CHICAGO — Ideally, the Chicago Cubs, together with all different suitors for Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani, will know whether or not he is a part of their group by the point the baseball world descends on Orlando this weekend for the winter conferences.
It is not that his addition will influence anybody’s finances — he comes at a minimal value. It is that buying him will give his new group flexibility to spend elsewhere.
From Keith Regulation’s free-agent rankings to all the large strikes, we have now the MLB offseason lined.
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Contemplating the Cubs’ want for beginning pitching, Ohtani would test an enormous field for them whereas permitting the entrance workplace to allocate in different methods. Ohtani would additionally influence the Cubs’ commerce market.
With that in thoughts, let’s undergo a guidelines of the Cubs’ winter conferences wants, primarily based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being an absolute necessity.
Beginning pitching: 9
With or with out Ohtani, if the Cubs can depart Orlando with a reputable beginning pitcher (or test this field shortly thereafter), then they are going to have executed their job for the week. Something extra can be gravy. Even with Ohtani within the fold, free-agent Alex Cobb can be an incredible addition and would give the Cubs a deep rotation. The financial savings on Ohtani may simply be spent on Cobb, because the Cubs have been cautious about whom they go purchasing for to this point this winter.
League sources mentioned the Cubs had early curiosity in pitchers Mike Minor and Miles Mikolas, however not on the costs for which they signed with Texas and St. Louis, respectively.
Then there may be Jake Arrieta. There was no indication of whether or not the door on his return to the Cubs is open or closed, however agent Scott Boras is certain to present some sense of the place the panorama is throughout his Orlando state-of-the union handle concerning his purchasers.
The Cubs want much more depth for his or her rotation, however reclamation tasks can come later. For now, a top-four starter must be their precedence, no matter what occurs with Ohtani.
Reduction pitching: 7
Some may assume the bullpen must be extra of a precedence after a postseason meltdown, however in actuality, it simply wants somewhat retooling as a result of the Cubs aren’t operating away from their playoff goats.
Mike Montgomery, Carl Edwards Jr, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Dillon Maples, Justin Wilson and newcomer Dario Alvarez are the makings of the pen, nevertheless it wants a crowning glory or two. The nearer market may proceed to be gradual in growing, based on a supply, however the Cubs can afford to be affected person.
Free-agent Brandon Morrow has been linked to the Cubs for good cause. He has been trending increased as he has gotten older, culminating in his career-best 5.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2017. That would translate into nearer numbers, regardless of Morrow’s compiling solely 18 profession saves, together with simply two previously eight years.
The purpose? There are alternatives previous Wade Davis, and the Cubs entrance workplace did not appear overly involved about filling the void if he leaves for one more group. On the identical time, although, Theo Epstein has admitted how demoralizing it may be to blow leads late in video games.
Buying and selling with Ohtani within the fold: eight
It solely is smart for the Cubs to unclog their outfield somewhat bit if Ohtani goes to play there just a few days per week. Ian Happ or Kyle Schwarber would almost certainly be on the transfer for some extra pitching, although neither is prone to convey the Cubs a high arm. That is OK as a result of Ohtani is the pitcher the Cubs want as a lot as anybody available on the market, and the Cubs can be buying and selling from a place of energy that might keep sturdy even after a transfer. A take care of the New York Yankees for some center reduction assist may make sense at that time.
Buying and selling with out Ohtani: four
That is the place it may get difficult for the Cubs: Do they entertain affords for shortstop Addison Russell, realizing he has had some accidents and different off-the-field points? What precisely may they get for Schwarber or Happ if not a top-three or -four starter?
The conferences in Orlando with different groups are prone to embrace many permutations, however the Cubs’ truly pulling the set off on a deal — save the Russell reasoning — nonetheless seems like a protracted shot.
However neglect Russell for a second. Groups wish to ask for different groups’ greatest gamers when relinquishing their greatest starters. Previously, discussions have began and ended when rivals have talked about Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo. By the point they get to Happ or Schwarber — at the very least coming off 2017 — the return won’t be value it.