The Long Winter…

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There is still about a week’s worth of baseball to be played in this 2015 season, as the Toronto Blue Jays try to come all the way back against the Kansas City Royals to have a chance to face the New York Mets, who we all know swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS but we have nothing to be ashamed of there.  For fans who don’t have a rooting interest anymore, the focus has turned to the offseason, which Andy addressed very well in his latest assessment of potential transactions we should look for this winter.  It turns out Andy was quite prescient about a few things.

On the anticipation for the next season and another shot at postseason glory:

Most of the coaches have been invited back (but presumably would be allowed to interview for other jobs or potential managerial openings).  One is probably gone, though, and while the Cubs are smart enough to find a strong candidate, this guy would be hard to replace:

Johnson was the gentleman from Vanderbilt who coached guys like David Price and Sonny Gray, and seemed to have positively influenced the development of Cubs prospects such as Pierce Johnson.  So yeah, tough loss there for Chicago.

Theo Epstein also gave some indications of plans:

This is kind of cool because I’ve always thought it would be great if Kyle Schwarber could at least be a serviceable catcher.  With that bat, he would be a great asset behind the plate with even passable defense.  As for Jake Arrieta, I’ve already talked about (and probably low-balled) his potential extension, and maybe it’s a good idea to just wait on it because he’s still got some cost control left and they should probably monitor his health and performance as he seemed to suffer from fatigue as the postseason went on.  Of course, the Cubs will look into pitching:

Andy had already listed some potential candidates either in free agency or trade.  My guess for the big get is David Price due to his midseason trade to Toronto removing the qualifying offer eligibility, so the Cubs would just spend money and not surrender their unprotected first round pick next season.  I think there’s so much depth in the pitching staff now that they could be mixed-and-matched for bullpen duty, but someone has to take the ball every five days other than Arrieta and Jon Lester, while pushing Kyle Hendricks to the back of the rotation where he could excel.  And then, there’s this:

I talked earlier about a Dexter Fowler extension, but we also know that he’s likely getting the qualifying offer so the Cubs will net a draft pick if Fowler does leave.  It may be possible that the Cubs promote from within or throw money at Jason Heyward, but I guess the gist of the statement is that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will cross that bridge when they get to it.  But as is typical Theo, he’s fairly transparent about the plan and pretty much confirmed what most of us were thinking in terms of bolstering the pitching (which got slapped around by the hot Mets) and plugging a few holes in the lineup as well, particularly if Fowler walks.

Once again, please check out Andy’s earlier blog for some deeper thoughts on the offseason, but overall it seems we have a plan of attack for the Cubs this winter.

 

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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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