CHICAGO -- Back home after a long Chicago Cubs road trip it's time to empty the (twitter) mailbag:
You're not going to like the answer: nothing. There's nothing they can do but basically wait for their lineup to get the proper experience it needs. They're actually ahead of schedule when you consider Addison Russell
is already in the big leagues. Now it just has to grow on its own. Of course, they might sign someone in the offseason or make a trade at some point but the core group is here, save Kyle Schwarber and maybe one of their young outfielders. But when it clicks it will be a thing of beauty as they'll have a little bit of everything doing damage at a young age.
I think so -- if they can. And if you mean Jon Lester
has been so-so and spending another $100+ million on another 30 year-old pitcher might not be the smartest idea then I'm with you. I'm not saying they shouldn't have signed him but I've been saying for a while they need to work on parallel pitching paths. Make a trade for a young one and sign another free agent. My point being, just don't rely on free agency, usually you get burned. A big trade won't be easy though, unless you're willing to give up Kris Bryant
, Addison Russell or even Kyle Schwarber? The Cubs aren't.
You're not going to like this answer either: I don't think Lester's stuff has been all that good and in the games he's won he's done it on know-how and guile. We know his cutter hasn't been great and when you look at the hit totals it tells the whole story. He's averaging over 10 hits per nine innings pitched. That can't all be bad luck, right? He's not getting enough swings and misses or light enough contact in key spots where outs are needed. But he knows how to pitch and his stuff doesn't have to be like Jake Arrieta
's for him to win. He just might not be as dominant as we thought but he can still be very effective.
I'm not sure. It might not be until next season. Or maybe they decide Russell's ready for a bigger role in the second half. I kind of like him there. Just let him do his thing under the radar and then move him up but I don't see a big rush. Then again, I understand this is a stepping stone year. If they make the playoffs that's great. But everything points to 2016 and beyond as their big contending years so whatever cocoon they want him to play in, I'm OK with it. You may not be.
I wouldn't say that. If Javier Baez
is healthy he'll definitely come up in September. Before that, only if there's a need, but first he has to heal up.
He's been alright. Miguel Montero
comes as advertised on offense in that he'll give a good at-bat but I wouldn't mind seeing a few more hits. The seven home runs aren't bad, though, and his receiving skills are pretty good. David Ross
and Welington Castillo
before he was traded threw the ball better though. He does seem to do a good job with the pitching staff. If his offense picks up a little I think he'll be doing what was expected. No more, no less.
I think it'll mostly come through the system. Could they trade for a bat to come off the bench? Of course. But if you're thinking about a big name I don't see that happening. On paper, it looks like they have most of what they need at the plate within the system -- not all, but most. Like I wrote earlier it's just going to take some time. I do believe there could be an outfield addition through free agency but that's for the offseason to discuss.
It would have to be pitching. Smaller deals involving the bullpen and bigger ones looking at starters. I don't think they would go the rental route unless it really just was the final piece to this season. That's why Cole Hamels
is still attractive. He helps now and later.