Cubs News: Where the roster stands heading into the offseason

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

As things stand, the Cubs will likely have a lot of familiar faces again in 2021.

I know. The Chicago Cubs are filled with ‘side speak.’ You’d think the team brings back Jeremy Jeffress and Jason Kipnis for next year, especially Kipnis. I don’t know if they could sign Jeffress after he turned in a great season. Let’s hope. But as things stand, the Cubs are largely set with the same group of guys.

Some will be non-tendered or sent to the minors leagues and that’s fine with me. Seriously, good riddance Jose Martinez. 0-for-21? See ya later.

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Right now, the infield consists of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Nico Hoerner, David Bote, Ildemaro Vargas and Max Schrock. The Cubs picked up Rizzo’s option at $16.5 million, to keep him here – and hopefully work on signing to a long-term deal. Remember, his OPS was at .924 in 2019, good for tops since he’s been in the league.

Bryant is a ‘wild card,’ so to speak. He was an All-Star in 2019, but he fell off big-time in 2020. He’s had injuries, and to be honest? If he gets back on track and the Cubs are out of the race next year? I’d trade him.

The catchers are Victor Caratini and Willson Contreras – and that’s just fine. Offensively, they’re great. Contreras only hit .243, but he clubbed seven home runs with 26 RBI.  Caratini hit one home run with 16 RBI, spending most of his time either in the DH spot or giving Contreras a breather when Yu Darvish took the ball.

The outfield is a little different. Jason Heyward, Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber and Martinez make up the outfield – and, frankly, Martinez shouldn’t be there. I’m just saying. Heyward hit for a .356 wOBA and a 130 wRC+ – his highest since his rookie year.

Schwarber hit .188, a career-low, in the shorted season. He did wallop 11 home runs and knocked in 24. Still, he’s one of the guys who could be on the move. The slugging outfielder hit for a 90 wRC+, the lowest since he missed the entire 2016 season with that massive knee injury.

The starting rotation is set at the top. Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks are locked in there. Alec Mills threw a no-hitter, and his BB/9 has been coming down (13.5 BB to 2.9 BB), but so have his strikeout numbers.

It’s the four and five spots in the rotation that are concerning. Adbert Alzolay and Colin Rea will probably get a shot at the starting five. Based on what he did this season, it seems like Alzolay will get one. I’m not sure about Rea. He’s a better reliever than a starter – but he’ll get a look.

The bullpen rests in the hands of Craig Kimbrel, Rowan Wick, Ryan Tepera, Jason Adam, Duane Underwood Jr., Kyle Ryan, Brad Wieck and Dan Winkler. Kimbrel is the seasoned vet in the group and the left-handed options (Wieck and Ryan) are hardly confidence-inspiring. They’ll need to find a diamond in the rough to shore things up there.

Next. The Cubs need an on-base presence. dark

Again, these are the players they have as of now. Things will change in the coming months, whether these guys are traded, released or optioned. Hopefully they bring in some low-cost quality free agents – guys like Billy Hamilton. Come on, Hamilton.