The Cubs seem to be on the periphery of some big offseason acquisitions that could include Cody Bellinger, Pete Alonso, and Tyler Glasnow. I still don’t see how Bellinger and Alonso fit if the Cubs intend to play Pete Crow-Armstrong in centerfield next season. Chicago also desperately needs a third baseman. The potential acquisition of Glasnow intrigues me the most, however.
Adding Glasnow to the top of the rotation with Justin Steele, Jordan Wicks, and possibly Cade Horton or Ben Brown would nearly match Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta of the Brewers. The Cubs will have a formidable front five if they acquire the hard-throwing righty from the Rays, but where does that leave Marcus Stroman and Kyle Hendricks?
Stroman started the 2023 campaign as a fan favorite but gave away all that goodwill thanks to a string of poor performances that started when the Cubs played the Cardinals in London. He was forced to the IL with a hip injury in August, then a rib cartilage injury further delayed his return. It once seemed like a foregone conclusion that Stroman would opt out of his contract this winter, but now it would be almost absurd for him to leave $21 million on the table. The Cubs are probably stuck with him unless Jed Hoyer can trade him, which might require eating some salary.
Hendricks earned the opportunity to return next year and even though the 34-year-old seems like a dinosaur at this point, signing a two-year deal seems the likeliest of outcomes. If your thoughts are similar to mine, you’d prefer The Professor returns, but you also wouldn’t hate it if he pitches elsewhere in 2024. Setting age and salary aside, I do believe Hendricks is necessary because the Cubs are transitioning toward a much younger staff. He was here when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016 and his experience is invaluable.
That brings me back to Glasnow. If Hoyer is willing to swallow about $16 million, he could flip Stroman to Tampa Bay along with a reasonable package of prospects. The good news is that the Rays would most likely scour the depths of Chicago’s farm system for players that fit their vision. Then again, they might have their sites set on Crow-Armstrong, especially if they effort to trade Manuel Margot this winter. PCA should be a non-starter in any trade negotiations.
I’d rather see the Cubs keep as many prospects as possible and turn to Glasnow if he hits free agency in 2025. Hoyer has unlimited options until he starts wheeling and dealing, but I also fear that he could steer the team into another one-and-done scenario. Veterans get expensive and rarely earn the contracts they are given as they matriculate up the payroll ladder. Stroman and Jameson Taillon are perfect examples. Glasnow at $25 million with a sketchy injury history in addition to the loss of a couple of prospects would be a paradigm-shifting move. I just don’t think it’s the right one, at least not this winter. I am open to changing my mind, however.
Call me crazy, but I believe Stroman may ultimately decide to opt out. The Cubs could potentially squeeze the diminutive righty out of the rotation, which would be an awful way for him to hit free agency in ’25. Rumors linking Glasnow and other veteran pitchers to the Cubs might provide the impetus for Stroman to willingly split from the organization.
Cubs News & Notes
- Hoyer has several options to consider once he starts to build his 2024 roster, including trusting younger players like Crow-Armstrong, Horton, and Matt Mervis.
- Sadahev Sharma of The Athletic believes Hoyer has to avoid taking a step back offensively for the Cubs to compete next year.
- MLBTR released this year’s expected arbitration raises, and the Cubs could part ways with a couple of veterans whose cost may outweigh their perceived value.
- If Stroman does return, it’s hard to see the Cubs making another splash in free agency.
- Scott Boras got a new client in Alonso, who recently left Apex Baseball to sign with BorasCorp.
- Would you part with Brown, Jackson Ferris, Javier Assad, and Adbert Alzolay to acquire Alonso? I wouldn’t.
- Jim Bowden believes the Reds have a better future than the Cubs. Cincinnati lacks capable starters and their defense is awful, so I’ll disagree.
- The Cubs have a lot of optimism heading into 2024.
- Bellinger is a nominee for the 2023 Hank Aaron Award.
- Yan Gomes has proven to be an indispensable part of the Cubs’ rebuilding process. Hoyer is expected to pick up his 2024 option.
- Dave Kingman and Glenallen Hill hit the most prodigious home runs in team history, though electronic distance trackers did not exist when they played. Kris Bryant is tops on the team in the Statcast era with a 495-foot blast.
- Kingman signed with the Cubs as a free agent in 1977 and was later traded for Steve Henderson. That isn’t among Chicago’s 10 best trades, but the acquisitions of Ryne Sandberg, Sammy Sosa, and Derrek Lee are.
Odds & Sods
Zac Gallen has a filthy knuckle curve.
Zac Gallen, Elevated Fastball (ball) and Knuckle Curve (backwards K), Individual Pitches + Overlay
Why you might take the Knuckle Curve. pic.twitter.com/jy9NpCGFNN
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 10, 2023
- St. Louis: Paul Goldschmidt is entering the final year of his contract, but would love to sign an extension with the Redbirds.
- Milwaukee: Craig Counsell might retire, move to another team, or return to manage the Brewers. That said, he is under contract until October 31, so no decision is immediately likely.
- Cincinnati: The Blue Jays might be interested in Joey Votto if the Reds decide to part ways with the 40-year-old first baseman.
- Pittsburgh: Closer David Bednar is the best trade candidate the Pirates have.
How About That!
Atlanta’s 8-5-3 double play to end the game was the first of its kind in postseason history.
In the history of the Division Series in the 2-2-1 format, teams that lose the first two games at home are 2-14. The Dodgers and Orioles are both down 0-2 this morning.
It’s ridiculous to blame a first-round bye for the top seeds’ struggles.
The success of the Orioles this season has revitalized the Baltimore area.
The Mets are pursuing Shoehei Ohtani and are reportedly “all in.”
MLB managers are grossly underpaid. There are six managers this year earning less than $1 million and 15 managers earning $1.75 million or less.
Baseball games got a lot faster thanks to the game’s new rules changes.
The 2023-24 free agent class is loaded at the top but gets mediocre quickly.
Sliding Into Home
A much-needed post-regular season vacation was in order, so I took one. There are times when you stare at your computer and your mind just goes blank. I reached that point last week, but I’m re-energized now and happy to be back.
I was sad to hear that Dick Butkus passed away on Thursday. He was one of my favorites as a football player and radio analyst.
Dick Butkus throws out the first pitch prior to a Cubs-Giants game at Wrigley Field. — Bonnie Trafelet, Chicago Tribune, July 12, 2008 What are your thoughts and memories of the legendary Bears linebacker? #ripdickbutkus pic.twitter.com/hPQhHFZcwr
— Baseball In Pics (@baseballinpix) October 5, 2023
They Said It
- “I don’t think I’m [with the Cubs] if [Tom Ricketts] wasn’t committed. He wants the Cubs to be good as much as anybody in this clubhouse, right? He’s committed to that. We know that he wants us to get back to where things were in 2016. We’ve put together some good things to get to that point. We still got a little ways to go.” – Dansby Swanson
- “[Crow-Armstrong] struggled. He probably realized that he has to make certain changes offensively. Realizing that now is key. This is the big leagues. This is the best league there is. The pitching is a lot better than it is in the minors. It’s seeing that up close and personal and realizing, ‘OK, there are probably adjustments that I have to make.’ I told him I believe that will end up being the single best thing that could happen to him, in a lot of ways.” – Hoyer
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
Feeling some Motown this morning.