Cubs News: Three holes they need to address before next season

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Cubs and the three holes they need to address this offseason if they’re going to get it together. And what are the ‘three holes?’

The Chicago Cubs had some pretty glaring holes in the 60 game season–and the two they lost to the Miami Marlins in the Wild Card game. They scored one run in those two games versus the Marlins–an Ian Happ home run. Happ had four hits, Jason Heyward had two hits, Willson Contreras, Victor Caratini and Javier Baez had one hit. Do you know where I’m going here?

Starting pitching was thought to be a strong suit. It was not. Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Jon Lester and Alec Mills were supposed to be the ‘starting five.’ Chatwood was impressive in his two starts, pitching 12 2/3 innings striking out 19 with an ERA of 0.71. The next three starts were terrible, and Chatwood went on the IL from there.

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So, Hendricks, Darvish and Mills are the starters. Lester is an ‘unknown.’ They will pay $25 million, so a $10 million buyout is setup. But if they do pay him, how much? $15 million wouldn’t make much sense since that’s the original contract they had. One-year for $5 million? Two-years for $10 million? I honestly don’t know.

The Cubs’ Jeremy Jeffress had a great year on the mound. He finished with an ERA of 1.54 with eight saves. So will he be back?  They need a closer. And he’s fit for the job. But if he doesn’t, I know someone who can.

Craig Kimbrel.

In his last eight outings, he allowed no runs in 7 1/3 innings pitched with 19 strikeouts. So if Jeffress doesn’t come back, Kimbrel would be acceptable to do the job in the closer’s role. And if they run a ‘bullpen by committee,’ that’s fine, too.

The greatest hole is the contact hitting. Let’s be honest here. They finished with a .220 average–13th in the National League. And the league average for home runs? 77–the Cubs were three behind that with 74.  So who’s going to go?

Happ and Heyward are clear. And to be honest, they had the best seasons, along with Willson Contreras. So who is next? Well, everyone. From Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez to Kris Bryant, they’re all on the trading block. Doesn’t mean they’ll do it. But if you want to change, you have to make changes–and that’s the hard part.

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So a trade or free agency is the way to go. And to be honest, a trade is the best way for that to happen. You can add the ‘support’ players from free agency. But the ‘big players’ need to be added from trade. It has to be done.

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