Another day, another edition of Cubs Corner. As Spring Training works its way into full swing, the Cubs are still looking for ways to bolster their roster, and they have their eyes on the next (potential) prize.
Meanwhile, reports from Mesa seem scarce, but then again, pitchers and catchers just started working out this week. By Monday, Sloan Park should be blustering with Cubs’ faces, both old and new.
Cubs Corner: Maybin Reportedly Re-Signing With Chicago
As reported by Jon Morosi, the Cubs have (re)latched onto another veteran outfielder, though only on a minor league deal. The team has announced the re-signing of Cameron Maybin who played for Chicago for a period of 18 games in 2020.
The long-time journeyman has seen better years, and now entering his age-34 season (April 4th), Maybin figures to be a safety net for Chicago, conveniently stationed in Des Moines, Iowa. As it stands now, the Cubs’ 26-man roster includes outfielders Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Kris Bryant (backup), Nico Hoerner (backup), and the newly acquired Joc Pederson.
While the Cubs could perhaps use Maybin as a bench/platoon man on the big-league squad, Maybin’s lifetime .256/.324/.376 career slash line leaves the Cubs in something of a bind for power-hitting outfielders, Even when you stop to consider that Joc Pederson – over the course of seven seasons – has only slashed .230/.336/.470, Maybin still doesn’t seem to do it for filling the void.
Much like Kyle Schwarber, who was non-tendered by Chicago, Pederson either seems to clear the fences or returns to the dugout, having been unsuccessful at the plate. With 2020 notwithstanding, Pederson is better than Maybin overall (offensively speaking), but neither compares to the power that Schwarbs was able to produce when his bat was hot.
Ian Happ had an overly productive 2020, as did Jason Heyward, but whether the choice boils down to Maybin or Pederson for 2021, the Cubs still seem to be missing some of the potential punch they had when Schwarber – or Bam-Bam as I liked to call him – stepped to the dish. Oh, and Ervin? Forget it; his offensive numbers are awful.
Cubs Corner: Ricketts’ and Hoyer’s Cockeyed Approach
Ok, so time to do a little venting here. Let’s just start with a question: What in the hell are Jed Hoyer and Tom Ricketts thinking?
At the beginning of this month, I wrote an article about what a train wreck this Cubs season was beginning to look like. In that piece, I outlined what appeared to be a disaster in the works, as the Cubs were dropping players and cutting salary as though they’d been bought out by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Out of the blue (about 2 weeks ago), Tom Ricketts then comes out and declares the Cubs could be legitimate contenders in the NL Central and was therefore opening the checkbook back up for Hoyer to sign talent. Did I miss something here? Had they just stayed firm with some of those that they let walk, they would have (potentially) been contenders. Sure, they needed to make some changes and replace some players, but this was like Cubageddon.
OK, we can debate the plusses and minuses of non-tendering Schwarber and Albert Almora, just as can we argue the merits of dumping other players (via free agency) or re-signing Jake Arrieta or Pedro Strop. But dumping a Cy Young Award candidate (Yu Darvish) and a promising (and controllable) switch-hitting, backup catcher in Victor Caratini? That just seems ludicrous if you’re trying to contend.
There’s an old philosophy relating to addition by subtraction, though I’m not entirely certain that works in baseball – at least not in theory. So to summarize, the Cubs dump a good chunk of their roster and payroll, while now trying to add (older and cheaper) talent and compete for the division title. Do I have this right? (Asking for a friend…)
Cubs Corner: Cubs Birthdays
As always, we’ll round out this edition of Cubs Corner with yesterday’s ex-Cubs birthdays. Happy birthday to:
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