Like many of you, although fewer and fewer each day, I wasted three hours of my life last night, that I can never get back, watching the Cubs game on ESPN. Based on my texts received, and social media, I'm not the only one that thinks this 2021 Cubs team sucks.
I know, you're saying, but Dan, it's only 18 days into the season. How can you judge anything in such a short amount of time? Well sports fans, I've seen enough bad baseball in my life to know bad baseball when I see it. I am after all a lifelong Cubs fan. Who knows more about bad baseball than us?
Numbers don't lie. They have a team batting average of .192. Their on base percentage is a horrible .285, and not to be outdone, their OPS is a league bottom third of .664. Sadly, the only numbers that really matter is the fact that they are 3 games out of first, in the worst division in baseball, and have fallen behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. THE PIRATES!
It was pointed out last night that the Atlanta Braves starting pitchers have a higher batting average this year than the Cubs position players. Just let that roll around in your head for a few minutes. Saturday was the first time all year that the Cubs scored more than five runs in a game. It still is the only time. This is epic futility on the part of the beloved.
I have seen nothing that leads me to believe that things will turn around anytime soon. For that matter, I have seen nothing that leads me to believe that things will turn around, period, for this group. This Cubs team will go down as the most underperforming team in franchise history. By a mile.
Raise your hand if you thought this team would win three, four, or five world championships. At the very least you thought they would make it back to the World Series several times. Instead they have become the 1985 Chicago Bears, one and done. What a waste.
Someone let me know when Joc Pederson actually fields a ball cleanly in left field. Same for when Javy Baez stops swinging for the fences on every pitch. You might as well update me when the entire team decides to take some pitches and make the other team actually work to get them out. I could go on but what's the point?
The Cubs have several core players that are on expiring contracts this year, and Willson Contreras will be on his last year next year. So, with decisions to be made as to who to keep, and who to let go, it is time to make some serious evaluations and decisions for this team. Based on how bad they are right now, I'm inclined to let them all walk, or be traded. I could be persuaded to find a way to sign Anthony Rizzo so he could end his career here, but only on a team friendly deal.
I would trade Javy Baez today if you can find anyone looking for an overrated shortstop. He can't hit consistently, and he makes no effort to even try to be better at the plate. His defense is average, at shortstop, and his only real skill is tagging people out. This is not enough reason to sign him to a long term deal.
Kris Bryant has the skill to be a future Hall of Famer, but his agent is never going to let him sign an extension with the Cubs, so you may as well launch him asap. His trade value right now is about as good as it will get all year so the faster you move the bigger the return. For the rest of the players on the walk list, let them go at years end, or add them to a trade for more players back.
As for Contreras, I hate to see him go because I like his feistiness and his energy. However, the cubs have two major league ready prospects in their system to step in and the package they could get for Contreras right now is pretty strong. I say move him now.
Once they clear the bench of all the free agents then you bring up the kids and let them learn on the job. This team is going nowhere this year anyway, so there is no loss to do this. I know you don't want to see another Cubs team blow up and reboot, but it going to happen, this year or next, so why wait.
This will make the Chicago White Sox the only team in town, with professional level athletes, so we might as well clear the stage for them as they make a legitimate run for a World Series visit.
As for the beloved, it is wait until 2023.