The Cubs had the best offseason according to FanGraphs’ David Cameron. The additions of Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, John Lackey, and Adam Warren to the talented ball club will help even out the performances of younger boom or bust talents. Cameron had only one critique – signing a true center fielder would have let the Cubs put Heyward in a more comfortable spot while taking pressure off Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler. Cameron graded the offseason of all 30 teams in his post so go ahead and see what he has to say about your favorite. The Brewers rebuild ranked second.
Here’s more from the NL Central:
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts plans to once again make Theo Epstein the highest paid executive in baseball, writes Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. When Epstein originally joined the franchise on a five-year, $18.5MM contract, it was the largest ever signed by an executive. Since then, others have surpassed him – most notably Andrew Friedman of the Dodgers. Ricketts emphasized that Epstein has delivered on his promises to build a perennial contender and therefore deserves to be compensated as the best. He also noted that it’s a low stress conversation because of their good working relationship.
- The Cardinals won’t be making any decisions on Matt Holliday’s 2017 club option until after the season, writes Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Dispatch. Holliday is in the final guaranteed year of a seven-year, $120MM contract. Notably, his $17MM option for 2017 comes with just a $1MM buy out making it a $16MM decision for the club. Holliday has also approached the club in the past about deferring money in his contract.
- Pirates chairman Bob Nutting spoke to reporters about the next CBA, writes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. As a low revenue club, access to talent is the team’s top concern. In the past, they used large amateur budgets to build their current contending roster. The most recent CBA closed off these avenues of spending. Further, the club’s recent success has compounded the issue since they receive lower draft picks and budgets for winning. Nutting declined to comment on specifics. Nutting also reiterated that the club will “try to find an opportunity” to extend Andrew McCutchen.
- Reds manager Bryan Price hopes speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton can grow into a leadoff role, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Hamilton is just a career .242/.287/.324 hitter. Despite excellent base running, including 126 stolen bases in 1,087 plate appearances, few players could earn regular reps with that triple slash. With Hamilton, his elite defense guarantees him a regular role, per Price. Now it’s just a matter of finding where his bat plays. FanGraphs’ WAR metric agrees with Price. Hamilton has compiled 6.1 WAR putting him on a 3-4 WAR pace per full season.