Chicago Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer has continued to express that he expects to compete in 2022 and that he is not interested in a complete “rebuild.” Hoyer is either the most optimistic man on the planet, or he is straight lying to the die-hard fan base that supports this team.
As I write this, the Cubs have now lost 10 straight games, and most of those losses were not competitive. Sure, the rest of the games this season don’t really matter, but the product on the field is downright embarrassing.
There will be money to spend this winter, but how is Hoyer going to convince any of the top free agents to sign with the Cubs. What is there to like about the direction of this franchise?
A number of the current Cubs are going to be on the roster again next season, and this is a group that simply can’t find a way to win a baseball game. Sure there have been some bright spots from guys like Patrick Wisdom and Rafael Ortega, but those two players don’t start for most teams in the NL.
Another 100 loss season is coming in 2022, and it might be the same thing in 2023. Hoyer can try to spin it any way that he wants, but this is going to be a miserable stretch for a once-dominant franchise.
Starting Pitching is a Problem
The Cubs have repeatedly said that they are working on building up the pitching staff in the Minor Leagues, and we were promised that help was on the way. Even Theo Epstein was raving up the pitching depth at the Minor League level, but that has not translated to the Major Leagues.
Adbert Alzolay entered 2021 with plenty of promise, but he has fallen flat on his face this season. Alzolay continues to get beat with the long ball, and there is no way that he can be a top-of-the-rotation starter in Chicago.
Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson are the next “big things” according to the Cubs, but both pitchers have yet to prove it on the big league level. The bullpen has been a disaster since trading away the trio of relievers, and the recent call-ups have struggled.
Starting pitchers don’t come around often, and it’s hard to see the Cubs finding enough pitching to finish better than 4th place (Thanks Pirates) in the NL Central for the next few years.
Some Veterans Can’t be Counted On
Another major issue that the Cubs are facing right now is that some of the veteran players just simply aren’t getting the job done. The Cubs were hoping that the likes of Ian Happ, David Bote, and Willson Contreras could help with this transition, but that just isn’t going to work.
Contreras should be the only one of that group that is even around next season, as he does provide some value at the catcher position. He is a player though that hasn’t lived up to the hype or expectations this season, and thinking of him as a leader is laughable.
Ian Happ and David Bote just aren’t good enough to be everyday players, and these next six weeks will prove that. Both players have shown flashes with the Cubs, but they aren’t good enough to be the best players in the lineup.
Happ and Bote are two players that will likely be around in 2022, but that doesn’t mean they have earned that right. If the Cubs were hoping that these two men would lock up positions for the next few years, and the results are not going to be good.
If the Cubs are really going to do this rebuild the right way, then Happ and Bote should be the next two out the door. Their presence isn’t helping the team win in 2021, and they simply aren’t good enough to provide enough value in the next few seasons.