Time for another edition of Cubs Corner. The 2021 MLB Hot Stove is now blazing, as players scramble to sign a deal prior to the start of spring training. Players are being moved around like pieces on a chessboard, and there are still plenty of moves to be made. Meanwhile, the Cubs are still trying to get the pilot light on the stove lit.
While the Cubs have been adding a lot of pieces, Joc Pederson, and perhaps Trevor Williams, are by far the most notable. The Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras trade rumors continue to swirl, but no new (substantiated) rumors have been seen for nearly two weeks.
As always, Cubs fans will hope for the best, even as some (maybe most) are prepared for the worst. Talking to several Cubs fans yesterday, the general consensus seems to be that the Cubs are going backward, and will once again be battling the Pittsburgh Pirates for a fourth-place finish.
In recent weeks, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has allotted more money for player salaries, but it’s fairly obvious that most of this winter’s deals are either: (1) High hopes for low-risk, high-reward players or (2) Attempts to restock a barren farm system.
Cubs Corner: Deals Finalized
As always, trades and offseason signings include the pending physicals before being officially announced. On Friday, the Cubs finally announced their deals as being official with OF Joc Pederson, RHP Trevor Williams, and lefty reliever Andrew Chafin.
As per an MLB.com article, “Pederson’s deal is worth $7 million guaranteed, split between a $4.5 million base salary for 2021 and a $2.5 million buyout of the option in ’22 (worth $10 million if exercised), a source told MLB.com. The deal also includes up to $500,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances.”
While the trio all signed one-year contracts, the Cubs have mutual options on Pederson and Chafin for 2022. In order to make roster space, the Cubs have designated infielder Max Schrock for assignment.
Cubs Corner: Fowler Leaves the NL Central
Perhaps the only Cardinal to be consistently cheered at Wrigley Field, former Cub, Dexter Fowler, is now packing his bags for Los Angeles. On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals shipped fowler to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for cash or that infamous player to be named later.
Prior to spending four seasons with the Cards (2017-2020), Fowler played for the Cubs in 2015 and 2016, earning himself a World Series ring as an integral part of the team that ended the 108-year drought for the North Siders. Although he spent just two seasons in Chicago, it took Fowler no time at all to become a fan favorite at Wrigley.
Dexter Fowler started his now 13-year career with the Rockies (2008-2013) before spending a season in Houston, then moving on to Chicago. As a Cub, Fowler managed to slash .261/.367/.427, while earning himself a career slash line of .259/.358/.418 with a lifetime OPS of .716. He was also named to the NL All-Star team as a member of the 2016 Cubs – his only appearance in the All-Star realm. Over the course of his career, Fowler has also earned himself a 19.8 WAR, in part due to his fielding abilities.
Fowler is just the latest in a series of players who’ve departed the NL Central this winter, joined yesterday by Trevor Bauer who is now a member of the Dodgers. Well, at least the Bauer drama and mystery are finally over.
Cubs Corner: Cub Birthdays
Celebrating today (some posthumously) are ex-Cubs:
Follow me on Twitter at @KenAllison18 for more of my content and additional Cubs Corner columns! Don’t forget to join our OT Heroics MLB Facebook group, and feel free to join our new Instagram – @overtimeheroics_MLB. We’ll see ya there!
main image credit