Longtime Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks is expected to begin the season on the injured list, setting the 2023 Opening Day roster in Chicago up to be the first one to not include a member of the 2016 World Series championship team since 2012 following the departure of Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward over the offseason. As fans on the north side of Chicago begin getting used to the new era of Cubs baseball, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer’s front office has an important question to answer this spring: who will take Hendricks’s turn in the rotation while he’s injured?
As manager David Ross told reporters, including the Chicago Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro, young righties Keegan Thompson and Adbert Alzolay do not figure into the club’s rotation plans, with both players expected to start the season as members of the bullpen. That still leaves plenty of options for the final spot in the Cubs’ rotation behind Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele, Jameson Taillon, and Drew Smyly, however. Two players in particular seem. to have the inside track toward the first crack at starting for the big league club in 2023:
Perhaps the most likely contender for the role, the journeyman Sampson is entering his age-31 season with a strong chance at an extended look in the big leagues for just the third time in his career. Sampson’s tenure as a member of the Cubs began late in the 2021 season following a late August call-up. Across 10 appearances and five starts, Sampson pitched well, with a 2.80 ERA (152 ERA+) in his 35 1/3 innings of work. The underlying metrics didn’t feel so positively about his performance, however, as Sampson allowed a minuscule .232 BABIP and left a whopping 88.4% of runners on base despite over one in five of his fly balls allowed leaving the yard. Those red flags left him with a concerning 5.72 ERA, but the Cubs saw enough in Sampson to sign him to another minors deal for the 2022 season.
The 2022 season proved to be something of a revelation for Sampson after he received an opportunity in Chicago’s rotation following a slew of injuries. In 104 1/3 innings across 21 appearances (19 starts), Sampson pitched to a strong 3.11 ERA (132 ERA+) that, unlike the previous season, was more supported by underlying metrics. Sampson’s BABIP of .288 and LOB% of 77.6% both returned to figures far closer to his career norms of .299 and 76%, respectively, giving him a much more palatable 3.79 FIP on the season. Much of this improvement came from a drastically reduced home run rate, however, as Sampson saw just 7.7% of his fly balls allowed leave the yard during the 2022 campaign. That rate isn’t likely to be sustainable going forward, leaving a major red flag in Sampson’s profile entering the 2023 season.
Given his success in 2022 and the $1.9MM salary he agreed to for 2023 in a pre-tender deal with the Cubs, it would make plenty of sense if the veteran righty had the inside track to the fifth starter’s job to open the 2023 season even in spite of those concerns. That being said, Sampson still has a minor league option remaining, meaning he could be stashed in Triple-A as depth should he not make the Opening Day rotation. Furthermore, for a team like the Cubs with a handful of pitching prospects approaching the big leagues, it would be understandable for the organization to prioritize figuring out what they have in those youngsters over giving a journeyman like Sampson an extended run, even following his big league success in 2022.
One such pitching prospect is Wesneski, the right-hander the Cubs acquired from the Yankees at the 2022 trade deadline in exchange for sidearming reliever Scott Effross. Wesneski made his big league debut in September and found instant success, even throwing an immaculate inning during his late season cup of coffee. Overall, Wesneski pitched to a sterling 2.18 ERA (190 ERA+) over 33 innings. He also struck out a quarter of opponents with a meager 5.3% walk rate, leading to an excellent 3.20 FIP backing up his raw run prevention numbers.
This fantastic performance towards the end of the season has seen Wesneski generate considerable hype throughout the offseason, and he enters Spring Training as Sampson’s likely biggest challenger for the fifth starter role in Chicago. As previously mentioned, the Cubs have an assortment of interesting pitching prospects in the upper levels of their minor league system, including Caleb Kilian, Ben Brown, and DJ Herz. Given this reality, it would make plenty of sense for the Cubs to use these early season innings to get Wesneski more experience against big league pitching and see how the league adjusts to him following his strong debut.
However, with just four starts and six total appearances in the big leagues under his belt, it would be understandable if the Cubs wanted to take things slowly with Wesneski. After all, the righty just turned 25 years old and has multiple minor league option years remaining. Additionally, Wesneski’s 143 1/3 innings between Triple-A and the majors in 2022 was a career high, so it’s possible the Cubs will be keeping a close eye on his innings this season, while the club is still working towards a return to contention.
While Sampson and Wesneski appear to be the front-runners for the job, there’s a few other players who seem likely to be in the mix for the fifth spot in Chicago’s Opening Day rotation. Ross specifically mentioned right-hander Javier Assad as a potential candidate. Assad, like Wesneski, is entering his age-25 season in 2023 and received a brief cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2022. Over 37 2/3 innings across nine appearances and eight starts, Assad pitched to a strong 3.11 ERA (133 ERA+), though his unimpressive 18.1% strikeout rate and concerning 12% walk rate leave plenty of room for concern, as demonstrated by his 4.49 FIP.
In addition to Assad, a pair of non-roster invitees could see consideration for a rotation spot. Nick Neidert spent his career as a member of the Mariners and Marlins organizations prior to signing with the Cubs on a minor league deal this offseason, and pitched well in 2022, both in 46 innings at the Triple-A level (1.96 ERA) and in a spot start for the Marlins in the big leagues (3.60 ERA over five innings), though he spent much of the season on the injured list.
Meanwhile, Roenis Elias has some success in the big leagues, with a career 3.96 ERA (98 ERA+) and 4.26 FIP in 395 2/3 innings of work in the big leagues. Elias also delivered a particularly strong performance in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, posting a fantastic 0.92 ERA in 39 innings of work. On the other hand, most of Elias’s recent big league experience has come out of the bullpen, with the lefty starting just 5 major league games since the start of the 2016 season. Both Elias and Assad are also set to pitch in the World Baseball Classic this spring, giving the Cubs a unique potential look at their abilities in a more competitive setting than Spring Training can usually provide.
Between Sampson, Wesneski, and the above trio of darkhorse options, the Cubs have an interesting choice to make ahead of Opening Day regarding who will take up Hendricks’s spot in the rotation until he returns from the injured list. It’s possible injuries could make the decision easier by that time, either by taking options out of the running or opening up more spots in the rotation for those competing. Even if that happens, though, the Cubs appear to be in a good place in terms of quality starting pitching depth as they begin to prepare for the 2023 campaign.
The Cubs have a very low ceiling and relatively high floor. They have so many average players, a few slightly above average and a few below average. They don’t have any player that jumps out at you and makes you say “I need to see him play.” Being in the market they are, they are very much in need of some star power, and Dansby Swanson is a good player, but he’s far from a star.
I imagine they are hoping to get a steady cast of role players in good spots and then add the big names. It seems they don’t want to waste big $ on years they know they won’t truly be able to compete.
This team has the making of a 77-80 win team.. wouldn’t surprise me if they won 83-84, and also wouldn’t surprise me if they only won 72-73.
It could be more of the opposite. High ceiling/low floor? Happ, Swanson, and Bellinger could easily produce sub 100 ops+ which would undoubtedly affect high contact approach guys like madrigal and hoerner. But, solid years from belli, Happ, and Swanson could allow madrigal, hoerner, heck even seiya to see more/better pitches and work counts.
Happ was already solid last year, so you have to expect he’ll follow suit this year.. You have to ask – how much better will Swanson be than Contreras was offensively? Swanson improves the defense especially since Hoerner moves to 2B. Bellinger helps the CF defense.
The defense is their biggest strength IMO. They have a lot of pitch to contact guys, so that defense should serve them well.
The Cubs should of taken my advice and traded Happ this off season. Now they’re in a tough spot He’s making 11 million bucks they might need at the deadline and will have to trade him then or get nothing for him. Plus they could of gotten more in the off season than they’ll get for a 1/2 year rental. They really shouldn’t extend him as their 3 best prospects are OF’s and if they resign him they’ll be blocked. Suzuki is here for 4 more years. PCA should start the year in AAA. They’re already saying Alcantara will probably skip Single A entirely and go right to AA. The whole South Bend OF should start off in AA. Nwogu, Caissie, and Perlaza. Canario will be back by next year so why do they need Happ? If they extend him they’re fools, Let someone else pay him and go with the kids, But they limited their return greatly. It’s a mistake but not a horrible one. They obviously have enough OF’s and pitching throughout the Organization. Their only real long term need is a 3B. Lets see if Ricketts will pony up for a Machado, with 47 million coming off the books it’s certainly something to think about.
The Cubs improved offensively at every position except the one position where offense doesn’t matter, catcher.
Hosmer even being the shell of his former self improves first base.
Mancini improves DH
Swanson improves the offense at SS and Hoerner improves the offense at second.
Bellinger improves offense in CF
Suzuki in his sophomore year should improve his production in RF and not playing Heyward anymore improves both CF and RF.
Happ and Wisdom are washes, Rios is a wild card.
Defensively also the Cubs improved all the way around except third base.
I will agree that the Cubs could have a very high ceiling on offense. A lot of talking heads think Suzuki will improve. Swansons power looks legit over the past few years and his park overlay suggests he and Wrigley will be a good fit. If Bellinger can rebound, which seems like a tall order, the Cubs could have a very deep middle of the line up.
The Cubs could be sneaky good, especially if Mervis is legit. The rotation isn’t very special in my opinion but the bullpen I think has the makings of being a serious weapon that allows Ross to keep his starters on a short leash.
1. I agree Jed should have pushed to try and move Happ this past offseason (Maybe he did and we didn’t hear anything).
2. PCA will be starting in AA Tennessee this year.
3. Cubs again should have money to spend this offseason. Cubs won’t pick up Hendo’s club option and I do believe Stroman will opt out. I
More like 65 million coming off and maybe 83 mill if Stroman opts out (likely).
Revolver- You know I had it down that Stroman was gonna opt out also. Now I’m not so sure. With the defense they will have for the foreseeable future and the way he pitches, I see it as if he does opt out he will resign for more money. I wouldn’t pay him ace money because he’s really not formidable, But I think the Cubs Ace is in the system someplace and we just don’t know who it is yet. And if he does opt out, they won’t be much worse off than they are now. They have the prospect capital to replace him fairly easily if FA and the farm don’t pan out in time, But I think it will. People are sleeping on the Cubs starting pitching IMO, Hendricks was better than people ever thought he was gonna be, But his velocity is so far down that it’s time to say goodbye because I don’t see him being any kind of factor this year even IF his shoulder holds out. They have better options than him now.
They need Happ, because none of those OF prospects are ready yet, so he serves a purpose as a stopgap who’s not making that much more money compared to most free agent LFers they could’ve signed to replace him. He can then be traded midseason if necessary, at which point one of those prospects might be ready.
I think any of the 5 Cubs OF prospects in their top 10 can’t hit .270 and knock in 70 runs then they’re in real trouble. I think any of them could do it by accident.
Your a real Debbie Downer, eh Doc Mike.
Your throwing in the towel by trading Happ before the season starts. And PCA isn’t going to start the year in Iowa, nor has Alcantara going to skip S Bend.
No hurry yet, to move the 2 young guys along too fast. They’re on schedule.
And if you don’t think the Cubs are ready to compete, your underestimating the P staff, as well as the offseason moves.
Hmmm. Well trading Happ now would be useless as every team has thrown the dice and made their decisions. The time would of been early in the off season after he was an All Star and his value will never be higher. After losing 2 years of playing time all prospects all over baseball will be skipping steps up the ladder as they mature so you’re wrong there also. Even if they start where you say there’s a good possibility they only spend a short time there. And I’ve been the one saying everyone is underestimating the Cubs pitching, But then reading is a skill isn’t it?
Must be a Twilight Zone thing, by how do you come up with ‘All prospects losing 2 years of playing time’?
Ever heard of COVID? Shut down the Minor League’s for 2 years. Are you Rip Van Winkle? Did you sleep through that or were you in a coma?
It shut down the minors for one year, not two.
Machado is gone but let’s talk about Happ. There’s no way the Cubs are offering a huge contract for him to resign. The only question is when do you trade him. I would try now if the trade back warrants it. Then you try again at the trade deadline. The Yankees appear to want him so the Cubs should engage them for Jasson
Domínguez. Ian Happ and Alexander Canario for Jasson
Domínguez. Sounds fair!
Really Dansby Swanson Gold Glove and World Series Champion. Here’s where I will concede that there are a lot of reclamation projects on the Cubs. If they play up to their former selves the Cubs are playoff contenders. Most of these reclamation projects are on short term contracts waiting for the PCA s to mature.
The Cubs look ready to build on their solid 2nd half last year. I still think the Cardinals win the division with relative ease, but Cubs could definitely compete for 2nd place with my Brewers. Looking forward to seeing what happens in 2023!
Honestly, I don’t see the Cubs being better in 2023 unless Mervis and/or Davis can establish themselves.
I said before, the Cubs will have too many holes to fill and no prospect is a slam dunk:
Potential prospect who may be ready: Crow-Armstrong, Canario, Davis, Mervis, Amaya, Wicks, Killian, Brown
I want the Cubs to win, but I think the Cubs are making a mistake not developing more pitching with Barnhart and Gomes behind the plate this year.
2023 is this season. Those holes won’t appear until next offseason.
That’s exactly the kind of season this year’s Cubs will be. Either a 72-win season or like an 84-win season. Too many guys that we have to see play out over the course of a full season. At the very least, next offseason, Hoyer will probably add more star power depending on how all these guys perform.
Acoss- how’s this for a lineup next year.
Heyward-22, Hendricks-14-Happ 11 , Bellinger-17 come off the books. 65 Mil gone,
1. PCA CF
2. Hoerner 2B
3. Suzuki RF
4. Machado 3B
5. Mervis 1B
6. Canario LF
7. Swanson SS
8. Mancini DH
9. Barnhart C
Ok by me
That’s not only doable, It wouldn’t take adding any additional money compared to this year. In fact it would be less.
Play the Game
That lineup is 80 wins tops
I’d like to keep Happ, and we’d have to see how Hendriks performs this year, he’s been hurt so he needs to stay healthy first. Other than that, it’s a doable lineup considering the NL Central is a weak division.
That’s still a pretty weak lineup outside of Machado and maybe Suzuki.
Everything about this team screams “feast or fammon”. If they get off to a good start and the pitching continues to be solid with the new additions, would not shock me at all if the NLC becomes a 3-team race, with one of the Cards, Cubs or Brewers edging out a Division Championship with only 85-86 wins.
However… they will need Happ & Hoerner & Swanson to repeat 2022, and for Suzuki to make strides in improving and health. I could just as easily see Bellinger, Wisdom, Madrigal, Hoz, Mancini, Barnhart & Gomes all struggling to hit the Mendoza-line. If that happens, they might be making call-ups earlier than expected.
I will say, for them to have a chance, they’ve gotta get off to a good start in April at least.
Even if the Cubs do win 85-86 games, I highly doubt that will be enough to win the division over both the Cardinals and the Brewers.
The Brewers haven’t improved at all and may have gotten worse. I don’t see them being in contention. If their pitching doesn’t hold up they are in trouble since their offense can’t make up for it.
Maybe, but their pitching will probably hold up as the best in the division.
I definitely feel like offense has improved with Winkler, Contreras and Voit.
Voit? He was signed to a minors deal. And I think you are thonking of the wrong Contraras. The good one is in STL.
Are you sure? They already have a couple pitchers down with injuries and they created bad feelings with their ace.
No matter. The pitching staff is almost the same as last year and they missed the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Cubs improved their pitching staff that was one of the best in baseball for the second half of last season.
Except little brother had a batter batting average, on base, slugging and ops+.
And let it sink in that Voit is on a minor league deal and had a better ops plus than Wisdom, Rios, Hosmer and Mancini.
William has yet to play more than 97 games in a season, though. Let’s see him put up those kind of offensive ratios over the course of a full season before we say he’s surpassed Willson in offensive ability.
This is why I can’t take MLB.com seriously. They have the Cubs at a less than 10% to make the playoffs after all the additions they made in a division with St. Louis and Milwaukee. While giving the Giants a 40 % chance of making the playoffs after basically doing nothing And in a division with the Dodgers and Padres. Not to mention that they still haven’t come out with their team top 30 lists yet even though the international signings have been over with for a month and the Amateur draft was last June. A lot of quick thinkers over there. Hopefully they’ll be out by June or they’ll have to start over at this years draft. Well played Callis and Friends. They’ve been crapping on the Cubs farm system for years. It’s time for them to start paying attention and admit they suck at it.
I’ll give you the Giants at 40% being surprisingly optimistic, but I don’t think they’re wrong about the Cubs’ chances. Even with all their new additions, they’re still a significantly weaker team on paper than the Cardinals, Brewers, and half the NL overall.
Cubs will make the playoffs this year and those saying they are not that great, well they are set to be sneaky good and they have the kids coming through.
If they falter then rotation pieces will be traded and Kyle will be gone after this year, so more kids will be added if the team falters.
So they will make the playoffs unless they don’t. Got it.
Care to put some money on that?
St. Louis added a catcher. They were the favorites before this. If the Cards are bit by the injury bug I believe the Cubs are better positioned roster wise than the Brewers to take the division. It would be a tall order though.
The Cardinals lost a better C than they added and the Brewers spent more time pissing off the good players they do have by trading Hader and Cheaping out on their starting pitching. Do they have the prospects to replace Burnes and Woodruff? They certainly don’t have the money obviously. I don’t really see them being better than last year and probably worse. Wait until Wainwright has Contreras jumping around behind the plate which will aggravate him no end. I know Lester hated throwing to him so we’ll see. But nobody can realistically say that the Giants have a 40% chance to make the playoffs in their division and the Cubs 10% unless you’re just a hater. The Cubs are hoping Belli rebounds well and the Brewers are hoping the same thing with Yelich. Let’s see.
Molina was past his prime and injured half of last season, anyway, while their backup catcher, Knizner, sucked on both offense and defense. Contreras is a huge upgrade over that
You’re in for a huge disappointment. If Contreras couldn’t learn anything from Playing with Ross( 2 years) or for Ross( 3 years) then there’s not much hope for him making a big leap defensively. Plus his game calling leaves a lot to be desired. But good luck with that anyway.
His offense makes up for his defensive shortcomings, and it’s not like he’s horrible defensively, especially with his above-average throwing arm. He’s still a much better defender behind the plate than Knizner.
Stick a fork in ‘em.
Keep hating and downplaying what they did this offseason. I think we have a sneaky good club and could see us competing for the division if we get pitching like we had the last half of last season when we had one of the statistically best starting staffs in baseball. Stroman thinks PCA is ready for the big leagues. I could see him and Mervis both come up by the all star break. I like this cubs team and it will be even better next year. Ben Brown and Wesneski are gonna both do well in the big leagues..possibly Killian too. I want ppl to keep not expecting much from this club. I on the other hand do.
Cubs sure will be an interesting team this season with so much moving parts and depth for their roster. Offensively, their best case scenario would involve Bellinger having a bounce back season, Swanson doing at least as well as he did last season, or even building on it, and more improvement from Suzuki, plus him staying healthy. As long as the others maintain what they did last year (I would expect Hoerner to improve), this would be a very strong lineup. This would already be amazing if these things happened, but I’d also hope one of Mancini or Hosmer has a decent enough season (between the two, my money is on Mancini). But here’s where things can get really interesting. If PCA and Mervis can force the issue in AA and AAA respectively, I can see them being mid season call ups who can impact and really deepen our lineup. If Bellinger gets pushed to 1b/DH duties because PCA is in CF, then Mervis might see some time at 3b (might be a little scary defensively) as well as 1b and DH.
I trust what Jed’s been doing with their pitching the last couple years. The bullpen has found a way to be effective without spending on the pricey old reliable relievers. The younger pitchers coming through the system that got their feet wet last year have pitched to good results despite many being nowhere near top prospect rankings. That tells me the organization has gotten something right in game planning and the way they are coaching the kids up. And guys like Wesneski and Brown sure seem promising. Killian, at this point, seems to be more of a wildcard, but it’s not like we should have to be relying on his success to be saving a sinking ship of a rotation. I’d love to see Steele and Wesneski both challenge and step up as the rotation leaders. Tall task for the little MLB experience Wesneski’s had, but I think either of them could have the right makeup to be at the top of our rotation in the future.
I think it’s a long shot that even half of what I spoke of comes to fruition, but if so this is a team that will win 80+ games and have a shot at a wildcard playoff spot. If enough good things happen and guys like PCA and Mervis are mid season additions (and not rushed out of necessity), this team might even be capable of breaking the 90 win barrier… lol. Don’t really believe I just said that!! But there’s an element to what’s brewing with this team that by seasons end we might feel like it’s the 2015 season all over. Ok, I just chugged 30 gallons of Cubbie blue koolaid, and got a big koolaid mustache and gotta take a whiiiiiiiizzzz….
Mervis at 3B? Where did that even come from? If Mervis forces his way up to MLB it will be at 1B and Hosmer will be DFA’d. I still think PCA starts at Iowa and Alcantara at AA skipping High A altogether is what I meant to say in the other post. The Cubs haven’t even announced exactly what they even plan to do with Horton who apparently was Top Prospect # 101 if you believe MLB.com which I don’t. Is Horton a starter? Reliever? Where does a 20 year old even start at who’s been to the College World Series? High A? Low A? AA? my curiosity is piqued. He’s almost 2 years removed from TJ surgery so the gloves should be off and hasn’t pitched since last spring.
I prefer to be a free thinker. A 1b can play 3b in a pinch. Nowhere am I saying they are gonna make him a permanent third baseman, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he lines up there at least a handful of times if there’s anyone doing an admirable job filling in at 1b and DH. Maybe you forgot I’m talking about best case scenarios, lol and there you are bringing up Hosmer like??? 3b is our weakest position and I’d bet if Mervis forces his way on the Cubs that that’s gonna be a spot he’ll get plugged in if other positions are filled in a best case scenario. Lol at PCA starting in AAA. Why put him in a league that is known for unrealistic offensive stats and where the majority of pitchers are at the end of their professional careers and stuck as AAAA players? Hitting those kinds of pitchers in an offensively swayed environment will just be blowing smoke up your behind as well as the players having success. There is better pitching talent in AA that he can face guys who are still young and hungry and making that push to the majors and not just guys who are coming to grips that they’re at the end of their journey and not reaching their goal.
The reason you said is exactly why PCA should start at AAA rather than AA. AAA pitchers mostly throw junk and breaking pitches which are the ones that give most prospects the most trouble. AA pitchers throw gas which he’s proven he can hit. To the best of my knowledge Mervis has never played a game at 3B anywhere which would be a huge ask for a guy to try it out in MLB. But I admire the thinking outside of the box. LOL
I know in college he was a P so he probably has the arm for it. But given the weakness at 3B all through the Farm System I would think if he could play there, They would of tried him there already.
Just looked up Mervis’ stats. He played one game at 3b in A ball, 16 in college, and 20 games at 3b in “other” leagues. Guessing cape cod or one of the independent summer leagues… but I think with some players, he’s a first baseman with a bat. You develop just that because they hope he fills that roll for them since there is a need. They have 1b covered with lots of depth for 2023 so if Mervis makes it to the big leagues, they just might say, hey you gotta play a little 3b because that’s gonna give us the best chance to win. Javy was very much a SS who they let played some 2b and 3b in the minors, but he was mainly regarded as a SS. Yet when he got to the majors all of a sudden they were plugging him in anywhere because they had the need. Hell I saw Javy play CF in a Cactus League game. So no, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Mervis even got put at 3b once or twice this spring.
As far as PCA, if he’s gonna skip AA due to a ridiculous spring, he’d probably end up skipping AAA too. I’d think he will prove himself against much better pitching prospects in AA and probably jump up the majors if he looks that good against AA pitching. Then if he needs more development, he’ll end up in AAA as you say to face the pitchers that have the mlb junk. The problem with those pitchers is while they have the repertoire, they are all pitchers who haven’t been successful getting MLB hitters out with said repertoire, so that’s not as much of a challenge or especially even a necessary step in his ascension until it’s proven he needs that…
Thanks for that info on Mervis. I had not heard that. I knew the Cubs were going to keep Mervis down to delay his clock because that’s Jeds MO. Still a LH hitting power 3B would be much more valuable than a 1B. Thanks for the education anyway.
One guy everyone seems to be forgetting about is Brennen Davis. His injury last year stalled what was expected to be his breakout year, but this year he’s healthy, stronger and says he feels great. Watching him just a couple of days ago, he’s running like a deer and smashing the ball! To me he looks like a budding star and could force the team’s hand very soon. The missed year took him off a lot of people’s radar this winter but a year ago he was the cubs #1 prospect with a huge ceiling. He also has that matured look about him and his attitude is a quiet confidence that his time is almost here. This is why there’s no way Happ gets extended. Hopefully the Cubs can make a good trade and grab another good prospect or two for him. Bellinger will be gone, maybe before next year and 2024 starting OF could very well be Davis-PCA-Suzuki.
Another guy who has had injuries knock him off the radar is Miguel Amaya. Same as Davis, he has the look of a breakout player this year. Imo he is the C of the future with a bat better than Contreras. This is a team built on defense and pitching which can surprise this year. The Cards will find out for themselves how moving from a defense-first C to Willson will be a tough pill to swallow. I can see Contreras focusing so much on improving his D that his offensive value craters.
Not forgetting about Amaya or Davis. But they’re going to have to show me they can stay on the field. Amaya hasn’t caught a game in 3 years and you’re saying he’s the C of the future? I think Aliendo and Opitz are closer than Amaya. Amaya is basically a walking game of operation. He got hurt being a DH last year for Gods sake. Same for Davis. I’m not sleeping on them, they’ve just disappointed me in the past so now they have to show me.
I hear you on Amaya but he looks slimmed down and fired up! He does have to prove it but I like his chances IF he can stay healthy. Nothing wrong with Barnhart/Amaya next year.
PLEASE PROOFREAD YOUR ARTICLES!!!
I know this is a free site but I am constantly finding mistakes that can be corrected with a simple proofread. Such as I am sure the Cubs don’t want Wesneski to get more “experience against big league pitching “. I would thonk he should face hitters. Unless opposing starters are going to throw balls at eachother.
Also, they must get paid by the word since they could be much more concise and less redundant. And stop forcing the baseball cliches in every story. It would be a good start to more enjoyable reading.