Not even a full 24 hours and I can’t stay away. I feel like even though the stadium may be empty, the lights are still on and I have a full bucket of balls. There is such a strong feeling of “this can’t be it” right now. I am replaying in my head the lasts for some of the guys that will inevitably move on. One thing I will never fully embrace is the business aspect of baseball. I am clearly missing the “get over it” gene. That’s not always a bad thing.
2 of the gentlemen we will inevitably lose in our rotation will be Jake Arrieta and John Lackey. Jake will most likely receive a deal that will pay him for past performance rather than what is expected of him. He was an amazing pitcher for us and we will miss him but no matter what kind of shape you are in, assuming you are human, your body goes through natural wear and tear. The aging process puts a ceiling on performance level and the amount of innings you’re able to pitch combined with decreasing velocity in a light speed world makes your market value drop over the years of a long contract. Jake’s agent, Scott Boras is notorious for commanding extremely high dollar, multi year contracts and it’s been made clear there will be no hometown discount offered to the Chicago Cubs. As much as I would love to have his arm in our rotation, too many red flags that his decline will come sooner than the length of contract he is looking for. His violent crossbody motion is something said to speed up the natural wear and tear of his arm. This motion was something his last team, the Baltimore Orioles, put the kibosh on for that reason and they revamped his whole delivery. Eventually that led to his struggles and trade to the Cubs where he was given the freedom to go back to the motion he was comfortable with. This begs another question, the team that offers the most, will they also try to change his pitching style? All things that will be answered this off season. John Lackey has grown on me the past couple years. I was not a fan when he wore the birds on the bat, almost for the exact reasons I love him as a Cub. He will forever have a place in Cubs hearts everywhere for “not coming here for a haircut”. I feel though he has become Cub family and his experience along with his ability to guide and teach will bring him back to the Cubs in a different capacity. He and Jon Lester are close and if he’s ready to hang up his cleats, then what better place to do it where his best friend is as well as the chance at some more jewelry and haircuts. Wade Davis is definitely the closer I’d like us to pursue in the off season. I have concerns about reliever overuse in the playoffs and if I have that concern you better believe other relievers are paying attention. He’s the 2nd dominant closer that was asked to take innings and outs that hadn’t been their responsibility all season. Chapman was used in multi inning situations too many times in 2016 and has shown signs of being human ever since. In addition to his couple appearances in the NLDS, Davis looked human in game 4 of the NLCS this year and I can’t help but think it’s because of all the innings we had to rely on him and his pitch count soared in those innings. Bottom line, front end, middle, and back end of our pitch sitch looks to need some help this offseason. If you don’t think it will be addressed by this front office, then you haven’t been paying attention. The hardest part is waiting to see what tricks and magic they have up their sleeve. Hopefully a couple arms….. Until next time…. Bryz
Lead photo courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports