonzales answers questions about back the Cubs will accomplish a move for a top chargeless abettor starter, the abridgement of adept administration and how abundant the Cardinals accept bankrupt the gap on the Cubs.
Do you anticipate the Cubs ability be absorbed in signing Travis Wood back he was appear by San Diego aftermost month? — Don Workman
No. Wood had a asperous 2017 division with the Royals and Padres, and the Cubs accept added Dario Alvarez and Randy Rosario as awkward abatement candidates, forth with the apprehension that Justin Wilson will angle abundant added finer than he did afterwards actuality traded from the Tigers.
Are the Cubs (or any team, for that matter) activity to accomplish a move on one of these top chargeless abettor starters? If so, when? Pitchers and catchers address adequately soon. — T. Barber
I feel for the media relations departments aggravating to agree their media guides about the time bounce training starts in mid-February.
I anticipate Bill James said it best a few canicule ago about added teams actuality careful of alms six-year deals to top chargeless agents. In the case of the Cubs, Jon Lester was the barring to management’s accepted aphorism because of Lester’s durability.
The cat-and-mouse game, in my estimation, will abide with actual few, if any, teams panicking. There may be a few teams authoritative money-related trades to accomplish allowance for covering players and still blockage beneath the affluence tax thresholds.
After seeing the way Joe Maddon manages big amateur the aftermost three years by diplomacy his starters aural the aboriginal signs of trouble, isn’t the bigger advantage for Chicago to assurance addition like Lance Lynn or Jaime Garcia and application the added money on some of the accomplished abode accoutrements left? If Joe alone will accord bristles innings to guys, let’s anatomy the best abode possible. — Austin Robinson
You admiration area baseball is headed with the added use of bullpens and starting pitchers adverse added ysis afterwards adverse batting orders twice. Casting 200 innings ability the barring rather than the accessible ambition of starting pitchers.
With added canicule off amid into approved division schedules starting this season, I still accept it’s achievable to ask starters to angle into the seventh and eighth innings while employing a seven-man bullpen.
I like Lance Lynn as a accessible fit and I’m not agnostic of his added home run rate. He’ll be two seasons removed from Tommy John anaplasty and should accept a bigger feel for his strengths and how to atone back he’s not activity appropriate or a assertive angle isn’t working.
Garcia is advancing off two afterwards asperous seasons, and I don’t see him as a fit with the Cubs. I still wouldn’t aphorism out the achievability of a barter to access a starting abode unless Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish achieve for a four-year deal, which I don’t see happening.
Photos of the Cubs’ anniversary fan fest through the years.
I anticipate it’s absorbing that with all the hot stove allocution about the Cubs, there’s not abundant allocution about the appulse of the accident of adept leadership. Aboriginal you lose David Ross and Dexter Fowler. Now Jon Jay, (John) Lackey and Arrieta. If Jason Heyward has addition characterless year, will the guys stop listening? Is it all on Lester’s shoulders? Area will the adviser administration appear from? Area does the allure appear from? Should the Cubs assurance Lackey on a one-year CHEAP deal? — Eric
It’s a abundant point, and I accept it will be addressed in some anatomy later. Players account Heyward’s assignment belief and wisdom. It won’t booty a “Rocky” accent for players to accept to Rizzo. Lackey and Wade Davis were acceptable influences on adolescent pitchers like Carl Edwards Jr., but it could be new choir like hitting drillmaster Chili Davis and casting drillmaster Jim Hickey who accommodate appropriate insight.
There could be a adept advancement catcher or advancement outfielder who can accommodate insight. But some of the players with two or three years of acquaintance will charge to advance by example. Jon Jay’s 15-pitch at-bat at Milwaukee that resulted in a hit in backward September is a prime archetype of arch by example.
I don’t see Lackey returning. I got the consequence he didn’t appetite to return. And the Cubs seek pitchers who can angle added into games, although I anticipate Lackey believed he adapted added diplomacy to prove he can do that.
If the Cubs end up re-signing Arrieta, what would you anticipate about authoritative him a closer? — John
I don’t see it. Arrieta is a artisan added ill-fitted for a starting role than actuality the ability abode he displayed in 2015. He doesn’t bandy as adamantine as Wade Davis and Aroldis Chapman, and I don’t see a signature “out pitch” as Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon access with their cut fastball.
I still see Arrieta as a actual able starting abode for a few added years. He takes actual acceptable affliction of his anatomy and the breadth on his arm is low for his age.
We talked in band for our even in Phoenix afterwards the August San Francisco-Phoenix trip. Thanks for the affectionate words on us agents on Twitter.
With the accident of Wade Davis, and the accessible losses of Arrieta/Jon Jay/Alex Avila/Rene Rivera, my assessment is that the gap has widened amid the Cubs and the Dodgers and Nationals. I additionally accept the Cardinals accept bankrupt the gap amid them and the Cubs.
I apperceive it’s aloof beneath three months until the division starts and abounding things can change. I don’t see 2018 actuality a bang douse playoff actualization for the Cubs and I see little adventitious of assault both Washington and the Dodgers in the playoffs, if they get there. What do you think?
Thanks for your work. I additionally adore your appearances on Saturday mornings with Rosenbloom and Esposito on the Score. — Fred Allman
Thanks for the affectionate words. I accept abundant account for educators. I apperceive not anybody can accomplish it to bounce training or a visiting city, but I acknowledge those who allotment a amorous absorption in their teams by traveling abundant lengths to see their teams.
I wouldn’t get too captivated up in the accepted accompaniment of the rosters. I bethink a few bodies declared the Padres won the 2014-15 offseason, and they absent 88 amateur in 2015. I do like what the Cardinals accept done, decidedly abacus Marcell Ozuna. They got a lot of breadth out of Jedd Gyorko aftermost season, and I faculty they ability seek an advancement there afore aperture day.
I’m ytical to see how the Nationals book with Bryce Harper in his final year afore chargeless agency, and the agreeable charge for communicable help. They should still run abroad with acceptable the NL East, but I’m not abiding how able-bodied sculpted they are for the postseason unless they appearance added acceptance in Tanner Roark. One of their abstruse weapons could be Joe Ross, who could fortify their circling in the additional bisected in the aforementioned address that Drew Smyly could for the Cubs’ abode if they balance from their Tommy John surgeries.
I don’t apprehend the Dodgers to win 104 amateur again. Their acreage arrangement charcoal one of the deepest, but the fortunes of relievers Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia (who absent all of 2017 because of Tommy John surgery) could behest how far they go — abnormally after Brandon Morrow.
The Cubs will charge to get added breadth out of Jon Lester and Tyler Chatwood, aloof as the Cardinals will charge Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty to advance into reliable starters. I’d apprehend Addison Russell to rebound, but the Cubs charge added bendability out of their batters.
I don’t see any aggregation as a bang douse to win a alliance title. The Cubs won 103 amateur during the approved division but bare to affected deficits in the NL Championship Series and World Series to win the appellation in 2016. Cleveland won 22 afterwards amateur and had a 2-0 advance over the Yankees in the 2017 AL Division Series but lost.
There are added than 11 weeks until the March 29 opener at Miami. Granted, there are affluence of moves ahead, but I wouldn’t get ever afraid yet about the accompaniment of diplomacy in the NL.
What do you anticipate the Cubs are activity to do about the leadoff position? That’s my better affair activity into the advancing season. — Mario
Unless they access Lorenzo Cain (who is added of a No. 2 or No. 3 hitter – active by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo), I’d apprehend Ben Zobrist to handle those duties with casual advice from Albert Almora Jr. The apprehension is that Zobrist will be advantageous and able from both abandon of the plate.
President Theo Epstein has acicular out again that the Cubs denticulate 822 runs – additional in the National Alliance – after a able attendance in the leadoff spot. In fact, the leadoff atom produced a .304 on-base percentage. Alone the eighth (.304) and ninth atom (.300) acquaint lower averages.
The Cubs achievement they’ll be added able in their situational hitting, decidedly with runners in scoring position. That will be one of the missions of new hitting drillmaster Chili Davis, whose pupils did able-bodied with Red Sox in 2015-16.
Will Jake Arrieta be at the Cubs Convention this advancing weekend? — Bruce Pham
Arrieta isn’t listed amid the accepted attendees, so I wouldn’t apprehend him to be there as he sorts through his options.
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