Body’s Baseball Preview: The Chicago Cubs

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. We’re coming down the home stretch now, stopping in the NL Central. Today we look at a team whose fans have adjusted nicely to 100+ years of karma pissing in their Cheerios.

I had originally planned on offering this part of the piece up to an acquaintance who, as luck would have it, is actually a Cubs fan. Unfortunately, the promise of delicious tears shaped like Times New Roman characters, a veritable bowl of schadenfreude Alphabits, never arrived. I can only assume that an overwhelming sense of futility set in, and the words went uncomposed. I’ve faithfully reenacted lazily linked to a gif approximating the creative process here:

headwall

Fantastic. Moving on.

How’d The Offseason Go?

Pretty miserable, all things considered. With a pitching staff severely lacking in anything remotely resembling talent, the Cubs went out and wallowed in their mediocrity. Free agents Edwin Jackson, Carlos Villanueva, Dontrelle Willis, Hisanori Takahashi, Scott Feldman, and Scott Baker all came in over the winter. Read that sentence again. The Cubs free agent moves this offseason mirror those of a desperate fantasy owner in a 14 team league. Goddamn, this whole paragraph just thoroughly offends me.

And to improve that vaunted 28th best offense in the league? They signed free agents Ian Stewart and Nate Schierholtz, both of whom will end up batting in the 6-8 range of the order. They traded away Tony Campana, one of the few players on this team with a plus tool of any kind, to the Diamondbacks for a couple of pitching prospects. It’s nice to be thinking about the future, so I can’t completely disrespect this decision, but it sticks out like a sore thumb next to Alfonso Soriano’s $18 million contract this year and next. They also released Brian LaHair. Sorry buddy… if you’re not going to suck the Cubs Way, it’s into the garbage with you.

The Cubs Will Make The Playoffs If

[checks depth chart]

[organizes suicide watch for @JohnnyDrinky]

The Cubs Will Miss the Playoffs If

[checks depth chart]

[organizes suicide watch for @JohnnyDrinky]

How The Season Will Go

oldboy

How’s The Farm?

There is actually a ton of depth on offense here. This year alone, the team would likely benefit from adding Brett Jackson to the outfield right away. The guy can do everything short of bat .300, and he would automatically become the best defender out there. Junior Lake is another guy who would be an upgrade to this team both in the lineup and in the field… there’s no way he’d be worse than Darwin Barney at 2B, and he’d be an admirable fill-in for Starlin Castro at SS, his natural position. Josh Vitters, though a disappointment by most measurable standards, really can’t be any worse than Ian Stewart at 3B, can he? I wish the Cubs would at least try to find out.

Next year could offer a few position battles. At 3rd base, Christian Villanueva and Javier Baez both have a shot to make the roster, the edge right now going to the Cubs top overall prospect Baez. Alternately, were anything — unfortunate — to happen to Starlin Castro, Baez would slot there and let Villanueva steamroll over whichever warm body is currently occupying 3B. The Cubs have pieces at every position except catcher to build a solid, young core over the next 2 years. The growing pains to get there, though, will be substantial.

Your Brief Fantasy Preview

Jesus, this line-up is a Dumpster fire. In the outfield, David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz are basically undraftable. Alfonso Soriano will probably be okay, but he’s going to be severely limited in RBI attempts, and he was actually quite lucky last year in both home run rate and batting average on balls in play, meaning he will be more like his 2010-2011 self. Ian Stewart has a long, long, long way to go in earning fantasy trust after batting .156 and .201 in the last two years. Darwin Barney and Wellington Castillo are perpetual waiver fodder. Really, the only two useful players on offense will be Anthony Rizzo, whose price will be escalated due to rookie hype, and Starlin Castro, who actually offers some value at a thin position.

For pitching, the options are even more scarce. Jeff Samardzija should, and I can only say should, be a boon to your ERA and strikeouts. The rest of the rotation, however, makes me very, very nervous. Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson will not live up to their draft value, both sporting an ERA near 4. Their history of disappointing fantasy owners is akin watching a mash-up of Major League: Back To The Minors and Groundhog Day on loop. For saves? Everyone in this bullpen is a liability. Pencil in Shawn Camp for the best of the bunch with 20 saves and an ERA that (mostly) doesn’t run counter to Illinois obscenity laws.

 

Honestly, if you end up without a single Cub on your fantasy team, your draft went just fine.

Projected Finish in the NL Central?

4th. I mean, it’s a start.

Oddly Apropos Futurama Quote

“Well it’s proving somewhat more suicidal than we had initially hoped.”

Body By Bacardi has been making bad sports jokes on Twitter since 2010 and on Deadspin since 2011. If you’re not tired of reading things he’s written, you can follow him on Twitter at @wineaccguy.

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3 Responses to Body’s Baseball Preview: The Chicago Cubs

  1. JohnnyDrinky says:

    Fat fingers. I almost got punched in the face for saying to move Wrigley. These are Cubs fans. Unfortunately I am one of them.

  2. JohnnyDrinky says:

    I didn’t like what I wrote. That was while drunk and sober. So I wrote something else. Same thing. Basically this is what I wanted to say.

    This is a fan base that was pissed Campana was traded. A regular at the bar said you can’t teach speed. I said you can teach baseball. Fuck him. He sucks.

    I alm

    • Body by Bacardi says:

      I can understand why they’d be pissed. There’s a real scarcity of gritty, marginally useful white baseball players in baseball.

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