2019 Team Preview #13: Chicago Cubs

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On to the preview!

Last Year

2018 Record: 53-109, 5th Place NL Central, 28 Games Back.

2018 was a planned nightmare for Cubs fans on the North Side. After a multiple-season run aiming for the top of the NL Central, the team tore it down, selling most of the talent they had left after letting a chunk walk via Free Agency. The net return was a slew of prospects that are mostly a few years away. Was 2018 the floor of the rebuild or is the worst still yet to come?

Key Additions

SS Matt Lipka (Waivers)
SP Madison Bumgarner (FA)
SP Antonio Lopez (ARI via Rule 5)
SP Martin Robinson (MIL via Rule 5)

Key Losses

3B Didi Gregorius (FA)
1B Sean Doolittle (FA)
RP Michael Fiers (FA)
3B Jonathan Villar (TOR via Trade)
RP Scott Alexander (SEA via Trade)

Lineup/Rotation Projection

Rather unsurprisingly, the Cubs had the NL’s worst offense in 2018 and by about a 10% margin. Their best hitter is likely C Jose Felix (.297 Avg) and he’ll be joined by powerful 1B Bill Lowe (18 HR). Joining them in the infield will be Javier Baez (22 2B, 14 HR), stout defender Gioskar Amaya (.261 Avg) and former Twin Matt Lipka (.244 in 50 PA). Starting in LF should be Dick Slack (16 2B) with 24-year-old Dustin O’Neal (.245 Avg) over in RF. A good choice for CF would be former Rays top prospect, Ed Harris (49 SB in minors).

Former All-Star lefty Madison Bumgarner (11-8 for Brewers and Rockies) was the Cubs big off-season pickup and will certainly get the Opening Day nod. Following him will be another lefty, Jose Fierro (3.47 ERA). From there it’s a bit of a mystery, but will likely be comprised of now-injured Mark Sorensen (2.92 ERA), Richard Alvarez (4.47 ERA) and a pair of Rule 5 pickups, Antonio Lopez (2.92 ERA in AA) and Martin Robinson (4.04 ERA across AA and AAA). Leading the charge out of the pen will be last years All-Star, Don Porter (9-4), righty Kenneth Giles (13 Sv), Alberto Tirado (3.36 ERA) and knuckler Steve Graham (11.6 K/9).

 

Outlook

Great things take time and I hope that’s what we’re seeing with this mass
Overturning of the Cubs

Games need to also be played in the here and now though.
It can’t be
All about the future.
Not if you want fans to head to the park and
Take their families,
Season after Season
!

This year is going be literally
Hell on wheels for the Cubs and their
Ever-enduring fans
After all it
‘s all said done, I think this

Season is going to be pretty
Underwhelming for the squad. I can’t see them climbing out of the cellar in the
Central. I think they’ll avoid 110 losses, but just barely at 54-108. Then they’ll
Kick the can down the road and hope to right the ship here soon.