2016 Chicago Cubs: Theo and Maddon's (Unholy?) Alliance, Redux

Section15Box113

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Dec 16, 2005
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Inside Lou Gorman's Head
Theo and Jed added Heyward, Zobrist and Lackey this week.

Schoenfield & ESPN Chicago calling them the team to beat in 2016.

Here's his projected lineup as of December 11, recognizing that plenty can change between now and Opening Day:

CF Jason Heyward
2B Ben Zobrist
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
LF Kyle Schwarber
RF Jorge Soler
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell

Bench - Chris Coughlin, Javier Baez, David Ross, Tommy LaStella


Rotation:
SP1 - Jake Arrieta
SP2 - Jon Lester
SP3 - John Lackey
SP4 - Kyle Hendricks
SP5 - Jason Hammel

Bullpen:
CL - Hector Rondon
RP - Pedro Strop
RP - Justin Grimm
RP - Trevor Cahill
RP - Adam Warren
RP - Travis Wood

Not bad for December. Will be fun to see what happens between now and opening day in Anaheim.
 

SamK

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May 31, 2012
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Starting up in Arizona this seems to be shaping into the next step The(o's) Master Plan.
It is exciting to see how things will play out for Cubs 2016. I am curious to see how Joe Maddon will use all these crazy pieces--none crazier than Schwarber in left field. Jed Hoyer mentions here that both Kyle and the Club see him as a catcher, eventually. But his bat is just too good to wait for those catching skills to mature. Says he'll get some time catching. I'm thinking late innings?
Jed also touches on the other roster flexibility. Specifically mentioning Javier Baez, Jason Heyward, and Ben Zobrist in the field; and Adam Warren, Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood and Clayton Richard in long relief or starting. For me it is this flexibility that is going to make watching games even more fun--from an armchair manager point-of-view.
The Heyward acquisition is getting love as the top move in the NL Central. It is a double move because it takes away from one of your closest rivals what it gives you--3-5 WAR from a 26 year old with great make up. Patrick Mooney is one of the best writers covering the Cubs, and here is a recent article covering Jason.
Also a good follow is John Arguello at Cubs Den, here with Heyward in camp this week.


edit for dyslexic placement of Schwarber at Soler's position.
 

SamK

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May 31, 2012
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Dexter Fowler just (re) signed with the Cubs. (He had turned down their qualifying offer...initially?)
Sorry, Dan. Fowler just traded your three year offer for a one year contract and a better shot at a ring.
The Cubs just got their lead off man and center fielder back.

Can't imagine the story behind this story, but here is video confirmation from today.
 

nattysez

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The Cubs also traded Chris Coughlan to the A's for Aaron Brooks, which I think was mostly to clear a little salary in light of Fowler's return. That said, Brooks may be a good emergency starter if they need one and the long relievers aren't sufficiently stretched out. At this point, it really feels like health -- especially the health of Lester-Arrieta-Lackey -- is the one thing the Cubs need to go right in order to make a big run this year.
 

nattysez

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Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this team is red hot.

They are 21-6.
Cubs' starters' ERA at 2.12.
They are at 164 RS (most in the majors) and 68 RA (fewest in the majors).
And this is with Jason Hayward batting .207.

Now they just need to stay healthy...
 

nattysez

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Cubs just passed +100 RS v RA for the year.

Edit: And Justin Grimm has single-handedly undone that...
 
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Blundatola

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It's been a really fun start to the season. Basically everyone has been contributing. Heyward getting off to a slow start hasn't mattered at all. I just hope I don't find myself standing there wondering where it all went wrong again this year. We'll see.
 

nattysez

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Today is game 32 for the Cubs. They have yet to have a starter not pitch 5 innings in a start.
 

nattysez

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Cubs with a crazy schedule coming up. After they finish with LAD, they play three straight series against bad teams -- AZ, PHI, and ATL, then play three straight against tough teams -- WAS, PIT, STL. Their offense has gone a little quiet recently -- they are starting to miss Schwarber a bit, particularly given that Heyward is just not hitting. Fortunately for the Cubs, Heyward is historically a slow starter, so he could heat up with the weather.
 

nattysez

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Just as Soler was heating up, he's headed to the DL with a bad hammy. Fortunately, for the Cubs, Albert Almora is red-hot at AAA, so it's a nice time to bring him up. Their cup runneth over.

Justin Grimm had his third bad outing of the year against the Phillies yesterday, but he's generally been solid. Unlike a number of contenders, the Cubs appear to have a solid pen.
 

nattysez

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I'd be surprised if they bring in Chapman in light of his baggage.

However, the Cubs have started leaking some oil. They went 2-3 v. the Nats and are about to get swept at home by the Cardinals. They've now got an 11-game roadie against teams they should beat, so they should bounce back from a couple of rough series.
 

nattysez

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Cubs are in a 21 games in 21 days stretch and have blown a gasket. About to be 4-11 over the last 15, with the starting pitching getting hit pretty hard. While this is mostly just inevitable regression after a red-hot start, Arietta not pitching like an ace for a month now has got to be concerning.
 

mauidano

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Watching the parade and stage show on MLB. Very happy for them, I have friends who are there right now. So much memories of 2004 and the same feeling.