Cubs offseason wish list: Chicago has some holes in the roster, but rotation is the most obvious need this winter

NS Block‘The 2021 season has been a pretty smooth ride. They were in first place at the end of June, and by the end of July, a purge of nearly every tradable asset had taken place. They are predicted to be a pretty bad team, overall, for the rest of the run. Now the goal of club president Jed Hoyer is to build the next candidate. How soon will that happen?

Some of that depends on how aggressive these Cubs are. They currently have only about $67 million in payroll commitments through 2022 and more than $200 million in 2019. With “biblical damage” comments from president Tom Ricketts in the face of the ballparks empty in 2020 and Wrigley field relatively empty in September 2021, they certainly don’t want to be bogged down in long-term obscurity. Hoyer has said the team is also willing to spend some money to be a free agent this season.

Start pitching

Hoyer was unafraid to point out that the top priority was rotation. Wade Miley was added in a somewhat savvy disclaimer. He and Kyle Hendricks seem to be the only certainties, though it may be Alec Mills and either Justin Steele or Keegan Thompson will get a shot.

Will they spend big enough to land? Robbie Ray or even Marcus Stroman? It’s not obvious, but Stroman seems like a great fit. It feels like the ideal offseason would land someone from Stroman’s ilk with a cheaper upside down arm like a Jon Gray or Carlos Rodon.

It is not clear what weapons they will be interested in through the transaction. Will Red Flip Sonny Gray inside parts? Will the Cubs get the prospect currency needed to get it Chris Bassitt from A when he entered the season 33 years old? Both seem impossible.

Nope, freelance seems like the way to go here and my hunch is that they’ll be looking at more volume from the Grey-Rodón team than going entirely in the high-end direction. There is still a path to success here if they hit the right people. Something like Grey, Miley, Hendricks, Wood, and Mills/Steele/Thompson could end up being a usable spin, as long as they’re getting the most out of every arm.

Big bat

Maybe the Cubs found some valuable players over the period Rafael Ortega, Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom when Alfonso Rivas and Michael Hermosillo may also prove useful.

However, if the Cubs are looking to compete, more solid thunderbolts are needed.

The first place people want to look will be the stop. Nico Hoerner no strength, has been injured so far in his career and is likely a short-lived best average defender. He should be a more utility man. There are also five stud free agent stops, and a reunion with Javier Báez is at least a distant possibility. Corey Seager27 years old, is the name we hear most associated with the Cubs. Carlos CorreaThe price will probably be higher than what Cub wants to pay. Marcus Semien will be 32 next year and the Cubs will definitely want someone younger, given that running in 2022 may not be the most realistic plan. Trevor’s story 29 years old and about to have a difficult season.

I’d say it’s Seager or none of the shortfalls, unless Báez’s market bottoms out and he makes a year-long deal, show me like Semien did with Blue jay.

Talking about the possibility of reunion – especially with a good chance DH comes to NL – Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler and Nick Castellanos all would be within Hoyer’s sights. Among those who did not return, Michael Conforto and Eddie Rosario also make sense in this group as considerations. As it was built, the squad needed another person in charge.

Believe it or not, the Cubs’ best offensive in 2021 was the final month, hitting .265 / .343/.446 compared to the league average drop of .250 / .320 / .423. If Ortega, Schwindel and Wisdom are proven real and Ian Happ can find any kind of consistency (he hit .323/.400/.665 with 14 hosts in his last 44 games), add something like Seager and Soler – let’s go. mind, Nick Madrigal will also be added to the mix – making the offense look pretty strong.

If the Cubs are doing something like adding Stroman, Seager, Soler and another starter, there is absolutely no reason to trade Contreras. In this case, he should be extended. He’s one of the better catchers, especially now that he’s learned to frame. He was already one of the tallest upside down bats and had an arm as good as anyone, but now the added frame means he’s valuable. He’s coming to the end of the best WAR season of his career. He is also about to leave the agency for a year freelance.

If all the holiday shopping is about finding bargains on short-term deals just to patch up a decent but non-competitive team, just trade Contreras.

Hoyer needs to find the sweet spot here. If the Cubs are planning to at least pretend to run in 2022, Contreras needs to be present and they shouldn’t be sending him into the season the same way they did with Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant last year. An extension needs to be made. This will show the front office fan base is capable of doing so with a key player of the championship and will go on to establish Contreras as the team leader for the next Cubs running for office.

If no renewal occurs, again trade Contreras. The class of agents capturing the free agent is brutal, and enough competitive planning teams would love to have him on board. It’s also likely that Contreras’ injury during the off-season takes his commercial value off the table. He’s a catcher and gets pitched multiple times when he hits the ball, so there’s a lot of risk of that happening. Cubs offseason wish list: Chicago has some holes in the roster, but rotation is the most obvious need this winter


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