It’s that time of year
It’s that time of year when we have two choices: speculate about what’s going to happen, or remember what did. I’m not overjoyed about either, personally. It’s a little early to be obsessing over every Twidiot’s (idiots who Tweet their thoughts without any factual basis for those thoughts. Usually sports reporters) latest “scoop.” Stanton to the Cardinals. Arrieta to the Dodgers. CAPS to Disneyworld. It might happen. It might not. But none of it is going to happen anytime soon. For now, we wait to see who gets a qualifying offer. If I’m the Cubs, I certainly make a QO to both Arrieta and Wade Davis. Why not? If either or both choose to take it and stay? Great! If they don’t, at least the Cubs get some compensation for the loss.
If you want to learn more about the new rules of the QO, here’s a good link:
If it’s my money – and make no mistake about it, it ISN’T – I’d try to keep both Arrieta and Davis. I’ve written in this space before that I think Jake Arrieta is in better shape than most pitchers and I believe he’ll continue to pitch very successfully over the next several seasons. He’s a known factor. He’s a fan favorite. Why not take a run at him? If he can be had for 4 or even 5 years? I’d try to get that done. He’s thrown hundreds less innings than Yu Darvish…so his arm is younger even if he’s not. I didn’t want Darvish anyway…but after the World Series? I double don’t. (is that a thing?)
I’d keep Wade Davis, too, if possible. First of all, he really cost the team NOTHING this year. He was free. Sure, he earned $10M, which isn’t a lot for a closer of his caliber in this day and age, and they got him for Jorge Soler, people. Even if you overpay him for a couple of years? You win based on that. I’d try to give him a three year deal – well, I’d try to overpay him for two, but would settle for three, if possible. Theo doesn’t like to pony out too much cash for closers, but the way the game is being played these days? You need a tight bullpen – especially on a Joe Maddon team, where starters are fragile and innings are unicorns.
If you can keep those two guys – you don’t have a ton of off-season moves to make. You still need another starter – and if you keep Arrieta, you’re probably looking at a trade, not free agency to accomplish that. You’re always looking for bullpen pieces that can help improve that part of the game…especially after this post-season (again…if they aren’t burnt out completely from overuse because of Maddon’s desperation to UNDER-use starters all year, maybe things play out differently.
They don’t need a lot of position player help – they have excellent young talent. It needs to be made smarter in all things baseball, but the raw talent is there. Personally, I don’t trade much…if anything from the big league club. I think if you’ve held on to Schwarber this long? You might as well give him another season to see what he can do. You can always flip him during the season, if needed. I do NOT move Baez or Russell. Someone, I won’t name names (it was Colin) suggested moving Happ or Almora. I would NOT move Almora. I think he’s going to be a special player. I know a few others see it, too. I wish Maddon would. For one thing, he’s younger than Addison Russell. He’s a plus plus center fielder, and there are not a lot of those. And I believe he will hit at this level and hit well. Note to Joe: AJ Hinch did not play the lefty/righty game and lift everyone every time a new pitcher came in. And he won the world series with his best players playing. Let’s try THAT. For the record? Happ is younger than Almora, but in my opinion, won’t be as good as Almora eventually will. I think Ben Zobrist would be a great, well, neighbor, but he should not be starting on this team other than spot starts. I think we are stuck with Heyward. Sorry. I’d still package him WITH Schwarber to the Red Sox for Betts – and I think the Sox would listen because they NEED the big LH bat, desperately.
I’m okay with the switch hitting Caratini as a backup for Contreras. If you MUST have a more seasoned veteran…I’m fine with Avila…but he’ll cost you a lot more $$.
I’m sure that Theo will do something – that will shock, surprise, sadden, or thrill us…but that’s how the game goes. Maybe all those things. As long as he doesn’t trade Adbert Alzolay.