By: Will Farlow
The Chicago Cubs ended the 2019 season on a sour note finishing in third place in the NL Central and falling short to the Milwaukee Brewers and the St Louis Cardinals for a chance in the 2019 postseason. The Cubs with a small amount of flexibility in the payroll brought in some veterans to add to the already strong roster featured on the Northside of Chicago. The Cubs have a new manager and familiar face leading the team in a unique Covid-19 affected 60 game season that will determine whether the contention window is closing and if the Cubs need to rebuild . Here is my 2020 Cubs season preview recapping their offseason, the opening day roster , and my takes on the future of the team that calls Wrigley Field home.
Cubs 2020 Offseason
One Door Closes, Another One Opens
The Chicago Cubs faced a decision for a new manager as on September 29th, 2019 it was announced the Cubs would part was with Manager Joe Maddon after five seasons. Cubs fans wondered who would be their next manager following the departure of Maddon, and little did they know the answer that would come. The old saying where as one door closes another opens was the case for the Cubs as on October 23rd 2019 the team announced former 2016 clubhouse leader and catcher David Ross is the new manager. Ross brings in my opinion a good personality and knowledge of the game along with the good connection and bond with the Cubs team and organization.
Key Free Agent Moves and Contract Extensions
The Cubs faced a tough situation in terms of signing free agents and extending key players with a high payroll near the luxury tax threshold. This is a list of the free agent signings and key contact extensions for the Cubs.
RHP Jeremy Jeffress – 1 year 850,000 dollars
2B Jason Kipnis – minor league contract
OF Steven Souza Jr. - 1 year 1 million
C Jose Lobaton- minor league contract
RHP Rex Brothers – minor league contract
2020 Chicago Cubs Opening Day Roster
The Chicago Cubs announced on Thursday July 23rd their official 30 man roster for Friday's Opening Day game against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs have many players returning from their roster in the 2019 MLB season. Illinois native infielder Jason Kipnis was added to the Opening Day roster and could be a help to Chicago at second base.
Projected record: 34-26
I feel like the Cubs have a talented roster that can still make some noise in the NL Central in 2020. I have them finishing with a record of 36-24 in this shortened 60 game season with a new manager in David Ross and a tough schedule with NL Central rivals that feature a lot of roster improvement made in the off season. The Cubs with the report of 16 team expanded playoffs have a chance for postseason if David Ross leads them in a way that brings consistent play for Chicago and not too many injuries. If this is the last dance for this current roster they should look to go for it all this season in 2020. The Cubs have questions to answer during and following the season as contracts to stars like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez are still unanswered to each player's future in a Cubs uniform. I believe the results of this 2020 season determine whether the Cubs keep parts of this roster or if the team is headed for another rebuild.