We continue looking at the 30 MLB teams as they head into the 2021 season. And on this piece, we examine The State of the Chicago Cubs.
Losing Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, & Kyle Schwarber
The beginning of the offseason for the Chicago Cubs looked a bit rocky. Trading away Yu Darvish, allowing Jon Lester to leave via free agency, and not even tendering a contract to Kyle Schwarber. All of these moves combined to make Cubs fans weary. Add in the ongoing drama with Kris Bryant and things were bound to be tumultuous on the North Side of Chicago.
Joc Pederson Signing
But things began to change in the minds of Cubs’ fans when they started making moves. The Joc Pederson signing is one such move. And it’s looking (early) like it’s going to be a strong relationship. Pederson was hamstrung by the Dodgers analytical staff and because of it, they force him into a platoon role. The Dodgers analytics department made that determination without uncovering whether or not he had the ability to hit left-handed pitching. Now, with the Cubs, Pederson will likely be the everyday left fielder and be given an opportunity to play against both righties and lefties. This season will truly showcase Joc’s ability. And could parlay the lefty-swing outfielder into a much more lucrative deal next offseason.
Jake Arrieta Signing
When the Chicago Cubs were winning the World Series half a decade ago, now, Jake Arrieta was their ace. However, as we look at Jake now in 2021, he’s not the same dominant force. But that doesn’t diminish his ability to pitch and help the Cubs win. Arrieta will now find himself also playing into the mentor role for some of the other talented arms on the Cubs staff. This was a nice under-the-radar signing for the North Siders.
Jake Marisnick Signing
The Signing of Jake Marisnick was a needed move by the Cubs. Essentially, Marisnick will fill the vacancy left behind by the departure of Albert Almora Jr to the New York Mets. (It was almost like the Cubs traded Almora Jr to the Mets for Marisnick.) Marisnick is going to be a player akin to the style that was Almora Jr, a great defender who isn’t going to light up the boxscore with the bat all that often. However, Marisnick will play an important role for the Cubs because they will need lockdown defense to help them compete for the National League Central crown.
State of the Rotation
When it comes to the state of the Cubs’ starting rotation there’s a lot of questions that must be asked. Outside of their ace Kyle Hendricks, the rest of the rotation isn’t likely to inspire fear in opposing lineups. So for the Cubs to be successful they will next career years from several starters in this rotation.
State of the Bullpen
The bullpen for the Cubs appears even less inspiring than their rotation. For Chicago to make it back to the postseason and stave off another rebuild they must big seasons out of mostly unknown commodities. Yes, Craig Kimbrel is apart of this bullpen but he’s not the same Kimbrel we once knew. Thus making this current iteration of the Chicago Cubs bullpen a much more questionable group for a team hoping to play in October.
State of the Offense
The offense is where the Cubs shine. This offense will likely find itself among the best in the National League. And while most of their 2020 campaigns were forgettable, their talent levels are not easily forgotten. The 2021 Cubs have most of the core team from their championship run of 2016. So if Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and company can regain that form, they could make it back to the postseason in 2021.
State of the Franchise
Examining the state of the 2021 Chicago Cubs is a complex situation. Chicago is looking at some tough decisions following the culmination of the 2021 campaign. And so deciding on which players to keep becomes a season-long debate. We’ve documented in the past about Kris Bryant and his issues with the Cubs. However, to this point, there’s been no movement. How the Cubs decide to proceed with Bryant and Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez will determine the future of the franchise.