After a disappointing loss in the Wild Card to a young Miami Marlins, the NL Central winning Chicago Cubs are letting go of a lot of their star power. After non-tendering now National Kyle Schwarber and trading Yu Darvish to the Padres, the Cubs have shed $75 million in payroll over the course of the offseason.
What this means for the Cubs
As it stands, the Cubs have one of the most incomplete rosters in baseball. Although it was evident in last year’s shortened season especially in the playoffs, the holes are even more evident now. They needed another bat in the outfield last year, and with Almora Jr. and Schwarber being non-tendered this issue will not go away. They are in desperate need of another arm out of the bullpen, and soon they could be in need of a 3rd baseman.
After the fire sale that has already occurred this offseason, star 3B Kris Bryant and C Wilson Contreras are most likely the next two to be traded away. Jon Morosi reported yesterday that the up and coming Toronto Blue Jays could be one of the potential suitors for these stars.
The Cubs look to bounce back after an extremely short-lived playoff run last year; however, it looks like they may be on the opposite trend. With expenses down due to COVID-19, they are making moves that imply that they expect to lose now rather than win. After a wildly successful run in the past 7 years or so, the Cubs may find themselves back in the situation they were in in 2012.
What this means for the NL Central
Ironically, the Cubs, even if they lost all of their pieces, could still win the NL Central again.
The St. Louis Cardinals were average this past season, resulting in an early Wild Card exit as well. They have not made any changes to their roster, and they will stay put in terms of growth.
The Cincinnati reds cannot hit. Also, their Cy Young-winning SP Trevor Bauer is almost definitely leaving during free agency. They look to be even worse this upcoming season.
The Milwaukee Brewers continue the trend of average, as they finished below .500 in the 2020 season resulting in, you guessed it, a Wild Card defeat. They have also not made any significant moves that point towards a change in record in 2021.
And well, the Pirates are just plain not good.
This leaves a weak Cubs team in an advantageous position to make a 2021 postseason run especially if they hold onto Bryant and Contreras.
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