We know the players themselves aren’t going to fix the offense. It’s been the same song-and-dance for years now. This is a Chicago Cubs team that has a deeply flawed offensive mindset and has failed to adjust to the changes in the game since 2016.
So how do we fix things short of tearing it all down? I’m not sure there’s a good answer, really. But something that might breathe life into offenses across the game, including on the North Side? Moving the pitcher’s mound back a full foot – which is currently being considered by MLB and tested in the Atlantic League later this year.
"“Obviously, I love baseball, but I don’t believe that the rules are written on stone tablets,” Hoyer told NBC Sports Chicago. “We have to be willing to make adjustments as players change.”"
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Putting the ball in play has become more and more difficult. Teams live or die on the home run and strikeouts are more prevalent than ever before. The Cubs aren’t alone in their struggles – but for traditionalists, changing any rules – let alone moving the mound – is an egregious affront to America’s pastime.
Cubs bats can use all the help they can get
Entering play on Friday, the Cubs rank dead-last in baseball with a cumulative .163/.254/.307 slash line. If you subtract the team’s two best hitters, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras, that falls to a .146/.225/.259 mark through 12 games.
One would think it’s wholly unsustainable for an offense to continue like this – and for the Cubs’ sake, they’d better hope so. Chicago is a prime example of a feast-or-famine offense. Five years ago, the group feasted – and the front office’s plan of drafting and developing hitters worked to perfection.
But teams and the game, as a whole, picked up on what teams like the Cubs were doing and made some major adjustments. The results speak for themselves. Chicago – once heralded as a potential dynasty-in-the-making – is now, at best, a middle-of-the-road team that’s prone to deep slumps and offensive inconsistencies.
"“Theo talks about it really well,” Hoyer said. “We need the ball in play more. It’s simple as that. The pitchers have every advantage right now.”"
We’ll see what the Atlantic League teaches us this season. But at this point, the game needs more bat-to-ball action. What’s happening right now (among many, many other items) is costing the sport fans – and leading to a diminished product on the field.