The Chicago Cubs were worried about a Kris Bryant $300 million deal. That’s not going to happen, so its best to leave them together for a bit.
The Chicago Cubs were having ‘One Last Dance’–at least that’s what they were thinking. But that’s not the case. The key position players will be back, and outside of Jon Lester not returning? Leave them together for a while. Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and the rest of the bunch are in it for the long haul.
Bryant had his worst year at the dish, though the White Sox series saved him. He slashed .206/.293/.351 with an OPS of .644 and didn’t get over the ‘Mendoza’ mark until the last series of the season. But he’s getting hot. I know, the Mendoza mark doesn’t mean anything–but watch out.
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“I think this is a time to focus on right now,” team president Theo Epstein said Sunday. “We’re just about to start the most important part of our 2020 season, so I want to really focus on that. h/t Mike McGraw, Daily Herald
Epstein knows that it’s ‘make or break’ for the Cubs. Against the Marlins, they’re an unknown team, except for the closer, Brandon Kintzler. In 2019, he had an ERA of 2.68 with the Cubs in 57 innings pitched. This year, he’s got 12 out of 14 saves, suitable for a 2.22 ERA in 24 1/3 innings.
Here’s the deal. Retooling? That’s gone out the window. Eloy Jimenez would lead the team in every category–although that’s not saying much. Gone are the Tommy La Stella’s and Nicholas Castellanos’ of the world. They have moved on, and it’s a different world we are living in.
“Look, of course there is tremendous uncertainty,” Epstein said. “I think all that means is we’ve put an even greater emphasis in living in the moment and not taking for granted the opportunity we have right now as a group to go out and make some history and add to this group’s legacy.”
Jeremy Jeffress is money and needs to be re-signed. Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks have been a 1-2 punch, and they’re signed through 2023 and 2024, respectively. Adbert Alzolay has come to the top after spending time at South Bend honing his pitches. And Alec Mills? He pitched a no-hitter. Okay, I know that’s not the reason why. But he’s a Hendricks in the making.
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And the Cubs’ Jon Lester? He’s a wild card. He’s got a $25 million deal, with a $10 million buyout. With a $10 million buyout, he’s gone. Right? Epstein knows what he’s doing. Lester says he wants to retire here in Chicago. Why not let him?