After the month of May where the Chicago Cubs looked like they had solved issues that have plagued them for years (depth contributors, handling velocity, manufacturing offense), those very same issues have reared their ugly head in June. The players expected to lead this team haven’t – and this is hardly the first time that’s been the case.
Javier Baez is currently slashing .226/.271/.471, leading the Majors in strikeouts at 107. Kris Bryant is four for his last 48 and in the entire month of June Bryant is slashing .114/.205/.241. It’s probably fine when one of your star players is hitting the equivalent of a pitcher, isn’t it? Nothing to worry about there, certainly.
As for Anthony Rizzo, his back flared up…again. His performance is right in line with his yearly performance though with a 117 wRC+ and a .248/.344/.442 slash. The problem here is that these issues aren’t new. We’ve seen this year-in and year-out since 2018. All of the sudden, Bryant can’t hit and hasn’t unlocked his MVP form again. Baez is what he is and you take the good with the bad from there.
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It’s getting to the point where the Cubs, from the front office on down to the fans, need to ask themselves if they really want to keep these guys around. The questions are legitimate surrounding these guys long-term. Baez’ bat speed won’t hold up for his whole career and Rizzo isn’t getting any younger. He will be 32 and the back problems continue to flare up more and more as he gets older.
It’s completely understandable if fans are just done with these guys and want a fresh start. It’s possible to want a fresh start while appreciating what this group has done for the franchise. There is a path where all the Cubs’ free agents walk but Chicago is still competitive in 2022 given a loaded upcoming free agent class and improved financial standing.
Granted, the schedule in June has been completely brutal and that could contribute to some of the struggles, but with the Cubs there is no in between. When they hit, it’s all over the field, but when they are bad they are BAD. A little consistency is not too much to ask for.
Chicago Cubs: Repeated struggles are nothing new for this group
ESPN reporter Jesse Rogers tweeted out after Tuesday night that the Cubs are the first team to ever strike out 12+ times in five straight games and lose all five.
The abundance of strikeouts is another problem with the Cubs, has been for years. That’s how the team was built so it’s going to happen, but the strikeouts are almost too much anymore. In all honesty, the team has just gotten worse – not better – since 2016, which was supposed to mark the beginning of a dynasty.
Of course the 2016 Cubs had one of the best seasons of all-time, so they couldn’t really “get better” but the fall from grace so quickly is where the concern lies. All good things must come to an end, and maybe it’s time for these guys to move on.