So, the Chicago Cubs ended the season having earned the right to play at home in the first round of the playoffs…
…and then proceeded to join the rest of their Central division brethren in going 0-for-7 in the postseason. Which, yes, means that the division series will only have teams from the West and East divisions. I guess the Central divisions really did suck!
But no, not really, having just a three-game series (even though it’s better than the one-and-done of the previous Wild Card “rounds”) doesn’t leave much room for error and also maximizes the chaos. However, having only scored one run in two games is never a recipe for success, and of course we have been annoyed with this for the past three-plus seasons. At least it’s better than the Reds not scoring at all, which would have been funnier if the Cubs weren’t only marginally better.
And now we have to negotiate a potentially longer offseason (depending on how this pandemic goes, ugh) to see what the Cubs will (or likely won’t) do. In addition to losing so much revenue (and now not even taking part in the Texas bubble postseason revenue now that they’ve been eliminated), the Cubs and all of MLB will likely lay back and see what becomes of the next collective bargaining agreement. Never mind that MLB just killed like a quarter of minor league teams and are practically taking over the administration of those leagues, or the part where a lot of scouting and support staff have been laid off because the owners are bleeding money (are they really?)…
Anyway, the Cubs are likely looking to reset their luxury tax penalties (nice of Cots to tally things up), so don’t even bother banking on a big signing (though we could always be pleasantly surprised). Ditto trades, as the Cubs’ core was pretty meh all (short) season long (again, pleasant surprises possible). There are some big contracts coming off the books and the arbitration players are entering their final season(s), so let’s take a look-see at what is to come…
- Looking at expiring contracts, guys like Tyler Chatwood and Jose Quintana are coming off the books, which should make some Cubs fans happy, although I don’t object to the Cubs bringing them back to shore up the pitching, which would be basically Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks plus a stable of prospects who may or may not be ready.
- As for some guys you’d like to see come back, Jon Lester is likely to be bought out of his final year, but might the Cubs explore a return on a reasonable deal? Lester is at the tail end of his career, but has proven at least serviceable through the end of his guaranteed portion of the contract. Anthony Rizzo is on the last year of his team-friendly deal, with an option next season that will likely be picked up.
- 2021 marks the final year of club control for the bulk of the core in Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber, so there may be some movement towards extensions…or, if the “painful decisions” come into play due to how terrible the offense has been over these past few years, trades may come, but we’re talking about players who have lost tons of value with their poor pllay in the final year of control, which probably means we shouldn’t expect much in return.
I imagine we will know more once the playoffs conclude, and then the Winter Meetings etc. will probably be on Zoom because pandemic, so we don’t have to say goodbye just yet. But functionally, this is the end of the road for many of our favorites, and we may have to brace for a rough transition period. Thank goodness for 2016.
In other news, I didn’t actually watch either of the games (working) but I did follow them on GameDay and wasn’t very pleased. However, I had lots of other things to worry about (which is why you haven’t seen daily blogs from us like back in the day), plus the perpetual feeling of existential dread that probably plagues (haha) all of us these days. Like many, I was just glad to have baseball as a distraction, but lots of things in life right now are far more important than an entertainment sport.
If you want spring training to start on time and to possibly even go to a game and watch it live, then my best advice to you is to wear your masks, be kind to one another, and vote. Good luck, and we’ll meet again soon.