Chicago Cubs: Some pieces are needed on offense
The biggest question that Chicago Cubs fans are asking heading into this offseason is, “Will the team re-sign Nicholas Castellanos?” Castellanos had a monster final two months of the season after coming over in a trade from the Detroit Tigers, which caused fans to want to bring him back but simultaneously drove up his value. With Scott Boras as his agent, bringing back Castellanos is not going to be easy.
Still, the Cubs need to figure out a way to make it happen. Not only is Castellanos one of the most productive hitters on the market, but he also proved that he is a good fit at Wrigley Field. Castellanos could continue to play right field every day, moving Jason Heyward to center.
The Cubs have a decision to make on Albert Almora, Jr. There’s been talk of non-tendering him after a rough year, but especially given how cheap he will come, I think it’s too soon to give up on him. Still, the team could use another outfielder, and there aren’t many free agent options available. I would see if the team could sign Brett Gardner, though there’s a good chance he’ll want to stay with the Yankees. He’s coming off one of his best seasons, setting career highs in home runs, RBIs, and OPS, and he would provide a veteran presence while having the ability to play center and left field.
Looking at other positions, assuming the Cubs don’t trade away any of their big pieces, they should be set at every other position except second base. A lot of fans want Nico Hoerner to be the second baseman next year, but his excellent showing with the big league club late in the year was too small of a sample size to assume he’s ready to play there full-time. It would be wise to bring in a veteran to help stabilize the position.
Howie Kendrick seems to be a great fit. He’s a career .294 hitter who batted a career-high .344 with a solid .966 OPS in 2019. This year, he’s played first, second, and third base, so the Cubs could move him around. Regardless of how Hoerner plays out, Kendrick should still get plenty of playing time. Being 36, it wouldn’t take a long-term deal to sign him.
The other big decision is whether to non-tender Addison Russell. I think most of us are in agreement that he will not be back. (I’m also not counting on Ben Zobrist being back, as we don’t know yet whether he will retire.)