Chicago Cubs were outplayed, outsmarted by the Brewers in last 12 months

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Who’s in left?

What if in November of 2017 I told you there was a 25-year-old Gold Glove left fielder who slashed .290/.369/.432 through 2017, and you could get him for next to nothing?  Like for instance three A-ball minor leaguers and a light-hitting outfielder with -0.2 WAR?  And that he would cost under $11 million per year over the next four years of his contract?  You’d say done deal, right?

Well, that’s what Milwaukee gave Maimi to get Christian Yelich.  The Cubs looked at Yelich, but again who knows what they were thinking.  Maybe that Kyle Schwarber would lose fifty pounds and grow three inches too?  And if Kyle Schwarber wins a Gold Glove in left field I’ll pay his mortgage for a year.

The Brewers then added Lorenzo Cain, with his 290/.342/.421 slash line through 2017.  The former Royals outfielder then went on to post career-best numbers for batting average and OBP in 2018 while compiling a 6.9 WAR. And at five years/$80 million ($16 million AAV) he’s not Bryce Harper expensive either.

Through all of this, the Cubs broke camp with just two additions to their non-pitching roster.  They signed 32-year-old Efren Navarro who was released in June, and 35-year-old catcher Chris Gimenez, who they traded in August for another 35-year-old catcher, Bobby Wilson.

Next. Are the Cubs still favorites to win the division next year?. dark

This offseason awaits

The Cubs front office has their work cut out for them.  Whatever sabermetric analytics they conjured up the last offseason, it was wrong.  Very wrong. The Cubs can not stand still while the teams around them get better.  Every day must be focused on improving the product on the field.

And sure, they could sign Harper and Manny Machado. But any casual fan can do that. You don’t need to spend millions of dollars on an analytics department and scouting to do that. The challenge is to find next year’s Chacin, Yelich, or Cain.  Yes, Theo, it IS time to start evaluating on performance–and that includes your own front office.