View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



November 2017



J-Hey Update and Evaluating Next Year’s Competition

Written by , Posted in General

The News of the Day

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward — he of the consistent outfielding prowess and the less-than-consistent bat — won his fifth career Gold Glove Award Tuesday evening. He won one last year with the Cubs, two in 2012 and 2014 with the Atlanta Braves, and another in 2015 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Heyward joins Andre Dawson and Bob Dernier as the only Cubs outfielders to win the award multiple times. We’re all happy for Heyward, sure — but let’s be honest: would you trade that Gold Glove for another 10 home runs and 20 RBIs? I sure would, and I’m betting Jason would too.

Plus, even as that news broke, trade speculation surrounding the 28-year-old has already started to swirl.

Looking Past the Here and Now

That news will play out as it will, and we’ll spend the next several weeks and months poring over all things Cubs: trade rumors, roster moves, updates on Wrigley Field renovations and the rapid development of Wrigleyville area in general.

Instead of continuing in that vein, let’s consider our 2018 competition for a moment. Here’s a quick look at next year’s presumed contenders and their chances of reaching the World Series:

The Houston Astros (5-1 odds)

Why they’ll repeat: A front office that knows how to harness analytics, a strong coaching staff, a productive young core, and a locked-up Verlander.

Why they won’t: Just ask any Cubs fan — the infamous World Series hangover. A shaky bullpen doesn’t help.

LA Dodgers (5-1 odds)

Why they’ll get there: Cy Young finalist? Check. Dominant bullpen? Check. Game of Thrones character turned bionic hitting machine? Check.

Why they won’t: All five of their projected starters have spent time on the disabled list over the last two seasons. That’s not an optimistic trend.

Cleveland Indians (8-1 0dds)

Why they’ll get there: This team ranked first in pitching and third in runs scored in 2017; I’m pretty sure that’s the blueprint for postseason success.

Why they won’t: Their starting staff has been forced to shoulder a heavy workload over the last two years, and injuries have been a problem.

Washington Nationals (11-1 odds)

Why they’ll get there: In Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, they have two of the top three Cy Young Award finalists. Oh, and some guy named Bryce Harper (perhaps “future Cub” Bryce Harper, but I digress).

Why they won’t: Dusty’s gone, and only two teams led by first-year managers have won a World Series over the past 70 years.

Boston Red Sox (11-1 odds)

Why they’ll get there: Chris Sale is still one of the best starters in the game, David Price should be healthy, and Mookie Betts will likely only improve with another year under his belt.

Why they won’t: Remember that stat about rookie managers? Plus, they ranked dead last in home runs in 2017 and have combined to go 1-6 in the playoffs over the last two years.

New York Yankees (11-1 odds)

Why they’ll get there: They had the youth, they had the talent, and now they have the experience. An experienced manager may put them over the edge.

Why they won’t: They could opt to go with a rookie manager as well, and some players may regress after developing ahead of schedule in 2017.

So, What About the Cubs?

Speculation over who the Cubs (also 11-1 odds, I might add) will sign to bolster their starting staff, round out their bullpen, and fill in any gaps on their bench is still just that — speculation.

I know columnists and bloggers and amateur Twitter analysts are worried that this could end up as that one year out of a Giants-esque five or six-year run that the Cubs miss the playoffs; personally, I see nothing Theo and Jed have done over the past five years as evidence that they’ll fail to put the 2018 squad in a position to compete for a World Series once again.

The competition is tough, but so are the Cubs, and the NL Central isn’t exactly a juggernaut. How do we stack up? And will our latest Gold Glover be around to give a rousing rain delay speech if the Cubs find themselves in a similar situation next October/November?

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I want my gold glovers to hit, so that the game is won before the 9th, and rain delay speeches are no longer necessary.

    • Adam Peters

      That game *was* won before the ninth. Chapman threw it back into question.

      • Sherm

        Yeah, but he threw it really, really hard.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        OK, I will amend my statement to read, won before the 9th in such a way that one lousy reliever cannot blow the win.

      • JTBarrett16

        Thanks to Maddon.

  • Adam Peters

    This almost seems like an April Fools gag, but this article says the Giants are interested in J-Hey with with Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon in return???

    If there’s a shred of truth to this Theo shoulod be on it like white on rice, or mud on a pig, or Roy Moore on a 14 year-old! (what? too soon?)

    Samardzija would be a decent #5. He eats innings & he’s only marginally awful. And Melancon would be gold!

    • Doc Raker

      Move Smarja back to the pen.

    • JTBarrett16

      I’d do it. Get rid of Heyward’s contract, get our 5th starter to get into October, and get a closer.

      • Doc Raker

        Tell us about Simpsons Land

      • JTBarrett16

        It’s a dream come true for a Simpsons nut

      • Doc Raker

        Kinda like Seymour at the Fantasy Ranch peeling off dollar bills

    • Buddy

      No way the Giants do that.

      • Eddie Von White

        No way J-Hey will agree to a trade. He likes being a Cub.

  • JTBarrett16

    Those of you who remember my SN HLCBSL691, look what I found yesterday at Universal:

    Homer Lenny Carl Barney Sam and Larry. 6 guys who cause 91% of all traffic accidents in Springfield.

    • Doc Raker

      Don’t remember SN HLCBS691. I do remember …………………………………um never mind

  • Sherm

    I hate to shift this conversation AWAY from the Simpsons, but Willson Contreras has a pretty cool T-Shirt out: