Why the Cubs have to say goodbye to their 2016 Championship core members and sell on the trade deadline – .

Why the Cubs have to say goodbye to their 2016 Championship core members and sell on the trade deadline – .

Perhaps Jake Arrieta is the best vehicle to illustrate how things turned out in Wrigleyville.

Tuesday night’s game was essentially over before it started. Of a total of 180 since the start of the Cubs’ Championship, Arrieta taking the ball meant another loss. The Cubs have lost his last five starts and he has an 11.02 ERA in those games. In this section, he authorized 25 races and 13 marches.

In Arrieta’s last 20 starts in 2015, the Cubs have gone 18-2 as he allowed 17 points and 27 walks. This season was, of course, the year this group of Cubs came of age and established themselves as a long-term contender. His starts were automatic victories as soon as he got out of the canoe. Now these are automatic losses.

The current Cubs pulled off what was apparently a nice teasing job in May and extended it until mid-June. Even until June 24, when they were working with a no-hitting combined, they were tied for first in the National League center at 42-33. It was a pace of 91 wins. Since then, the season has come to an end.

Our. Yes, eleven consecutive defeats. They were competitive for a large part. There have been six one-point losses in the first nine. They’ve been totally humiliated in the last two, however, and the proverbial handwriting is on the wall.

This writing says very legibly and succinctly: “It’s over.

Little by little, the core that won the 2016 World Series has disappeared, but the vestiges of that title are among the biggest names. The Cubs still have 2016 MVP Kris Bryant as well as franchise centerpieces Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez and Willson Contreras. Clubhouse frontman Jason Heyward is staying. On the pitching side, they still have Kyle Hendricks, who beat Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 of the NLCS to clinch the pennant, then also pitched well in Game 7 of the World Series. They brought Arrieta back for this season after a hiatus. This movement was a failure.

As much as the fanbase may have a little love for these players – and they should, for the rest of eternity, given the 2016 title – it has become pretty clear over the seasons since that something is broken with this core. This losing streak has stunned us with the apparent fact that it is irreparable.

With the trade deadline less than a month away and the Cubs nine games away at NL Central, it’s time to let go and move on.

We have discussed ad nauseam that Bryant, Báez and Rizzo are free agents at the end of the season. It’s worth repeating now with the team in total disarray and the trade deadline here at the end of the month. That doesn’t mean the Cubs to have to deal with one of the three, but it’s obviously worth exploring what might come back.

Bryant has been inconsistent, on the whole, in recent years, but he once again showed his MVP upside down earlier this season. After bumping a bit and sagging, he went back to how he was before. It hits .270. / 351 .502 (134 OPS +) and has shown that it can play at a high level almost anywhere on Diamond. He even spent time in the center field and looked quite capable there. There will surely be contenders and the Cubs can grab something substantial.

Former Marlins president David Samson broke down the Cubs’ struggles on Wednesday in Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:

On Rizzo, I’m not so sure. He’s a good hitter, but not a good one. It hits .246 / .341 / .431 (113 OPS +) with 10 homers. He often faces daily back problems and is almost 32 years old. He’s a good defensive first baseman, but he doesn’t offer versatility on the pitch. Maybe just play this one and make him a qualifying offer in the offseason.

Báez is a wild card. He could adapt to second, third or short and be a great defender in any of three places. So many teams will be put off by him leading the majors in strikeouts when he only has a 0.282 percentage on base, but he has 21 homers, 56 RBIs and 10 steals in addition to his way. to play. He is the leader of the Cubs in WAR, after all. I have no idea what the Cubs could get for him, but it’s worth looking around. If anyone wants it, it should come strong now, as it is heating up and these streaks can go on for a while.

Contreras could bring in the most value, as he’s not a free agent until 2022. He’s an above-average offensive receiver who has a barrel for an arm and is now a quality coach. Of that group, I would rank him just behind Bryant as the most likely to leave, simply because of what he might bring back.

Hendricks signed an overtime a few years ago that pays him $ 14 million next season and in 2023 before a buyout option for 2024. The 31-year-old right-hander is as good as any pitcher in the league who never made an All-Star Team. He struggled early in the season, but has a 2.53 ERA (and an 8-0 record) in his last 10 starts. The hunch is that the Cubs are looking to reload over the next couple of seasons and keep it, but there’s a chance he’ll bring back a good bundle in a trade that allows them a bigger reset.

Maybe the biggest commercial chip isn’t from the 2016 kernel. It’s closer to Craig Kimbrel. Before the start of the year, it was pretty widely discussed that he was a free agent after this season, but he pitched well enough that his $ 16 million team option is now on the table. . The way he pitched (0.59 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 53K, 10 BB, 30 2/3 IP) and this extra year of scrutiny suggests the Cubs could do a relative killing in the commercial market with him. in July.

Others who could be treated: Zach Davies, Joc Pederson, Andrew Chafin, Dan Winkler and Ryan Tepera (if he leaves IL in time to prove his health).

Time will tell us.

In the meantime, Cubs fans would do well to make peace with their favorite championship players wearing different uniforms this season. It was a great race. Of course, it was, overall, disappointing after 2016, but winning a World Series is really, really, really difficult and this group did it. They just aren’t going to start over and it’s time to move on, no matter how sad it makes us.


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