Random Thoughts: From Aroldis to Pitchers to Be Named Later and More

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By Todd Johnson

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Today is the first day of 16 days off for me. I always enjoy Christmas Break, but the weather is not cooperating this morning in north central Illinois. There’s snow on the ground with more snow on the way. And, very cold air and 30 mph winds are coming tomorrow. I will be staying inside. So, I don’t have a lot of cohesive thoughts today.

I wanted to do posts over the next week on why the Cubs have not made a major deal for a starting pitcher. I thought about writing some prose concerning some additional stocking stuffers, discussing Aroldis Chapman’s excuses, analyzing the Cubs’ draft strategy, and some other minutiae. Right now, I’m too lazy. I’d rather put them all in one post and be done with it (Blame Winter!). So, without further adieu…

Aroldis Chapman
So, he’s complaining about how Manager Joe Maddon used him in games 5-7.
I don’t care.
The Cubs won.
Say thank you, take your ring, and move on.

wchamps-2016Why have the Cubs not made a deal for a cost controlled starter?
Right now, the market for a pitcher is quite overpriced thanks to the Chris Sale trade. I think the Cubs will let the “price” come down. There’s still two months until spring training and the season doesn’t begin until 6 weeks after that. To be honest, I think the brass might hold off on acquiring one, or two, until this summer if the price remains too high.

Will the Cubs go and get more relievers, particularly lefties?
Yes…
I think this could take some time, as well, for the same reasons listed above. Teams are just asking far too much for these parts. The Cubs inquired about reliever Justin Wilson from the Tigers and backed away quickly. Theo and Jed are not going to make a deal just to make a deal. Be patient, this could take a while to acquire the “right” lefties for the bullpen. Travis Wood is still available along with Greg Holland, both via free agency.

Cubs Stocking Stuffers
Usually, I do a whole post on this topic every year. I don’t think the Cubs are going to add much more over the next two months. If they do, it will be at the minor league level rather than overpay for major league ready talent. I think the Cubs will add some relievers, a couple of starting pitchers, a catcher or two and that’s about it. The needs are just not that great. And that’s a good thing.

Cubs Draft Strategy for 2017
Last year, the Cubs went hog wild on pitching in the draft. This year, the draft’s weakness is college bats. I expect the Cubs to load up on high school bats in rounds 2-4 and then go college pitching. With two picks in the top 30, the Cubs might even try to get a big arm, something they haven’t done that high since 2012 when they selected Duane Underwood and Pierce Johnson in the compensation rounds.

My reasoning is that the bats in rounds 2-4 would get a lot of time to develop. There’s no big rush to get them to the majors. They will pick some projectable players and grow them. I also think the Cubs could take a big college arm at #28 and/or #30. I don’t think the Cubs are sold on one strategy. They are probably pretty flexible with the first two picks as to who might be available.

And the Feel Good Story of the Week
Cubs prospect Trevor Clifton had his high school jersey retired in a ceremony Friday night. That’s pretty cool for a 21-year-old young man!
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I will be back tomorrow with “The Weekly” as I look at the additions made this week in the minor league system as well as a look at the MiLB coaching staffs announced yesterday. Lastly, Draft Profile #5 will be in the post as I examine a high school bat who could be available late in the first round.

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