Bellinger: There are 10-12 teams that will be interested in Bellinger the minute he becomes a free agent, including the Cubs. The outfielder loves Chicago and just had a breakout season that could earn him Comeback Player of the Year honors, but that’s probably not enough to give the Cubs a discount or exercise his contract option. The Mets, Yankees, and Giants all have enough resources to outbid the Cubs. That said, a good portion of his success this season was a matter of good luck and shift restrictions. Somebody will overpay Bellinger and he deserves it. I believe a five-year, $125 million contract would be a fair offer by Hoyer. It probably won’t be enough, though.
some people are saying cody bellinger's been lucky this year pic.twitter.com/gHjVQ5V92l
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) July 25, 2023
Crow-Armstrong: Cubs fans were quick to label PCA a bust and, well, it’s too early to tell. He’s already the best defensive center fielder in baseball and flashed speed on the basepaths, but he’s still hitless. Then again, 19 plate appearances is far too small a sample size to make a call either way. If Bellinger leaves, Crow-Armstrong will undoubtedly be an everyday player in 2024. There will be growing pains, but he’s going to be special.
Hendricks: The Cubs are expected to pick up The Professor’s option and could extend him with a two-year deal to lower his AAV. I won’t believe either until something is official. Jed Hoyer is a very calculated executive who rarely leads with his feelings. He traded Yu Darvish, non-tendered Kyle Schwarber, and removed the heart, soul, and wow factor of the team by trading Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez. Jesse Rogers recently appeared on ESPN Chicago’s Waddle & Silvy saying that in addition to not hearing anything about a potential extension between Hendricks and the Cubs, simply exercising his option is the more likely outcome. Cade Horton and Ben Brown are nearly ready to be promoted, which could factor in Hoyer’s decision.
Stroman: I believe he is going to exercise his opt-out. Stroman is currently a No. 4 starter, but Brown and/or Horton making the team next spring could push Stroman into a swingman role. That will hurt his market value the following year. The Cubs are on the hook for $21 million if the enigmatic veteran sticks around, though Hoyer could eat some of that and trade him. If Stroman elects free agency, he could probably get a three-year deal in the $40-45 million range. That’s why I believe he’s pitched his last game as a Cub.
Morel: The slugging infielder/outfielder needs to find a permanent position, and he makes Hoyer’s job a lot easier this winter if the Cubs believe third base is that spot. If Chicago’s president of baseball operations has to look outside the organization to cover the corner infield, he’ll have little money left over to build a better bullpen or find another starter. Morel could be trade bait, too. I’d like to see him succeed at the hot corner and stay in Chicago. He strikes out a lot, but he still hasn’t reached his potential as a hitter.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Red Sox successfully poached Craig Breslow from the Cubs, and now the Mets are reportedly interested in scouting VP Dan Kantrovitz.
- Bench coach Andy Green is a candidate for the managerial opening in Cleveland.
- Dansby Swanson won the Fielding Bible Award for shortstop, an award given to the best defensive player at each position when considering advanced metrics.
- Adbert Alzolay performed well as the team’s closer, but Hoyer needs to add volume to his bullpen to prevent the end-of-season breakdown the Cubs experienced this year.
- Alexander Canario has hit safely in each of the five Dominican Winter League games he’s played.
- John “Boog” Sciambi will be part of the World Series radio broadcast for ESPN. He’ll be joined by analysts Jessica Mendoza and Eduardo Pérez and field reporter Buster Olney.
- Dusty Baker, who managed the Cubs from 2003-06, has officially retired after managing the Astros for the past four seasons.
- Baker has been an example of care and humility as a player, manager, and family man. Perhaps his toothpick will find its way to Cooperstown.
- Winterland will return to Gallagher Way in the coming weeks, but you can get advance ticket packages at Chicago’s MLB website.
Odds & Sods
It sure would be nice if David Ross had more faith in his younger players. Maybe a little patience, too.
The 2019 draft class is one of the most talented ever.
Six position players already have reached 5 bWAR:
9.6 Adley Rutschman
8.7 Michael Harris II
7.2 Gunnar Henderson
6.6 Corbin Carroll
5.5 Bryson Stott
5.2 Bobby Witt Jr.
Next up: Abrams, R Greene, Volpe, Josh Jung
— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) October 27, 2023
- Milwaukee: The Brewers are still the favorites to sign Craig Counsell once his contract expires next week, if he doesn’t decide to retire or take a gap year between gigs. The Guardians and Mets are also interested in hiring Counsell.
- Cincinnati: The Reds claimed outfielder Bubba Thompson off of waivers from the Royals. The 25-year-old was once a top prospect in the Rangers system.
- Pittsburgh: The Pirates are said to be very interested in top Cuban hurler Yariel Rodríguez.
- St. Louis: The Cardinals are reportedly interested in Japanese closer Yuki Matsui.
World Series News & Notes
Stolen bases and batting averages have increased this postseason while average game times are down.
The Rangers are among six MLB teams that have never won a World Series.
The Diamondbacks are one of the biggest underdogs to reach the World Series.
The writers at MLB.com make Texas a slight favorite to win the World Series in either six or seven games.
Savvy trades are largely responsible for this year’s Fall Classic combatants.
Rob Manfred has an offseason agenda every year, and his current honey-do list contains expansion, new stadiums, and the end of the American and National Leagues through radical realignment.
The second annual draft lottery will be held at this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville on December 5.
The Yankees might be more interested in Bellinger, anyway.
I love that the Rangers are going to honor Fergie Jenkins during the World Series.
President George W. Bush will throw the first pitch before Game 1 of the World Series with Pudge Rodriguez catching.
For Game 2, Adrian Beltre will throw the first pitch to Fergie Jenkins.
— Jared Sandler (@JaredSandler) October 26, 2023
They Said It
- “[Breslow] combines a powerful intellect and deep pitching expertise with a real understanding of players and a fearless approach to problem-solving. With his mind, work ethic, and character, there is no limit to what he can accomplish in this game.” – Theo Epstein
Friday Walk-Up Song
Good music never gets old.